Join us October, Monday 25th at 6pm CT for "Conversation with Elizabeth" with our special guest Kelly Wilson talking about Emotional Dysregulation: Spotting Triggers. Register here to participate. If you cannot attend the live meeting subscribe to EmpowerSurvivors podcast here and get notified when the recording of this program will be published! Available on youtube, google podcast, amazon music and IHeart Radio
Kelly Wilson is a mom, award-winning author, comedian, speaker, and trauma recovery coach who educates inspires, and helps people explore their journeys of hope and healing out of complex trauma, specializing in PTSD recovery. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Kelly writes and speaks about finding hope in the process of recovery. Through both stand-up and improv comedy, she brings laughter to audiences of all ages using a wide range of subject matter, including silly songs, parenting stories, and jokes and anecdotes revolving around mental health issues.
Kelly Wilson is the author of Caskets From Costco, a finalist in the 18th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, a finalist in the 10th annual National Indie Excellence Book Awards, and has also been chosen as a finalist in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest. She has also written and published numerous articles, poems, and short stories for children and adults in a wide range of publications, including Huffington Post and Sweatpants & Coffee.
Kelly is the co-founder of two organizations: PTSD Parent and Mental Health at the Mic. The PTSD Parent Podcast is a fun podcast about serious stuff that explores what it’s like to have PTSD and navigating the important relationships that make life worthwhile. With Mental Health at the Mic, Kelly performs and teaches people whose lives have been touched with mental illness how to write and perform stand-up comedy. Find out more about Kelly at MapYourHealing.com.
Map Your Healing on Social Medias
A very big THANK YOU to these amazing ladies and Healing Within Acupuncture & Wellness Studio!
This week I walked out to my mailbox to find a true gift.
As a nonprofit leader, you are continually thinking of two things, the mission you have for the organization and how you will financially support the mission and those you serve.
Covid has hit nonprofits especially hard. Many nonprofits and for-profit businesses alike have suffered deeply during this pandemic and charitable donations have been hard to come by.
I was reminded of the goodness of people this week when I was going through mail, tossing ads, looking at bills, and then found a card from Healing Within Acupuncture which is located right here in Stillwater, MN.
Healing within has been a huge supporter of our nonprofit, EmpowerSurvivors, since 2015. They have offered free services to those we serve, meditation classes, friendship, support, and more!. This week, they again showed their kindness, generosity, and support by donating $475.00 to our nonprofit. Money that is much needed and will enable us to continue offering hope, love, and support to victims of childhood sexual abuse and their families.
This money was not asked for. It was simply given by two women and businesses leaders, Aimee Van Ostrand and Liz Stoeckmann of Healing within Acupuncture. Both these ladies approached me asking if they could hold a 4 - week Irest meditation class that would benefit those affected by PTSD, mental health issues, first responders, and general community members. Not only were we benefiting from their generosity but so was the community as a whole.
In this day and age with the world seeming as though it has gone mad, it warms my heart to know that we have good people out there. People can be beacons of light and life to communities and these two women are just that. These women and Healing Within Acupuncture truly care about those around them and those struggling with physical, mental, and spiritual illness.
Thank you, Healing Within Acupuncture, Aimee, and Liz for helping us continue our important mission here at EmpowerSurvivors. Your support means the world to us and you continually show me what human kindness really looks like in a world that too many times looks the other way. Thank you for supporting survivors of child abuse and rape, for seeing them, hearing them, and aiding them on their journeys.
Learn more about Healing Within Acupuncture and EmpowerSurvivors:
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Conversation with Elizabeth with Pete Singer
Join us next week on Monday, October 18th 2021 at 6pm (Central Time) for our Live conversation with Pete Singer on Spiritual Impact of Abuse. Register here.
Pete Singer is the Executive Director of GRACE, which works to equip faith communities to better recognize, prevent, and respond to abuse. He has over 30 years’ experience working with trauma, abuse, and mental health in a variety of settings. He has been a foster parent, school social worker, therapist, youth group leader, consultant, Executive Director, and more. He has worked extensively with families, teens, and children who have
experienced trauma, including maltreatment, medical trauma, assault, violent loss, and captivity. His work has focused on helping children recover, facilitating parent growth and learning, and community engagement to end
Pete completed his Master’s in Social Work from the University of Minnesota, where he also received a Certificate in Trauma-Effective Leadership. He speaks nationally on trauma, trauma-informed practice, resilience, strengthening the parent-child relationship, and the role of the faith community in responding to child maltreatment. He is a Registered Circle of Security – Parent Educator, Board-Approved Supervisor, and has completed extensive training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He has served on several workgroups, including the Cultural Provider’s Network, Ramsey County Ending Racial Disparities Workgroup, Youth in Transition Workgroup, and more. He designed an innovative support and education program for staff in trauma-saturated fields across disciplines.
He has published and contributed to a number of articles and book chapters, including Mental Health and Healthcare System Responses to Adolescent Maltreatment; Trauma-Informed Legal Practice; Use of Images During Forensic Interviews of Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused; Wounded Souls: The Need for Child Protection Professionals and Faith Leaders to Recognize and Respond to the Spiritual Impact of Child Abuse, with Victor Vieth; and more.
This is COLLABORATION!
Since 2015, Healing Within Studio and EmpowerSurvivors have collaborated on a number of projects. EmpowerSurvivors is a local non-profit peer-led support group for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Collaboration is an effective tool for reaching more of those in need in our community. It also allows for developing programs that better meet very specific needs. Plus we truly enjoy working with each other.
Building Emotional Resilience led by Liz Stoeckmann is our latest collaborative effort. Liz developed this series as a community service project and is volunteering 100% of her time and energy.
Building Emotional Resilience:
A 4-week iRest Meditation Series
Tuesdays, October 12th to November 9th
6:30 - 7:45 pm CT, online via Zoom
Liz Stoeckmann, certified iRest Meditation instructor
This much-needed class is open to all. No previous yoga or meditation experience needed. Those living with chronic stress and anxiety are encouraged to attend. Class is beneficial for survivors, veterans, front line responders, and healthcare workers. Sliding fee. Pay as you are able. Proceeds go to EmpowerSurvivors.
Please share with those who may need this info.
Register for the series here:
Photo by Kendra:
Elizabeth Sullivan (EmpowerSurvivors), Aimee Van Ostrand, LAc, and Liz Stoeckmann at our Stillwater studio.
Choosing to disclose, or share, a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a completely individual decision. While some forms of treatment or healing may involve disclosing the trauma to move forward, this may not be the most beneficial option depending on each survivor’s personality or history. Some individuals may want to share what has happened to them, while others may never choose to tell anyone for the rest of their life. Sometimes, the decision not to disclose a history of abuse may be due to a previous attempt to disclose that did not go as planned. For example, some survivors may have tried to tell someone when they were a child or when they were experiencing the abuse and may have been ignored or not believed. This may cause feelings of fear or a lack of desire to try to open up again.
Many survivors will never disclose the abuseIt has been estimated that nearly 20% of all survivors of childhood sexual abuse will never disclose the abuse, and roughly 60% will not disclose the abuse until at least five years after the first incident.1 Whatever the reason may be for not disclosing an abuse, each individual’s story is their own to tell. However, much they want to share is completely up to them, as well as when, or if, they disclose this information to their friends, family, or partners.
Although this decision and situation can be handled a variety of ways, there are a few things to consider that may help an individual make the decision to disclose a history of abuse, and ideas to make the process as positive and healthy as it can be. These include, but are not limited to:
In relation to trauma, a trigger is something that calls to mind a previous traumatic situation and may provoke a flashback of the event. Therapists suggest that triggers can vary person to person, and are dependent on an individual’s personal, and often private, experiences. It may be hard to predict what may be a trigger for you or a loved one, however, the more attention you pay to identifying triggers, the easier it may become to predict, control, or manage their effects.
Types of triggersTriggers can be divided into different categories, including those based on our senses. Common categories of triggers may include:
Managing TriggersThere are various approaches to managing triggers. Although everyone’s triggers may be different, there are common tips that can be used to deal with them in a healthy manner. These include, but are not limited to:
By Evey Krammer-Carlson
I make a conscious effort to be careful about what I read and listen to on the news. It’s a tricky line to walk sometimes because I’m inherently curious and interested in what is happening in current events around the world. I don’t want to live in a bubble. I want to know what’s happening, I want to be able to critically think about things so I can form my own opinions and have thoughtful conversations.
When my symptoms were at their worst, and I was going through the throes of processing my memories, my therapist had me follow the “puppy and kitten rule,” meaning I could watch anything as long as it included cute puppies and kittens. That “rule” helped me minimize being triggered at a time when most of my days were spent experiencing flashbacks, anxiety, panic, and fear.
I stayed away from intense news and was mindful of what I watched on tv and what movies I saw. Most of the time, I watched lots of comedy. Admittedly, there were times when I broke the rule. I sometimes sought out programs with violence that in some way mirrored my own abuse. Or I would pay attention to sensationalized cases in the media that were hard to avoid. Inevitably I would get triggered.
As I began to manage my symptoms and felt some sense of safety the puppy/kitten rule was lifted. Because I had been so careful about what I ingested from media outlets for so long, I developed an avoidance for watching or seeking out certain information because I knew it may be triggering.
Recently, there was a news story that I had done my best to avoid. When it first came out, people were outraged, and then the news cycle changed. I understand why that happens. There is so much out there every day, and each event is shocking and sad, and sometimes incomprehensible. But because my trauma is sort-of similar to the aforementioned news story, I was on high alert when I scrolled past it. I had a definite curiosity about the details but hadn’t read anything besides the headlines.
Until the other day!
The other day the headline changed and I knew that the very thing I feared when I first heard the story did, in fact, come true. I knew this person would never be convicted. I felt sick that even with awareness, this kind of trafficking still goes on, and in my mind, will probably continue to exist.
Then I got triggered.
I’m not used to those kinds of triggers any longer. There is plenty for me to navigate in my daily life, and anniversary times of the year, and I thought I was far enough along in my healing journey that I would be okay. But PTSD doesn’t operate that way. It doesn’t care that I was just reading an article, and it doesn’t care that this person had absolutely nothing to do with me. I had never heard of him. PTSD simply understands that my sense of safety and trust is altered because of the trauma I experienced, and my brain and body will go into the memory and protection mode automatically.
After reading the article, I could tell that something was awry in my body/mind/spirit. I could tell things were stirred up in a way that I could spiral down the cycle of panic, fear, and shame. I closed the computer, went to yoga, had lunch with a friend, and remembered that today is a day when I’m fighting the tiger. Any shame over being triggered dissipated as I repeated my metaphorical mantra of support to myself.
Seeing things written, or in movies, tv, or media can bring a sort of validation. A sense of see? I’m not making this up! When you are a trauma survivor you look for validation. My trauma seems so “out of the ordinary” that it’s extremely rare that I felt validation.
But, my job on my healing journey is knowing that my truth is validation enough.
I suspect there will be other times when I get triggered by the news. The intensity of my response will probably vary depending on what the triggers are, the time of year, and the present stressors in my life. I know what to do when the skeleton hands of the past pull at me, and I’m confident that I’ll remember that I will fight the tiger and win.
The Monday Night Conversations Group
Here is a list of short positive phrases or statements that can help improve your well-being
It can be helpful to remember to breathe after saying an affirmation.
I Am Unique
I Am worthy of success
I Am open to receive my abundant life
I Am enough
I Am motivated
I Am dedicated
I Am imaginative
I Am open to receiving self-compassion
I Am worthy of receiving the love I give to others
I Am kind
I Am taking action in my…..(life, healing)
I Am a cycle-breaker
I Am not the negative things my inner-critic tell me
I Am grateful for my journey and its lessons
I Am safe
I can overcome any obstacle and triumph over it
I give myself permission to improve
I do not have to be perfect
I love and approve of myself and trust the process of life
I accept myself as I am
I Am a human being, not a human doing
I Am doing all I can to my very best, to keep moving forward with my dreams
I Am here and everything is okay
I can take off my mask; It’s okay to not be okay
I Am proud of myself
I Am not my story
I Am not what happened to me
I Am not those things those that harmed me said I was
I Am becoming a better version of myself, one day at a time
I Am not comparing my insides to everyone else’s outsides
I Am worthy of self-love
I’m becoming more of who I really am
All I need is within me
I do not blame myself for my childhood experiences and trauma
I release the feeling of guilt, hurt & shame
What I want is already here or on the way
I Am confident
I Am able to choose the direction of my life
I Am grateful for my body
My mind, body & spirit belong to me
I acknowledge and accept that healing is possible
I will not be a victim-revictimized
It’s okay for me to take of myself
I allow myself to have all my feelings and emotions
I am not my thoughts; I am not my emotions
I allow myself to take a break
It’s okay to take a break/to rest
It’s okay to love my inner child/ren
It’s okay to have fun
I choose to know that I am lovable
I release the shame and blame that was never mine, to begin with
I remember that “no” is a complete sentence
I accept myself as I am today
May I inhale the present and future, and exhale the past
We are beautiful and connected to all living things
Monday, August 9, 2021, at 6:00 pm central time via Zoom
Conversations With Evey & Elizabeth!!
This week we have a special guest, Dr. Gregory Williams, who will bring us through his story and add to great conversations!
About Dr. Gregory Williams:
My name is Dr. Gregory Williams and I am on the Senior Leadership Team at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. I authored a book a couple of years ago called, “Shattered by the Darkness: Putting the Pieces Together After Child Abuse” that has drawn worldwide notice. The book tells of my daily childhood sexual abuse in the hands of my father and his friends until my 17th birthday. My decision to not reveal this horror to anyone until a few years ago caused many emotional, physical, and relational issues that I have learned from and still daily deal with. I have two books being released in August 2021 called “Overcoming the Darkness: The Road Map to Hope” and the youth version of the book called, “When the Dark Clouds Come: The Road Map to Hope.” I also host a weekly LIVE radio show called, “Breaking the Silence with Dr. Gregory Williams” and it is heard worldwide by over 1.7 million listeners LIVE each Sunday evening at 8:00 pm Central Time on the BBS Radio Network, iHeart Radio, YouTube LIVE, Spotify, and many other LIVE platforms. I now teach workshops, seminars, and webinars literally around the world each and every week.
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
******** This Meeting Will Be Recorded ********
Learn more about EmpowerSurvivors program Conversations with Evey & Elizabeth and all we have to offer!
Do you want to be our next guest? Contact Evey at :
Dissociation is an experience where your attention and emotions are disconnected from the present moment.It’s like you’re here, but your mind and emotions are somewhere else.
This is a general term and experience.
I talked in a previous video about depersonalization and derealization.
Those are specific kinds of dissociative experiences. With depersonalization you feel detached or disconnected from yourself so you may feel like you’re observing yourself. With derealization, you feel disconnected from your environment. You may feel like the room you’re in isn’t real or that you’re in a different place than you really are.
An example of this is experiencing a car accident where you smelled the burning rubber of your tires. Then whenever you are riding in a car you think you smell the rubber again. That is an example of a dissociative experience you can have after the trauma experience. But sometimes you can dissociate during a traumatic event. This can be your mind’s way of protecting you from a situation where there is no escape. This is pretty common during physical or sexual trauma when you can’t get away.
In order to endure the assault, you brain turns down your response to pain and numbs your emotional response. In your mind you may go to another place such that it feels like it’s really not happening to you. During the traumatic experience, that kind of reaction helps you survive it. But then sometimes dissociation becomes a built in defense mechanism that you employ in other situations that are unrelated to trauma. For example, you can be triggered to feel disconnected or numb in response to something that reminded you of the trauma, even if you weren’t consciously aware of the trigger. You can just feel empty all the time and not know why. Smells and sounds can remind you of the trauma in a way that your body responds with anxiety and fear, but you don’t always put it together why you’re feeling anxious. It’s like the fragmented memories can come flooding back in response to sights, sounds and touch. Anxiety is another trigger that can send you into a dissociative state. So let’s say you are under a lot of stress at work. You can have trouble relating to people at work because with the added stress, you start zoning out at work. Or you start withdrawing from people because you feel like you’re a stranger and your coworkers make you feel uncomfortable. What can you do about this?
The best treatments are trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy, prolonged exposure, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. One self-help approach is to use grounding techniques. Grounding techniques bring your awareness back to the present moment where you ARE safe. It’s like getting your bearing and refocusing. You can use sensory grounding or cognitive grounding. Sensory grounding uses the five senses to bring you back to the present moment and cognitive grounding uses your thoughts to remind yourself that you ARE in a safe place. Sensory grounding exercises: The 5-4-3-2-1 sensory exercise. Use a grounding smell that can bring your attention back to the present. Carry a sensory grounding object in your pocket. Splash cold water on your face and neck. Cognitive grounding exercises: Show yourself that you’re safe. Orient yourself to time and place. Repeat an inspiring quote or saying that’s comforting to you. Say coping statements like I can handle this, my situation is so much better now, these feelings with pass, etc.
Want to know more about mental health and self-improvement?
On this channel I discuss topics such as bipolar disorder, major depression, anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), relationships and personal development/self-improvement. I upload weekly. If you don’t want to miss a video, click here to subscribe. https://goo.gl/DFfT33
Disclaimer: All of the information on this channel is for educational purposes and not intended to be specific/personal medical advice from me to you. Watching the videos or getting answers to comments/question, does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. If you have your own doctor, perhaps these videos can help prepare you for your discussion with your doctor.