So What If I am “Crazy”?

I am a strong Asian woman: I survived a childhood trauma; I aced my college; spent years of my single life working for international design firms; I hiked up 6,000-plus-foot mountains; worked for a non-government organization helping communities in difficult circumstances; empowered children who are  orphaned and abused in the Philippines; counseled countless single women; rode the waves down in Puerto Galera islands in a kayak; designed numerous stage backdrops; painted countless murals; ran a full and half mile marathons; traveled to various countries; I’m raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder; I’m a multi tasking and get it done woman. I feel the ‘S’ in my chest.

Sampeng Market; Bangkok, Thailand

Sampeng Market; Bangkok, Thailand

I am an Asian woman with a brain disorder, also known as a mental illness — specifically, manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder. I was first diagnosed in 1999. My church minister who i am very close too told me that my emotional behavior was very unlikely and that I should seek a ‘professional help’. I did not want to see a psychiatrist, because “nothing is wrong with me. I’m not crazy!” But I was compelled to see one if I want to be successful in my career and be effective serving in my ministry.

At my first appointment the psychiatrist listened to my tales of trauma, identity crisis, my roller coaster emotions and roidy behavior, and suggested that we consider a mixed of Bipolar I and II as a “working diagnosis.”

I never heard the term “bipolar” before, not in the Philippines as far as I know. I didn’t know that there was more than one type. My psychiatrist explained that Bipolar I is a combination of depression and mania. Bipolar II is characterized by hypomania, which is more of a subdued but ever-changing cocktail of energy spurts, spontaneous irritation, impulsive behavior and inflated confidence.

Like many people, I once felt that having a mental illness was a sign of personal weakness. As an interior designer, I was a perfectionist when it comes to implementing my designs. I was motivated to be successful. I was very ambitious. In my field, there is no room for being weak. I also spent lots of time sharing the scriptures and counseling women but when it was my turn, I felt that going to the psychiatrist was a sign of failure.

Since then I’ve been discreetly undergoing treatment for Bipolar; therapy, medication, the whole nine. Only my very closest friends at church knew what I was going through. They were very supportive and they monitored and made sure that I was taking my medications.

I never spent time in a mental health treatment facility, but I will probably need medication for a lifetime, and sit many hours in a therapist’s office. Most of all, I will need the ‘prescription’ of the bible to remind me of hope and that God is on my side. I’ve got the ‘master of the universe’ and a whole professional team that works with me to keep me sane.

Hiking Mount Pulag with my mountaineering club

Hiking Mount Pulag in the Philippines with my mountaineering club

According to the mythology that surrounds the strength of Asians specifically Filipinos, “falling apart” is just not something we do. We survived the Spanish, Japanese and American invasions; oppression and economic deprivation. We know how to “handle our business,” riding through countless floods and calamities. We see therapy as the domain of “weak,” neurotic people who don’t know what “real problems” are. Instead, to deal with our psychic pain we excessively use alcohol and drugs and act out violently through word and deed, but we do not go crazy. That’s not our culture.

Because being “crazy” means you can’t handle life, and in our story of who we are, we are survivors who can handle anything, which means that we do what we have to do to survive. But this does not usually include a trip to the mental health professional of our choice. It is time to add this to our survival toolkit.

I used to be ashamed and secretive of the reality described in the previous paragraph but proud of the life described in the first. Now it’s an integrated whole. Superhero status is not required. I cannot save the world, and sometimes I’m the one who needs saving.

I thought before I could probably keep it a secret forever to my non-church friends, but also have been wondering what if I did.  I wonder if I even need to. I mean, I lived a double life and for years I knew that something is seriously wrong with me before knowing Christ; a countless string of boyfriends that ended to a break up because I couldn’t figure out how to handle a relationship; obsessive compulsive behavior, alcohol addiction and suicidal thoughts.

Is it really better to medicate myself with alcohol, be depressed and run away from those around me, instead of seeking help for what troubles me so deeply that I choose to self-destruct — though perhaps not in the stereotypical idea of what suicide looks like to me, I don’t think so.

Serving children in difficult circumstances; Baseco, Philippines

Serving the children in difficult circumstances; Baseco, Philippines

I gradually started sharing to my friends and my family about my condition. Like what is expected, my family was in denial, perhaps because they do not know anything about this disorder. Some of my friends would say “NO, you’re not!” or “It doesn’t show!”. It is hard to explain sometimes to people why I feel what I feel and why I do what I do but sharing to them is the only way I can be true to myself and to people. The best person to ask how my disorder is manifested in my life is through Moses, my amazing husband who in spite of all my craziness, stood by me and is faithful.

Recently, I shared to one mother whom I am close to that I have Bipolar disorder and before I knew it, she didn’t want anything to do with me. This made me think, perhaps, I don’t need to share my illness so I don’t have to figure out how to tell people and be subjected to their reactions. I don’t need to be concerned whether I will be accepted or not.

However, I know that at some point I must stop worrying what other people are going to think and get about the business of getting well and moving forward in my life.

So how do we begin to eliminate the stigma of mental illness so that we can get the help we need and support those who need it?

  1. Talk about it. Don’t whisper or gossip about it. Talk about it at the barbecue. From the pulpit. On TV. On the radio. With our doctors. With our loved ones. If we can talk about our “sugar” and our “pressure,” then we should be willing to talk about our depression.
  2. Support others in getting help. We send friends to the doctor for the nagging back pain, so send them to get relief from their mental and emotional pain, too. And don’t forget to ask them how they are doing as time passes; they need friends more than you know.
  3. Let us not stigmatize the brain. It is attached to the body, so mental illness is a physical illness, especially as chemical imbalances are at the root of their expression. Furthermore, the biochemical impacts of a brain disorder are felt throughout the whole body, not just in the brain.
  4. Say, “This person has a mental illness,” not, “This person is mentally ill”. We do not say, “That person is cancerous.” Words have power. Communicating to people with the proper description help others to be aware of the differences.
  5. Acknowledge - that those who survive a brain disorder are as much survivors as family and friends who survive life-threatening diseases.  Understand that we work just as hard to stay sane as the addict does to stay sober. As cancer or addiction goes into remission, so, too, do brain disorders. They are fighting to win over their illnesses.
  6. Support people who share their stories of brain disorders. It is time to show that the faces and lives of people with a mental illness are not just the faces and lives of the homeless person talking to the unseen. It is my face and my life, and the faces and lives of so many other men and women like me.
  7. Advocate for accessible and affordable mental health services. Most people with mental illness do not get help because of the cost of medication and therapy. Help them through surfing online or looking for a network that can provide affordable health services or even better, free.
  8. Encourage people to have a spiritual life. Like any other illnesses and addiction, the most effective way of healing is to acknowledge that there is a higher power that can help you manage your life. Surround yourself with positive and spiritual people who can support and encourage you.      
Sunday afternoon; Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia

Sunday afternoon; Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia

“Coming out” requires courage. Like any other consciousness-raising process, a range of role models that represent a variety of experiences with mental illness will change perceptions. I have role models to inspire me in my various endeavors. I need a list of people with Bipolar disorder who have survived and thrived.

No doubt due to the stigma, it is difficult to find names of well-known Asians with a “confirmed” history of mental illness — and this is no place for innuendo or rumor-mongering. Though I’m not well-known, I will start this list with me: My name is Lorraine Edralin, and I have Bipolar disorder. I am a wife, a mother, designer, blogger, runner, kayaker, hiker, traveler, a servant of God and as sane and happy a person as you would ever want to meet. My brain disorder does not define who I am.

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ”                                                                                                        -Psalm 139: 13-14

letting go of sentimental items

By Joshua Fields Millburn · Follow: TwitterFacebookGoogle+

Joshua Millburn looking out at Dayton

My mother died in 2009. It was an incredibly difficult time in my life, it goes without saying.

She lived a thousand miles away and after she passed it was my responsibility to vacate her apartment in Florida. It was a small, one-bedroom place, but it was packed wall-to-wall with her belongings. My mother had great taste—she could have been an interior designer—and none of her stuff was junk. Nevertheless, there was a lot of stuff in her home.

Mom was always shopping, always accumulating more stuff. She had antique furniture throughout her apartment, a stunning oak canopy-bed that consumed almost her entire bedroom, two closets jam packed with clothes, picture frames standing on every flat surface, original artwork hanging on the walls, and tasteful creative decorations in every nook and cranny and crevasse. There was 64 years of accumulation in that apartment.

So I did what any son would do: I rented a large truck from U-Haul. Then I called a storage place back in Ohio to make sure they had big enough storage unit. The cost of the truck was $1600. The storage facility was $120 per month for the size I needed. Financially, I could afford this, but I quickly found out that the emotional cost was much higher.

Memories

At first I didn’t want to let go of anything. If you’ve ever lost a parent or a loved one or been through a similarly emotional time, then you understand exactly how hard it was for me to let go of any of those possessions. So instead of letting go, I was going to cram every trinket and figurine and piece of oversized furniture into that Lilliputian storage locker in Ohio. Floor to ceiling. That way I knew that Mom’s stuff was there if I ever wanted it, if I ever needed access to it for some incomprehensible reason. I even planned to put a few pieces of Mom’s furniture in my home as subtle reminders of her.

I started boxing up her belongings. Every picture frame and every little porcelain doll and every white doily on every shelf. I packed every bit of her that remained.

Or so I thought.

And then I looked under her bed”¦

Among the organized chaos that comprised the crawlspace beneath her bed, there were five boxes, each labeled with a number. Each numbered box was sealed with packing tape. I cut through the tape and found old papers from my elementary school days from nearly a quarter of a century ago. Spelling tests, cursive writing lessons, artwork, it was all there, every shred of paper from my first five years of school. It was evident that she hadn’t accessed the sealed boxes in years. And yet Mom had held on to these things because she was trying to hold on to pieces of me, to pieces of the past, much like I was attempting to hold on to pieces of her and her past.

That’s when I realized that my retention efforts were futile. I could hold on to her memories without her stuff, just as she had always remembered me and my childhood and all our memories without ever accesses those sealed boxes under her bed. She didn’t need papers from twenty-five years ago to remember me, just as I didn’t need a storage locker filled with her stuff to remember her.

I called U-Haul and canceled the truck. And then, over the next twelve days, I started donating her stuff to places and people who could actually use it.

Lessons Learned

Of course it was difficult to let go, but I realized quite a few things about our relationship between memories and possessions during the entire experience:

  1. I am not my stuff. We are more than our possessions.
  2. Our memories are not under our beds. Memories are within us, not within our things.
  3. An item that is sentimental for us can be an item that is useful for someone else.
  4. Holding on to stuff weighs on us mentally and emotionally. Letting go is freeing.
  5. You can take pictures of items you want to remember.
  6. Old photographs can be scanned (more on this below).

It is important to note that I don’t think that sentimental items are bad or evil or that holding on to them is wrong. I don’t. Rather, I think the perniciousness of sentimental items—and sentimentality in general—is far more subtle. If you want to get rid of an item but the only reason you are holding on to it is for sentimental reasons—if it is weighing on you—then perhaps it’s time to get rid of it, perhaps it is time to free yourself of the weight. That doesn’t mean that you need to get rid of everything though.

Giant Leap or Baby Steps

When I returned to Ohio, I had four boxes of Mom’s photographs in my trunk, which I would later scan and backup online. I found a scanner that made scanning the photos easy. Those photos are digital now; they can be used in digital picture frames instead of collecting dust in a basement somewhere. I no longer have the clutter of their boxes laying around and weighing me down, and they can never be destroyed in a fire.

I donated everything else. All of it. Literally. I donated every piece of furniture and all her clothes and every decorative item she had strewn throughout her home.

That was a giant leap for me, but I felt as if it needed to be done to remove the weight—the emotional gravitas—of the situation from my shoulders.

You see, I don’t need Mom’s stuff to remind me of her. There are traces of her everywhere. In the way I act, in the way I treat others, even in my smile. She’s still there, and she was never part of her stuff.

Whenever I give advice, I tend to give two options. The first option is usually thegiant leap option, the dive-in-head-first option (e.g., get rid of everything, smash your TV, throw out all your stuff, quickly rip off the band-aid, etc.). This option isn’t for everyone, and it’s often not for me, but in this case, that’s what I did. I donated everything.

The second option is to take baby steps, and it works because it helps you build momentum by taking action. Look at it this way: what sentimental item can you get rid of today that you’ve wanted to get rid of for a while? Start there. Then pick one or two things per week and gradually increase your efforts as you feel more comfortable.

Whichever option you choose, the important part is that you take action. That is to say, never leave the scene of a good idea without taking action. What will you do today to part ways with sentimental items that are weighing you down?

Note: I originally published this essay on Tammy Strobel’s site: Rowdy Kittens.

The Real Paul Walker

Moses and I normally have Fridays a ‘Red Box‘ movie night. We browse on their website and select the movies we missed watching in a wide screen. Last Friday, we got Paul Walker’s ‘Fast and Furious 6′ movie. It was exhilarating, breathtaking, action packed film which we loved! We usually watch the ‘Behind the scenes’ or ‘making of the movie’ features but the DVD didn’t have the extras so we went online searching more about his movies and the story of his life.

autolifers-rip-paul-walker

Actor Paul Walker wasn’t just a pretty face on the big screen. He had many facets to his personality, things he didn’t really share with the public, which made him breath of fresh air in Hollywood.

Walker majored in marine biology in community college and fully planned to pursue a career in studying the sea. He was sidetracked when he got a part in the 1998 “Pleasantville,” a paycheck he simply wanted to use toward his education. The movie roles started quickly rolling in after that, and Paul decided to go with it.

Walker believed in helping others. After seeing the devastation in Haiti after the massive earthquake in 2010, Paul founded Reach Out Worldwide, a disaster relief organization that specializes in arriving quickly, clearing access, providing basic necessities and medical assistance to ease the survivors’ pain and bringing hope in the bleakest of circumstances.

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Tacloban City after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. 2013

Most recently, ROWW went to the Philippines to provide care to those suffering the effects of Typhoon Haiyan. Tragically, Walker’s death happened just after he left a ROWW event in Southern California.

The fact that most people are unaware that he was even doing this kind of stuff shows his real intentions behind it. Thankfully, the group is dedicated to continue fulfilling his vision.

Rest in peace Paul Walker, your legacy will be remembered.

SIX CHEAP KIDS BEDROOM DECORATING IDEAS WITH SIMPLE TRICK!

In order to make a bedroom loved by the kids, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. By applying cheap kids bedroom decorating ideas, you can get a room that makes the children feel happy, comfortable and ease playing or sleeping in their own room. What should we do?

1. The first step is determining the theme! Make sure the theme can be combined with accessories that aren’t too expensive and can be changed at any time, especially when the kids grow up. You can decorate a room with a mural.

cheap kids bedroom decorating ideas

2. In order to make the theme can be fused, cover the wall with a new color. Give a touch of new paint. It’s part of kids bedroom decorating ideas which is simple and doesn’t need a lot of money.%nbsp:

3. Decorate the room with inexpensive accessories such as stickers or posters. Stick it at some point in the room such as doors, walls, wardrobe or bed.

cheap kids bedroom decorating ideas

4. Rugs area can add beauty to children’s bedroom. You don’t need to buy a new and expensive one. Buy carpet remnants which available at some home improvement warehouse stores.

5. In addition to stickers or posters, decorate the room with picture frames and put paint or photo made by children.

cheap kids bedroom decorating ideas

6. Change the bedding and curtains. Choose similar colors or themes that give the new look impression.

That’s six things about cheap kids bedroom decorating ideas. Make a plan first so your spending can be controlled!

source senorsly.com

How to Deal with Traumatic Experiences

   depresssion

 When bad things happen, it can take a while to get over the pain and feel safe again. But with the right treatment, self-help strategies, and support, you can speed your recovery. Whether the traumatic event happened years ago or yesterday, you can heal and move on.

What is emotional and psychological trauma?

Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.

Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.

Causes of emotional or psychological trauma

An event will most likely lead to emotional or psychological trauma if:

  • It happened unexpectedly.
  • You were unprepared for it.
  • You felt powerless to prevent it.
  • It happened repeatedly.
  • Someone was intentionally cruel.
  • It happened in childhood.

Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by single-blow, one-time events, such as a horrible accident, a natural disaster, or a violent attack. Trauma can also stem from ongoing, relentless stress, such as living in a crime-ridden neighborhood or struggling with cancer.

Commonly overlooked causes of emotional and psychological trauma

  • Falls or sports injuries
  • Surgery (especially in the first 3 years of life)
  • The sudden death of someone close
  • A car accident
  • The breakup of a significant relationship
  • A humiliating or deeply disappointing experience
  • The discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition

Risk factors that increase your vulnerability to trauma

Not all potentially traumatic events lead to lasting emotional and psychological damage. Some people rebound quickly from even the most tragic and shocking experiences. Others are devastated by experiences that, on the surface, appear to be less upsetting.

A number of risk factors make people susceptible to emotional and psychological trauma. People are more likely to be traumatized by a stressful experience if they’re already under a heavy stress load or have recently suffered a series of losses.

People are also more likely to be traumatized by a new situation if they’ve been traumatized before – especially if the earlier trauma occurred in childhood.

Childhood trauma increases the risk of future trauma

Experiencing trauma in childhood can have a severe and long-lasting effect. Children who have been traumatized see the world as a frightening and dangerous place. When childhood trauma is not resolved, this fundamental sense of fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood, setting the stage for further trauma.

Childhood trauma results from anything that disrupts a child’s sense of safety and security, including:

  • An unstable or unsafe environment
  • Separation from a parent
  • Serious illness
  • Intrusive medical procedures

Symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma

Following a traumatic event, or repeated trauma, people react in different ways, experiencing a wide range of physical and emotional reactions. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to think, feel, or respond to trauma, so don’t judge your own reactions or those of other people. Your responses are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events.

Emotional and psychological symptoms of trauma:

  • Shock, denial, or disbelief
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Feeling disconnected or numb

Physical symptoms of trauma:

  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Being startled easily
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Aches and pains
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Edginess and agitation
  • Muscle tension

These symptoms and feelings typically last from a few days to a few months, gradually fading as you process the trauma. But even when you’re feeling better, you may be troubled from time to time by painful memories or emotions—especially in response to triggers such as an anniversary of the event or an image, sound, or situation that reminds you of the traumatic experience.

Grieving is normal following trauma

Whether or not a traumatic event involves death, survivors must cope with the loss, at least temporarily, of their sense of safety and security. The natural reaction to this loss is grief. Like people who have lost a loved one, trauma survivors go through a grieving process. This process, while inherently painful, is easier if you turn to others for support, take care of yourself, and talk about how you feel.

When to seek professional help for emotional or psychological trauma

Recovering from a traumatic event takes time, and everyone heals at his or her own pace. But if months have passed and your symptoms aren’t letting up, you may need professional help from a trauma expert.

Seek help for emotional or psychological trauma if you’re:

  • Having trouble functioning at home or work
  • Suffering from severe fear, anxiety, or depression
  • Unable to form close, satisfying relationships
  • Experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, or flashbacks
  • Avoiding more and more things that remind you of the trauma
  • Emotionally numb and disconnected from others
  • Using alcohol or drugs to feel better

Finding a trauma specialist

Working through trauma can be scary, painful, and potentially retraumatizing. Because of the risk of retraumatization, this healing work is best done with the help of an experienced trauma specialist.

Finding the right therapist may take some time. It’s very important that the therapist you choose has experience treating trauma. But the quality of the relationship with your therapist is equally important. Choose a trauma specialist you feel comfortable with. Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe, respected, or understood, find another therapist. There should be a sense of trust and warmth between you and your trauma therapist.

After meeting a potential trauma therapist, ask yourself these questions:

  • Did you feel comfortable discussing your problems with the therapist?
  • Did you feel like the therapist understood what you were talking about?
  • Were your concerns taken seriously or were they minimized or dismissed?
  • Were you treated with compassion and respect?
  • Do you believe that you could grow to trust the therapist?

Treatment for psychological and emotional trauma

In order to heal from psychological and emotional trauma, you must face and resolve the unbearable feelings and memories you’ve long avoided. Otherwise they will return again and again, unbidden and uncontrollable.

Trauma treatment and healing involves:

  • Processing trauma-related memories and feelings
  • Discharging pent-up “fight-or-flight” energy
  • Learning how to regulate strong emotions
  • Building or rebuilding the ability to trust other people

Trauma therapy treatment approaches

Trauma disrupts the body’s natural equilibrium, freezing you in a state of hyperarousal and fear. In essence, your nervous system gets stuck in overdrive. Successful trauma treatment must address this imbalance and reestablish your physical sense of safety. The following therapies are commonly used in the treatment of emotional and psychological trauma:

  • Somatic experiencing takes advantage of the body’s unique ability to heal itself. The focus of therapy is on bodily sensations, rather than thoughts and memories about the traumatic event. By concentrating on what’s happening in your body, you gradually get in touch with trauma-related energy and tension. From there, your natural survival instincts take over, safely releasing this pent-up energy through shaking, crying, and other forms of physical release.
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation. These back-and-forth eye movements are thought to work by “unfreezing” traumatic memories, allowing you to resolve them.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you process and evaluate your thoughts and feelings about a trauma. While cognitive-behavioral therapy doesn’t treat the physiological effects of trauma, it can be helpful when used in addition to a body-based therapy such as somatic experiencing or EMDR.

Emotional and psychological trauma recovery tips

Recovering from emotional and psychological trauma takes time. Give yourself time to heal and to mourn the losses you’ve experienced. Don’t try to force the healing process. Be patient with the pace of recovery. Finally, be prepared for difficult and volatile emotions. Allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling without judgment or guilt.

Trauma self-help strategy 1: Don’t isolate

  • Following a trauma, you may want to withdraw from others, but isolation makes things worse. Connecting to others will help you heal, so make an effort to maintain your relationships and avoid spending too much time alone.
  • Ask for support. It’s important to talk about your feelings and ask for the help you need. Turn to a trusted family member, friend, counselor, or clergyman.
  • Participate in social activities, even if you don’t feel like it. Do “normal” things with other people, things that have nothing to do with the traumatic experience. If you’ve retreated from relationships that were once important to you, make the effort to reconnect.
  • Join a support group for trauma survivors. Being with others who are facing the same problems can help reduce your sense of isolation and hearing how others cope can help inspire you.
  • Volunteer. As well as helping others, volunteering can be a great way to challenge the sense of helplessness that often accompanies trauma. Remind yourself of your strengths and reclaim your sense of power by comforting or helping others.

Trauma self-help strategy 2: Stay grounded

In order to stay grounded after a trauma, it helps to have a structured schedule to follow.

  • Stick to a daily routine, with regular times for waking, sleeping, eating, working, and exercise. Make sure to schedule time for relaxing and social activities, too.
  • Break large jobs into smaller, manageable tasks. Take pleasure from the accomplishment of achieving something, even it’s a small thing.
  • Find activities that make you feel better and keep your mind occupied (reading, taking a class, cooking, playing with your kids or pets), so you’re not dedicating all your energy and attention to focusing on the traumatic experience.
  • Allow yourself to feel what you feel when you feel it. Acknowledge your feelings about the trauma as they arise and accept them. Accepting your feelings is part of the grieving process and is necessary for healing.

Staying grounded: A trauma self-help exercise

If you are feeling disoriented, confused, or upset, you can do the following exercise:

  • Sit on a chair. Feel your feet on the ground. Press on your thighs. Feel your behind on the seat and your back against the chair.
  • Look around you and pick six objects that have red or blue. This should allow you to feel in the present, more grounded, and in your body. Notice how your breath gets deeper and calmer.
  • You may want to go outdoors and find a peaceful place to sit on the grass. As you do, feel how your body can be held and supported by the ground.

Trauma self-help strategy 3: Take care of your health

A healthy body increases your ability to cope with stress from a trauma.

  • Get plenty of sleep. After a traumatic experience, worry or fear may disturb your sleep patterns. A lack of sleep can make your trauma symptoms worse and make it harder to maintain your emotional balance. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day and aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs as their use can worsen your trauma symptoms and exacerbate feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise boosts serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals. It also boosts self-esteem and helps to improve sleep. For maximum results, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings. While you may be drawn to sugary foods for the quick boost they provide, complex carbohydrates are a better choice. Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats—such as salmon, walnuts, soybeans, and flaxseeds—can give your mood a boost.
  • Reduce stress. Making time for rest and relaxation will help you bring your life back into balance. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Schedule time for activities that bring you joy—favorite hobbies or activities with friends, for example.

Helping someone deal with emotional and psychological trauma

It can be difficult to know how to help a loved one who’s suffered a traumatic or distressing experience, but your support can be a crucial factor in their recovery.

  • Be patient and understanding. Healing from emotional or psychological trauma takes time. Be patient with the pace of recovery and remember that everyone’s response to trauma is different.  Don’t judge your loved one’s reaction against your own response or anyone else’s.
  • Offer practical support to help your loved one get back into a normal routine. That may mean help with collecting groceries or housework, for example, or simply being available to talk or listen.
  • Don’t pressure your loved one into talking but be available when they want to talk. Some trauma survivors find it difficult to talk about what happened. Don’t force your loved one to open up but let them know you are there to listen whenever they feel ready.
  • Help your loved one to socialize and relax. Encourage them to participate in physical exercise, seek out friends, and pursue hobbies and other activities that bring them pleasure. Take a fitness class together or set a regular lunch date with friends.
  • Don’t take the trauma symptoms personally. Your loved one may become angry, irritable, withdrawn, or emotionally distant. Remember that this is a result of the trauma and may not have anything to do with you or your relationship.

Helping a child recover from trauma

It’s important to communicate openly with children following trauma. Let them know that it’s normal to feel scared or upset. Your child may also look to you for cues on how they should respond to traumatic events so let him or her see you dealing with symptoms of trauma in a positive way.

How children react to emotional and psychological trauma

Some common reactions to trauma and ways to help your child deal with them:

  • Regression. Many children may try to return to an earlier stage when they felt safer and more cared for. Younger children may wet the bed or want a bottle; older children may fear being alone. It’s important to be patient and comforting if your child responds this way.
  • Thinking the event is their fault. Children younger than seven or eight tend to think that if something goes wrong, it must be their fault—no matter how irrational this may sound to an adult. Be sure your child understands that he did not cause the event.
  • Sleep disorders. Some children have difficulty falling to sleep; others wake frequently or have troubling dreams. If you can, give your child a stuffed animal, soft blanket, or flashlight to take to bed. Try spending extra time together in the evening, doing quiet activities or reading. Be patient. It may take a while before your child can sleep through the night again.
  • Feeling helpless. Being active in a campaign to prevent an event like this one from happening again, writing thank you letters to people who have helped, and caring for others can bring a sense of hope and control to everyone in the family.

Source: Sidran Institute

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