From a Suicide Survivor to PTSD Diagnosis

When I wrote my suicide survivor article a few weeks ago, I had no idea I would go from a suicide survivor to PTSD diagnosis so easily. Although the likelihood you or a loved one will develop PTSD from any traumatic event is small (6.8% according to a 2020 Psychology Today blog), it is important to recognize the symptoms.

WHAT IS PTSD?

The acronym stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was first brought to light in 1980. Yet, some World War I survivors in the early 20th century were known as suffering from “shell shock”. Today, we realize it was PTSD.

Although the trauma typically associated with PTSD is extreme, as in combat, it can also occur from many other types of trauma, such as long term abuse. This Psychology Today article covers the basic information about PTSD in much more detail.

HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE?

Complex disorders like PTSD have a long list of possible short term and long term effects. The full list is included in another article.

A PEEK INTO MY THERAPY SESSION

As you might imagine, my therapist (I’m using her first name, Mary) asked me questions, allowed me to ‘tell my story’, took notes, and led me down the path of discovery.

When I used trigger words, like shame, she asked me where I thought that came from. I’ve been on my own path of self-discovery, so sometimes her questions were easy to answer.

“Shame was instilled in childhood by my parent,” I replied.

”Hmm.”

I continued my stories, clearly illustrating my PTSD symptoms with flashbacks followed by sudden emotional outbursts that I quickly quashed. There were many more nuances of my illness that Mary picked up on.

Near the end of the session, she took out a small book, which was a pocket handbook of PTSD symptoms. Reading each one, she noted her observations that matched my exhibited behavior. Thankfully, I didn’t exhibit every single symptom.

”Ahhhh…”

A huge sigh of relief escaped my body.

I had found the right therapist, there is a name for my suffering, and we will work together on a solution.

HOW IS THIS THERAPY SESSION DIFFERENT?

Unlike some therapists I’ve had in the past, Mary got to the root of the cause quickly. As I pondered the session this week, I believe there are a few clues about why this therapy session was more useful vs. past less useful sessions.

  1. I understood I had a problem.
    • I’ve allowed my intuition to guide me when I faced my sudden teary outbursts over the last few weeks rather than stuff down my emotion.
  2. I acted on my perceived problem.
    • Writing about the teary outbursts in an earlier blog resulted in research, which brought me to a suicide survivor group. The facilitators recognized my PTSD symptoms and recommended I seek out a therapist who specializes in trauma therapy.
    • A search on Psychology Today led me to a local therapist who specializes in trauma and PTSD.
  3. Finally, I was ready to acknowledge my true condition in order to grieve and come out of this.
    • My openness, honesty, and choice to not hold back during the session have developed over many small steps of journaling, seeking holistic and spiritually based avenues to peel away layers of self protection.

This list illustrates, in the bullet points, how small steps are truly the key to developing a life of fulfillment.

NEXT STEPS

This opportunity to share parts of my mental health journey is too precious to ignore. I invite you to join me as I move beyond viewing this week’s reality from a suicide survivor to PTSD diagnosis. In contrast I want to also share the many everyday discoveries that make us smile and keep us moving forward in difficult times.

By signing up for my newsletter, you will always receive the information in my blogs along with glimpses into more joyful moments of my life.

Hanging in there,
Dawn

Each of Us is Unique

A few weeks ago, I posted about a 10-day detox. This post is a follow up of sorts. Certainly, it is an example that each of us is unique.

My hopes were high that I would feel much better following Dr. Hyman’s Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox. At the end of 10 days, I was ecstatic.

  • My joint pain was gone or greatly diminished
  • Sugar no longer held me in an addictive grip
  • My sleep improved
  • I was all in for a life long change

Suddenly I Felt Awful

Nausea started to ruin my days as I added back my first food, legumes. Logic would suggest it was the legumes. Well, logic, you were wrong. Nevertheless, I cut out legumes.

The nausea kept up and my adherence to the Blood Sugar Solution faltered and then crashed. I happily started back my morning coffee with half and half. It was like meeting an old friend. Soon wheat returned to a lesser degree. Via my 23andMe health DNA test, I knew I have one of the two markers for celiac disease. As a result, I dropped the wheat again. It was so disappointing when the joint pain shot up once more.

Hope on the Horizon

My thoughts returned to the knowledge that each of us is unique. Therein lay my hope.

Part of the reason I returned to my previous diet was I expected results from a finger prick IgG 184 Food Panel in a matter of days. I’m fortunate to have found a chiropractor who offers this lab test when her patients need it.

And the Results Are In

Let’s start with what I can’t eat:

  1. Wheat, bran, buckwheat, millet
  2. Pineapple
  3. All cow and goat dairy, all eggs, all cheese except one
  4. Almonds, cashews, pine nuts, and pistachios

What can I eat?

  1. The 164 other foods listed
  2. All meat and poultry
  3. Any fish or shellfish
  4. All vegetables
  5. Any legume, including peanuts and soybeans
  6. Blue cheese and sheep’s milk
  7. All other fruits
  8. All beverages, honey, and yeast
  9. The remaining 15 nuts, seeds and oils
  10. Any herb, spice, or flavoring

What’s the Best Thing?

Now I’m on an elimination diet that is specific for me. The snacks of almonds and cashews on the Blood Sugar Solution diet were making me sick. In contrast, most people have no problem with almonds.

How Does an Elimination Diet Work?

I’ve eliminated the foods I have a reaction to. This will last for twelve weeks until February 1, 2021. Then I will pick the food I most want and eat it 3 times in 1 day, in it’s purest form.

Then comes the fun part. I wait 72 hours and record all the effects:

  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Foggy brain
  • Diarrhea
  • Any other undesirable symptom

I’m hoping none of these effects show up. Then I can add that food back into my diet. If I do have an undesirable effect, I eliminate it again.

How Do I Feel About This?

Above all, I am relieved to know my food problems. I relish using my creative side to find new ways of enjoying breakfast.

Yes, it is the most challenging meal. However, my saving grace is morning coffee with Silk Soy Creamer.

Final Thoughts

Each of us is unique, our bodies amazing creations. I believe it is our responsibility to move toward understanding ourselves, one step at a time.

Sending you love and caring,
Dawn

Three Ways Values Affect Your Life

I have found three ways values affect your life; relationships, career, home environment. When these areas are in alignment with your personal values, happiness comes naturally.

Since we are each unique, you may find different areas of your life play a more prominent role in your happiness. These areas may change naturally over time.

Relationships

Personal relationships run the gamut of family, friends, lovers, spouses, like-minded people (your tribe), and co-workers. Have you found yourself observing personalities? Maybe you like those that exhibit your value system more than those that don’t. Actually, this seems intuitively obvious.

Do you get along with one parent more than the other? Perhaps it is because you share values with one parent and not the other.

Then why do we end up with partners that don’t last? There are undoubtedly many reasons. For me, however, my values played a key role.

Career

A long time ago, fifty years to be exact, I took the Air Force Career Test in high school. The results suggested your best careers. It was an extensive personality test. I remember my results clearly; attorney or psychologist were high on the list.

Psychologist was understandable to me as people tended to naturally open up to me. I listened, cared, and promptly forgot whatever they said.

Conversely, attorney, didn’t appeal to me at all. I understood the research might appeal, but even at age 16, I suspected dishonesty was part of their job.

What about your current career? Are you happy, discontent, or desperately looking for a change?

Home Environment

Although I’m using home environment, any environment can be substituted here; work, transportation, workout area, even the great outdoors.

Where do you feel most comfortable? Does dust drive you crazy? Is there comfort in having many cherished items on display? Rather, do you find simplicity more pleasing? These are some of the ways your values are reflected in your environment. If you have control in your home environment, you will choose what makes you happy, that is, comfortable.

Examples

My personal values are honesty, tranquility, and purpose. If you search online for personal values, these don’t usually come up. Rather a list of 10-25 values that are sometimes hard to even understand emerge.

Here is an interesting article that lists 25 values. One of my three is on it. While the questions they ask are good, don’t get distracted quite yet.

Back to my example. Here are three ways my values show up in everyday life:

  1. In fifty years of driving, I have never received a speeding ticket, because my value of Honesty helps me know what the speed limit is so I don’t exceed it.
  2. Tranquility surrounded me in a home as I prepared to move, with essential furniture, bare walls, and bare floors.
  3. Life gets pretty busy for me, yet I am committed to writing this blog weekly as it partially fulfills my value of Purpose by helping you take small steps toward a life of fulfillment.

Finding Your Personal Values

While researching this blog, the destiny of my purpose brought me an incredible, free resource to help you determine your own personal values. I took the evaluation and found it to be spot on. Furthermore, you can take it many times as your life evolves.

Life Values Inventory

I would love to hear your three ways values affect your life and how it evolves. Please comment below, send me an email or signup for my newsletter for a weekly opportunity to connect.

With honesty, tranquility, and purpose,
Dawn