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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Take Me with You

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A letter to Myself. I have written many of these over the years. The post pic of some of those letters. It scares me sometimes because all the selves in my start talking at once in my head. It scared me that I was all these selves before. I’m really trying to accept this about myself and love myself. RADICAL ACCEPTANCE! So, here’s a love letter:

Dear Sarah,

Take me with you when you need strength. Know that someone loves you and hold a safe place for you to be yourself. Your playful, tearful self. Take me with you when you need me. Most importantly take yourself with you and all of us stand behind you that believe in you. You can do this. You are doing this. You have survived every single day no matter what the world threw at you. It’s ok to be hesitant in receiving help, just keep going! Day by day, step by step, and layer by later you are making a life for yourself that you get to live for yourself. It’s yours! The abuse may have held you back but you are bursting out now.

Take all your friends and loved ones with you through everything. Let them stand behind you and be your foundation along with your own love for yourself. When someone walks over your boundary, ask yourself, “What would Mom, Jeff, John, the support group, patrons, and your twitter friends tell you if you told them about this?” What would you tell them if this happened to them? You don’t deserve to be treated badly EVER! Everyone that cares about you wants you to have healthy boundaries and not go over them or hurt you. If someone doesn’t respect your boundaries after you state them or make an effort to do better, have a block party and dance about your freedom from another asshole! You don’t have to give them a chance either. You can do what you like. You don’t owe anyone attention, friendship, or whatever. Even if they give you things or money. You don’t have to play tit for tat.

Allow yourself to have more fun and be your silly self. That’s the good shit and you deserve more of that. Years of not letting yourself unfurl are over. Go as slow as you are comfortable. Extend your wings and let yourself be whoever you are that day. Remember that you aren’t changing, you are remembering. This is all still you. You will grow but you are always still you. No need to fear that. The core of you is good and loving. That really small voice, the real you, doesn’t think you suck. It loves your very much. I love you very much. All of me loves all of the you’s. Even if we never integrate into a whole self you are wonderful just like this. Just think, you most likely will grow and be even better because I know you. You won’t just stop here. You will go get ALL THE THINGS you want because that’s who you are.

That voice telling you all those cruel things that the abusers did is wrong and stupid. The abusers were stupid to do what they did. They could have had so much but they had to be abusers. They didn’t pick you because you were weak. They picked you because you are full of life and love. They wanted to eat your life force. They will live on having their miserable lives. They aren’t happy people even when they get what they want. You, however, will grow into a more loving giving person or rather wake up those parts you had to hide away to protect them. You get to have love and happiness in your life and you are already finding loving people!

It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be scary, but you can do this. I believe in you. Your loved ones believe in you. You don’t have to fight this alone anymore. If and when you doubt yourself ask your loved ones and they will tell  you that you can do this. They have your back and so do I, all of the parts. The goal is to have a better life and be yourself, whatever that is! You will have it too because that’s what you do. You do the damn thing! Keep going!

Love Always,

Sarah Garlits

 

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Survivor Vlog October 1, 2018

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New  PTSD video Diary Teaser
You can watch the full pt 1 vlog on my Patreon
http://www.patreon.com/SarahGarlits
Part 2 posts later this week. 🙂

Where else can you find me?

Support my art, writings, survivor blog, youtube channel and more here:
http://www.patreon.com/SarahGarlits
Social Media:
http://www.twitter.com/SarahGarlits –I’m most active and interactive here
http://www.facebook.com/sarahgarlitshttp://www.youtube.com/SarahGarlits

http://www.youtube.com/SarahGarlits – My channel

Blog and contact me:
http://www.abusesurvivorblog.com

Link to information found in this video:
I am not affiliated with this company but wanted to pass the info along to other survivors. Great information and they have helped me a lot!
CPTSD Foundation Live daily support calls and free resources: https://cptsdfoundation.org/
Traima Recovery Uniniversity Youtube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_px…

 

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Remembering – Stages of Healing

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Remembering is another stage in the healing process. When I was 10 years old memories of child sexual abuse that I suffered came back to me during a class assembly. Right there in front of everyone, the memories came crashing in. It roared in my ear and black came in around my peripheral vision. I felt like I was being sucked into the back of my head and everything was going black. I started to fight it but it was no use. All the sudden I was 3 years old and very confused, in immense burning pain, couldn’t move.I saw the abuser. I’m not sure when I came back to the present as remembering that traumatic event was also traumatic. I ran out of the room crying. It was like a horror movie except it was my life. My life wasn’t what I thought it was. I don’t have much memory of the next few months but I went into therapy as did my family.

I’m still remembering traumatic events all these years later that I repressed and I’m now 38 years old. Survivors can remember at any age and there are seniors in their 80’s and 90’s just now remembering traumatic events that happened to them in their childhoods. Now it effects me much like it when I was 10 but I am better able to handle it because I usually know what is going on. Do you remember that scene in The Bourne Identity where Jason Bourne remembers some repressed memories due to the government experiments? He grabs a table to steady himself and almost falls over. It’s pretty close to that for me. I usually have to get to a safe state of being like sitting down. I can get dizzy and fall. It’s like I’m not even in my body, I’m certainly not in the present.

There are times when I can feel a memory on it’s way, like impending doom. When this happens I get to a place that I will be safe.I let myself feel as much as I can. I employ selfcare and grounding techniques that I mentioned in the last post. Every step is important but I just started learning how to let myself rest. Remembering is painful and exhausting. There is no way I can just go back to whatever I was doing. I need time to process and rest. When I’m ready I write about it, create some art, and talking about it when I’m ready can help too.

Remembering is a unique experience for every survivor. Some survivors remember what happened, others don’t, some of us get pieces or just feelings. I have traumatic amnesia around many events. There are also body memories, emotional flashbacks, and my memory seems to change. I can remember different parts of my life at different times. Sometimes I can’t remember anything and I just exist in this body, dissociating to the point of depersonalization. Some survivors remember the event but not the feelings that went along with it. The healing process can bring out more memories as well as life events and stress. Something can trigger a memory like a life event such as getting married, having a child, breaking an addition. A retraumatization can also bring the memories back.

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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.

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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.

 

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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!