Posted in emotions, Expression, Healthcare, Life, Psychosis, Relationships

Basics of Trauma & Crisis

We are taught so many life lessons, but not how to deal with trauma and crisis – both of which are inevitable.  At some point in time you, or someone you know will experience trauma or crisis.  Unfortunately, we are not prepared to handle such situations.  Some of us are less prepared to support people who are going through such situations.  It is very difficult to address anything when you cannot properly if you cannot identify what it is.  Lets go over what trauma and crisis are, and discuss some things that can be done.

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Photo by Aaron Moeller

Trauma

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives.

Crisis

Crisis occurs when unusual stress temporarily renders an individual unable to direct life effectively.  As the stress mounts and the usual coping mechanisms provide neither relief no remedy, the person often experiences extreme feelings of grief, hostility, helplessness, hopelessness, and alienation from self, family and society. Stress can be a reaction to a single event or to several events occurring simultaneously or serially Greenstone, J. L., & Leviton, S. (2011).  Crisis can occur when a loved one gets sick, or divorce, death, loss of employment.  Sometimes these life altering events happen all at once or in tandem.  The stress of keeping things afloat through the crisis can become dangerous when it appears there is no resolution in sight and energy steadily depletes.

Isolation

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When we don’t recognize what trauma and crisis looks like, we cannot manage it; nor can we provide effective support to our loved ones.  It can be difficult and debilitating; therefore, we cannot expect someone to just “get over it.”  This statement can cause further alienation.  The fight for normalcy and consistency after a traumatic even or crisis can last for a long period of time, depending on what caused it.  Healing is not linear.  We cannot place a timeline on healing and expect to be over a traumatic event or crisis after a predetermined amount of time.  It doesn’t work that way.  It’s a dichotomy of reality.  The survivor must go on in every day life: the world around them has not changed, but inside,  they have changed and have trouble reconciling having survived the event and moving on.  Their perception changes as the experience becomes a part of them after the experience disrupted their  life as they knew it.  Therefore, it is difficult for them to find equilibrium between their experience, identity and environment.

Triggers

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Triggers are a common occurrence for survivors of trauma and crisis.  The effects can come and go much like an ocean tide or it can be like spontaneous reaction to anything like a certain smell, or sound (like a song playing), texture etc.  The senses can trigger a flash back causing the survivor to relive the trauma or crisis all over again.  This can last indefinitely and can leave others confused and bewildered at the behavior of a survivor who was fine one minute but is not the next.  Someone who exhibits this behavior should be treated with patience and compassion because reliving a traumatic moment is not something anyone can just “get over.”

What can we do?

  1. Changing the way we look at the situation is key: this is not the type of situation someone can just get over and survivors may need more than just time to heal.
  2. Identify triggers: instead of reacting to the survivor’s reaction, ask them what just happened/what changed and listen to what they have to say.
  3. Ground them.  Triggers make the survivor relive the trauma. Getting the survivor to recognize the here and now will bring them out of reliving the moment.  A simple way to do that is to get the survivor to run cold water on their hands.  I have provided a resource for other quick grounding techniques below.
  4. Suggest they talk to someone.  There are free 24hr services provided for people in crisis or have suffered trauma via phone or via text.
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This time of year can onset crisis or trauma whether it be the anniversary of the death of a loved one, or traumatic event like an assault.  Check on one another, and keep in mind there are free confidential resources that are accessible  24 hours a day if needed.   If you have any questions, concerns, or anything to add, please comment below.  Be well.

Resources


https://www.apa.org/topics/trauma/

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/trigger

https://www.healthline.com/health/grounding-techniques#soothing-techniques

https://www.crisisconnections.org/24-hour-crisis-line/

https://www.crisistextline.org/

 

 

 

Posted in Dating, emotions, Expression, Life, Perceptions, Relationships, Social, thoughts

Ghosting: The Psychological Bird Flip

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Photo by Elias Tucker

You meet someone and sparks fly.  You talk every day and do things together.  You two are building the foundation of a relationship or friendship; whatever the type of ship it may be, all of a sudden, this ship has sunk because this person checked out and stopped all forms of communication with you unexpectedly.

Maybe he or she enlisted in the Witness Protection Program or maybe aliens abducted him or her.  As absurd as these theories may sound, they may be plausible because you two were having a great a time up until this point.  At least you thought he or she was having as good a time as you.  In the words of the great and late philosopher Whitney Houston, “how will I know”?

In today’s world, no answer is an answer.  For those of you who do not know what ghosting is, it is the act of abruptly ceasing communication of any kind without warning or explanation with someone you were cultivating a relationship with or had a relationship with.  It is easy to hide behind the blanket excuse of “I’ve been so busy,”  but even the Leader of the Free World has time to make multiple posts that 150 characters are less in a day!   So what gives?  Ghosting has become the most common and convenient way to bail on a relationship.

It’s not you, it’s me….

Are people not even worth a cliché anymore?   Giving someone the Casper treatment is rather disrespectful.  Here is why.  Disappearing without an explanation breeds a lot of confusion, speculation and worry.  It brings about far more intense feelings than the feeling of rejection that comes from being up front with someone and saying, “You are a great person and I enjoy the time we spent together; I don’t want to pursue a relationship with you.”   Yes, of course, you run the risk of having a conversation that might be uncomfortable but it is the last conversation you will have with this person on this topic.  It actually beats “ghosting” him or her only to randomly bump into him or her without any place to take cover thus being forced to have an even more awkward and potentially embarrassing conversation– in public, no less!

Ghosting to spare someone’s feeling is a piping hot pile of steaming dung.

Anyone who ghosts someone else is cowardly sparing himself or herself the daunting task of having to admit they are not into this friendship/relationship and having a conversation about why.  It is okay to want out of a relationship for no other reason than you do not want to be in one with that person.  Sometimes that happens.  Not everyone we come across is a crazy creep.  Sometimes sparks fly and fizzle out for no particular reason.  Just because someone is amazing and he or she has the right qualities does not mean he or she is right for you.

If you should find yourself in the situation where you want to call it quits, choose to treat this person with kindness and respect them enough to have that conversation with them.  Be brave.  Don’t be a cruel ghoul and ghost.

Posted in emotions, Expression, Inspiration, Life, Perceptions, thoughts

So, I said to myself… Self…

How do you view yourself? Is how you view yourself congruent with who are? How can you tell?

These are self-assessment questions everyone should ask themselves periodically – particularly when their lives are on the verge of change. Are the same formulas still working for you? What is your current level of inner peace? Are you happy? Are you sleeping well at night? Is your load heavy? How can you lighten it?

 

Self-assessment can be a scary thing. Sometimes we do not want to look back or within but looking back and looking within will provide the clues and tools necessary to move onward to your next destination. Looking back a year ago today… where were you? What were your biggest fears and concerns? What were your accomplishments? What goals have you set since? Have you achieved them? Who had been helpful and supportive when needed along the way?

 

In life we can accumulate a lot of things like methods of doing things, people and paradigms that are no longer suitable. Once a bipedal adult, one reckons the fastest was to get around is not on all fours as a quadruped. This is no different from maturing and shedding old thought patterns, influences and extracting lessons from experiences had that help shape you to become who you are while honing your skills to identify and circumvent recurrences of not-so-pleasant situations, experiences, and people. This too, like handwriting, is a skill that takes practice. It is a difficult skill at first because looking back and looking within can dredge up feelings that are unpleasant.

 

Feelings are what make us human and perhaps, so incredibly beautifully flawed. Good feelings are better than any possible high known to man. Bad feelings… well… I know I do not stand alone when I say I’d rather break a bone than feel bereaved or dejected. The reality is, there is no avoiding it; and often, it comes without warning. Not dealing with feelings and filing them away in the back of your mind is like cleaning a loaded gun with the safety off – someone, is bound to get hurt – either you are someone around you. Unresolved feelings can hinder your progression in various areas of your life. Keeping yourself extrinsically occupied will not diminish those buried feelings within.

 

It is frightening to go searching for those old dingy feelings, but it’s less disastrous to find them and purge them than allowing them to emerge spontaneously. I heard a lecture by Bill Johnson called, “The War in Your Head” and he said something profound,…

“every response in life we have is either out of LOVE or out of FEAR.  The source of our words, responses, our directives in life… the things we choose to pursue, the things we choose not to pursue are either because of love and fear.”

So,… ask yourself, what do you love? What do you love to do?  What would you love to do?  What are you afraid of? What are you holding on to so tightly that you’re afraid to lose?

 

This is the precipice of self-assessment and therein is keys to unlocking who you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going. Defuse the pain of past experiences by extracting the lessons you’ve learned from them and set out to love more. This way you can make room for new experience and new people. Identify your sources of love and support and avoid sources that provide contrary influence. Keep moving and keep checking.

Posted in emotions, Human nature, Inspiration, Life, Love, Perceptions, Random, Rants, Relationships, Social, thoughts

Time on Tap

round_tuit_drink_coasters-r125c5b0f54f74c0b9ec0e0864412ee84_x7jy0_8byvr_512Sounds ridiculous, right? Time is not a tangible thing. Nor can we mold it like cosmic play dough. There is no fast forward, rewind, reset or pause. It is quite fascinating how we conduct ourselves and our lives as if we did have time at our disposal on a day to day basis. We live our lives flying by the seat of our pants as if getting “around-to-it” was an actual object that we can obtain. You cannot trade time; it is non-transferrable.   “I’ll call you later,” … “I’m too busy right now” … “Next time” We have this deceptive sense of security when it comes to time and it is not until tragedy strikes that one realizes how truly unbusy they were or could have been if they had known that later would not to be. That argument may not have mattered nor might it have transpired,… you would have said “I love you” … “I appreciate you” or “I’m proud of you”… or stayed at home and cuddled with your sweetheart or played with the kids.

We have all the time in the world to take for granted, until we run out of time.  ~ Dolores Raymond

How much more enjoyable would this hot summer be if you knew it was your last? Would you opt to text a person or place the phone call if that was your final correspondence with them? How tightly would you hug your loved one if you knew this was the last time they would walk through your door? How hard would you laugh at the story you heard for the 1,657,245,326th time if you knew it would never be told by that person again? Wouldn’t you say “I love you too” if you knew that would be your last opportunity?  When someone passes away suddenly and we are grief stricken and shaken to the core… we bleed out emotionally and blurt out “I shoulda,” … “I coulda,” … “I woulda,”… “If I had”It is not so much as guilt but a natural reaction to the hay-maker of reality, that… we have no control over time. And in an instant, we can be taken into eternity or left to grieve a loved one.
Does this mean we have to live in fear? No. It just means perhaps we need to live in awareness that tomorrow is not guaranteed and make a conscious effort to spend time more wisely. It does not have to be a lot of time, but quality time. Place a call instead of a comment on social media or a text message. Go physically say hi. Hug and kiss goodbye. You ever notice how beautiful and eloquent and heartfelt a eulogy is… Why aren’t these beautiful loving heartfelt words and feelings shared with the person while they are alive?  Who says you have to wait until they pass away to share your thoughts and feelings with all their friends and family… in their absence?  We are so quick to dole out sarcasm, criticism, and poke fun… but we need to work up courage to express love and happiness…  we get self-conscious about that.  emphasis on self…  when you become conscious of self,… you tend not to be conscious of others and in turn, the message is lost.
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Who has time? Who has time? But then if we do not ever take time, how can we ever have time? ~Merovingian

We cannot just assume people know how we feel any more than we can assume to live well past 100 years. We do not have time on tap. We do not own time, we cannot trade time, we cannot borrow time, we cannot exchange time, or change time… nor can we stop time. What we can do is love. We can show love and allow ourselves to be loved and express love at every given opportunity while the opportunity is present.