PTSD Articles

Honor Veterans by Acquiring Support Skills

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Honor Veterans by Acquiring Support SkillsIs there a military veteran in your life living with an untreated mental health condition? Are you uncertain whether your support is actually hurting more than helping? If so, you are not alone.

Most of us are not inherently equipped with the skills to understand what our loved ones experienced while serving their country through military service. Yet, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 30 percent (PDF) of veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 that have been treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

During the month of November, Care for Your Mind (CFYM) is showcasing an innovative program that coaches loved ones in how to provide healthy support for the veteran in their life.

Childhood PTSD: Spanking Is Not ‘About Love,’ It’s About Rage

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

early-start-for-kids-with-autismMy first memory is of being spanked. I was 3 years old, and I didn’t know what I had done wrong. All I know is that it made me terrified of my father and forever doubtful of my safety in my home.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was recently suspended after he was charged with reckless or negligent injury of a child after allegedly spanking his 4-year-old son with a switch. Peterson’s mother Bonita Jackson told the Houston Chronicle that spanking “is not about abuse”:

Passing it On: Parenthood & Mental Illness

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Passing it On“Aren’t you afraid he will get your disease?”

This question was uttered by a colleague at a department picnic this past summer when I was still working as a college instructor. This colleague had known me for a few years. She had known me when I was still adamantly not going to have children. She knew of my diagnoses. This was the first time she had seen me since I had given birth, and the first time she met my son, who had just turned one year old.

She chose to ask a question about my fear of passing on my psychiatric illnesses.Not a question concerning the million other things that happens with new motherhood — a question of genetic loading.

It Must Be My Fault

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

unhappy boy in yardWhen I was a child, I was told that everything was my fault. Eventually, I believed it.

In reality, none of it was my fault. As an adult in recovery, I intellectually understand that now. But my unconscious parts are still working that out. My unconscious parts are still trying to make sense of the illogical.

I have struggled with self-worth my entire life. While I don’t see myself as capable of doing good things, I do see myself as powerful at manifesting the bad. More than likely, this comes from my understanding of the abusive adults in my childhood. I felt the same way about them. And I internalized that.

Grieving the Loss of Time

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Grieving TimeSometimes starting a new life can bring up grief and regret for the old life. While I am happy to have new experiences without the pain and anxiety of the past, it makes me wish there had been more of it.

Time is such a tricky aspect of the human experience. We can’t control it. We can’t make more of it. We can’t get back what we think we have wasted. As the song says, it is like an hourglass glued to the table.

And while we can figure out how to control so many aspects of our lives (which is not always a good thing), we can’t control time. It will keep on going, with or without us.

Is Counseling or Self-Help the Route for You?

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Is Counseling or Self-Help the Route for You?Both counseling and self-help tools can be invaluable in living with mental illness. They can contribute to your recovery.

Over 15 years of illness, I have experienced both. Counseling has been demanding yet deeply rewarding. Self-help has taught me to be loving toward myself and my family.

But how do you know which will work best for you? Are years of trial and error inevitable?

Building Empowerment After Sexual Assault

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Building Empowerment After Sexual AssaultHealing from sexual assault is a process, and recovery is different for everyone. When working with clients who have been sexually assaulted, I attempt to provide some general guidelines that may prove useful in their individual journeys.

The healing process is multifaceted. It involves:

1. Asserting boundaries related to disclosure.
2. Assigning accountability to the perpetrator.
3. Managing self-blame.
4. Realizing that many people lack education or experience related to dealing with survivors.

The Power of the Written Word: Healing Through Journal-Writing

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The Power of the Written WordAt the age of 18, I was sexually molested and exploited by my coach’s husband. This was a very traumatic situation in my life, and I was faced with having to deal with the pain even after being taken out of the situation.

Once I came back home to my parents’ house, I felt so much negativity within that I needed an outlet. I became stressed, irritated and impatient with those close to me. I realized that if I continued to use my pain by getting mad and upset with others, I would live my life as a prisoner.

One day, I had had enough and decided to write my emotions and fears in a journal. This was the beginning of a very therapeutic journey of recovery.

$30M Trumps $15M Any Day: Why Private Industry is Putting the Federal Government to Shame

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

$30M Trumps $15M Any Day: Why Private Industry is Putting the Federal Government to ShameBack in mid-February, Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) trumped the addition of $15 million for mental health first aid training that was passed in a $1.1 trillion spending bill. Sadly, Barber also connected the funding to helping stop future instances of mass shootings — a connection that simply has no basis in reality. But hey, at least he’s doing something.

This past week, the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, announced $30 million to help research into brain trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He also promised last year to hire at least 10,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years.

Which do you think is doing more to help mental health? Government or private citizens & industry?

The Mother Who Never Was

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

The Mother Who Never WasI don’t write about my mother often. Of all my dysfunctional childhood relationships, my experience with my mother is the most painful.

I believe that small children have a disproportionate need for the feminine nurturing energy. When it’s not available, I think the pain runs deeper.

I am not suggesting that fathers are not needed. They are desperately needed. And their interactions with their children are critical to shaping that child’s future belief systems and relationships.

But for me, the lack of nurturing maternal energy seemed to leave a deeper mark.

The 5 Negative Types of People I Have Met on My Recovery Journey

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

The 5 Negative Types of People I Have Met on My Recovery JourneyI have read countless books on self-actualization, self-realization and spiritual awareness. I have done hundreds of hours of yoga, pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation. I have worked with therapists, energy workers, acupuncturists and a million body workers. All of this has been helpful, even critical, to my recovery.

One of the primary spiritual premises I have heard is that the universe will give me exactly what I need. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

In my early years of recovery, I thought that had something to do with the physical world. Of course, as a trauma survivor, it was pretty hard to believe. Actually, I didn’t believe it. Or at least, I didn’t believe it applied to me.

4 Tips on How Parents Can Help Their Child Heal After Trauma

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

4 Tips on How Parents Can Help Their Child Heal After TraumaWhen children, teens, and young adults experience trauma, life feels different for them. Seeing someone get injured, or being the target of violence, can be a life-altering experience, even for adults.

It’s no wonder then that a threatening event or overwhelming experience may greatly affect how a child perceives the world around them. It may also impact their development and personality.

There are several ways parents can learn to help children heal after trauma. Here are four tips parents can try that should help.

Recent Comments
  • Tara: “Love and intimacy don’t blossom by trying to pull it toward us or manipulating people. ”...
  • Emma: What a tragic loss of such an amazing soul. I wonder what would have made the difference for him between life...
  • Lilly: Jane, you realize that the genetic markers for schizophrenia were only found this year, right? Before that...
  • owl: Mid life crises.
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