Category Archives: ptsd

What does PTSD Mean? PTSD is an acronym for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is mostly associated to soldiers that have been to war but it can also effect disaster victims, crime victims, and victims of child abuse, rape, or abuse.

I was diagnosed with PTSD when I was 10 years old. It comforted me that soldiers also had it, I thought of myself as something tough at that time. I am still healing and accepting myself.

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Abuse Survivor Blog Wins an Award

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My abuse survivor blog has won an award! They gave me a badge for my website.  I have the #8 out of top 15 blogs about child abuse. This was unexpected but it’s encouraging me to keep going. Sometimes I post a lot, sometimes very little. It is still difficult to stay consistent. My healing is still up and down but I’m finding my way.

Here’s my award ribbon!

Child Abuse Blogs

Other blog news: I’m going to be working on posting my video posts that I took off of YouTube. You will find them in the corresponding posts here where there are missing videos. Thank you for your patience.  More audio posts and other helpful videos are on the way as well. I’ll be sharing what I have learned along my journey. Thank you for reading and subscribing!

Big THANK YOU out to my Patrons on https://www.patreon.com/sarahgarlits You help fund things around here and that keep this blog possible.

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I Have a Lot to Live For

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I could tell you about my suicide attempts, the thoughts of wanting it to end, and the events that led me to want to die. I have a lot to live for though and that is more exciting. Yes, I suffer, but whatever, I’m a human. I’ve been through a lot of terrible things but I am still here. For much of my life I didn’t want to live. I did it anyway. I carried on. Four years ago I crashed hard. I made it through. Changes were made. I moved twice and I’m moving on again to another career field. I am making my life livable again and it’s exciting! I still fight every single day.

With the recent celebrity suicides in the news I realized that I WANT TO LIVE! I am not feeling suicidal or scared that I will hurt myself lately. I feel like I am on my own side and will get through whatever CPTSD throws at me while I’m healing. It’s all healing, even the shitty things like memories of abuse, nightmares, flashbacks, disassociation all part of processing trauma. I know I will get a but choked up with emotion and gratitude but here it goes…

What have to live for(in no particular order):

Pets – Have you seen my good rescue Doggos? Lily and Buster are amazing and help me so much by just loving me. They were also abused in their pasts but we all have a good life now. The good doggo life with lots of love, cuddles, hugs, play, FOOD, and peace.

Family- They love me unconditionally. I feel the same. It’s a fierce love that doesn’t seek to control but support and allow me to be me, whoever that is or what I’m going through. I know hurting myself would also hurt them and fuck that. I am the joking silly one. I want to make them laugh as much as possible with my silliness and love themselves as much as I love them.

Books to read- Since many were held back by bullshit discrimination, I’m excited to read new authors that are not the traditionally published. Dumbass humans that can’t figure out that other humans come in different colors, shapes, sizes and genders, sexuality, preferences, and it takes all kinds of people for the world to work. Anyway, there are blogs and books from people I would have never been able to learn from before producing content that I am excited to pure into my brain!

Books to write- I have a story. It will be healing to tell it. Maybe my life can help someone else.

Positive contributions to make like- Yes, I have an agenda if I am going to stay. My aspirations in life have to do with helping others to heal, sharing info, teaching healthy coping methods. I have a lot to learn still but that’s also another exciting part of life for me.

Art to create- I’m a sculptor at heart and I am making my ceramics studio happening. I’m also painting more and enjoying the chaos of watercolor. I have notebooks of sketches and ideas.

ME! – I am still figuring out who I am underneath all the dissociation, coping, and other CPTSD symptoms. Who I am is nothing like the abusive people told me I was. I don’t need anyone to tell me who I am anyway. Now that I love myself a little I want to go shout it to the damn rooftops! I LOVE ME! I’m already a loving person but I feel like my heart had grown even larger. That also means I’m more protective of myself and my own well being.

Future- Who knows what opportunities will arise? I plan to be here for it.

People(YES,REALLY? I KNOW,WTF!?) Yes, people. There are amazing people out there. We focus on the jerks but there are also people that are just well, flat out fucking amazing human beings. They inspire me to learn, grow and love. They inspire me to live. Some of those people are reading this post right this very moment! Thank you to everyone that comments and shares my posts as well as their own experience.

There is more but that’s the short version. This could be a book all in itself.

Abuse Survivors Complex PTSD Free Writing My Story Overcoming Sexual Abuse ptsd

Free Writing May 26, 2018

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I miss touch. I don’t trust touch, but I miss it. I’m afraid of kindness and nice touches. I’m tensed up for the worst, the pain, the coldness and the searing pain. I am armored against it. I am afraid of touch. My sense of safe touch is not accurate. Like language, abusers used soft touch to lure trust and cultivate the want for safe loving touch only to take advantage of that trust. That is grooming. How can I tell who is grooming me? I realize my solution was to go extremely slow in connecting with someone and allowing closeness. I’m doing that, but I don’t think it is intentional, I’m realizing I’m doing it. Anyone frustrated with my pace can go find someone who is more compatible with what they want/need.  This left me confused. Abusers gaslighted me further. Society reinforced it. Society gaslights me. All the mixed messages and bullshit and excuses for abuse.

My feelings about being a human: (This is disassociating.)

I don’t like it. I don’t feel good in this form, in this shape, with these horrible thoughts.  I feel like an imposter human that must fake it, but I can’t fake it any longer. There is all the pressure to be this or that or achieve, change, grow, heal when I can barely remember my life some days.

All this pressure, all these expectations, how can one keep track. So many conflicting messages and demands and judgments that conform or die mentality. Make it stop. I can’t make the thoughts stop. The run in my mind like rabid angry squirrels fighting for territory. They shriek, and they scratch. I scream inside but no one can hear me but me.

I’m cut off from remembering much of my life. I can’t remember names of common things, not names, and…what was I talking about. Some shit anyway.

I realized lately, AGAIN, that I seem to lose connection. Like lose connection with people I care about. Like it is just gone sometimes, or fuzzy if my brain is trying to determine if they are dangerous. It is awful. I must rebuild connections a lot to keep them. It embarrasses me. I feel like people won’t understand. Some people seem to act so familiar to me and that freaks me out too. Like already assuming friendship and closeness before much discussion. Fuck that, people that try to decide how close I am to them get cut out. Cut. Connection lost. At least there is a reason there. This happens to myself. I lose connection with loving myself.

CRS…can’t remember shit. More disassociation. I just kind of freaked out about what I wrote. I write and can see how someone could take it wrong, misinterpret, see some malicious intent in my words but there really isn’t. It’s difficult to be close to me, even for myself.

How can I feel bad about what I wrote when I’m basically leaving everyone alone and not hurting anyone just trying to live a peaceful quiet life? Let me count the ways. Wait, those words in my head about how I can feel bad aren’t even my words. I’m not even saying them. It’s an echo from another time. Who said it? Who cares, it’s fucked, and I will not accept that negative talk as the truth. This is a symptom of my CPTSD. What is real? What is a symptom and what is just part of what everyone else feels that doesn’t have cptsd? Do I really need to parse that out? Nahhhh.

I think I am fractured. I feel many ways, not just the binary 2 extremes, but all sorts of ways. The different perspectives talk in my head and discuss things. They interrupt each other too. They are good at problem solving. Many times, I get overwhelmed and confused. Then I disassociate more and feel like I am the nothing. My mind spins and the thought and emotions are spinning too fast for me to keep up. This paragraph was scary to write. Post it anyway! Fuck it!

Just tried to go back and fix what I wrote so it wouldn’t piss anyone off to make some shitpost troll comment or discouragement. I’m vulnerable. I can’t tell criticism from people being assholes. I added more to the 1st paragraph but I didn’t go read what triggered the bad feeling about myself. This is honest and my feelings right now. I don’t have to edit them for anyone. If someone hates me now well then good, that means I’m still alive to piss someone off by being myself. Spits venom that I just figuratively coughed up instead of chewing on it.

May 28,2018- I hesitated about posting this but fuck it, I’m just going to share. It is mine. It is what it is. I don’t feel like the writing above today but there are a lot of days that I do feel like that. Writing it down helps to get it out of my head and can sometimes quiet it down a little. Like a release of the pent up whatever that shit is. I don’t like it, I don’t even like writing about it but it’s part of how I’m healing myself. I write a lot and don’t share much of it. Reading what I wrote on the days I’m suffering more helps me to be more compassionate. I can step aside and see myself as a person suffering. It is still very difficult for me to be compassionate in the moment but I am working on it.

 

Abuse Survivors Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Complex PTSD Effects of Child Abuse Effects of Emotional Abuse Free Writing My Story Overcoming Sexual Abuse ptsd

PTSD Episode

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My anxiety and insomnia are back again. I’m in another PTSD Episode. This happens and will happen again and again as I move through my life. The duration of the episodes get shorter and recovery time from the episodes grow shorter. I am becoming more resilient by practicing self care and self compassion like my life depends on it. Because it does. I feel more prepared to take care of myself now. Knowing what is happening and having a plan to take care of myself helps me so much during times like these. I’ve got this and I’m cranky about it all the same. I’m surviving on meditation, love, coffee, and a Spoonie/Goonies Never Say Die attitude.

I hope you are having a better day, dear reader, than I am. If you are having a crappy day too, know that I stand there with you in solidarity. Deep breathing and mindfulness meditation have been the most helpful for me. Art and writing in my journal when I need to express myself more. The insomnia has been creeping back as my anxiety worsened. I’m going to have to focus on sleep more this month. People talk about healing as some wonderful spiritual positive experience but the reality is that it hurts.

This month’s mantra is “Keep it Moving” and I plan to do just that. I am being more active and focused on myself. I refuse to let Complex PTSD kill me. Like I said before, I live.

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Completely Healed Complex PTSD?

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healing from complex ptsd

I used to think being healed from complex PTSD and child sexual abuse meant that I didn’t have any lasting effects and my symptoms would be completely gone. I was told by many uneducated people to just get over it, move on, let it go, ect. Here’s the thing though: I’m not choosing to hang onto anything. Complex PTSD is not a choice. I can choose to recover but healing from trauma is a long messy process. If I could just choose to be healed, I SO WOULD! You have no idea how much I want it to be as simple as choosing wellness but the reality is that takes more time than anyone has the patience for. Relearning how to human and to learn(possible for the 1st time) healthy coping techniques takes time.

When would I consider myself healed? I wouldn’t. I know that may sound harsh but stay with me. If I could acknowledge the trigger or memory without it ruining my day or take longer than a few minutes to get back to life before the trigger. To be able to set it down as soon as it jumps on my back with love for myself and not the seemingly automatic reaction of anxiety, fear, and negative self speak. I don’t think that healing means that I forget. It will always be there. Being healed is handling the triggers and feelings in a way that is not detrimental to myself is the goal. Healing from child sexual abuse along with the other traumas that make up my complex PTSD is a lifelong process. It’s a journey and not a destination.

My focus now is to be compassionate with myself through all of this. It’s what I have denied myself thinking if I wasn’t hard on myself, I wouldn’t do it. I had and still have a whole myriad of untrue reasoning about myself that I’m working on. Basing goal posts according to someone else’s standards or their timeline is counterproductive. They aren’t me so they don’t get to judge or dictate what healing looks like for me. I get to do that. I have to do the work, ME, not them. It’s so easy to sit and judge someone’s behavior or doing the recovery work rather than fixing your own crap, right? Other people can be supportive and compassionate or shove off. There is no need for tough love, criticism of how I live, recover, suffer, live, or achieve my goals.

I am happy to report that I have been doing a LOT better when it comes to putting myself 1st and sleep. According to my tracker technology, I have been getting an average of 9 hours a night for over a month now. I still wake up a lot but the amount and quality has increased. My life and mental well being have greatly improved. In fact, according to my tracker technology I am averaging 9 hours a night. This is a huge change from the rest of my life. I’ve had chronic insomnia for decades. This is proof to me that things can get better. It just takes work and dedication. I can do that. I’m doing it! More sleep has reduced a lot of my complex PTSD symptoms including anxiety and anxiety attacks. I have a self care sleep routine that is working.

There are a ton of other things I do which I mentions in another blog talking about my Complex PTSD toolbox pt1 and  Complex PTSD toolbox pt2. Check those out for more info. All the things at once are overwhelming for sure but focusing on thing at a time works for me. I focus on 1 thing and then build on that. I know I’m going to have up and down times now but I have a plan and several plans depending on what is going on.

Knowing what is happening so I can help myself has been life changing. Before I practiced mindfulness and check-ins with myself I was living in a reactionary state that was extremely difficult. I really didn’t know what was happening or what to do. I would just suffer and wait for it to pass. Taking action to help myself through whatever symptoms arise has lessened the amount of time it takes to be functioning again. There are still times when it seems like nothing helps but in those times I can practice compassion with myself.

 

 

 

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Sarah Blake Video Diary for May 12th, 2017

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I wanted to let you know that I will be starting several series on my Youtube channel. I want to lean my channel away from me being a performer and for my channel to be more informative about complex PTSD. My hope is that someone else with PTSD, depression, or other mental illness and are inspired to love themselves and work on healing or doing whatever needs to be done to feel better. If a goofy Midwestern gal can heal and get better, they can too. Don’t give up, it can get better! So yeah, I do have an ulterior motive here. I want to change the world as much as I can in a positive way as long as I’m still here and breathing. That doesn’t mean that I still won’t be a performer or that I’m going to stop creating videos for entertainment purposes. No way! I’ll do both and probably challenge a lot of stereotypes and beliefs along the way. GOOD!

Anyway, here is another Sarah Blake Video Diary with me talking about my experiences living with complex PTSD. I always want to do these daily then hit a quiet patch in my healing. That’s ok because I have other videos to create having to do with coping and definitions to inform others about complex PTSD. Onward!

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My PTSD Video Diary on Youtube by Sarah Blake

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If you have been following this blog but not my PTSD Video Diary on my youtube channel it’s going to look like I disappeared. I have not! I have been going through some tough times but I’m still kicking! I’ve been posting my video diary on youtube and writing in my journal instead of typing into a computer. Writing with a pen and talking seem to work better than typing to express myself lately. Sometimes I’ve been posting daily and sometimes weekly. I’ll go ahead and post the videos here so you can see them here too. If you enjoy the video please subscribe to be kept up to date of all the new videos that get released. I’m going to start after the date of the last posting I wrote here, April 29th, 2017.

In this video I am adjusting to medication prescribed by a psychiatrist. My therapist convinced me to to seek help through medication and this is what it is like for me to adjust to those medication. I had a lot of side effects, mostly that I was sleep all the time. I felt tired and goofy in this video:

 

I’m also planning on typing in my journal entries that I wrote or read them out load on some videos so I have a digital record of them. I might record some audio only ones as well. I feel compelled to not have this secret anymore and open up my life. It’s helping me. It’s helping other people. Win-win.

I’ll be posting the other PTSD video diary videos but I will try not to overload you too much. Just a few a week. If you already subscribe to my youtube channel I apologize for the double postings. I go through and reread my own posts(typos and all) and watch my older videos to help me see myself as a person. I still have some self worth issues but I do have some love for myself that I don’t remember ever having before. Loving myself is has really taken all the wind out of shame. Sharing has helped me a lot over the past few years. I don’t regret it at all. In fact, I want to share more! I’m starting to get asked to share my posts on other blogs and I’m going to agree to it. The more we all share about abuse, the more informed people are. Information is power. Hopefully, it can change some things for the better for survivors and to prevent abuse is some way shape or fashion. Yes, I have an agenda as well as a fuckton of a lot of healing to do. I want to share my life to help me and others. That’s it! Heal a fuckton, raise awareness about abuse, show people they are not alone and PTSD is a natural response to a traumatic situation. Maybe someone else that has PTSD sees one of my vids and realizes they are worthy of love and happiness. I want my channel to be a safe space to talk about this tough stuff. Ok, I’m rambling. Onward with the PTSD video diary postings!

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Behind the Smiling Mask

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For years my brain locked away years of memories of abuse and rape. At 10 some of these memories came back to me. Luckily, my brain waited until I was older to tell me the rest of the story. I have suffered ever since. Nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, fear, pain, living with a broken heart of a child. Reality crashed down upon me the thousand bricks and now I crawl out from underneath each brick each day.

The greatest mystery of life is who we truly are. Now as I can remember the repeated rapes I also remember the resilient little girl behind the smiling mask. I was a chameleon who knew the world would not understand my pain. The burden of child abuse and survival is not something that anyone should suffer alone. I kept their secrets and did what was expected of me to survive the world that treats survivors as perpetrators. I was a chameleon to survive and to live again. I hid my PTSD, the abuse I suffered from countless people and from the world  behind my smile. I smiled to say that I’m okay, that I’m one of you, but I’m not. I no longer hope for acceptance nor do I want to be accepted by people who would minimize or excuse rape and abuse. I do not want to be counted among those who are ignorant or ignore it.

My mind is slowly revealing to me who I truly am. I am a survivor of child sexual abuse and partner rape. I will no longer remain silent or hide behind the mask of a smile for anyone’s comfort. I am a survivor and I was a resilient child that grew up to still love deeply and be kind. They could not take that from me and they cannot have it now. Each memory is like suffering all over again my body is racked with pain but I still live.

I no longer hide, I no longer wish to be accepted or to act accordingly. I no longer care to fit in. I know the world is cruel and I will live anyway. Now I take off the mask and reveal my true self, not just a survivor but a warrior, still alive, scars and all. My story does not end here but my true life and purpose begins here.

 

See my PTSD Video Diaries: https://www.youtube.com/user/sarahblakeinc

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Self Care Sleep Routine – PTSD Toolbox

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More than 70% of people with PTSD have trouble sleeping. I have had trouble sleeping my whole life. Over time I have developed a self care sleep routine that helps me to get to sleep. Not having enough quality rest makes my life much more difficult in terms of coping with my PTSD symptoms. I wrote down what to do to wind down and then systematically tweaked that list.

My Bedtime Routine:

At 8pm-9pm the tv and/or computer goes off. (I still post a Gnite pic and look at animals on Instagram for a few minutes after I lay down sometimes.)

I check the alarm and the door locks.

Lights off and light a candle. Listen to music and write or listen to an audio book for about an hour.

Brush teeth and put on pj’s while listening to music or an audio book.

Hop in bed, cuddle the pups.

Turn on the fake fireplace.

Turn on an audio book with a soothing voice.

BAM! I’m usually out before the 60 minute timer on audible stops the book.

Many people do this naturally and don’t even think about it. I needed a bit more help due to being stuck in fight or flight mode most of the time. It helps me to wind down and give my brain signals that I am safe and it’s time for sleep. I used to keep this little list on an index card so I wouldn’t forget anything or if I got off track I could refer back to it. It takes some discipline to get into a routine. I also used sleeping pills for the 1st week of this routine and now I’m going to sleep on my own. Loving myself has a lot to do with making sure I do this routine every night. Even if I fail at everything else that day to take care of myself and manage my PTSD symptoms, I make sure that I do this routine. I am going to use what I learned to create this routine to create other self care and helpful routines to help myself.

If you also are having trouble getting to sleep feel free to try out the self care sleep routine above. Add in your own stuff and subtract what doesn’t work for you. For an example you might shower or take a long bath before bed, meditate, write in a journal, do some stretches or yoga. If you know someone that may benefit from a self care bed time routine, please pass this idea along!