You will be mesmerized when you hear about Michele’s struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (often called PTSD) for twenty-five years and how her “rock bottom moment” propelled her on a “healing rampage” to finally be 100% free of her symptoms.
Michele now dedicates her professional career to helping survivors, caregivers, and healing professionals learn about the effects of trauma and more efficiently navigate the recovery process.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:
- Michele’s near-death experience during her traumatic event.
- How Michele’s mother taught her that healing is a change you choose.
- The difference between little T trauma and big T trauma.
- Michele’s signature process to help trauma survivors recover.
SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS MICHELE:
- How did trauma and PTSD change your life?
- How does trauma disconnect us from our sense of self?
- How did HealMyPTSD.com lead to partnering with survivors to help them take back their power and learn to live with courage, confidence and imagination?
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Michele Rosenthal – Award-Nominated Author, Speaker, Post-Trauma Coach, and Trauma Recovery Specialist
Our guest is Michele Rosenthal, a grief and trauma specialist and healer who will inspire you with her own amazing story of both healing and helping others to also heal. She is a trauma survivor who struggled with posttraumatic stress disorder, often called PTSD, for several years. After completing her healing rampage several years ago, she now remains 100% free of PTSD symptoms.
She dedicates her professional career to helping survivors, caregivers, and healing professionals learn about the effects of trauma and how to more efficiently navigate the recovery process. She’s an award-nominated author, speaker, post-trauma coach, and trauma recovery specialist whose driving passion is to creatively inspire and intuitively assist emotional and spiritual healing after trauma. Michele’s books include Before The World Intruded: Conquering the Past and Creating the Future, Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity and Heal Your PTSD: Dynamic Strategies That Work. Michele, welcome to the show.
You are welcome. When you speak to trauma and healing, you are speaking to me, a fellow trauma survivor, and many of our readers. It’s also nice to know that you and I have a sunshiny thing in common. We both hail from the East Coast of Florida. The sounds of waves accompanied us. To begin our conversation, could you please define PTSD? Tell us about the effects of trauma, and share your trauma history with us. How did trauma and PTSD change your life?
I will start with the back end of that question, and we will get to the PTSD definition and its effects. In 1981, I was thirteen. I was a well-adjusted kid in a great and loving home. Everything was fine. At the end of my thirteenth summer just before school started, I had an infection. My mother took me to the doctor. My doctor was away on vacation. It was August. Nobody is around. It’s the skeleton crew. The covering doctor didn’t look in my chart, but he said, “You have an infection. Take this medication.”
We found out later that if he had read my chart, he would never have prescribed that because there were indications that I was allergic to that medication from a previous experience, but nobody had told my parents that. They had noted it but not disclosed it. I took this general antibiotic that people take every day. I had the most bizarre response to it. This happens to 1 in 2 million people. It’s rare. It’s called toxic epidermal necrolysis syndrome. What happens is the body cannot metabolize the foreign substance. It sends it out through the skin. I became almost overnight a full-body burn victim inside.
There’s nothing to do about this. In 1981, they didn’t have a clue. I was in a teaching hospital in New York City. I became the zebra and the most bizarre thing on the floor. Everyone came, took pictures and wrote papers. Now, they know more. They immediately put patients with this into a coma. They don’t bring you out until it’s over, which I could have avoided PTSD if that had been the case. I don’t know because it’s still horrific when you come out.
For me, being thirteen and surrounded by a bunch of adults who didn’t know what was going on, there was no way to save me from what was happening. I had a near-death experience. Having your skin head to toe ripped off of you while you are awake is torture. By the time I got out of the hospital, I knew I was going to make a full physical recovery. Do I have scars? Yes. Were they going to impact my life on a day-to-day basis? Not in any way that would make life unlivable, but I was not the same girl that had gone into the hospital. I was overwhelmed.
Let’s define trauma as we move into the PTSD part of this. Trauma’s basic definition is any experience that feels less than good. I do keynotes all over. Every time I speak, I ask the audience, “Has anyone had an experience that’s less than good?” Every hand goes off because every life has that in it. Little T trauma happens to all of us. Big T trauma happens to some of us. Big T trauma is defined as any experience that overwhelms your ability to cope. By the time my hospitalization had ended, I’d had a near-death experience and all of this torture, and I was overwhelmed in my ability to cope.
I have to ask you about your near-death experience. Did you see people? Did someone tell you that you had work to do? Was there anything?
Nobody told me I had work to do. My mother called me back. She was insistent and I responded to her.
You were going.
I was going. I was excited. I wanted to die so badly. Getting to the other side was this pure and incredible energy that I had never experienced and didn’t understand but it was amazing. I knew who I was. I felt the presence of other souls. They were there. I don’t remember seeing specific people so much as I felt their presence and could hear them. I felt like we were all held. I was pleased. I was ready to go. My mother did not have it.
Let me ask you this one. You struggled with PTSD for many years. You affectionately call your recovery process a healing rampage. Tell us about this and how in the world you get your recovery on track to achieve 100% recovery.
I clawed my way out. That’s how I would describe it. I was in a dark and deep pit, and I clawed my way out of every inch of it. It was not easy. Here’s the fortunate thing about where we are now in society versus 1981. Let’s put this into perspective. Within four weeks after a major big T trauma, most people go through what we call acute stress. You may have nightmares, mood swings, and all kinds of disturbances in your daily routine, your ability to focus or concentrate.
For most people, after four weeks that resolves, the mind starts to understand how to categorize that experience, what to do with it, and how to put it into the place that it belongs in life. It becomes a smaller part of the bigger identity. There are four major categories of symptoms for PTSD. We have mood swings where you are persistently in a negative perspective. We have raised awareness. You are hypervigilant about everything. That also tends to include being a control freak. I was the first one to say that was me.
Would that mean that a lot of people with control issues don’t know that they have been traumatized, and that’s the way they have reached out to cope with that?
I don’t want to speak for everybody. I don’t know all the control issues. There are a lot of different mental illnesses and diagnoses. I won’t say they all start with trauma if they have control elements, but I would say that needing control is a hallmark of survivorship. Survivors need two things, safety and control. The four categories of symptoms are usually focused on that. The mood swings when we don’t feel safe and when we see the world persistently in a negative way. It’s due to what we have learned from the trauma that we experienced. The hypervigilance is I’m always on the lookout. What’s the next thing coming? Not me now, but back then.
We have re-experiencing where you keep thinking about it over and over. That can be in the form of nightmares. I had the same recurring nightmare for years. The fourth area of symptoms is avoidance, where you can’t go near the topic, and you won’t talk about it. I used to fly into a rage if anyone brought it up because I felt overwhelmed by it all. It’s avoidance of language, physical space of where you were, smells, tastes, and anything related to the senses.
PTSD is diagnosed when those four categories of symptoms and all their little sub-symptoms in each category persist for longer than four weeks and disrupt your ability to be in the world personally, professionally, and socially. That’s the overview of PTSD. In 1981, I started exhibiting these symptoms immediately, and after the first four weeks, they got worse instead of better.
PTSD had only become a clinical diagnosis in 1980. This was the next year. It was only being applied to Vietnam veterans. No one was looking at a civilian kid with medical trauma and saying, “This is classic PSTD.” You would hope somebody knew that would occur to them. It took several years for me to find a trauma-trained therapist because I needed somebody who understood the context of that. Whereas, by the time I got into therapy, it was not with someone who understood trauma. I spent a lot of time in therapy, getting worse instead of better if somebody understood what we were dealing with.
How did you find this trauma-trained therapist? Was it someone who was recommended to you because that was a new thing going on then?
It’s through research. I didn’t find her until the early 2000s because I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. This is how my healing rampage started. I was in talk therapy for several years, getting worse. I was completely nonfunctional. I had to quit my job. I was a mess. I got a bad diagnosis. I was in my late 30s. I was diagnosed with advanced osteoporosis. I didn’t have enough problems, but physical and health issues are common with PTSD. The stress on your body and the chemicals that you need change the balance of your biology and neurobiology, specifically for me.
It led to an eating disorder, which 50% of all eating disorders are driven by trauma. When you don’t eat right, your body leaks calcium from your bones. The next thing you know, you are 35, and you have advanced osteoporosis, which I have reversed now. It is cool what can happen when you heal. The thing is when I got this diagnosis, the doctor said to me, “If you do not fix this with your bones, they will spontaneously crumble within several years.” I’m in bad shape here. It terrified me.
That was my rock bottom moment. Every healing rampage starts with a rock bottom moment. That was mine. It made me start to take responsibility for my recovery, which I never had. I showed up every week to therapy, but I expected my therapist to do the work. It was my job. I was lucky that I got to that session.
After that diagnosis, I started doing research. The research led me to PTSD. I took this self-test. It had 22 questions. I answered positively to twenty of them. The self-test was based on the DSM, which is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. I took this self-test to the therapist I was working with. I said, “Do you think part of the problem here is that I have PTSD?” I kid you not. It’s 2004 or 2005. He says to me, “What is PTSD?” That is how I found my trauma-trained therapist because it was clear to me that I was in trouble. I was not working with the right person. I started researching trauma, trauma psychology, and PTSD.
I’m an education-themed. I love to learn. I researched trauma psychology from when it started in the late 1800s to 2005. What became clear was I needed a trauma-trained therapist. I looked online to find one. There happened to be one in the town where I live by the beach. She lived not far from me. She was three blocks away. I went and she set me straight. That got me going. It helps to be held in a space that knows and understands what’s happening to you.
I have had a similar experience when I went to heal my trauma. I completely relate to what you are saying to me. I’m glad for you that you got to this. Look at how you are paying it forward and how many people you are helping on the other end of this.
That’s the beauty of what you and I and others like us can do. Do you know how elephants walk in a line, and they each hold each other’s tails with their trunks? That’s the image I have. I’m holding onto the tail of somebody who went before me.
You can hold onto my tail anytime.
I feel like we all are on this line. We pass on what we learned to those coming behind. We hope that the people in front of us pass on us. My overall mission is to help people heal faster than I did because to lose many years of your life that is entirely treatable is ridiculous.
I have to send many kudos to your parents. It had to be hard for them to watch you suffer. They must have felt helpless.
My mother moved into the hospital with me. She was there 24/7. I have a younger brother. For the first week of my hospitalization, my father went home to take care of him. They placed him with one of my mom’s best friends, and my father moved into the hospital with us. They were there 24/7. My father took care of everything outside of the room, and my mother took care of everything inside my room. They were an incredible team.
You were fortunate to have them that way because a lot of people aren’t blessed with that support network.
It happens to be one of the reasons that I am less scarred physically than most survivors of this trauma. I don’t look like a burn victim. From what you can see, I have scars that are not visible. There’s a hospital that refers children who survived this to me. I have worked with them. I have been in touch with a lot of survivors of this illness. It’s not an easy thing to come out looking like yourself. It’s because of my parents that that happened to me.
You can relate to them. My appreciation for how they helped you. You are a certified professional coach, a certified hypnotist, and a master practitioner of neurolinguistic programming, which I’m sure people would like to know what that is. How do these modalities help you coach survivors to access their healing potential? You also work with people on a spiritual level. For someone who’s reading this, how do all these skills that you have help them? How do they access that? Tell me about your journey with all of that.
I went on this healing rampage. It started with a trauma-trained therapist. The thing that I got clear on within the first few sessions with her was I was done talking about my trauma. Talking about it was why I was in such a bad state because there was no resolution. Talking about it does not change it. Your heart is feeling one thing. Your head is thinking another thing. Your conscious mind is analyzing one thing, and your subconscious mind is understanding another thing. It was a big free-for-all mess.
What I decided is the more research I did, the more I understood that healing takes place in the body, the subconscious mind, and the heart. It does not take place in the brain in terms of being able to talk it. I understand what happened and I’m going to be done with it. It doesn’t work like that. I used eleven different modalities in my recovery process. It sounds like I did the alphabet. I did CBT, TFT, EFT, TAT, and EMDR. I did all of that stuff. It was not freeing me.
All of that stuff was helping me get better. I became functional. I could go back to work. I was not a complete basket case. It did something. My healing rampage had a clear healing intention. I work with all of my clients this way. What is your healing intention? You will only achieve what it’s you intend to achieve. My intention was 100% freedom from these symptoms. I was not going to stop at anything less. That was the goal. That was what the rampage was about. It’s getting there.
I have other clients who don’t feel that way. Everybody has to decide what their intention is. I have some clients that come and say, “Stop the nightmares, and I’m fine with the rest. Make it so I can sleep. I’m okay. I can deal with the hypervigilance.” That’s fine. Everybody’s healing intention is their journey, but mine was freedom. What I noticed was no matter how many letters were in the alphabet, I was not free.
I did two things. It’s December 2006. It’s New Year’s Eve. You know Palm Beach in Florida. You know the big hotel, The Breakers. It’s a fancy international crowd. As we live nearby, my family went for New Year’s Eve. It was my brother, my parents and I at this huge party. Everybody is dressed up and having a great time. There’s a great band, balloons, and confetti. Everybody is smiling and laughing. I’m in a stall in the ladies’ room sobbing my eyes out because another year is ending, and I’m just as lost, messy, desperate, and depressed. I have reached a depth of despair I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come out of, and I’m facing another year of the same.
This wasn’t like my second rock bottom moment. As I look back on my healing rampage, those rock bottom moments are pure diamonds. They are the most amazing things in the end. I pull myself together. I go back out to this party. I grab my brother’s hand and say, “Dance with me.” Something in me needed to not have to pretend I was okay and talk to everybody. I needed to be able to be on the dance floor and get it out. I had always loved to dance. The most bizarre thing that happened on the dance floor.
My brother and I have been freestyling together since we were kids. He’s three years younger. We are close. We are dancing. A little while into it, I started to feel this feeling that I didn’t recognize. I’m aware that I feel lighter, transcendent, open, and happy. It’s a bizarre feeling. It’s unfamiliar. I’m curious. I like to keep an open mind. I breathe into it and try to examine it. What is this? What would I name this feeling?
It takes me twenty minutes of dancing to realize this little part of me stands up and says, “This is joy.” I never thought I could feel joy. It became interesting to me. We danced. All of a sudden, I understood that the joyful part of me wasn’t dead. All this time, I thought I had a limit on what my emotions could be. Blackness, sadness, loss, grief, guilt, shame, fear, and all of those toxic, disturbing, and low-vibration emotions, I thought that’s where I had to live. This one moment taught me there was something else still alive in me. In the spirit of the resolution that year, I made the resolution. I was going to dance every day. I was going to heal by the end of that year.
The reason I’m telling you this story is because healing happens in the body and the mind. They both have to come together. I didn’t know that then. I’m from New York City. In my head, at first, it was like, “Dance every day. That will be easy. There’s a club open every night.” I remember I’d moved to a tiny beach town, but they did have dance studios. I signed up every day at a dance studio for a different dance. Monday nights were West Coast swing. Tuesday nights were salsa. Wednesday nights was East Coast swing. Thursday night was Argentina tango. I signed up every day of the week.
No matter how I felt, how lousy, how unworthy, how less than, how tired, and how depressed, it didn’t matter. I went so that I could practice getting in touch with that part of myself that felt good about being me and felt good about something in who I was, and felt good about being alive because I also spent time feeling like I didn’t deserve to be alive. This was an interesting transition for me. An interesting thing happened. I started to sleep better. The nightmares started to change, and I started to get a little more courageous about healing. I took a break while I started dancing. I’m going to dance. I wasn’t going to try to heal and dance at the same time.
It took several months of dancing. During this time, I fell in love with my dance partner. Go figure that you could be a complete mess and meet your soulmate. Several months later, I felt stable and courageous enough to go back into the healing rampage part of things. This is where we come full circle to your question. At that point, I was clear. No more talking about it, and no more processes that make me have to revisit it.
I went to hypnosis, which I didn’t believe in, but I wanted somebody else to do the work so that I could be quiet and have someone tinker and fix it. I interviewed seven hypnotists because I’m a control freak and don’t trust them. In that PTSD state, it’s hard to give myself over, but I chose one that I felt aligned with enough to say, “Let’s give it a shot.”
For the whole session, I thought it was the most bogus and stupid waste of money. That night, I slept eight straight hours without a nightmare. That was seven more hours than I usually slept every night. After that, I was sold. When I got out of my recovery, it had taken me several months since that first night of dancing. By the middle of October 2007, I was free. I didn’t know what to do with myself. My brother said to me, “You have been a writer since you were seven. Why don’t you write about what you experienced? There’s this thing called a blog. Why don’t you try it?”
At that time, I’d never heard of a blog. I thought, “I will give it a shot.” The blog went viral. I was writing about my personal experience with PTSD. What we discovered, and I’m sure you know this from your own experience, is we are all individuals in our traumas and our healing process, but we are completely universal in the space in between.
At that moment, everything blew up. People wanted me to start helping them. I got trained in the modalities that I loved and that I felt helped me the most. That was hypnosis, which we all know you are in an altered state that allows your subconscious mind to engage in the healing process, the analytical mind, what we are in right now, short-term memory, analytical, and rational. That’s all it is.
It understands the difference between past, present, and future, but it’s only 12% of your brain. The subconscious mind is 88% of your brain. It’s not rational and analytical. It’s long-term memory, and it has no concept of time. Everything is real-time. It doesn’t speak English like you and I do. It speaks in story, image, and metaphor. It’s a different process to work with that part of yourself.
I got trained that way because I love being able to work in that way. After all, it’s gentle. I never have to have any of my clients revisit their trauma. We never need to in order to heal. Neurolinguistic programming, neuro meaning the brain, linguistic meaning language, and reprogramming, meaning we can use language to reprogram the brain. All of your memories are held in neural pathways. The neural structure of your brain holds and records everything.
If it’s holding and recording those moments of terror and they are constantly being activated, those moments are at the forefront of how your brain is processing. We can sever those neural pathways with language. You don’t feel it, but it sure is a relief when it’s done. We reprogram with new neural pathways. You can remember what happened to you but with complete neutrality.
I can talk to you about what happened to me when I was thirteen, whereas when I was thirteen, I would have a complete meltdown if you asked me to talk about it. It’s a gentle and fun healing process because we are using language and working with the way your brain works rather than working against how your brain works and activating all of those bad feelings. What happens? You are in a session with your therapist, and time is up. You are told, “That’s all the time we have for now.” You are left with all of that, which is one of my biggest pet peeves.
I decided to construct a different process from the people that I work with. We always finish what we are in the middle of. We do it in a gentle way. I have a five-phase process that everybody moves through that I have developed that is geared to build a foundation first so that the rest of the work unfolds as holistically and gently as possible.
Do you help people to heal from a distance so anyone can contact you and work with you no matter where they are in the world?
I have been doing that since 2009. I started online. It only came later that I decided I would also like to see people in person. Originally, for the first years, my sole business was online in France, Spain, England, Canada, and the whole United States.
You say that the importance of healing lies in reconnecting to our true sense of self. How does trauma disconnect us from our sense of self? How do we reconnect to and leverage it to create success in recovery?
That’s my favorite question.
I’m honored that I asked you your favorite question.
Trauma teaches us lies and distorts our perspective and perception. As we are shocked by what has happened to us, and we don’t think clearly, we accept what we think is the “truth” of what we have been through. That’s the first way that trauma disconnects us from the truth of who we are. I will tell you a story to illustrate this. During my trauma, I wanted to die badly. When that near-death experience began, and I was aware of what was happening and compliant and complicit in the process, I was relieved that I was dying and happy to give up the struggle.
It was hard for me to come back into my body and leave that place that felt good like I belonged there and I don’t belong is how I felt. I was clear in my distorted trauma thinking that because I had wanted to die, I did not deserve to have lived. It was a distorted belief. It impacted the way that I lived. If you don’t think you deserve to be alive, think about how you treat yourself. Think about how you let other people treat you.
The way I look at the whole thing of how you healed is when you were dancing. All of a sudden, you felt that joy. For the first time, you tuned into self-love.
I don’t even know why it happened then, except I wanted desperately to be well. I was in tune with that desire at that point, whereas for a long time, I resisted that desire. Trauma disconnects us from the truth of who we are because it fragments us. We break into many shattered pieces. Our belief system about the world is completely shattered. What we thought was true, who we thought we could count on, what we thought would be protective of us, all of the beliefs that we had completely disintegrated on many levels in terms of how we see ourselves in the world. In these beliefs, we change what we think about ourselves and how we see ourselves. We disconnect from the truth.
This is how I describe it. It’s the true who. The who that you are becomes completely disconnected from how you live every day and disconnected to the point that you don’t even realize it still exists. It’s still there. It’s your true who. Indeed, you are always underneath everything. I describe it to my clients as you were standing there one day, and the universe dumped this entire load of garbage on you. No one can see you under all of that garbage, not even you. The truth is, you can claw your way out of that garbage. When you emerge, you are going to be full of crap, but you can be cleaned up. The you that was there all along is still going to be there. It’s a matter of reconnecting to it.
No one can see you under all of that garbage not even you but the truth is you claw your way out of that garbage and when you emerge you're going to be full of crap, but you can be cleaned up. Click To Tweet
It is leading me to my favorite question to ask you, which is, you say, “Courage is a choice.” Can you talk to everyone about that? I think that opening up to wanting to love yourself enough to want to heal takes so much courage.
I will be completely transparent and full disclosure here. That was not my original idea. My mother told me that when she called me back and when I tried to resist. I came back far enough to be able to talk to her, even though I was still resisting coming all the way back in. I said, “I can’t do this. Thank you. I love you. I’m dying.” I was happy about that. She challenged me to come back.
You have to understand. My mother is 5’1”. She’s Southern. She hadn’t slept in weeks. Her Southern drawl, even though we’d been in New York for a long time, comes out, and she’s tired. She had these big black eyes. She put her face real close to mine. She said to me, “Courage is a choice. Make it.” If you are thirteen and you love your mother, and she gives you a directive, you follow through.
That’s where courage and a choice came from. I always remembered that times, over the years of my destructive behavior, that I had to remind myself, and certainly during my recovery, courage is a choice. Everything about healing is a choice. Trauma is change you don’t choose. Healing is change you do choose. Being intentional in those choices is the backbone of how healing happens. Courage is one of those choices.
Share with us how HealMyPTSD.com was born and how it led to partnering with survivors to help them take back their power and learn to live with courage, confidence, and imagination.
I didn’t think anyone would understand what I was talking about since my trauma was rare. Within a few weeks, the most amazing thing happened. It started with veterans. These are veterans of every war. They are from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and Iraq. Veterans started writing to me, “How do you know how I feel? How did you put into words what I have been trying to say for several years?” I started writing back to them, saying, “I don’t know how I know how you feel. I’m saying how I feel with PTSD.”
It started an interesting dialogue. That’s how this little blog went viral because then it was car accident survivors, rape survivors, domestic violence survivors, and child abuse survivors. Everyone started coming to the blog and talking. At that time, there were no civilian PTSD websites. I can tell you that for sure because I’d spent a few years researching PTSD during my recovery, and I had a hard time because they were all clinical sites. I had to look up half the words. I couldn’t focus or concentrate. It was hard to read these big clinical descriptions.
When everyone kept asking me for more information based on how I was blogging, where did I understand that from? Where did I get that from? I decided, “I’m going to take all of this clinical stuff. I’m going to cite references, and I’m going to write it in English. That way, people can understand it. Survivors and their families, friends, and colleagues can get a grip on what’s happening.”
That’s how HealMyPTSD.com was born. It was a place for information and awareness. From there, I continued to blog about my experience and the research that I was doing, but I did some interesting things because I wanted a universal global perspective. I did an interview. I invited survivors who were seeing progress in recovery to submit to the blog. They shared. We had real survivors talking about healing gain.
I invited professionals in the healing field to blog and contribute to the website about how they were seeing healing happen. I launched a podcast, and I interviewed all of the top recovery experts, neurologists, neuropsychologists, trauma experts, and everyone from Bessel van der Kolk all the way down. These archives are free. They are on the site. Heal My PTSD is now several years later. It’s a site that has an enormous amount of information, all geared toward understanding what you feel, why you feel it, and how to feel it.
It’s admirable what you have done with your life, and you truly are living, turning the lemons into lemonade.
We are called. You are doing what you are doing. We come through these things. You can get lost in the why me, but I think that’s the wrong question to ask. The question to ask is, what now? When you ask yourself what now, you get the answer. There’s always some impulse. If you honor the impulse, you will be led to the thing that’s meant to come out the moment that you are in.
This is what happened to me by launching this show. We are helping many people. That’s why I wanted to have you on. It’s because we are all part of this whole universal story. We can all help each other and help many people. How do our readers who are chomping at the bit to reach you, how do they reach you? If you have an offer to make or something you want to say to them, go for it.
Here’s my idea. We have talked about a healing rampage. It depends on what somebody’s ready for. You can find me at HealMyPTSD.com. Visit us there if you want more information. We have some great information for survivors, but also for families to understand because survivors usually feel isolated and misunderstood. I did a whole graphic about ten things that you need to know about your loved one with PTSD. It’s a great thing, if you are a survivor, to share with family and friends. They get grounded in a little bit of the logistics of what you are going through.
You can also find me at MyTraumaCoach.com. It’s there that I offer a few things. It depends on what you are in the mood for. Number one, I do have a cheat sheet for starting your healing rampage. If that’s something that interests you, you can hop onto MyTraumaCoach.com and shoot me an email with a subject line rampage. I will send you this little document to get you started. It’s concise and laser. It’s like a little laser map of what you are doing on a daily basis. I have an eBook, Nineteen Ways to Reduce Symptoms of Stress. I love having options for getting that job done. You can download that right on the site. I also offer a free assessment of how these symptoms are impacting your life and getting you on the road to fixing them. That’s twenty minutes with me. It’s free.
What a blessing. Anyone could talk with you and get to know you and to do that as an introduction is wonderful.
It’s all about the connection. That is at MyTraumaCoach.com/Toxic. If you are feeling like you are carrying a lot of toxic emotions, hit that page, and we will start getting you on the path to releasing that.
If anyone would know, what is your tip for finding joy in life?
For each of us, that’s different. My tip is to experiment because there is no one thing for everyone. We are individuals. For me, it was a dance floor. It continues to be a dance floor. I fell in love. I’m still trying to get it now. This man is incredible. He loved me through my PTSD and my recovery. He is my partner on the dance floor still. We go dancing every weekend. He’s everything in my life now.
When you stumble on the thing, you know that it’s right. It takes a lot to do that. I moved from one city to another, thinking that would bring me joy. I thought, “If I could get out of New York City and get to a beach town, everything would be fine.” The quote, “Wherever you go, there you are.” I didn’t understand what that meant until I lived it. That little experiment of moving to try to feel better didn’t help. We have to experiment and keep trying. I tell all of my clients that is one of the challenges that I give them. Find the thing that makes you feel good and do it every day, even if it’s for 30 seconds.
I was talking to a client. She loves to garden. She never thought about that before. There’s something about getting her fingers in the dirt that makes her feel that transcendent, peaceful thing. I have another client who loves to ride his wave runner. If he can get out on the ocean and spend hours feeling the wind and the sun and the water on him, that’s his joyful place. It’s important to experiment to find your joy. Once you find it, feed it.
Thank you. This has been a wonderful interview. I’m grateful that you are here with us. I know that we are going to connect many more times through this community. You have shared tons of insights and wisdom with us. You are fond of hope and inspiration. I have no doubt that many of our readers will check out HealMyPTSD.com after reading, and they are all resonating with this interview. Thank you from all our hearts, and as I like to say, to be continued.
I’m with you there. The next interview will be on the beach.
That’s a great idea. We will make a date on that.