Category Archives: Trauma and PTSD

The Truth About Trauma: Raising Awareness for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Please join my co-author, Shelly Beach and I, as we begin a Facebook campaign,

The Truth About Trauma:
Raising Awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


What is it?

Its a campaign to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), its symptoms, causes, and offer resources to help those suffering.

Why?

Many people associate PTSD with the mental health challenges faced by only those in the military when they return from combat. But according to the Sidran Institute for Traumatic StreLLFTE.best shot of bookss Advocacy and Education, approximately 8 percent of all adults will develop post-traumatic stress disorder during their lifetime.

Chances are that whoever you are, you or someone you know and love has been affected by trauma.

When?

Beginning today, July 28, 2014, through Friday, August 1, 2014, join us, Shelly Beach and Wanda Sanchez, authors of Love Letters from the Edge: Meditations for Those Struggling with Brokenness, Trauma, and the Pain of Life, as we share our knowledge, experience, wisdom and stories this week. We will be conducting a give-away of our latest book, Love Letters from the Edge, as well as offering free downloadables, resources, information and encouragement.  

Go to the Facebook event page, The Truth About Trauma: Raising Awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and click ‘join the event’ for your opportunity to chat with the authors of Love Letters from the Edge, win a free book, get free downloadables, infographics and a treasure trove of information on PTSD and related trauma issues.

There IS  hope! 

‘Love Letters from the Edge’ FREE on Amazon Kindle TODAY ONLY!

Free on Kindle TODAY ONLY!!

 

July 21, 2014

 

Love Letters from the Edge:

Meditations for Those Struggling with

Brokenness, Trauma, and the Pain of Life

by Shelly Beach and Wanda Sanchez


Millions of women in the United States battle with after-effects of suffering so great they’ve developed post-traumatic stress disorder—the same suffering LLFTE.best shot of bookexperienced by soldiers who’ve been in combat.

Sexual and physical abuse, catastrophic accidents, abandonment, natural disasters, invasive medical procedures, and many other painful and overwhelming events can trigger symptoms they are little equipped to deal with and hard-pressed to recognize.

Love Letters from the Edge provides a voice for those struggling to express this pain and reveals intimate encouragement for those in desperate need to hear God’s words of love and deliverance. This heartfelt devotional focuses on the profound laments in the book of Psalms. Each meditation begins with a letter from someone in the throes of despair and then offers a tender response
to their pain from God’s perspective.

Fresh, honest, and intimate, Love Letters from the Edge will reach readers who never expected to hear good news from where they are and point them toward the hope and healing of Christ. 

Get your free Amazon Kindle version of

 

Love Letters from the Edge: Meditations for Those Suffering from Brokenness, Trauma and the Pain of Life


TODAY ONLY!!

Monday July 21, 2014

Get our free e-book, The Truth About Trauma

Over the past two years or so, my colleague and friend Shelly and I have  been asked to speak for child  ptsd girladvocacy  organizations, to medical and mental health professionals, to those who work with trafficked women and children, to abused women and leaders in churches and faith settings, to women and juveniles in prisons, and to families in their homes about the complex and often misunderstood
issues of abuse and trauma.

While Shelly and I are not mental health or medical professionals, we understand the issue of trauma from the inside-out,
and we are able to provide personal narrative and information that unlocks understanding and dialogue on the issue of trauma.

As part of our passion to bring greater understanding to the issue of trauma, we have written an eBook that provides an overview of the basic issues related to trauma and PTSD.

We’re delighted to offer it free.

If you know a friend, loved one, or organization that could benefit from greater understanding on the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder and how to offer hope and healing to those who struggle, please point them in our direction. We’d love to help.

Simply go to the bottom of our home page on PTSDPerspectives.org and click on The Truth about Trauma and follow the prompts.

Happy one month birthday to my baby!

It’s been one month today since my life really changed! I mean, I’ve heard about what parenthood does to your life – and I admit, its a little befuddling at times.
Well, I guess its time to show my baby to the world. I’ve probably talked about her a little bit over the past year… its been an exciting time while also being a little scary.
Here’s the news:
woman hugging books

At 52 years of age, I just became a parent! A mom. I love that word! Yes, I guess now is a good a time as any to let everyone in on the fabulous news….

IT’S A BOOK!! 
 
Date of Birth.: June 1, 2014   Time: 12:01amEDT
Measurements: 5 inches wide and 7 inches long
Weight: 10.6 oz.
Color (of cover): beige’s & blue’s, mostly, with a little black & white thrown in
                  APGAR: 8.5 

Woo hoo!!

I must admit that carrying her to full term was nothing short of a miracle! Many times along the way I wondered out loud what in the world I was doing, whether or not I could make it through the actual birthing process and deliver a beautiful, healthy, happy masterpiece. 

So allow me to make the formal introductions:

Fellow bookworms, writers, readers, etc… meet my heart, my work of love…

my new BOOK! 

Her name is ‘Love Letters from the Edge: Meditations for Those Struggling with Brokenness, Trauma and the Pain of Life’, and I am so honored to have been given the gift of this book.
Who’da thunk it?
www.LoveLettersfromtheEdge.com
 

Someone You Know Has PTSD–and Might Not Know It

by guest blogger, Shelly Beach


“I just finished treatment for complex PTSD. Nobody      understands trauma, so I rarely talk about it.”

The woman sitting next to me on our flight from Denver to Seattle was an accountant. Confident. Self-assured. Professional. And a recovering addict who’d struggled for years with symptoms PTSD stemming from early childhood medical procedures.

It had taken her years to recognize that childhood medical procedures were at the root of the long list of symptoms that had taken her life hostage.

 

Sadly, most people don’t understand the cause-and-effect between trauma and the symptoms of PTSD and rarely seek treatment for the underlying cause.

 

The reality is that life is a series of traumas that the brain processes as either “Big T” or “little t” events, depending on a number of factors. Any event that is so threatening that it (1) overwhelms our brain, (2) triggers a reactive chemical wash that shuts down one side of the brain and causes us to “freeze” initiates the Instinctual Trauma Response (Big T trauma with potential resulting symptoms).

In the past few years, my colleague Wanda and I have met dozens of men and women suffering from PTSD who never realized before meeting us that trauma was the source of their various symptoms: hoarding, self-abuse, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hearing voices (one of the easiest symptoms to treat), eating disorders, depression, suicidal fixation, and other symptoms.

Many people who have PTSD don’t know that their symptoms aren’t the problem…

   Trauma and /PTSD are the problems, and they CAN be successfully treated.

 

This week our book Love Letters from the Edge: Meditations for Those Struggling with Brokenness, Trauma, and the Pain of Life was released in bookstores and online. This book addresses the desperation and despair felt by those who suffer from PTSD.

 

It gives a voice to those who often feel unfixable, hopeless, and isolated.

 

But more importantly, it offers hope. As women who have experienced PTSD, Wanda and I understand the desperation and the struggles. This is why it was critically important for us to write a book that honestly expressed the feelings of those dealing with PTSD, but also offered compassion, hope, and truth. This book also offers practical resources for family members and friends, as well as support communities, such as churches.

 

Someone you know has PTSD and may not even know it.

 

Learn what it feels like to walk in their shoes. Learn what you can do to help. And if you’re struggling, take the first step toward healing by telling a trusted friend or medical or mental health professional.

Crisis Hotlines

Grateful.

The calenLove Letters from the Edge: Meditations for Those Struggling with Brokenness, Trauma, and the Pain of Lifedar confirms what I suspected when I woke yesterday morning: it was the official publishing date, June 1, 2014, of my first book – or any book for that matter!

Wow. No, really. WOW. WOW! How the heck did THIS happen? What the heck? Exactly WHO the HECK do I think I am?

I actually feel the urge to let myself giggle – just let that almost hysterical giggle that is bubbling up inside of me just SPILL OUT! Loudly. For a long time. I mean, who would have thought that I would be doing THIS? It really is a miracle whether you know it or not.

 

So am I. A miracle. A grateful miracle.

 

Let me cut to the chase, ok?

Not too long ago I was soul-sick and dying. Right there in front of people, I was bleeding out, gasping for an unrestrained breath, and grasping at anything that had the potential to ‘fix’ me. I needed something, anything, that would help me make it through the next moment, day or year without shooting myself or stepping out in front of an 18-wheeler barreling down the highway. 

So grateful that the God of the universe listens to His people when they pray – and that prayer really DOES change things… and PEOPLE!

 

 Love Letters from the Edge: Meditations for Those Struggling with Brokenness,
Trauma, and the Pain of Life

is the name of my book.

It’s co-authored with my friend and mentor, award-winning author Shelly Beach.

It’s not a ‘comfortable’ book because it deals with trauma.
And brokenness. And doubt. And hard questions.

 

But the name of the book speaks of love letters because after women give voice to the pain, lament and trauma of their life – God responds with words of TRUTH and LOVE. He speaks words of a Father who loves His children… most especially the wounded, sick and broken among us. He writes a love letter in response to our pain and questions – and still calls us His very own and continues to love us more than anyone ever will.

If you know someone who is struggling to ‘get it right’, but no matter what she does or how many promises she makes, she just can’t stop doing the things that harm her and cause her to walk in shame, she needs to know that there is HOPE. HOPE for wholeness and healing.

Hope for a good life when trauma, not symptoms, are processed.


Hope. Because there is God.

 

Check it out at www.LoveLettersFromtheEdge.com

 

Guest blogger: How Trauma Taught Me It Can Be Right to Be Wrong

by guest blogger, Shelly Beach
ShellyBeachOnline.com

 

chile - wind.fire.cloud

For most of my childhood and teen years, no matter how loudly I spoke to my dad or how many words I poured out, I felt unheard.

My opinions didn’t matter. Sharing my ideas with my father felt like trying to set up patio furniture in a hurricane. I could barely get a thought out of my mouth when Dad hurled it into oblivion.

 

My father was R.I.G.H.T.

All of the time.

No questions asked.

 

This past year I went for trauma therapy. As my team of therapists evaluated my history, I was certain they’d focus on my two sexual assaults, the deaths I’d witnessed, and other significant traumatic incidents in my life.

Instead, they focused on my relationship with my father. The truth was that even though my dad had provided well for me, protected me, cared for me, and loved me to the best of his ability, his inabilities to communicate safety, love, compassion, and acceptance had a profound impact on my childhood.

I grew up feeling abandoned, isolated, alone. I longed for my father’s approval and became a slave to performance, always with one eye on what other people thought of me. Unfortunately, I became a wife and mom who was driven to be R.I.G.H.T. All of the time. No questions asked. Until I admitted that I, too, needed help.

Trauma treatment, I discovered, isn’t only about sexual abuse or the tragedies of war. It’s about  the deep hurts that stop us in our tracks and keep us stuck in the past.

Getting unstuck takes courage and work. It’s worth every bit of investment we make. And healing IS possible, no matter what form our trauma takes.

I now understand it’s a terrible thing to be right–only (in the words of my pastor). It is far better to admit that we are broken and on a journey to wholeness. My journey began when I admitted my need of treatment for trauma that was rooted in childhood–even though I grew up in a home with two well-intentioned parents who loved me very well in many ways.

Admitting we have been hurt and that we have hurt others is not an admission of failure. It is an admission of our humanity and shared need for grace. And it is often the first step in our healing.

 

Photo Credit: BlueTexas.blogspot.com

Broken Places: A View From the Other Side (Part 4 of 5)

And in that first phone conversation she wasn’t ready to tell me.

But whether implicitly or explicitly, one thing Wanda told me in our first conversation was that she was divesting of her possessions and giving them to the people she loved.

She had stopped working in an office with people she’d worked with for a decade – to live and work alone at home. Her family even called her “the hermit.”

She was terrorized by nightmares and flashbacks. Symptoms she’d suffered with for years were escalating.

And coping mechanisms that had helped her control
the pain of PTSD were no longer working.

Wanda believed she was broken beyond repair. But it was easy for me to see that everything about her made sense–that from the time she was a child, she had created a way to cope with the pain of her life. But the coping mechanisms were failing. They ALWAYS do.

The problem was, she’d already tried drug rehab programs, eating disorder clinics, counseling, therapy, and cried out to God for years for healing. She believed she was “unfixable.” And she’d had friends for ten years who had never seen her face and who only knew her through Internet relationships.

I wasn’t sure of anything – except one thing: God. I WAS sure that He is who He says He is… and that He loved Wanda more than any of us ever could. And that He was reaching out to her through… me!

In spite of all the efforts Wanda had made to address her PTSD, I believed Intensive Trauma Therapy in Morgantown, WV could help her. And not only help her, give her back her life. I believed God had put Wanda’s name in my head, picked three songs that told her story, and urged me to call her. Then a week before I called her, he made sure I knew about Allen, a young man who was healed of a lifetime of  struggle with PTSD at Intensive Trauma Therapy in just five days of outpatient treatment.

I figured God had set everything up in the first place,

and He had the details all figured out.

 

During that first visit, Wanda and I went to a public park and completed the intake forms for Intensive Trauma Therapy. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t pretty.

To be continued…

Broken Places. A View from the Other Side. (Part 3 of 5)

by guest blogger,Shelly Beach
————------------------------------------------------------------------

I “met” Wanda Sanchez when she booked me to talk about my book, The Silent Seduction of Self Talk, on the  San Francisco radio show that she produces. Light_at_the_End_of_the_Tunnel

I guess I did a good job because afterwards she booked me to do a series of shows on my caregiving books.

We never talked, but why would we? I lived in Michigan, and she lived in California. She sent me emails about what time to answer my phone and arranged all the aspects of the upcoming segments.

That was it.

Two weeks passed. A month, and the voice kept nagging.

Out of curiosity, I looked up Wanda Sanchez on Facebook—a woman who had a bazillion friends and certainly didn’t need another one. But I couldn’t find a shred of personal information about her except for one tiny fact: she had a heart for inner-city missions and broken people.

Since it seemed I wouldn’t get any peace until I called her, I decided to pitch a friend to be on her show: Steve Siler, founder of Music for the Soul. Steve is a Dove Award-winning songwriter who’s written hundreds of songs on all kinds of tough issues: suicide, breast cancer, special needs children, sexual abuse, pornography, and other things the church has a hard time talking about.

 

Even though Wanda’s emails told me she clearly wasn’t interested in chatting, she scheduled me for ten minutes. I could tell I was lucky to get that.

Without really thinking, I sent Wanda three songs by my friend Steve: Dead Hearts Don’t Cry—about the pain of sexual abuse, Every Single Tear—how God cares about our heartaches, and Renee is Fourteen—the story of a broken child who runs away from home and hitchhikes from Kansas to California to escape the pain of her life.

Duh.

So I was surprised when an angry, defensive Wanda answered the phone without so much as a “hi.”

Just a single cold question:

 

“Why did you send me those songs?”

 

The only answer I had was the truth. “I read on Facebook that you have a heart for people in inner city missions. So I sent you Renee Is Fourteen because I figured you probably knew a Renee. And if you knew a Renee, I thought you probably cared about her.

 

For the next two and a half hours she spewed her story like water from a broken hydrant on a steaming summer day.

 

And, then, the jaw-dropping fact that she’d hitchhiked across the country and back as a fourteen-year-old teenager. She was not only Renee, she was every song God had directed me to send her.

These were the facts: Wanda was planning to kill herself–soon-and she needed trauma treatment – fast.

 

But God had a plan… even though neither one of us couldn’t quite see it yet.

 

(To be continued…)

 

* To receive free downloads of the songs mentioned above, write to steve@musicforthesoul.org.

** If you haven’t downloaded your COMPLIMENTARY copy of our e-book, The Truth About Trauma, click here  to go the download page. Great information and a valuable resource. Download  your COMPLIMENTARY copy today!

Broken Places, Part 2

woman-with-head-in-hands.2

The darkness. The compulsion to die. I couldn’t shake the obsession… no matter what I did.

I prayed.  I read the Bible.  I ate. I ate more.  I got high. And tried to get higher each time I used. I got numb. I zoned out.

For months, my prayers had been short and to the point: 

“HELP!”

Even though I was emotionally numb, I was also in intense emotional pain, and that confused me even more. In order to simply move through my days, I had to “go away.”

 

Moments ran into moments ran into minutes ran into hours ran
into days ran into weeks ran into months ran into years.

 

And no matter what I did, I was drowning under the crushing feeling of hopelessness. I didn’t feel that I had one single reason to be alive. I was loved, I knew that. I had a wonderful family, immediate and extended, and they loved me. But that means nothing when all you feel is a deficit of hope. I felt a bottomless emptiness.

 

At the end, I was constantly battling to simply stay alive. I was battling NOT to swallow a handful of pills. I was battling NOT to blow my brains out. I was battling NOT to drive over a cliff or step off the curb into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler. 

 

I was exhausted from the never-ending battle. Nightmares were a regular occurrence, so I stopped sleeping.

 

I was nearing fifty, and nothing I was doing was working anymore. All of my coping mechanisms, unhealthy and/or dangerous, were failing me. The darkness pushed me into a corner. I felt like I had to remind myself to merely take a breath.

 

 I was in trouble, and if I was going to live, I needed help.

 

Enter Intensive Trauma Treatment… 

(to be continued)