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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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!

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Back in Therapy- Treatment for PTSD

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The symptoms of my PTSD have become so intense that I started to spiral down again. Even though I am surviving I do not feel that I am improving at this point. I’ve decided to get back into therapy and had my first appointment on Monday. This was not a regular therapy session but an introduction and an intake session. Basically, I spilled my guts about the multiple traumas my life to a complete stranger in a little room. This is nerve-racking in itself but disclosure of my traumatic events is a trigger that I have to fight as well. I felt okay for the first couple hours after this intake session but that evening I started feeling more anxious and scared. I think I was subconsciously dealing with telling someone. There used to be safety in secrets.

On a positive note, I really like the new therapist and her collaborative approach to therapy. I felt respected and my symptoms that are causing the most distress taken seriously. She even took more time with me to draw up a safety plan and some popular grounding techniques to help me to self sooth. I am simultaneously looking forward to and dreading the work. I know I will feel better if I keep going and that helps to motivate me to keep at it. I have found that I feel worse before I feel better when stating therapy. I have some weird issues about self reliance and failing that are not healthy. I’m trying to rewrite over the damaging lessons I was taught and that society reinforces. I won’t let my pride get in the way of living a better life.

My next appointment is tomorrow. I am calming down from disclosing the abuse and some new memories. Now I’m feeling myself rev back up again in anticipation of tomorrow. I’m nervous but healing and coping through PTSD is the most important work of my life. The alternative is death so the choice is pretty clear. If I want a better life I’m going to have to have to fight for it. Good thing my mom raised a fighter!

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Anxiety and Nausea Caused by PTSD

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Well, I had a few good days and crammed in some work so hopefully I can keep paying my bills. The last 2 1/2 years have been a mostly sick me trying to keep up with work and stressing about it on top of dealing with the trauma that caused the PTSD. Yesterday, I experienced crushing sadness and I kept dissociating. Today, I’m experiencing nausea and a headache is threatening to appear. The sadness is still there…and I’m irritable. I am struggling again. I get a brief day or 2 of feeling well and productive before I’m knocked down again. I get a glimpse of who I could be before is all dashed away again. Healing is not linear and that pretty much pisses me off, DAMMIT! I’m grateful for those high functioning times. It also hurts so much that I don’t remain there. That is what I fight for, to get more time in that head space of living in the moment.

This is anxiety but without the super high heart rate, sweating although it could turn that way if I don’t take care of myself. My body is in a flight response. The human body will sometimes drop everything and run that means making yourself lighter so we can run. That’s where the nausea comes from…the damn monkey brain is freaking the fuck out! Ok, what do I do now? Cool water to drink, petting my dogs, remove all input such as social media, the news, and enjoy some quiet. Find that little healed part of myself. Center myself there. Listen to my body and my mind for clues. There is more trauma processing coming. Anxiety, depression, and the resulting nausea are a big sign that I’ve just recently been able to see.

I’ve decided to just tell my brain to bring it on. I have lived through worse. I can live through processing more trauma. I have gotten this far and have proof that I will get through this too. I’m human. I struggle but I won’t give up. I’m going to love myself through this even if it’s like this for the rest of my life.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why am I still here? For this? UGH!

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I have these thoughts sometimes when things get rough: “Why am I sticking around just to suffer more…” NOT GOOD! This is not a fucking test. This is my alert that depression is cropping up again. That way of thinking serves nothing and no one. It is a servant of the abyss and well, that motherfucker is not the boss of me any longer.

Do you remember that little part I was telling you about that is healed? The part that doesn’t think everything sucks? Yeah, that part is rejecting the previous statement in a pretty defiant display that has me laughing to myself. I am very visual and the healed part just bare-assed mooned the abyss!

Feels kinda like that show Supernatural when Dean insults death and everyone’s, “OH SHIT, NOW WTF?” I half expect the abyss to rise up some big hand made of black water to drag me back but nothing happens. It’s like someone stopped the record with a screech. The silence was creepy like impending doom but that doom never showed up.

—-deleted paragraph that was me just being too hard on myself because fuck that shit. Nice try though!—-

Back to what I was saying. Despite what dumb fucks say in every message system I have, I do have a lot to live for. The main reason I haven’t taken some way out to end all the pain is my family. It would hurt them and I can’t abide that even if that means I will suffer more. It’s worth it to me. I also just adopted a new family member. Her name is Lilly and she is a 5 lb, 3 year old smooth coat chihuahua(pics of her coming soon!).

Another reason to stick around: Become the crazy old dog lady! See steps below!

How to become a crazy old dog Lady in 7 steps!(I’m on step 2)

  1. Adopt a dog
  2. Adopt another dog
  3. Bake dog treats
  4. Get a house coat
  5. Flip off the neighbors
  6. Adopt another dog
  7. Live a long happy life

 

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Unlocking Memories of Trauma- PTSD

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Along with that beautiful memory I wrote about before that was much like warm honey I also unlocked another horrific memory yesterday that was the polar opposite. In the past this type of memory would have put me on my ass for a few weeks or even months. I call these new memories because I’m experiencing the memory for the 1st time but I’m remembering something that actually happened. Sounds fucked, I know, and it is. Again, my mind saved my life by locking this away until I was strong enough to deal with it. I don’t usually feel strong enough to handle them when they happen but I always manage to get through it.

What I remembered was worse than before. I thought I knew what happened but still, there is more I didn’t know. I have to get through these memories but really, I don’t want to know any more. More terror, more pain…and this time I…I can’t talk about it yet. I feel like I need to keep the details to myself. It is difficult to express in words an event that happened before you has a grasp on language. Have you ever learned something or see/watch/witness/read something and you were hurting from it afterward even though it didn’t happen to you? I feel like this would do that to people. I’m still trying to protect others. I guess it doesn’t help that my 1st therapist basically ran from me when I started to tell her what I was remembering. I was 10 then. I haven’t had much luck with therapists since. It seems that they don’t want to listen after a few months and push alternative therapies besides talk. I want to talk, I need to talk, to get this out.

This is the burden I carry knowing I need to talk to someone but they bail on me so I have been relying on myself, talking to my family for support without any details. I’ve come far. What I know, what I experienced, hurts other people when they learn it. It hurts so much. The choice is pretty clear. Process or die so I will process this too. I’m going to find a way to deal with this with art and dance and writing. I can’t share this memory yet. I need to dissect this and mourn for myself. It really is awful to not remember and it is really awful to remember what happened.

The picture is becoming more clear now and it is flaying me emotionally. I’m going to be ok. This is actually progress even though it hurts just as much as the 1st time I remembered that I was raped. I’m an adult now and I have experience with remembering trauma. So much pain, so much sadness, so much! Why am I not dead yet? Because I chose to live in spite of this suffering every fucking day. I will not give up.

I’m resistant and pissy about it but maybe it is about time for some more therapy and guidance. I might try some online therapy options I saw. I do not want to slip back into getting super depressed and this is one of those memories where I’m not sure if I’m more healed and being a badass or it hasn’t fully sunk in. I’m definitely disassociating more often and my anxiety is more frequent since the new memory. I’m waiting to fall apart again or the other shoe to drop. I’m pretty raw right now. My head hurts and I’m going to bed to relax with some music my facebook and twitter friends suggested.

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Pre-Trauma Me-Fight PTSD with LOVE?

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Due to PTSD I have memory issues. My mind protected me by locking away memories so that child me could survive. I’m processing a little at a time as new memories of more trauma come through. The bad thing is that there are some days when I can’t remember much of anything about my childhood, good, bad, or otherwise. The whole damn things gets locked up and inaccessible. I can remember different things on different days. It is very frustrating and it could be part of my dissociation making me feel so disconnected to myself. Anxiety does not help this at all. Some days I just have to let myself fall apart over and over again and then pick up the pieces. It’s exhausting!

A couple days ago I was loopy(ok, I’m still loopy) from my PTSD meds combined with Dayquil and I drifted into this lovely warm memory and it was really weird. It was definitely a memory but it was BEFORE the sexual abuse. It was be before I was hurt. It was PRE-Trauma me. I have had no recollection of pre-trauma me until that memory. I checked my journals. I used to feel really sad about my 1st memory being of pain and terror. I accepted it, did the work, and then this memory hits me like a giant fluffy comforter that is fresh out of the dryer! I sat in the comfort of this warm memory coming into focus.

My new 1st Memory

I am very young(maybe 2) and I’m at my grandmother’s house. She is smiling as she is looking down at me. I can’t really make out what she is saying but the tone is pure love. It has a sweetness that makes me feel all warm and I grin more as she continues to speak. I can’t understand her because I don’t speak English yet. I’m still a baby. I’m loved and safe and….

I’m crying now as I write this. The massive feeling of love and being grateful just hit me again. My grandmother passed away about 6 years ago so I am sad but I am so grateful because what a gift to be loved like that! This brought back a tumble of other wonderful memories of my family. I sat with the good memories for the 1st time in a very long time.

I just wanted to share that because it really felt like a big breakthrough for me. I also have to scoff a little of the irony that I had to fully accept not remembering for the memory to come through. Also, go DayQuil or the fever or whatever. I’m grateful. I think it is because I’m talking about it all again and without hesitation or shame, too. Hack my brain with love and sass? Seems to be my answer so far.

Here’s some silly! I think I need to end with some silly on my posts because I cover some heavy stuff and laughter is good for us!

 

Abuse Survivors Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Child Abuse Survivors Effects of Child Abuse Effects of Emotional Abuse My Story Overcoming Sexual Abuse ptsd

Low Stress Lifestyle 2016? Healing Out Loud

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The idea of trying to have a low stress lifestyle in 2016 seems a bit silly now with everything that has happened. I’d name them all but I’d rather not think about all that right now. It might send me back into that silence again. I made myself a promise the other day and I’m keeping it. The promise was to stop being silent. My silence was an attempt at more peace. The result was even more hate mail and bullshit than before. The death threats from idiot men deciding I owed them my time started back up. So out of the healing cocoon I come but instead of being healed I’m on fire! You can see some of what I’m talking about on facebook but twitter is where I really let it all hangout…for about 4 days.

My Promise:

I won’t be silent anymore. Silence is death. Silence enables abusers and continues the cycle. It protects the abusive ones(FUCK THAT SHIT)! This doesn’t mean I have to respond either but I don’t need to hold back or internalize it. Gotta just blow up when I need too. Express my pain, frustration, sadness, and joy. I’m not interested in protecting others from my pain anymore. Here it is. I know it hurts. This is me HEALING OUT LOUD. I won’t let anyone or anything(EVEN ME) silence me ever again.

Now is the time to boldly exist. Stop trying to blend in and not be noticed. If they come for you, so be it. Make it a good death! It is ok to fall apart and reform again. Do it a million times. I’m going to be loud for me. I’m going to be loud for everyone that is still silent. I speak only for me but let my loud mouth encourage others to find their strength and their voice. Be loud about love, hate, and everything in between.

 

Also in 2017:

-Take no shit

-Say no

-Be silly

-Keep healing

-Create

-Be weirder

-Be grateful

-Offer compassion

-Be a handful

-Live

 

I’m sorry that I was so quiet. I apologize to myself and to you out there that follow along if you were worried. I promise not to do that again. It really didn’t serve anyone. I feel like it was a mistake but one I learned from. I forgive myself and move forward from here, continuing to heal. I’m not able to be very consistent but I’m trying hard to get there. I hope you will come along with me on my healing journey. It will be easier if I don’t go it alone and I could really use your help. Thank you for reading and being here for me. Many things have saved my life continually and your support is definitely one of them.

If you are receiving death threats online know that it is illegal. You can contact your local authorities as well as the FBI. Federal crime (18 U.S. Code § 2261A – Stalking) (fbi.gov/contact-us). Document everything!