Category Archives: Books

In this category I will be reviewing books, linking abuse survivor books, and maybe even releasing my own book someday so there will be resources here as well.

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PTSD with Anxiety SUCKS- Don’t Panic

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PTSD with Anxiety-Don't Panic

PTSD with anxiety is what I’m dealing with now. It has happened before and I’m sure it will many times as I cycle through the phases of healing. I really wish with all my heart that this process was faster. It takes as long as it takes. In the meantime, my heart races several times a day in the form of anxiety attacks. I’m doing my best to cope in healthy ways.

I haven’t written on this blog for awhile. I think I needed some alone time. Some quiet. It’s been a really rough year. Certain stages of healing make me mourn for my denial bubble. Knowledge is power, sure, but some of it hurts like hell. Sometimes it pisses me off. PTSD with anxiety is really painful emotionally and physically. I feel exhausted constantly.

Lots of things can help with anxiety: music, breathing, changing your immediate environment, ect. As recommended in the book, Courage to Heal, I am working on a list to refer to when I get desperate. Anxiety makes it difficult to think straight or remember things. Desperate feelings are one of the least pleasant things about it. I’m also resistant to things that are actually helpful and tend to rebel against them. Go figure! The right thing to do for myself is not always the easiest or 1st thing I think about.

Here’s my list below. Feel free to swipe it for yourself and add too it, make your own list. Print it out or write a copy, I’m printing mine out to tape up and see in a couple rooms. May we all find peace.

Help with Anxiety list

Help For Anxiety:

1. Breath
2. Wiggle your toes. Feel the ground under your feet. Feel the temperature of the room
3. Chew some gum.
4. Listen to some uplifting music
5. Let yourself cry
6. Find something to laugh at. Be silly but don’t criticize yourself
7. Play with my dog
8. Work on an art project
9. Dance to some funky beats
10. Yell into a pillow
11. Hit the pillow
12. Throw that fucker! (safely, lol, I’m laughing already)
13. Tell someone how much you appreciate them
14. Write a diary entry about what I’m grateful for
15. Remind myself that it is ok if I’m still anxious even after trying 14 things. Practice compassion.
16. Write a letter to my child self
17. Talk to myself in sign language in front of the mirror
18. Write in my journal
19. Call a family member
20. Help someone else
21. Listen to the soothing audio and video files from this program or other soothing guided relaxation
22. Record my own guided relaxation audio
23. Go for a walk or exercise/yoga/stretching
24. Verbalize out loud how I’m feeling

There are probably a lot more things to do that could help someone else. I haven’t included those due to my own personal triggers. It is also not in order. I skip around a lot. That is how my brain works though. Do what works for you! Some of them are: take a bath/shower, Wrapping yourself in a blanket and hugging yourself, meditate, ect. There are tons more that you can use to care for yourself when you are experiencing anxiety.

Thank you for reading my blog. It has really helped me to have a place to write and share. It feels so amazing to not have to carry this secret anymore. It released so much shame to just come out and tell people. Secrets perpetuate abuse so fuck that. I would promise to write more but I just don’t know if I will be able too. I’m living day to day, hour to hour, sometimes even minute to minute. PTSD with anxiety or whatever shitty symptom pops up to haunt me can fuck off. I’m living through this. I don’t mean to ruin the ending for you but SPOILER ALERT: PTSD doesn’t kill me.

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Living and Coping with PTSD

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I just finished reading this book about PTSD called, “What’s Your Superpower?: Living and Coping with PTSD” by Bob Wagner. Usually I fly through a book, devouring all its bits much like I eat french fries but this was more like a fine steak dinner that you savor each part.  I had a lot of emotional reactions and cried a lot while reading.  I was triggered a couple times but I really loved how the author did not mince his words and got right down to the heart of what it is like to live with PTSD on a daily basis. He describes it perfectly and in a way I just want to shout it to the rooftops that is you have PTSD this book is VERY validating and if you love someone with PTSD, it is a book for you too. I’ll be directing people to this book a lot like I do the other resources that have helped me in my ongoing journey.

It really helps me to read books by people with the PTSD themselves instead of some educated person’s theory on it. Its comforting and heartbreaking that I am not alone in what I go through every day. I’m very thankful that he was able to open up like he did. I also learned that 28 people that have been diagnosed with PTSD commit suicide EVERY DAY! That’s a horribly large number and to think that is just the ones with a diagnosis and just the ones that are classified a suicide. I understand why though. PTSD tried to kill me and continues to through its bitch-ass hat in the ring every few months.

This book also helped me to see the behavior caused by PTSD and what is actually part of my personality. There are assignments in the book for PTSD sufferers and I enjoyed them although some are still in progress in my mind as well as my journals. I had already started working further defining my symptoms vs what is just me and my dorky weirdoness. Reading Bob Wagner’s book further helped to bring that home that my identity is not my disease and visa versa.

If you can not tell, I highly recommend this book and it is worth owning digitally to refer back to again and again. It is a story of strength and understanding. The author still struggles with PTSD and overcomes it every day to live his life. This book made me realize that I do the same and inspired me to keep going. My disease has been trying to kill me again as I go into this new phase of healing. It is lying to me and taking things from me like sleep and time. It makes me feel crazy but what is really happening is that I’m fighting.

This book also addresses the stigma that comes along with mental illness as well as the many stupid things that people say to you if you do happen to have a mental illness. Reading this I began to realize what a fucking underdog that I really am: sex worker, female, abuse survivor, mentally ill. This doesn’t make me feel bad anymore though. I don’t hold near the amount of shame that I used to about anything I listed above.  I hope to one day write a book from my perspective as well. There are some big plans that I decided not to wait to do when I feel better. Here’s the thing: I might not feel better, my disease might kill me, I might get hit by a bus tomorrow. I have started to progress toward my dreams if only one small step per day. This book is one more tool in my arsenal against PTSD and living my life. As it says in the book though: Living another day is one for the win column.

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The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis

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My copy of “The Courage to Heal” came in the mail today. My journey to find peace and to heal from the horrors of my childhood sexual abuse is still ongoing. I’m hoping to use this book and its guidance to further myself in the process of feeling better. There are tools I don’t have yet to deal with what I’ve been through.

I had a glimpse of what it would be like to be OK about a week ago. There was a span of time when there were no nightmares, no flashbacks, and when a painful memory came up, I was dealing with it without breaking down or hiding from everyone. I felt strong and happy. I was laughing, dancing around my house, and sleeping great. I don’t know why but it was like someone flipped a switch and I was teased with 2 weeks of peace and joy. Now I’m not having such an easy time and its painful. I yearn for that peace again. Honestly, I’m pissed that I’m having a few down days again. I’m pissed at who hurt me and I’m pissed at myself.

Instead of beating myself up and mourning what seems to be a loss of peace, I’m going to take it as a sign that I need to work on myself some more. There’s always more work to be done but I am so tired. This is when my brain tries to disassociate, get cynical, and basically be an asshole to myself. Its hard not to when I’m so frustrated with it all. Depression keeps trying to weasel its way back and despite my best efforts, it still wins some days. The hardest part is being nice to myself and having patience.

That seems to be what many people don’t understand about survivors. We are SOOOOO hard on ourselves. There is a troll that lives in many of us that barks about fear and doubt. We have less patience for ourselves then society has for us and let me tell you, THAT is one of the saddest parts of this whole thing. As much as I try and am patient with others, I’m not very patient or nice to myself when I start to feel sad again because I don’t want to feel it again. I don’t want to hurt more. Of course, this doesn’t help anything and is very counterproductive. As much as I tell myself these things, old habits are hard to break.

So, from the reviews I’ve read about this book, many survivors really benefited from reading it and doing the exercises. Many of the comments about it mentioned that some survivors felt like the book was written especially for them. I hope I find help within its pages. I’ll write more about this book after I have gone through some of the chapters and exercises. I’ll share some of what I’ve written in the exercises. Wish me luck!

 

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Living in The Present Moment

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I recently read a book called “How To Live in the Present Moment” by Matt Morris with Kindle Unlimited that really helped me. It gave me some pointers on living in the present moment and for me that is not always an easy task. One of my symptoms of PTSD is that I have flashbacks to past events and there were some helpful tips to bring myself more to the present. Its kind of like ground yourself. I remind myself to feel the earth beneath your feet, think about where I am now, and get myself back into NOW because NOW is awesome. It really helped to curb the feelings of fear that come along with my flashbacks or at least take the edge off so I can process them in a healthier way.

Why is NOW so awesome? Because now I am not being abused. I still live with the repercussions of those life events of my childhood and 1st marriage but I’m handling things better than I ever have. In making progress with healing and loving myself again I’ve gotten closer to my true self. I’ve been second guessing myself and trusting myself more. I haven’t been asking permission or felt as lost. This is also due to lots of therapy in the past few months that have really helped me to find peace. And there is a lot more dorky dancing around the house as I go about my day.

This book has also helped in being more patient with myself. It seems the author has written this book in the spirit of compassion and I’m thankful for that. I have a habit of being REALLY hard on myself about everything and it helped to put things more in perspective. I don’t need to be perfect to be happy with myself anymore. Not only is it not possible to hold myself to those high expectations but its a bit silly. I will also never be that great in the court of public opinion and that makes me happy now. The last thing I want to to be “perfect” or “accepted” in the court of public opinion, no fun in that! HAHA! Trying to please others is a trap. Besides, if I actually give any time to seeing whose those people are like spouting out criticisms, I’d see that they don’t really have their shit together either behind the facade. Do I take the time to do so? No, I have better things to do that are much more fun…like dancing in my office chair to one of my favorite Pandora channels and writing.

Life is random and beautiful and chaotic. There are dark times, time of love/light, and everything in between. I’m learning to go with it and make the best of myself instead of dwelling on things I really have no control over. I realize that I don’t want that kind of control anyway. Its not my problem. I like me and that’s all that really matters today. Today is a great day as is every day that I continue to care about myself. It can be difficult as an abuse survivor to feel good about myself but I do. Typing that out or writing that still brings tears to my eyes because its a truth I wouldn’t believe before.

Reading books like these along with therapy helps to reinforce to myself that being gentle with myself holds more peace of mind and results than being a hard-ass with unrealistic expectations.  The more I get to know myself the more I like myself.  Its helping me to reprogram my inner self talk with MY words instead of things my abusers had told me. I learned through therapy that the things they said to put me down were likely projections of what they actually think of themselves. That’s not really what I think of myself or how I describe myself anymore. I’m also thankful to not have those negative people in my life anymore. I deserve better and I’m not going to settle for less. I’m not afraid of losing people in my life like I used to. Sometimes people come in and out of my life and that’s ok. I don’t always feel the same as others to me but that doesn’t mean I owe them something for having feelings for me or showing me kindness. Kindness doesn’t keep a tally sheet and I don’t either. I don’t have to do things that make me uncomfortable to keep people in my life. I will be myself and if they expect more, want more, or want me to change, they can exit stage left.

Being myself means caring for myself and family, lifting others up when I can, being creative, silly, trusting myself, stop thinking in a binary way, and doings things that bring me joy and can get me out of my comfort zone to learn and grow into a better person than I am right now. I’m passionate about everything I just listed. It really means a lot to me and really, it always has in one way or another even in the darkest of times. I was still in there, deep in the recesses of my mind, waiting, lying dormant, and now I feel more free.

I’m going to be reading more of these books about less stress, mindfulness, and living in the present moment. I’ll share what was helpful and I’ll list the links to get them yourself if you are interested in reading them, too. I already have my eye on the next book to read which is “Mindfulness: Mindfullness for Beginners” by Yesenia Chavan

Here are links to the books mentioned above: