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!
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On Healing Trauma, respected therapist and teacher Peter A. Levine brings you face to face with his effective new treatment - not a "talking" cure, but a deep physiological process for releasing your past traumas and instilling a harmonious awareness of your body.
Are you experiencing physical or emotional symptoms that no one is able to explain? If so, you may be suffering a traumatic reaction to a past event, teaches Levine. Medical researchers have known for decades that survivors of accidents, disaster, and childhood trauma often endure life-long symptoms ranging from anxiety and depression to unexplained physical pain and harmful "acting out" behaviors reflecting these painful events.
As a young stress researcher at the university of California at Berkeley, Levine found that all animals, including humans, are born with a natural ability to rebound from these distressing situations. Researchers have shown that survivors of accidents, disaster, and childhood trauma often endure lifelong symptoms ranging from anxiety and depression to unexplained physical pain, fatigue, illness, and harmful "acting out" behaviors.
Today, professionals and clients in both the bodywork and the psychotherapeutic fields nationwide are turning to Peter A. Levine's breakthrough Somatic Experiencing® methods to actively overcome these challenges.In Healing Trauma, Dr. Levine gives you the personal how-to guide for using the theory he first introduced in his highly acclaimed work Waking the Tiger.
Join him to discover: how to develop body awareness to "renegotiate" and heal traumas by "revisiting" them rather than reliving them; emergency "first-aid" measures for times of distress; and nature's lessons for uncovering the physiological roots of your emotions.
"Trauma is a fact of life," teaches Peter Levine, "but it doesn't have to be a life sentence."
Now, with one fully integrated self-healing tool, he shares his essential methods to address unexplained symptoms of trauma at their source―the body―to return us to the natural state in which we are meant to live Includes 12 guided Somatic Experiencing® exercises.
If you or someone you know is dealing with a challenging situation and could benefit from additional support, consider talking to one of the 2,000 licensed online counselors at BetterHelp. Emotional abuse is a severe form of psychological trauma. It’s otherwise known as mental or psychological abuse; however these terms refer to the same concept. Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse doesn’t leave visible scars. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t damaging. When a perpetrator abuses a victim emotionally, they use several forms of manipulation to control the person. Abusers break down their victim’s self-esteem to the point where they feel worthless. When a victim believes that they don’t deserve love, they are at the whim of their abuser. The perpetrator may engage in name calling, shaming, and telling the abused person that they’re unlovable. Threats are a large part of the emotional or mental abuse. The abuser tells their victim that they won’t be able to do better or find love. The victim often hides the mental or emotional abuse from friends and family because they are ashamed. However, there are some signs to indicate emotional abuse is happening. If you think someone you love is a victim of abuse, don’t ignore that intuition. Check in with them and see if they need help. You could save a life. IMPORTANT: The information in this video is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your doctor.