afghanistan anger anxiety awareness belonging break down burn out combat stress coping with ptsd dark night of the soul depression emotional empath empathy fear highly sensitive person homecoming hsp meditation mental health mindfulness out of place out of the box paris attacks post traumatic stress disorders psychological ptsd resilience sebastian junger self care self discovery self love self worth shell shock social anxiety stress stress disorders suicidal trauma tribe veterans vets war vets weird yoga
Since I find it hard to find time to stop and read a book, I decided to do it and share more relevant parts with you. “Fear” by Thich Nhat Hanh was one of the books on the list.
My podcasts are now on the You Tube Channel. To spare your time, you can seek for “Coping with PTSD Beautiful Trauma” and you will find me.
When I first started this blog, I wanted to put black on white my personal experience refered to PTSD after Paris attacks. First, because I felt a need to leave a legacy, and second, I wanted to share my journey to Self discovery and possibly, to different ways to get better and, yes, change your life.
During two years I have been writing every day, a memoir, in case I turned into madness, or long term memory loss, or something very bad could happen to me. Well, I have felt in danger, as if I was going to die, for any reason, until today. The question of “what the hell am I doing here” is still quite present. A need for serving others, too.
It took me several years until I could face 9/11 again. Especially, after Paris attacks, and the call I personally did to my mum after 13th november that was on the same tone.
Michael Moore did his job, I am not here to judge or speculate hypothesis of any kind.
Yesterday, after watching “Origins” with Michael Pitt, I went through life stories of children who witness their previous lives memories from 3 to 9, or shall I say, death memories. One of these children spoke about remembering the way he died, falling down one of the Towers. And I’ll spare you details. Believe it or not.
Tonight I went on the You Tube and, if you want to share with me, this is one of the most incredible stories I ever heard. It’s not a movie, it’s a true story. And of course, I will omit desperate cases, or anything might not be respectful of all the victims.
Subtitles are in italian, but no worry, he speaks in american english. The message he is giving at the end of the speech is not granted. Sometimes it takes a whole life to catch it.
“Thinking brings fear.”
If you agree, we – as human beings – were born to be a whole, balanced, and strongindividuals. Greek philosophers, and physicians, say that the natural state of things is calm and, sophrology – the science that studies the Consciousness – promotes body, mind and spirit harmony (SOS = free from diseases, balances. PHREN = diaphragm, emotional heart and by extension, spirit, conscience. LOGOS = Science, study, speech).
So, naturally, PTSD occur as a consequence of a lack of it. The fact is that you don’t realize at which cost, until your life becomes a mess, when you finally admit that something has broken, and you need help to fix it. It can be a physical wound, or invisible, when it concerns heart and soul, or if you are blessed enough, as brits would say, both.
Before 2015, I used to practice Yoga, once a week, basically to keep healthy, in a good shape and mood, it was relaxing, and I could fully stretch my body, especially my neck, happily turning 40.
After the 2015 events (january and november), I got completely unbalanced, both emotionally, and physically, put on weight, panic attacks, anger outbursts, no way to do my job anymore, like dealing with typical visitors problem solving (e.g. lost baggages, fully booked restaurants,..), or simply baring mood swings of my bipolar colleague. As soon as someone started crying or yelling for any reason, my self defense felt in danger (“that freeze, fly or fight thing”).
In february 2016, I was diagnosed obviously inadequate to my position, until today.
For the short storytime, I knew panic and fear on a terrorist attack at workplace and PTSD soon started with insomnia, poor emotional intelligence like Hulk’s syndrome, inability to put words on my own feelings, anxiety and fear of going crazy, exhaustion and chronique fatigue disease, after sleep burn out, tremors (mouth, legs, hands), tachycardia, and memory loss, just to mention a few. Others symptoms you can’t just describe, like a sort of electrochemical pinching in your veins, especially in legs, or warmth flames in the back, which give you the right sense of burning inside.
“A short circuit of your soul.”
It goes without saying, my health was severely damaged, as you know stress is quite dangerous for neurons, once they are gone, they don’t regenerate, so you start aging earlier, that’s also why, today, it’s not so rare to see stress effects in people who suffer Alzheimer’s syndrom much younger than 60, or stroke and heartattack victims.
By the way, I lost three colleagues between 27 and 43, in 5 months, does it count for stress disorders statistiques? Of course, it doesn’t, except if you can prove it. And you can’t. Occupational joke between Medicine and Managament states that it’s confidential.
During my journey, back from burn out, I have been told several times that this is the illness of the strong. And this is one of the main reasons why I feel a proud trauma survivor, today. Of course, you have to consider a deep cleaning of your personal life, as well as a full transformation of your jobcareer and lifestyle.
You can’t figure out coping with PTSD and holding on the same life schedule than before trauma. It involves stop overthinking, letting go, and modulating negative emotional responses compared with the healthy controls.
“You need some yoga in your life.”
Yoga practice really made a difference for me. It brought “justice” to my body and mind, especially since I am doing it regularly, almost everyday.
Check out Ted Nevins’s story “a soldier’s surprising journey to becoming a yogi” on the following: Warrior Spirit Retreat
Thanks to a welsh penpal, and army brit, nicknamed Salad Dodger, my attention was caught by an association for Combat Stress, and reading an article I was quite shocked, because some of my burn out symptoms were perfectly matching with war vets PTSD, after battlefield.
This study led me to another article written from the american journalist, Sebastian Junger, published by Vanity Fair, who experienced PTSD on his way back from Afghanistan, where he spent 15 months on a mission with a Battle Company.
“Sometimes, we ask ourselves if we can save the vets, I think the real question is if we can save ourselves.”
To resume up, PTSD symptoms can be:
- Irritability and outbursts of anger
- Suicidal thoughts and suicide
- Alcohol misuse and dependence
- Sexual problems and confusion about sexuality
- Eating disorders
- Self-injury and self-harming behaviour
- Transient psychotic episodes
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Somatisation – Emotional distress experienced as physical pain
- Increased rates of physical conditions like heart disease and cancer
- Homelessness Re-victimisation Prostitution
- Criminal behaviour (including, for a small minority, sexual offences)
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of confidence
- Sleep problems
- Parenting problems
- Relationship problems
- Trust issues
via What’s PTSD?
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
When you overreact to events, like crying before other people, and can’t avoid sadness overwhelm you after catching up with media news, then you are probably a so-called « highly sensitive person ». The earlier you get it, the better. Before my burn out and fake alert trauma, I knew that I was a sensitive person, and sometimes acting like a « little girl », but I wasn’t aware of it like a gift. Being sensitive more than 80 per cent of world population? What a present, I was thinking. Acceptation came actually like thunder’s lighting, after a long time of struggling and fighting against my own personality. When, finally, I met this penpal whose story was much stronger than mine, since he is serving a sentence in a californian jail, for 16 years now, and 7 are left. My penfriend was HSP him self and he had the chance to get a good lady doctor as psychotherapist.
If you allow me, I’ll share this article with you, it is from the magazine « Shambala : The Sacred Path of Warrior » :
« Basic goodness is very closely connected to the idea of bodhicitta in the Buddhist tradition. Bodhi means « awake » or « wakeful » and citta means « heart », so bodhicitta is « awakend heart ». Such awakened heart comes from being willing to face your state of mind. That may seem like a great demand, but it is necessary. You should examine yourself and ask how many times you have tried to connect with your heart, fully and truely. How often have you turned away, because you feared you might discover something terrible about yourself ? How often have you be willing to look at your face in the mirror without being embarrassed ? How many times have you tried to shield yourself by reading the newspaper, watching television, or just spacing out ? That is the sixty-four-thousand dollar question : How much have you connecteted with yourself at all in your whole life ? » The sitting practice of meditation … is the means to rediscover basic goodness, and, beyond that, it is the means to awaken this genuine heart within yourself. When you sit in the posture of meditation, you are exactly the naked man or woman that we describerd earlier, sitting between heaven and earth. When you slouch, you are trying to hide your heart, trying to protect it by slumping over. But when you sit upright but relaxed in the posture of meditation, your heart is naked. Your entire being is exposed – to yourself, first of all, but to others as well. So, through practice of sitting still and following your breath as it goes out and dissolves, you are connecting with your heart. By simply letting yourself be as you are, you develop genuine sympathy toward yourself. Conventionally, being fearless means that you are not afraid or that, if someone hits, you will hit him back. However, we are not talking about that street-fighter level of fearlessness. Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others. »
In order to better understand if you are an HSP I’ll put this article from this blogger, who seems very HSP like. You’ll see that feeling weird, quiet and out of place is absolutely normal and a good sign that you are being your true Self.
You also find a podcast from Alanis Morissette with Elaine Aron, author of « Highly Sensitive Person : How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You”.
First Paris attack came in january 2015. The whole week, unhappily, I’ve been watching videos on the web. Every day we got striking news about actions of terrorists around the parisian area. They said that they were stealing cars and hiding in the woods, so I was in alert. Police forces were hunting them, streets to airports were blocked, everybody was on his nerves. Since our company is american, it was on the target of terrorism, after 2001, and still is, so we felt like something could strike soon or later.
And as low of attraction demonstrates, when you FEEL something, it happens … this point is worth to be stressed enough, concentrate on positive, means sending good vibes into the universe ….and cosmo will send you back ! Viceversa, live in fears, and your vibes won’t have the same effect. You see what I mean? This time I was quite nervous because these two men were around, and there had been already a shooting in Paris, a police woman was killed the day before, following a car accident where one of the terrorists (the one from casher supermarket) was involved. He was wearing bulletproof vest and had a kalashnikov rifle. Another policeman was shot in Paris, a few days before, he was lying down the ground begging the killer to spare his life. He had no pity. And shot his head blood cold to finish with him. On You Tube you could find this video supporting the theory that, the fact I just told you, was a fake. It was meant to put people in chaos. And nobody knew exactly what was really trustworthy. Except people who knew that man, like a guy I was dating on line, yes, his father was a jobmate of that poor guy.
That week “Je suis Charlie” went on a massive world movement, and suddenly turned all pictures on Facebook, into french colors. Mine, too. But I was angry, angry with Italians who hadn’t any idea of what was going on here, and with my peers, nobody showed up to say « hello ». Only a few posting on Facebook to show off at which point « everybody was french ». But no calls on my phone.
Until saturday morning, 10th of january. The day I had a date with Death for a chess game. Things hurried up at about 10h30 am, when the hall was full of kids with their families. First, I saw a security man walking speed in front of the reception, and directed to the floors. Second, two others, right after. Our screens on pc were on news all the time. The two killers, at the printing house, were shot the evening before, in Dammarie-les-Lys. Two persons held hostage were still alive. The man in the casher supermarket, who killed other persons, caught and dead, too, by the GIGN commando. What else could happen ?
Suddenly, someone shouted at the bottom of the hall, « SORTEZ ! ». « Go out ! » Damn, I swear, in first seconds I had no time to realize what was going to happen, I was just scared to death, and only knew that I had to go out from there. No matter what. My Brazzaville’s jobmate said something, and I replied « « Dear, pray, that we can tell this story, some day». We were all expecting something terrible to happen. Our energy vibration was tuned on those videos on You Tube, so in a certain way, we were waiting on a bomb strike or kalashnikov rifles fire.
Two seconds, and your life suddenly stops. Someone pushed « stand by » button. One, you hear « sortez », two, what the f*** …and in between, it stands your life until today. « What did you do until now ? » « How did you spend your life ? » »Did you explore your potential ? » »Did you do what really counted for you ? » »Did you try harder ? »
Questioning your life in two seconds, and third, last question, …where’s EXIT ?
Before I had time for longer self reflection, I hold the first little girl’s hand, and slowly, hurry up to the door and to the parking area. The man who was entering was a policeman, and I won’t ever forget that eyes look. Thank you french cops. Never enough. As soon as I stepped out of the building, my full body nerves coulndn’t stop shimmering, and seeked for other colleagues. Crowd was in panic, one close jobmate was crying, evenutally calling her sons, while I realized my phone was left inside, and I couldn’t reach my mother…. That was better, I supposed, cos what would I tell her ? « I love you Mum » like in 9/11 ? That was the feeling.
As team, we were used to test evacuations on a regular basis, more for fire prevention. But this one was supposed to be not a fake, and it was the worst and worse organised I ever experienced. Not only we weren’t informed on what was happening, but we were held in the parking area, at zero degrees, me in short sleeves, without the possibility to leave. The gate were kept closed. I mean, … Thousands of people in a parking as hostage ? Yes, police call it « freezing ». They keep control on the situation by avoiding people to go away, just in case, there is anybody involved in terrorism. Someone was jumping the gate, but eventually also the closer train station was blocked. So, I spent one hour and a half with this couple of spanish army, with their two little girls, and I admit, we were quite sure that something important was going on. A german jobmate, tried to calm down guests, and dancing salsa in the handicap parking space. No much results. So, it came naturally to me to leave my team apart, and stay with the little girls. The younger showed me pictures of her cartoons heros. We tchit tchat for a while until we were told to move. We did. And after this endless snake line we could go back to our work. Danger was over. Was it ?
So, we all were asked to go back to our job locations. That is very bad for provoking anxious state, and strange enough, we didn’t get any psychological support. First, after I entered the building, I went to toilet, of course, and stood a little, thinking to what I just experienced. Was it real ?
Nop, it was a fake.
Yes, a fake alert. What the f*** ! That meant that I won my match against Death, yes, I was given some more time, and from now on…. from now on, what?
In respect of the victims, and highly sensitive people, just like me, I won’t put any videos on Paris Attacks. Anyway, I might suggest you this one: “Three days of terror” on You Tube.
Today I was reading this blog page, talking about suicidal survivor, and I found my self wondering what kept me safe from going down, in last two years. I mean, I’ve been depressive, and bipolar, when younger, and at age of 43, I admit that I am, proudly, NO MORE. During my journey, I’ve been told that bipolar was for life, that you can’t sort it out without medical treatments, or psychological support.
Of course, I have been in psychothearapy, and self discovery. Talking to someone neutral and stranger to you is a good key. Not judgemental. Not involved. That’s a perfect therapy. While you’re talking about your issues, and thoughts, to someone who is listening is magical. Psychotherapy is just THIS. The person in front of you acts like a mirror, she or he allows you to listen to your own words. You finally have a witness to your suffering and that is a good start for healing. Or, at least, understanding. Therefore, UNDERSTANDING, is the beginning of healing. When you become conscious of your triggers, perhaps, you also realize that overthinking leads to paranoia. Ollalla’. Not easy to recognize at which point you became a « paranoid ». But it all starts from you. Forget that a stranger will tell you what’s wrong with you. Or your childhood. You do the job. Most often you just need a guide, a coach or a good listener.
Yes, I’ve been paranoid, especially when working at night shift. I simply hated not sleeping on a daily bases, and going to bed at 9 in the morning, when most of other people started their day. Or not falling asleep until exhausted. Or waking up after 21 hours, and checking news, just to make sure that you didn’t miss anything important. I was so tuned on negative thinking that I felt like there was a conspiracy against me. Like if all my colleagues disliked me and everybody else ignored me. If I existed or not, it didn’t make any difference. Paranoia, you said it.
When I was 23 I’ve started with Yoga for getting a nicer silhouette, but I already felt like this discipline was more than just physical excercise. Since then, I’ve been keeping practicing once a week. That was pretty fine for me, one hour now and then. Not much effort. Beginner classes suited me well. Until I went though my last peak of stress, last year.
When I started cutting my hair shorter, yes, darling. And decided to do my yoga every single day, once back home from work. Sometimes at 22 pm, now 19 pm. Depends on my time management.
So, I’ve tried a few channels, until I finally found my fave one. Not only my body became slimmer, and stronger, but my mind was more focus and could concentrate on my class in breathing and out breathing. Sometimes 30 minutes, or one hour in my weekend days. Leaving time for rest, at least one day per week. It became a wonderful way to distress my frustration and felt like I wanted more. When I read that yoga helps with depression issues I didn’t catch it. What’s the matter ? How can physical practice be related with being anxious or depressed ? ( mental issues )
Body, and mind, are definitely strictly connected.
Often you feel depressed because you have fear, you are not well in your situation and you knoe that you need a change, but you don’t take risk to move out of your (un)comfort zone. Victim status might also be cosy. It’s not your fault.
Practice in yoga means getting used to unbalance. You can fall, you are allowed, and you can laugh at your falling. And try again. Until you do better.
When you work your balance and breathing, with yoga, your subconscious keep focused and you empty your mind. That’s the useful meditative work done.
Tonight a friend told me, that my fear is the fear of existence of other. Oh my, really ? And I happily realized this, if you are reading this article, you shall consider how much you love your Self. Me too, I had this idea that I hated my Self …
It’s not true. You lost your confidence. Or other people made you loose your precious confidence. Often it’s parents or peers. Sometimes strangers. Most often is self sabotage and your worse enemy lies inside.
Until you meet your dragon, and stare at his fiery eyes. And his face is not a mirror, but it helps you to build up your Ego.
Body, emotion, and mind, align again. You become a whole.
Paranoid ? Yes, so what ?