Trauma Articles

Secret Mia

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

what is critical thinking?I have been a binge eater for as long as I can remember, but I can remember specifically when it evolved into bulimia. I was 17 years old and almost 200 pounds. I hated to throw up so I did research to find a way around it and this is how I discovered laxatives. I still abuse laxatives and enemas almost 10 years later. It is a lot more controlled because I’m not in denial about the illness.

For the longest time, I referred to it as “my eating thing.” I didn’t see it as a big deal because it had insinuated itself into my life as second nature. I would eat anywhere from 800 to 1,500 calories in one sitting and then take laxatives to purge.

12 Steps to Knock Out that ‘Out of Control’ Feeling

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

got-grit-self-control

Get going! Life’s waiting for you.

It’s that time of year when many people resolve to make changes relating to everything from finance to fitness. Unfortunately, by February, a good majority of us will have settled (un)comfortably back into old habits and will find ourselves feeling just slightly more powerless against our ability to slay the dragons that stand between you and your best self.

If you’re like me and tired of seeing the same promise you made to yourself fall by the wayside, perhaps these tips might help.

4 Stress-Busting Steps for a More Restful Night

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

good-sleep-improve-cognition

Do you tend to ruminate on the negative events of your past or the fears of tomorrow? Many of us do. When we allow this pattern to continue, however, daily stresses and traumas have a way of building themselves up in our psyches, and even in our bodies, causing chronic mental and physical tension. This can make getting to sleep at night a very real challenge.

More than three in 10 adults in the U.S. suffer from brief symptoms of insomnia, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. One in 10 has a chronic insomnia disorder in which the sufferer has trouble sleeping at least three times a week for at least three months. Symptoms of anxiety and depression are often the driving forces of these sleepless nights which can eventually turn into a continual cycle of depression, no sleep, more depression, and so forth.

But why is it so hard to relax at night?

The Case for Worrying ‘Alone’

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

alone in the bedCan sharing your worries with a friend help you problem-solve and be more productive? Psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell recently wrote a book in which he explains that working out your worries with a friend could help eliminate distractions in life.

“Worrying alone does not have to be toxic, but it tends to become toxic because in isolation we lose perspective,” Hallowell told Science of Us blog. “We tend to globalize, catastrophize, when no one is there to act as a reality check. Our imaginations run wild.”

As a classic worrier, however, I have to caution anyone against heaping your worries on any one person too often.

5 Practices to Create Purpose From Trauma

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

How to Sit with Someone Else’s Pain

If you want to support friends, family, acquaintances and strangers suffering from trauma, Rule #1 — Skip the “everything has a purpose” line.

Please don’t place “purpose” on other people’s trauma. Purpose may eventually exist around our devastation, but only because we found it. We worked for it, answered the hard questions, and cried for hours trying to release enough pain to grab hold of it.

Sure, I can see purpose in why God made the sky blue, the grass green, and the sun shine. I can get behind that; but, I don’t believe God somehow expects us to find purpose in our trauma. We can choose, however, to find purpose after we first open ourselves to healing the wound itself.

Reflections of a White Psychotherapist

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

I Rule This Beach by Graham Crumb on FlickrI have had the terrible opportunity of experiencing a black child’s first exposure to racism. I was in session with an African-American mom while her 4-year-old son played quietly on the rug. She told me she had recently enrolled her child in an all-white preschool and that the teachers reported her son had been taunted for the color of his skin.

Hearing this, the little boy came over to me and held out his arm. “May I please borrow your special soap to get rid of this brown?” he asked politely, tears on his beautiful little face.

I worked with an economics professor, also black. He told me that while walking the halls of his university in tailored suits he was sometimes mistaken for janitorial staff. “I’ve even tried an ascot, for pity’s sake,” he said.

Mental Health Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Love CrimesMore than 1 in 3 women in the United States have been victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), including physical assault, rape, or stalking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Although heterosexual males remain the largest class of offenders, there is growing recognition of the impact of IPV committed by heterosexual women on their male partners as well as IPV within same-sex relationships.

Alarmingly, most cases of IPV are never reported to the police (Frieze & Browne, 1989). Survivors of IPV choose not to report the crimes for a variety of reasons, including shame, embarrassment, concern that law enforcement officials will not be supportive, or fear of retribution from their intimate partner.

Is Masturbation Bad for You?

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

mental-health-parity-final-rulesMasturbation is a funny word. It might make you giggle thinking about the first time you got caught by your parents or caught your little brother in the act. It can be a great way to release tension, or a way to stay satisfied when you can’t be with a partner. For most of us, it’s simply a part of life and a component of healthy sexuality.

For others, however, this harmless behavior crosses the line into a compulsive activity that is anything but benign. Some become so dependent on the behavior that they lose hours and hours of their day, unable to leave the house. Others masturbate to the point of injuring themselves.

Top 10 PTSD Blogs of 2014

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Top 10 PTSD Blogs of 2014Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often is linked to military veterans, but it can affect anyone following a traumatic event. There are five subtypes: normal stress response, acute stress disorder, uncomplicated PTSD, comorbid PTSD and complex PTSD. Sleep disturbances and flashbacks, where the sufferer relives the trauma, are hallmarks of the disease.

PTSD has several other symptoms, some of which overlap with other disorders. These include a loss of interest in regular activities, feeling depressed, anxious and difficulty concentrating. A person with PTSD may find it difficult to relate to loved ones. Instead they are emotionally distant and consumed with a sense of dread.

These blogs have been selected because they contain links and strategies specifically for people with PTSD in its various forms.

Learning from Abusive Relationships

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

When Depression Becomes DepressingRelationships are hard for everyone, but especially for survivors of child abuse. Before I started my recovery work, I spent years in relationships that were obviously abusive and damaging to my emotional wellness, but I was too blinded by my own trauma to see it.

My family had always taught me that survival depended on having a man in my life. In my family, women kept abusive men around because of this belief.

It was critically important for this to be ingrained in each family member as early as possible. There could be no understanding of their individual power. They must believe they could not survive without a partner or the abuse might not be tolerated.

My Passionate Plea at the United Nations to End Stigma through Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Kathryn Goetzke at the United Nations

I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak on a panel at the United Nations on behalf of myself, my organization iFred, and a group I am working with called FundaMentalSDG. I’d recently been working with Lisa Nichols and Sandra Yancey on speaking my truth, and decided it was time to tell my story. My whole story.

It is my hope that in doing so, people are inspired to get treatment for their own mental health issues so they can go on to lead productive and fulfilling lives, and also that companies start funding programs so that more have access to treatment.

Recognizing Expressions of Spiritual Activism

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

smiling-people

In these last few weeks we’ve witnessed countless bold, inspiring acts of Spiritual Activism, with people holding space for equality, inclusion, justice and love. In case you’ve missed any of them, and need a dose of what’s right in the world, read on.

1. Healing Racism: In the face of great sadness, pain and confusion in the wake of the Mike Brown case in Ferguson and Eric Garner decision in New York, there has been an awe inspiring and very visible response in hundreds of cities and towns, where folks have gathered in great numbers, marched, rallied, prayed and staged “die-ins” calling out for the much needed transformation and healing to end racism.

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