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    Community Voices

    Would anyone be willing to chat?

    I have something trauma related on my mind. I could use someone to vent to.

    #help #Trauma #Abuse #Anxiety

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    Community Voices

    Moving On

    <p>Moving On</p>
    2 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Hope Finally with VSED

    It’s been a difficult time- medical PTSD- WORKMANS COMP abuse- greedy and LAZY attorneys and a medical system that is so very messed up - recent loss of best friend, mom, dog and this past 2 weeks my dad. I have been trying to get medical help and have been given an appointment in Weeks for a first ‘meet and greet’. I have asked, pleaded and prayed. I found out about VSED- and it hit me ! That’s it! I finally have some peace knowing I have some control. Everything is in order - I’m ready for moving on! Hallelujah!

    Community Voices

    Intrusive Thoughts: Words From my Family

    <p>Intrusive Thoughts: Words From my Family</p>
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    Monika Sudakov

    How Having a Disorganized Attachment Style Makes Me Unpredictable

    Have you ever heard of attachment style? Do you know what your attachment style is? It can be an extremely useful lens through which we interpret our feelings and behaviors in relationship to others. Mine is “disorganized” and let me tell you, it can get in the way of fomenting strong connections with others, which can really hamper one’s ability to heal from trauma. Having done some work in this arena and psycho education on attachment theory, I thought it may be helpful information to others to start thinking about their own attachment style and to read about what it looks like in terms of my own lived experience. What is Attachment Theory? Attachment Theory is a psychological and evolutionary framework originally proposed by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby in the mid-20th century. The central tenet is that a child must develop a secure emotional bond with a primary caregiver, which will insure that child’s survival by providing comfort and protection. This responsive (enough) caregiver thereby creates a secure base from which a child can go on to explore the world. Put simply, an attuned parent who reliably reacts to the needs of a child will create a foundational sense of security, from which that child can grow into a healthy and emotionally resilient adult. The four primary attachment styles are: Secure: This represents an ideal child/parent attachment based in the stability of the responsive caregiver creating a resilient, trusting child able to rely on others. Ambivalent: When a child cannot rely on a parent they may become distressed and therefore can be somewhat clingy toward their caregivers for fear that they won’t return. Avoidant: These children have learned that relying on a caregiver can be dangerous. They could have experienced abuse or neglect or may have even been punished by the caregiver for seeking out their support. As a result, these children will often avoid the caregiver and become self-reliant. Disorganized: These children often vacillate from being ambivalent to avoidant. They have experienced the caregiver to be inconsistent and therefore they don’t know when and if that parent will respond. This often occurs where a child has experienced prolonged abuse or neglect or has grown up with an emotionally immature or unavailable parent. What does this mean in adulthood? While these attachment styles develop in childhood, they persist into adulthood and can manifest in myriad ways within an adult’s relationships to others. Individuals like myself, who have a history of chronic trauma throughout childhood (C-PTSD) often grow up struggling to maintain healthy relationships. It’s as if we never developed the imprint of what that should look like to be able to emulate it. We lack the skills, emotional awareness, trust and confidence to seek out, nurture and cultivate relationships with healthy others, and this can cause devastating effects. In my own experience growing up with an absentee father and single mother who had untreated mental health issues and her own unresolved trauma history, I often felt alone, confused, and afraid of which mommy would show up in any given moment. I became keenly adept at assessing my mother’s mental state before engaging with her…avoiding her if I could sense she wasn’t able to attune to my needs in an effort to not just protect her, but to save myself from the pain of feeling like I was a burden and was being rejected. Other times when she was in a good headspace she could be fun and playful—almost a fellow playmate rather than a caregiver. When nurturing, protection or guidance were needed, I learned to rely on myself—not exactly an effective long term strategy, but certainly an adaptive one for survival. This chaotic childhood led me to be an unpredictable adult where relationships are concerned. For the most part in my teens and early adulthood, I avoided others and isolated out of fear that I would overwhelm them or be somehow too much. It led me to be incredibly lonely and incapable of articulating my needs or feelings. I was very shut down, dissociated to the point that I have very few memories of that period. Even when I am shown photos from that era with myself in them, it’s like I’m looking at another person. It doesn’t jog any kind of connection to a memory or cognitive narrative. It’s something I find deeply distressing now when I talk to people I knew then. They will recount stories of things we did together or something memorable and I can’t connect to these memories at all. It’s as though I was living in some kind of checked out zombie state, a hallmark symptom of “disorganized” attachment. As I grew older, particularly when I met my husband, I would vacillate from wanting to be around him all the time to shutting him out. Physical proximity would sometimes terrify me and other times feel soothing. Emotional proximity had to be carefully and slowly cultivated so that I didn’t get flooded and pull the proverbial rip cord. Somehow I think our unique childhood experiences and attachment styles were matched enough that we were able to communicate on a level that felt safe enough for us to establish security. Although, even after 24 years of marriage I sometimes go silent and withdraw if I feel overwhelmed, not because I don’t trust him, but almost out of habit. The person you love the most is the one who can hurt you the most, so you have to protect yourself from being rejected. It’s an insidious pattern of behavior that’s hard to break. I have also struggled immensely with friendships because I felt wholly unworthy of them and was deeply concerned that being my full authentic self would eventually send them running for the hills. When I did dip my toe into the proverbial friendship waters, I’d inevitably sabotage the relationship by either withdrawing or being too clingy. Finding the balance between the two has taken a ton of therapy and self-reflection (and a super attuned therapist who recognized my disorganized attachment for what it was, rather than some kind of pathology). It’s only in the past three to four years that I feel as though I have enough of a grasp of my trauma history and upbringing and how it affects my attachment style to adequately manage friendships. When I get the urge to pull away, I push myself to reach out and am often pleasantly surprised at the degree to which friends want to be there for me. When I find myself becoming too co-dependent, I resist the temptation to over text or fixate on when our last communication was or what the tone of their message was. I’m far more able to navigate my instinctual urge to self-blame, and I’ve learned to take a step back and remind myself that often a lack of engagement has nothing to do with me and everything to do with what’s going on in their lives. It’s hard though, I’m not going to lie. Small triggers can set me back, re-enacting that well honed instinct to attempt to predict the mood of and potential response from every human I encounter.  And when I do I tend to regress into my child self, behaving in ways that seem like an overreaction or a hyper-response to whatever I perceive to be going on. This often results in my apologizing to whoever I lash out against, typically my husband or therapist, since they are the most secure attachments I have. Its almost like I can practice retraining that insecure child’s impulses without fear of abandonment with them. If you are curious about your own attachment style and how it may be impacting your relationships, I recommend asking your therapist, if you are seeing one, to do a formal attachment assessment with you. There are also free ones online that while not as accurate may at least give you a starting point to work with. Once you understand what you are working with, you can begin the process of slowly retraining yourself, which can be a game changer on your healing journey.

    Community Voices


    Today I took a bad fall on the sidewalk while walking back to my car after work. I had to park two blocks away, it was the only space available. I used to be able to walk that distance with no problem. I fell down hard but didn't hit my head. I managed to sit up, but I wasn't able to get back to my feet. Fortunately, a group of evening dinner goers saw me and about 6 people came over to help. With their help I was able to get up and they walked me over to my car. I have fibromyalgia and am also DID with many "inside persons" who daily fight with me. I still want to believe that I am quite capable on my own (I walk with a cane) but lately I keep getting worse. If anyone has advice how to recover from a fall like this with fibro and arthritis, I would love to hear it. Also, any advice about feeling so vulnerable in this world. I am grateful to the group of people who came over to assist me. I am in pain daily, yet still can manage to go to work, for which I am grateful.#Fibromyalgia #Arthritis #Trauma #Anxiety #Depression #PTSD #Abuse Survivor#Diabetes

    9 people are talking about this
    Community Voices


    10 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Terrible Teens?

    Part 1 of 3 Teenagers are unpredictable, temperamental, impulsive, sexually confused, insecure, defiant, and exceedingly needy beings who require more patience than their two-year-old counterparts. Compile all these words into one and I would say, teenagers are tricky.

    Being that I am on my third teenager, this stage should be easy. I should have all the answers; I should have this down pat, able to maneuver around the land mines that come with raising teenagers. But here’s the first thing I have learned: no two children are alike and no two children can be raised exactly the same way.

    My first two children were relatively easy teenagers. My oldest, a boy, was the easiest which was such a treat since he was the most difficult between the ages of about 5 to 13 (and also when he had colic as a newborn). I shudder at the memory of the tantrums and meltdowns he seemed to have on a daily basis due in part to his ADHD. There were times when I wondered if I would lose my sanity and there was always that fear that I would do something to hurt him in the process of trying to control his raging outbursts. But, I survived and so did he, both of us growing through the process and gaining a better understanding of his needs. My second child, a daughter, was, and still is, a people pleaser. Although she was hypersensitive as a baby, never allowing me to put her down, and had her share of meltdowns, she tended to listen and follow rules making it easy to impart my husband’s and my wisdom and expectations without resistance. As a teenager, her struggles were more with friends and school than with her parents. So, when the third child became a teenager, my husband and I were ill-prepared for what we would encounter and endure (and we are not done yet).

    My third child was an amazingly easy baby. She rarely cried except if she was hungry or her diaper needed changing. My husband would often comment that if he didn’t know better, he wouldn’t know there was a baby in the house. I would tote my little bundle everywhere, even to school when I would volunteer, and she would sit happily in the stroller and almost never make a peep. I was so thrilled to have finally gotten my easy baby. But through the years, she became more difficult. Like my son, I considered her a strong-willed child who pushed the boundaries we had placed around her. But nothing could have prepared us for the teenage years.

    When my third child was in fourth grade, she complained of being bullied by another girl. The school didn’t seem to do anything about it, even after a number of other parents complained that their children were also being bullied by the same girl. I made a decision to take her out of that school and have her start a new school at the beginning of fifth grade. Little did I know that there was another bully, a boy, at this new school who quickly latched on to my daughter. At first, my daughter didn’t say anything about it but by sixth grade, it was taking a toll on her. Eventually, this boy bully and some of his friends messaged her on Instagram (she didn’t have a phone and I had no idea they could message on Instagram through their iPods). The boys encouraged her to kill herself, backing her into a “virtual” corner. Of course, there are two ways you can endure being abused: you can take it until you’re trampled to death, or you can fight back which is exactly what my daughter did. The fighting back only bit her in the ass and got her and the boys in trouble (which in retrospect I wish I would have fought). This bullying along with sexual #Abuse at the hands of a trusted friend changed my charismatic, sweet, funny, and talented daughter into a shell of a girl who, as a teen, struggles to get through every day without giving up. Because she was unable to control what happened to her in middle school, she is resistant to rules, authority figures, boundaries to keep her safe, and anything that takes the control away from her. My husband and I were not prepared to deal with such adverse behavior creating even more friction and mayhem at home. It lead to my daughter being hospitalized four times, attending partial hospitalization and out-patient programs, getting treatment from therapists and psychiatrists, doing neurofeedback therapy, and spending 37 days in a residential facility all in the hopes of getting her stabilized. When none of our attempts to help her worked, my husband and I needed to re-evaluate how we were going to raise her.

    As I’ve indicated, and as some of you already know, raising teens is difficult. But when you have a teen who has suffered severe #Trauma and struggles with incapacitating #Depression , there are so many ad

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    Community Voices

    Terrible Teens?

    Part 2 of 3 ded layers to pierce, to rip through to get to the person it’s protecting. Each layer has been built, from pain, like a thick scar after an injury. And like a physical injury, it never heals back to its original, unblemished skin. The scar not only protects but also reminds the recipient of how it got there, allowing the recipient to relive the pain and trauma over and over again. Even the best plastic surgeons can never make a scar completely disappear and so the recipient must live with the reminder for the rest of his or her life. The brain is no different from the physical scar on one’s skin and yet, for those who don’t live within the head of the hurt, they often expect that the trauma will eventually vanish and the brain will be back to its former self. But we know that is not true, unfortunately. Those who suffer a trauma live with that for the rest of their lives so it’s not a matter of erasing it, it’s a matter of living with it. My husband and I learned this the hard way.

    We have learned and continue to learn many things about raising a teen who suffers from depression and past trauma(s). I thought I would share them with you in the hopes of helping other parents who are going through the same thing so here they are.

    1. Throw all the previous rules out the window. What worked for your other children won’t usually work for this one. Yes, you must have boundaries, but you also must be flexible to move those boundaries if necessary.

    2. Trust will be hard to build. It will be broken over and over again, but never give up.

    3. Don’t be shocked or exasperated or reactive to their poor decisions. They will make more mistakes than the average teen. You must learn to let things roll off of you or you will make the problem worse than it was to begin with.

    4. If you invade their privacy, don’t let them know by taking action for what you have found. You will lose their trust which is incredibly important and they will only do more of what you have just forbidden them to do. If you find something concerning, try to figure out why they would be doing this and see if you can redirect the behavior through open communication and understanding.

    5. Don’t expect them to be excited about something just because you are, and don’t be disappointed that they aren’t excited. Showing them that you are disappointed that they are not feeling the way you are, only shows them how depressed they are. But when they are excited about something, make a note of it and enjoy the moment.

    6. Don’t give them advice if they don’t ask for it. If they come to you about a problem (consider yourself lucky, first of all), repeat back what they told you and empathize with them. Often, they don’t want your help, they just want you to understand how they are feeling and why.

    7. Take care of yourself and your marriage. Having a troubled teen can put a big strain on you and your relationships. Get therapy to help put things in perspective. I recommend both individual and couples therapy to nurture both you and your relationship. Often, parents aren’t on the same page when it comes to how to handle their teen so having a neutral party to help sort through both of your concerns is greatly beneficial. As parents, being on the same page, together or divorced, will create a more supportive and stable environment for your child.

    8. Expect the unexpected at all times. Don’t let your guard down when things are going well because they rarely stay that way for too long. I always refer to it as the “shoe drop” which happens when we least expect it. If you are always ready for that “shoe drop” you won’t be as disappointed or underprepared.

    9. Celebrate the good times! There will be some good times between the tough stuff that cannot be ignored. Take your child in a warm embrace and relish this victory when they have found the sun shining through a dark cloud.

    10. Don’t let your friends make you feel like a failed parent. It will seem like your friends have the perfect children when compared to your own. It’s only natural to compare, but when you have a child who suffers from depression or other mental health issues, you can’t compare nor should you. Focus on your’s and your child’s journey through this unpredictable maze. Your child will grow and mature and work their way out of the maze, but until then their journey might be more complicated with more turns and dead ends. Just know that they will get to the end and when they do, you and your child will be stronger and more resilient than many who were given a straight line to the end of the maze. We all learn from our experiences. Those who encounter more

    Community Voices

    Terrible Teens?

    Part 3 of 3 of the tough stuff tend to get along better in life than those who don’t.

    I hope this helps those who need it. You’re not alone, believe me. Depression in teens is on the rise. According to mhanational.com, almost 20 percent of teens ages 12-17 suffer from depression. In addition, 60 percent of those teens don’t receive any mental health treatment. 20 percent might not seem like a large amount but if you were buying something and you got 20 percent off, you would think that was a great deal. 20 percent means we’re close to a quarter of teens, 1 in 4. Again, you and your teen are not alone. Don’t be the 60 percent who don’t get help, don’t make the mistakes that I had to make to learn the above lessons. Be proactive and make the appropriate choice that will help both you and your teen. They are not terrible teens–just teens who need a little extra help along their journey to adulthood.

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