Moving Past PTSD triggers


Do we ever really heal from trauma?
What does “healing” really mean?

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
adding to the Habits, Memory, EF, and PTSD Series

Responding to a comment

Right after I published the second part of one of my PTSD Awareness articles, author and blogger Chuck Jackson posted a comment that asked a question I couldn’t  answer at length in the comment format.

Do you ever recover fully from PTSD?

Chuck went on to add some context to his question:

Looking at your list of symptoms (mental and physical), if I was honest with myself, I would still mark yes to over fifty percent.

The majority of the time, I live a happy and enjoyable life. It is only during periods of anxiety or prolonged depression, do these symptoms raise their dirty head.

They are not debilitating, just very annoying.

So, for the most part, I suppose we could say that Chuck is essentially “healed.”

He has moved well beyond some pretty nasty stuff in his childhood (his healing journey shared in his stunning book about child abuse, “What Did I Do?).”

But I believe he is asking another, broader question with a much broader application:

Why am I not beyond all of my symptoms all of the time?

Real questions have real answers, so lets take a look at a couple of questions I’m sure we have all entertained at some point in our lives:

I’ll begin with a segment of my comment in answer to his question.

Forgetting is part of the process of memory too

“Forgetting” is still quite the mystery to scientists, even as they learn more about “remembering” – and that is really at the heart of Chuck’s question.

Most of us would prefer to have a way of “erasing” disturbing tracks laid down as the result of earlier experiences so that we can focus on and recall more positive/supportive reactions, thoughts and behaviors instead of disturbing reactions to PTSD triggers.

From an article I posted 3 years ago now,
Brain-Based Habit Formation:
~~~~~~

Any golf pro will tell you that eradicating their clients’ bad habits is the toughest challenge they face.

It’s much easier and quicker to coach someone to play par golf if they’ve never picked up a club than if they’ve been a bogey golfer for years.

Only the best golf pros understand why that is so and what to do to overcome it more quickly, however!

Brain-Based Habit Formation also explains that old pathways never actually get “deleted” — so unless the bogey golfer practices the new habits EVERY SINGLE TIME he picks up a club, he is likely to slip back into his old habits.

And every single time he “rehearses the old,” he deepens the “brain-grooves” of the habit he wants to eradicate.  In the same manner:

If you focus on your triggers and allow them to control you,
you are likely to find yourself back-sliding quickly.

What is needed is to link a new action to an old cue – to pull yourself gently but intentionally away from the old fears and other manifestations (symptoms) the moment you realize that you are “rehearsing the pain.”

So, in that sense only, I will tell you that,
at present, “PTSD” never really goes away.

NOW, let’s unpack that a bit – because that does NOT mean that you are going to have to suffer for the rest of your life. After all, as I said to Chuck, who cares whether “PTSD” goes away or not if it never troubles you!

Remember that you can always check out the sidebar
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That which is likened to itself is drawn

Readers who are familiar with New Age ideas have probably seen that statement many times as a shorthand explanation of The Law of Attraction.

Did you realize that it correlates perfectly to what neuroscientists have been saying for some time now?

Neurons that fire together wire together, and
Neurons that wire together fire together.

When we activate one, the others that are “wired” to it
are activated as well.

Pattern Recognition

Whenever we consciously or unconsciously follow our thoughts down rabbit holes, we are strengthening the wiring. “Wiring” forms a thought-pattern our brain has evolved to have in place because it is easy. It conserves brain resources to be able to pattern-match. Our brain is a beautifully developed pattern-recognition organ.

If the brain had to be able to sort through and figure out incoming sensations and internal thoughts every single time, it would have to be so large that any head that could contain it would have to be HUGE!  We’d never make it through the birth-canal.

Laying down the tracks

Let’s consider the impact of attention on registration.

Registration is memory’s first step: laying down the tracks in the first place. The spotlight of attention allows us to be aware of something going on around us.

If our attention is not directed to an event,
we are simply unaware that the event is occurring.

If we aren’t aware of something to begin with, there is NO way we will be able to remember it, because there is no way it could have been registered for storage.

  • Strong emotions like fear rivet our attention to the event in process, and we lay down “tracks” firmly.  It becomes difficult NOT to remember it.
  • As additional fear responses and thoughts become “wired” to the memory, we develop a pattern of thought that becomes a habit.

The Role of the Basil Ganglia

Scientists are beginning to understand the crucial role that a part of the brain called the basal ganglia plays in creating new habits and maintaining existing ones.

This understanding helped explain why some people, even after significant brain damage, were still able to do certain things that they’ve always done before — without any conscious awareness of how they were able to do them.

Now neuroscientists realize that if the basal ganglia are intact, old habits are still available. It is beginning to seem fairly likely that the neural pathways established as a result of the habits we develop remain forever.

  • If those pathways did not remain available for activation, learning complex tasks that build upon information previously stored would be practically impossible — because the previous habits would not be available for linking.
  • Almost everything we know is a product of incremental learning: from language acquisition, to arithmetic, to cooking, to golf — to every single job skill we pick up from years of experience.

Healthy brains will safely file away the pathways of old habits — like riding a bicycle, for example — even if we don’t use them for decades, just in case we need to go back and use those same routes again.

  • Few of us have had to stop and think about how to walk, for example, since we first learned how to do it.
  • Yet, because the brain conserves those old pathways, we can regain the ability to walk much more quickly and easily than we could when we were babies if we must relearn how to walk.
  • I experienced that personally after a skiing accident resulted in a badly broken leg and almost a year in a cast (once my bones were healed and my muscles were once again strong enough to support the process, of course).

UNLEARNING and Relearning

The latest research indicates that habits are ingrained by the basal ganglia so solidly they might as well be hard-wired and soldered in.  We continue to act in accordance with them even when we no longer benefit from the action, or when it is in direct opposition to what we say we want to think or feel or do instead.

Apparently, unlinking – extinguishing a habitual response – is a process our brain resists.

What that means

Illuminated by the habit cycle, linked behaviors become practically automatic at the presence of their cue — an almost involuntary, “below-the-radar” control of behavior, scarcely available to conscious awareness.

That includes habits of thought as well as habits of action – and all of the emotions that have become “wired” to ride along.

  • When we encounter a CUE, we respond as readily as Pavlov’s dogs salivate at the ringing of a bell.
  • Unless, that is, we link something else to the cue — and repeat it often enough that it becomes a HABIT.

Leaving the bad in the dust

If we want to, effectively, eradicate an old habit, we must tweak the second portion of the formula: linking the new action (response or thought) to the old cue.

When we create a new habit, our brain creates new neurological pathways that allow us to more easily use the new response again because it requires less energy than recalling the old.

So, the most effective way to change your habits is to REPLACE them with new ones.

  • If we want the old wiring to stop getting triggered, we need to train ourselves to pay more attention to what make us happy and stop giving attention to the brain-chatter that drags us down.
  • From a practical standpoint that means to stop focusing on those negative thoughts.  Don’t talk about them, don’t continue to ruminate as you attempt to figure them out, don’t even actively resist them.
  • To be able to unhook the cascade of badness that follows in rapid succession with every not-so-great thought that activates our fear centers, we need to train ourselves to think about something else — something that does NOT activate negative thoughts.

Presented slightly differently, as I concluded in Overcoming the bad to get to the GOOD:

The point is to stop repeatedly activating your fear centers so that you can wire some new responses to old cues and so that you can stop automatically going in the direction you don’t want to travel.

Most of the treatment modalities that are currently successful healing PTSD work their magic by teaching you how to access more resourceful states.

An important addendum

Most people who are ready to move forward into healing have gone through a period of time when they were exploring the thoughts, actions and memories that resulted in the formation of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to begin with.

Click HERE for Sue Vincent’s excellent description, Out of Nowhere

I am not necessarily telling you to skip this step.  Treatment is individual, and practitioner opinions are divided about what to try and what works.  It’s a long, slow process for most of us.  Give up the word “malingering” where PTSD is concerned.

I am telling you (and Chuck) how to move forward, when you are ready, into a more resourceful state. More resourceful states lead directly to more effective Executive Functioning as well as a different response to your PTSD triggers.

I don’t mean to imply that it’s easy, but it IS that simple. When you’re ready, it is well worth embracing the idea of rebuilding your habits of thought — so that you will allow yourself to work on DOING that.

START by going back to read Overcoming the bad to get to the GOOD and, when you get to the bottom, really explore the following question:

What kind of thoughts work for you?
It will be well worth your time to figure that out —
and train yourself to DO it.

If I can help with that retraining, be sure to get in touch.

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

130 Responses to Moving Past PTSD triggers

  1. I like the hope in this post, Madelyn, backed up by science and practical advice. Humans are so resilient and though not easy, can find joy in life even after trauma. I’ve seen it so many times in my nursing career and with my own family. People with devastating diseases or illnesses adapt and move on to live their lives. Inspirational!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely comment. Thank you for taking the time to read the post and leave your encouraging remarks. {{hugs}}
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharing your inspirational post, Madelyn. Have a great week! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you SO much, Bette. I truly appreciate the help spreading the word.

      I’ll bet Maine is gorgeous right now. Still a bit too summary for my liking here in Cincy – and our leaves are still mostly green.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • The fall foliage is still a bit dull, but should start shouting after a frost or two. We’ve had an unexpected summery September and we’re not complaining about that; although that crisp air and vibrant foliage is sure to inspire! Have a lovely week, Madelyn! xo

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have spent very little time in Maine, but I have wonderful memories of it. Several of us drove up from Manhattan with a friend who was making the trip — and were there too early for any signs of color. But our lobster dinner was AMAZING and the lush green foliage we could see from our table on the restaurant patio was gorgeous.

          On my bucket list to buy a camper van and explore the state when the colors abound – once I win the lottery, of course. 🙂
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

  3. ellenbest24 says:

    My sister suffers PTSD and after ten years of accepting help I feel she at least has more time at peace than she has had before. This post crammed full of interesting informative good understandable assistance. She said her past she can forget or shut away, but occasionally some tiny thing pops out of nowhere to explode in her face. It is as if she is haunted.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If only there was a way to completely eradicate negative thoughts. They do so much damage!

    Like

    • True, Stevie – but at times they also keep us safe. Brains that hold on to the negative evolved for a reason. Fortunately, we CAN weaken – or erase – the hold of the negative, thanks to the miracle of neuroplasticity.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank goodness!

        Liked by 1 person

        • For sure – it takes ongoing attention, but it CAN be done!
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry that I came to this important article so late – I just found it buried in my Inbox! Sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know how anybody finds anything in the eglut. I turned “notify by email” OFF for that very reason. I follow so many folks that I’d need a whole new email address JUST for notifications now that Eudora Pro is no longer what it was.

      I really used those easy to set Boolean filters – and handling email on my computer (Pop3) was sooooo much faster than having to be online and deal with the cloud!

      IN ANY CASE, you did see it, and I am so glad you clicked over to read and decided to reblog. Thank you so very much.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  6. Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie tackles a tough question about healing and PTSD. Please, read on…

    Liked by 1 person

    • MANY thanks for going back for this one, John! Love it that you waited to reblog – whatever the reason. It gives the post a second life in the Reader for folks who missed it when I posted it initially. Perfect! So appreciative.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wish I could say it was planned that way. The truth is that I finally got to the bottom of my Inbox and found the notice. I’ve been so behind all week. I’m glad you’re glad! Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I *never* get to the bottom of my inbox! Literally hundreds of “new and important” marketing offers added every few days. Some of those guys send several a DAY!

          I used to try to get OFF those lists, but it turned out to be a total waste of even more time. Ah for the good ole days before all that marketing!
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Fortunately for me, I have successfully unsubscribed from those nuisance marketing emails. Most of mine are notices from WordPress about my blog and about blogs I follow. Maybe I follow too many!! Anyway, I’m happy to report that I have just 4 unread messages in that Inbox – and there were 149 this morning. Very productive day!!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hats OFF! I unsubscribe from one and two or more replace it! Endless.

              Good job on all that email too. I spent the day on blog housekeeping and catching up a bit around the ‘net – besides a long walk for Tink, of course, and fixing us each a bit of food. Productive, I guess, but not a lot that moves the ball forward.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Weekly Inspiration Roundup – Vol. 9 | When Women Inspire

    • Thank you SO much for the feature, Christy. I am always honored.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a great article, Madelyn. What you are saying here makes absolute sense to me. I must add though that with Greg, I don’t think the therapists have ever delved into whatever memories he has of the 18 operations. Most of these were performed before he was five years old.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Robbie. As for Greg, with memories that “young” they are filed away subconsciously. If you can encourage him to develop the habit of focusing on good stuff when he is out of sorts, you can help him “rewire” without bringing anything negative up (which, I agree, would be going in the wrong direction).

      Always appreciate your visits, Robbie. I have scheduled time this weekend to read your (sadly languishing) book, btw. I sincerely apologize that it has taken soooo long!
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is fine, Madelyn. I am working out my last week of notice next week and then I will be diving back into this book so the timing is perfect. Have a great weekend and dog treats to Tink.

        Liked by 1 person

        • TREATS for me? Robbie, you are the BEST!!
          Woof! TINK

          Like

  9. Pingback: Moving Past PTSD triggers – SEO

    • Don’t know if the notification was slow in coming or my ADD eyes were slow in seeing, but I just found this in my “pending approval” folder. Thank you very much for sharing – and sincere apologies for taking so long to approve it! I really appreciate your support.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Christy B says:

    Hi Madelyn, another excellent post that, unfortunately, is on a subject that I’m still learning about years after “the” episodes occurred that therapy has determined were responsible for my having PTSD. I understand what you write about the strength of emotion causing something to be felt deeply and to render it more difficult to forget.

    I’ve become well-skilled at turning negatives into positives but sometimes I find it difficult to spend time in the negative world at all now which I also know isn’t healthy. A friend was frustrated with me last year about that very thing! Life is a learning process, right?!

    I’m including this post in my Friday inspiration roundup. Thanks for all you do xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you SO much for helping me spread the word, Christy.

      I’m not sure how necessary it is to spend any time at all in negativity, actually, purposely, that is — as long as we aren’t trapped in denial. IMHO, THAT is the part that is unhealthy about it.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Christy B says:

        Thank you for your reassurance, Madelyn! Happy Friday xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Happy Friday to you too, Christy – and to ALL who are prepping for Irma and mopping up after Harvey.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

        • btw Christy – Robbie left a PTSD comment for you on my blog. She wants you to tap her on anything you write about it in the future.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Christy B says:

            Oh! I hadn’t seen it. Will take a look now. Thank you in advance ❤

            Liked by 1 person

            • My pleasure (playing catch-up – just got back!)
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

          • Christy B says:

            Also, my friends Judith and John found this post through my share of it on LinkedIn and said they both found it to be very valuable xx

            Liked by 1 person

            • It is great to hear that spreading the word really works – thanks for telling me that.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Christy, I happened to see your comment and learn that you also suffer form PTSD. My son of 14 years old suffers badly and we go through some very rough periods. If you write any posts in this regard please tag me as I am always very keen to read about any helpful hints in this regard. Congratulations on overcoming this disorder so well.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Robbie, I also encourage you to think about Sensory Integration (“defensiveness”) issues with both of your boys. Just a hunch, especially since, with PTSD, the sensory pathways often get scrambled – AND because it often rides along with ADD and spectrum.

        I am working on a Series to begin in October, but meanwhile, once you have some time, take a look at Sound Sensitivity and Sensory Integration. It is l-o-n-g because it covers a great many sensory modalities, but it may help you sherlock what’s behind a few “meltdowns” and seeming “pickiness.”
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Madelyn. I look forward to your new series and will have a look at this. Hugs.

          Liked by 1 person

          • No rush – it’s there whenever. I just have an inkling it will get you thinking in some new directions and maybe help you come up with some new solutions.
            xx,
            mgh

            Like

      • Christy B says:

        Hi Robbie, yes, absolutely I will tag you in the future. Your son has an observant, kind, and thoughtful mother. This post from a few years back is one that I had reblogged and I just found it out as it helped me. Still helps me with the reread! Maybe it will be useful for you too: https://petitemagique.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/learning-to-deal-with-ptsd-fighting-ptsd/

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for the link, Christy. I’ll be over to check it out too – later tonight or tomorrow.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you so much, Christy. I try but it can be really hard. I am going to go over and read both yours and Madelyn’s links now.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I just read Christy’s, and the article is very good.
            xx,
            mgh

            Liked by 2 people

            • Christy B says:

              It’s not one I’ve written but it’s one I’ve referred to as I healed xx

              Liked by 2 people

            • I knew that — I was referring to the link you left (and saw on the site that you had reblogged it).
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 2 people

      • Letting you know that Christy responded to you in a comment (vs. “reply”) so you may not get a notification, Robbie. She left you a link to something else she had written on PTSD.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Madelyn.

          Liked by 1 person

          • As Spanish speakers often say in response, No hay de que!
            xx,
            mgh

            Liked by 1 person

  11. Chuck says:

    Hi Madelyn,
    I had totally forgot that we were to discuss PTSD further. I remember writing my response in reply to the list of symptoms you had listed. I usually associate my experience of PTSD with my year in Vietnam. I never thought about its origin could be my youth and surviving the child abuse.

    Without knowing it, I did program my mind towards more positive things. You have given me a fuller understanding of how and why we experience setback and relive traumatic events. “Neurons that fire together wire together, and Neurons that wire together fire together”.

    Thank you for making a complex psychological condition easier to understand. HUGS

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad it answered your question a bit better, Chuck. I hope others will find it helpful as well.

      I’d be willing to bet that your experience in Vietnam retriggered buried childhood trauma.

      I’d also bet that writing your book helped you bring a lot of things to consciousness so you could untangle some of those neurons — awareness is always the first step to “unhooking.”

      Thanks again for the comment that resulted in this post.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

      • Chuck says:

        You are right on all counts.😳

        Liked by 1 person

        • 🙂 And don’t we all love to hear that we are right!
          xx, mgh

          Liked by 1 person

  12. We called it “creating neural bypasses,” but essentially it’s the same method. Excellent explanation, easy for wider readership to understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Dolly. Important concepts for us to grasp in order to be willing to work on creating those neural bypasses.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Reminder: shoot me an e-mail so I can send you that cartoon.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ll go check my email – I drafted it, but perhaps I didn’t hit send? Thanks for the reminder.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Perhaps you should hit send again because I still don’t have it.

            Liked by 1 person

            • 7:30 pm – dug it out of “drafts” – sent now – got the notice that it was, in any case.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Got it, and sent it. 😸

              Liked by 1 person

            • Got it – downloaded it – DARLING! (loved the kitty emoji too)
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • I am glad you like it. Use it any which way you want! 😸

              Liked by 1 person

            • I’m now queued through Sept. (working on a few for Oct. already) – so I’m not sure WHEN, but I’ll feature it in my next “getting things done” article – linked to you, of course! It made me laugh all over again.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • As you may have noticed, I am not very proprietary, nor protective of anything I produce. There is a personal reason for it; perhaps I’ll tell you one day over a glass of wine.

              Liked by 1 person

            • So much to share – I think we’ll probably need a bottle! 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • …or two…

              Liked by 1 person

            • lol!

              Liked by 1 person

            • Between you and I and Osyth, entirely too much talk of wine. Considering that Florida is in a state of emergency which means that all water and beer have already disappeared from stores, I have no choice but to start pouring wine already. 😻

              Liked by 1 person

            • My prayers are with you. Wise to get out in front of things, planning wise. Are you planning to evacuate?
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you for your prayers, but we are staying right where we are, and nothing is going to happen here. My husband asked the Rabbi who said that, but I already said that last night, before the Rabbi. I am well stocked on wine, rum, and chocolate. 😻

              Liked by 1 person

            • And kitty supplies, I’m sure you’ve paid close attention there! 🙂

              I went thru an evacuation when we lived on the coast of Fla. in my childhood. Ironically, the Hurricane changed paths and chased us to a friend’s farm just outside Orlando!

              Meanwhile my Dad (returning early from a biz trip for support, only to find us already gone) spent the nite in our home and had NO problems.

              And BOY did he complain about having to move all the books off the bed to lie down after a long drive (no plane tickets available) – lol.

              Repeating from another comment: I’m sure YOU are well-prepared, but I just added a link to a “TIPS for Irma Prep” article that might remind you of one or two things you haven’t yet considered, like Propane for example, and freezing blocks of ice, etc.

              MEDICATIONS are also key for those of us who need them. It could take a while for the pharmacies to restock.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Kitty supplies are a given; that’s first priority. Other than that, I repeat: NOTHING is going to happen here!

              Liked by 1 person

            • Whew! I hope that applies to ALL of Florida – my brothers & family are in the Tampa surrounds.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Tampa is on the other coast – it’s not even heading there!

              Liked by 1 person

            • The Hurricane that landed a tree only inches from my sleeping head on the screened-in “kid porch” wasn’t even heading to the Orlando surrounds either – which is why my mother and a couple of her friends gathered up the kids and took them there. Prayers for ALL of Florida!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you for your prayers, and we add our prayers to yours, first for Puerto Rico, then for Florida.

              Liked by 1 person

            • JUST spoke to my friend Andy – whose foot is currently in a cast. He is quite concerned, but determined to stay where he is to protect “everything he owns,” watching the predictions like a hawk.

              Once the worst of the rain and wind has passed, should that happen, he plans to join his employers at their home to ride out the aftermath – they have a generator!

              Key West and all small Islands are in the midst of mandatory evacuation, and then they will close the Causeway.

              I’m praying for the safety of ALL in Irma’s path, along with those in Texas and Louisiana, who are still being deluged with rain.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • I am sorry about your friend burdened by a cast!
              I am watching as well, and as of right now, it is expected to arrive on Miami Beach early Sunday morning. It is only a computer model, and it changes every moment. It is already different from last night, and by Sunday morning, it’ll change many times. I don’t see any way to make reasonable predictions, other than to stay where we are, believe that nothing will happen, and pray.

              Liked by 1 person

            • That’s what Andy is doing as well. He’s on medication, so he can’t even have wine, poor baby! I’ll be praying with you both – and for my brothers and their families – holding thoughts of appreciation for your safety and well-being.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you for your concern, your thoughts, and your prayers! We are monitoring Irma’s path and will make decisions tomorrow morning. We might stay with friends in a safe zone (SW Miami), if Vicious Irma does not change her mind and turn west. They have 4 cats, so our kitties will be in good company. If we go, we’ll decide whether to go right away or wait until Saturday night. As of this moment, it looks like nothing will happen here at least until Sunday afternoon.

              Liked by 1 person

            • I hope you are monitoring the traffic reports as well. I’m sure a lot of people are waiting to decide whether to leave or not until Irma gets closer – and you won’t be happy to creep along in bumper to bumper traffic.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • Most people are going north. If we go, we’ll go southwest, i.e. in the opposite direction.

              Liked by 1 person

            • My prayers go with you – go or stay.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you again, dear friend!

              Liked by 1 person

  13. dgkaye says:

    This was a fascinating look into overcoming by dissecting the trail to memory M. The part that resonated with me most as one who has overcome a lot of mental anguish and adversity myself is that we must train our brains not to focus on the pain, not to keep re-living and trying to figure out the whys about how things happened to us because it can become like a never ending abyss, and often those who go down that route have a hard time climbing out. Yes, I’m fortunate to have soldiered through but it wasn’t without a lot of mental work and years of reading self-help books, but it’s possible. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deb, it does take diligence and, clear to those who read your memoirs, a LOT of introspection!! As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • dgkaye says:

        Bang out quote my friend! 🙂 xx

        Like

        • One of my personal favorites — tho’ I do have an ex-beau who tweaked it to “an unexamined life is not worth examining” (funny at first, but his fatalistic approach to life is one reason he is an EX!) 🙂
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • dgkaye says:

            Now that’s a goodie! 🙂 xx

            Liked by 1 person

            • In some respects it IS!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  14. akiwifreund says:

    Reblogged this on The Sick and the Dating and commented:
    PTSD is a many-layered…affliction? phenomenon? illness? hurdle? I’m not even quite sure which adjective I want to insert here. I understand that it’s not a single event. It’s been rolling around and building up like some terrible snowman, and getting the diagnosis was simply the carrot nose and coal smile for me.

    The healing process has been nearly impossible to initiate because I’m having such a difficult time with finding doctors who will treat me in Minnesota (without writing such things as “Munchausen’s” in my charts); plus from November until the end of July I was dealing with a violent male neighbor who screamed and beat his wife and their cat on a daily basis.

    After numerous calls to the police department and fighting with the apartment managers – who were trying to force me to move, and were claiming that I was making everything up about the neighbor – the guy suddenly vacated his apartment. My stress level immediately reduced considerably.

    I’m happy to report that just a few days ago I managed to land a new doctor who is happy to help and cheerful to boot, and he’ll be essential when it comes to trying to control my mast cell activation syndrome issues (except for the brain/neurological problems – I still desperately need a neurologist and neurosurgeon).

    This does not mean that all of my PTSD symptoms are magically resolved. I wish!
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    mgh added white space (double returns between paragraphs) to help with readability for those who struggle with longer strings of text; words unchanged

    Like

    • #1 – I find it so difficult to even BELIEVE that the police wouldn’t investigate your neighbor and the wife, given your complaints (and good for you!) That poor woman (and shame on your apt. manager too!!!!)

      #2 – I’m glad your stress level has gone down and that you’ve finally found what I consider even a half-decent doctor. Munchausen’s??????!!!!!! Don’t get me started.

      #3 – Thank you SO much for reblogging to help spread the word.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • akiwifreund says:

        1) Very sad situation; I couldn’t convince the wife to be truthful about what he was doing, probably because she was just trying to survive.
        2) Thank you!
        3) Really, thank you! As always, you are an excellent writer with on-point topics! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • You warmed my heart with this comment. Thank YOU!

          I truly hope that wife got away – NOBODY deserves treatment of that sort. I think you are great to have continued to report. Too many people ignore abuse, “blaming” the spouse for failing to leave. EVERY time somebody reports makes it easier for them to go.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

  15. Sue Vincent says:

    I have neither desire nor intent to forget the events that caused PTSD, but I have learned to deal with the fallout by allowing memory to ‘file’ those events firmly in the past. I am usually conscious of danger-signals before they bite these days and can look them in the eye, acknowledge and move on. Every so often, though, something completely unexpected will trigger a flashback.

    PTSD in spite of recent publicity and the excellent articles such as yours, is still such a misunderstood, excruciating and debilitating thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks again for ringing in, Sue. I think your “filing away” is exactly what happens when we stop “rehearsing the pain.”

      I’m with you that PTSD is STILL “such a misunderstood, excruciating and debilitating thing.” I know about the challenges of PTSD personally.

      I was surprised, given what happened, that a friend or two were not only unsympathetic, but actually derisive. Not cruel people, simply unaware of the very real challenge that it can be. They seemed to believe I should just get over it and get on with it – which, believe me, no one wanted more than I.

      I am sharing what helped me, some of my clients, and what is touted to work for many. I hope that I don’t make anyone’s pain seem “discounted.” My intention, always, is to support.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue Vincent says:

        I think that misunderstanding is the problem for many. We use the word ‘flashback’ so readily in more normal circumstances that the idea of REALLY being … at least as far as perception goes…picked up and dropped back into a moment as if you were there… with all the attendant sights, sounds, smells and emotions… it just doesn’t compute for most people. It is like the movie Groundhog Day but without the possibility of changing anything within the scenario. For those dumped back into moments of utter, helpless terror or despair, that can be appalling and can happen anywhere, any time.
        That’s without the nightmares, the fears that sneak up, the fatigue and depression or the effects of all that on close and extended relationships.

        And you would ‘snap out of it’ if you could… in a flash… there are few things you want more. But it is not that easy.

        I’ve written about my own experiences in order to try and raise awareness a bit…but it needs a more general effort, I feel, before people will understand fully. xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Sue – I hope everyone will read your comment. Come back with the link, okay?
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

          • Sue Vincent says:

            Well, there’s this one: https://scvincent.com/2014/09/09/out-of-nowhere/ xx

            Like

            • Wonderful addition to this article, Sue. Thank you. I’ve edited the article to include it. The wonder is that we are EVER able to get over certain types of trauma.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post Madelyn. “Do we ever really heal from trauma?”. We liked and agree with Chuck Jacksons thoughts, “…They are not debilitating, just very annoying.”. After years in some ugly trenches one can achieve Chucks conclusion. We have learned that life can be chocked full of great and not so great moments. Dealing with those moments can be challenging and at times overwhelming but we believe we are wired to overcome. Overcoming may take time and lots of work but isn’t it true that anything worthwhile requires work.

    Like

    • Isn’t that true? Like learning to swim – we flail before we glide. But if we keep at it, we eventually DO find our way.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very true. For me its like learning to ride a bike, lol. I cannot for the life of me swim. Or, I should say, I can’t swim in a body of water other then a pool.

        Like

        • lol – at least you swim well enough not to drown! I’m a strong swimmer – or at least I WAS – but I started young and practiced often (every stroke). Never mastered the butterfly, however — a lot of splashing with very little ROI. 🙂 The breast stroke and the side stroke were my personal favs – and I was brilliant with the dead mans float!
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • I am in awe of swimmers and the stamina it takes to do it. Your gifts are like my brother… he was like a fish in water. I think basically my thing is I have a fear of being in water and not being able to see below. It all stems back to 1974 after reading Jaws. It took me at least a week before I would get in the bathtub, lol. That maybe and almost drowning when I was young.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Since we moved so often and never lived on base where we could more easily make friends, my mother made sure we spent a lot of time at the Officer’s Club pool. With five of us to watch, she made sure we took advantage of the lessons they offered as well. We were all “fish” when we were kids.

              I’m with you about not liking to think about “what’s on the bottom” – however. I stay on the top of the water, whatever it takes – lol.

              Almost drowning would be enough to keep all but the most determined OUT of the water altogether. Sorry you have that memory, but SO glad you’re here to tell it.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Such a great opportunity to have pool and lesson access. Wow, 5 for her to watch! Must of been moments when she wanted to pull her hair out, lol. Did the scuba thing with my brother once and there are some big things swimming down there.
              Yes the drowning thing was scary. I was 8 and holding my own until the underwater grass touched my foot and that’s when I thought the “Creature from the Blue Lagoon” was playing with my foot and it was all over. My brother finally reached me on my third trip under, whew.
              Thanks for being glad I’m still around. I am too! How life can change in a moment can’t it.

              Liked by 1 person

            • In a nanosecond it can all be over. Those of us who remain alert and aware do our best to make the most of the time we are allotted.

              I don’t know how my mother survived us, actually – I was a helpful child but 2 of my brothers were more than a handful and my sister was “moody” with some rage issues she had to work through as an adult.

              I have snorkled in an ocean “pond” (surrounded by rocks), but never had the opportunity to tie on tanks. Kudos to your bravery for giving it a go, given your history.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Amen to making the best of the time we are allotted! Parenting is definitely not for the faint at heart, lol. Can’t imagine 5 kids. Toms folks had 2 and hearing the stories I wonder how they did it. Mine had 3 and they earned their grey hairs, lol.

              Liked by 1 person

            • We were all close in age as well. When I was in first grade we were ALL alive. My mother always said that those years were a total blur in her memory – all she recalled was changing diapers and endless laundry. 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • God Bless her. Look at the wonderful blessing of that marriage…. you!!!!

              Liked by 1 person

            • Aren’t you sweet to say that! Thank you. ::blushing::
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  17. colinandray says:

    The concept of changing habits has far reaching implications. I used exactly that to quit smoking many years ago. My first job was to identify the smoking habit triggers, and then decide how to break them.

    I always had a cigarette at the table after a meal = after eating, getup and leave the table.

    I always had a cigarette at coffee break = either don’t take a break, or go for a walk during break.

    I always had a cigarette if I was chatting with smokers = avoid the situation if possible, or express my position clearly if not, and request they don’t smoke.

    Predictably some people were very understanding and, equally predictably, my social circle changed.

    I needed to not only change lifestyle habits, but also create a tangible reason to support success. I was never an athletic individual, but I did enjoy sports (as a spectator!). I decided to start running because it was easy to do, and could be monitored accurately.

    Most importantly though, as my ability increased, and acknowledging the negative impact of smoking on ones lungs (and body in general)… the more I progressed, the more important it became to maintain that “smoke free” lifestyle.

    Yes habits are important for so many reasons, but some really need to be changed for so many different reasons. Great Post Madelyn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is GREAT, Colin. WONDERFUL examples of how to start using new responses to old prompts. Congrats on kicking the smoking habit. Onward and upward!!

      Tink sends his woofs to Ray.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Bernadette says:

    A very well put together and easy to understand article about the cause of the problem and what a person can do on their own to eradicate the problem.

    Like

    • More “overcome” than “eradicate” – but your overriding point is spot on and I thank you for leaving it. We CAN work with OURSELVES to recover — with time and patience (with ourselves as well as patience from others).
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Let’s bottom line it? My mum will never get over her drama, right? It’s rhetorical, never mind. Cheers,H

    Like

    • Probably not, Helen. Even those of us who are desperate to “get over” a lot of things find it difficult at best. Change is just plain hard – and awareness of the need is step one. People who aren’t willing to work on it seldom get there.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  20. Lucy Brazier says:

    I imagine that PTSD can never be ‘cured’, but healing is the next best thing, albeit living with the scars. Best of luck to Chuck.
    xx

    Like

    • What a kind thing to say, Lucy. We can “erase” physical scars better than mental ones at this time, unfortunately. But even living with scars is so much easier than being at the effect of raw wounds.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  21. Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you again, my friend. I’m late approving today, so I hope you won’t take that to mean I take it for granted. NOT so!
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 2 people

      • I do realize people have lives outside of social media, so you are OK.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lives? You mean besides blogging? REALLY? What a concept – lol.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • You do have a life away from here….suitors lined up around the block awaiting a chance at your hands for a date…

            Liked by 1 person

            • hahaha! The invisible line – not that I’m looking for suitors at this point.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

  22. that was super interesting… and I saw totally new ways to leave the sad things of past in the dust as a memory not as a curse what haunts me every day… but it is along way to accept and to find out of the dark… there is always something what opens the crypt where all the dark clouds are locked…

    Like

    • I love the way you describe memories as “haunting” us – a good description for how it feels. You are right that there is no quick fix. We need to do our best to move away from that “crypt” and leave it locked. It takes practice and time, however – and no two sufferers follow the same healing trajectory (including time-frames), and medical science still doesn’t know why that is so.

      Thank you for chiming in with your response. I wish you peaceful days FAR away from those dark clouds.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

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