Tag Archives: #myjourneyhealingpart1&2

Trauma Survivors Thrive…Knowing The Triggers to Emotional Pain… Self Awareness is Healing…

Surviving and Thriving…  Quote from this website…

Every trauma survivor has the right to become a thriver!

We provide support, friendship and advice for adults who have been affected by childhood abuse. If this is the first time you have visited this site, and would like to learn about HAVOCA, feel free to browse around and explore our hundreds of useful pages about the road to recovery.

HAVOCA’s ethos believes that every single victim of abuse has the ability to survive and lead a more fulfilling life.

#####

“How many of us suffer with the feeling of being broken???”  

“And many years of putting all the ‘broken’ parts back in place.   No easy process but you can thrive!”

 #####

The above anonymous exchange of text messages got my attention.  I have been using “surviving and thriving” together for some time because shifting to “thrive” offers so much hope.  Why?  Because when we do “survive” emotional neglect and child abuse, embarking on a lifelong journey of healing, we more often than not “thrive” while doing so.  It becomes a daily work in progress and a discipline of understanding the symptoms connected with the mental health challenges.  If we are aware of the triggers and behaviors, we can mitigate the unsettling over reactions to the days events, and practice “dialing down” with style…  Hyper vigilance can be a good thing in terms of staying on top of your game, but not so good if it turns into a panic attack or an over reaction that becomes a distraction to others on your team.  Trauma survivors can thrive by using some of the value added symptoms of mental health challenges to advantage.

I have received excellent mentoring over the years from friends, family, co-workers, and mental health professionals to learn the value of  “dialing down” that translates into facilitating emotions or anger that has positive benefits at home and in the work place.  Take a look at the resource and reference site…Surviving and thriving…  Start thinking in terms of practicing how to use the gifts of hyper vigilance and hyper arousal to your advantage…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2…  Click the highlighted text for my author page to order books and other stuff…

Steve2016

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate, and member, Lincoln County Oregon, Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC)

 

Mindfulness Therapy for Veterans and Others Suffering From Post-Traumatic Stress… Learning to ‘live in the moment’ is healing…

MindfulnessPTSD

“Veterans with PTSD who received mindfulness-based therapy reported greater (though modest) improvement in symptom severity than veterans in another form of therapy.”

Mindfulness…”Living in the Moment.”  Quote from this link… Great video clip!

“Mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy teaches people to pay attention to the present moment in an accepting way. Past studies have shown it can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, but could it also provide relief for those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? A new study finds veterans with PTSD who received mindfulness-based therapy reported greater improvement in symptom severity than veterans in group therapy sessions focused on current problems. Their overall improvement, though, was modest.  PTSD affects nearly a quarter — 23 percent — of all veterans who have returned from deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Left untreated, this condition poses unique dangers to veterans and their families.”

#####

It is a true story that living in the moment doing the things you are passionate about, including making a difference for others, offers a way to keep the pain of past traumatic experiences at a safer distance and mitigates anxiety about the future.  Some will argue that these healthy distractions achieved through mindfulness-based therapy can keep a person in denial of addressing the root causes of post trauma symptoms.  I say doing both in a balanced way can be effective.  I would rather practice mindfulness therapy than use prescription drugs or alcohol as self medication for the long term.  I also need to revisit and reconcile my own life trauma circumstances as an on-going process to keep a healthy perspective of those early child and young adult years that were so painful living in a highly stressful and sometimes violent home.

I have written often about the topic of “mindfulness”  (click highlighted text for video clip) in the context of life after trauma for adults.  But the practice and benefits of meditation or mindfulness therapy definitely apply broadly as a way to relax for people of all ages.  Children in particular get stressed out the same as adults.  We all need a mindfulness timeout a few times a day to stay calm and focused on the joy of living, learning, and growing.”

Take a look at my author page, and download “My Journey Part 2” and other books and resources to explore mindfulness-based therapy.  I have enjoyed far more peace of mind in these later years by becoming highly aware of my own post traumatic stress symptoms, and engaging in a balanced treatment strategy that works.  Each individual must find their own way, or in the case of children, show them the way by practicing living in the moment techniques.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2…  Click the highlighted text for my author page…

Steve2016

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate, and member, Lincoln County Oregon Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC)

 

“Advice for Family Members” Steve Sparks and Kate Gallie on PtsdChat.org Radio…

This-Weeks-PTSDchat-Topic-300x180

PTSDchat.org Radio Podcast… BlogTalkRadio, HEALTH…Advice for Family Members, Hosted by Steve Sparks and Kate Gallie on June 8, 2016…

#####

“Advice for Family Members” is my first in-depth and heartfelt radio interview on the topic of children and families in life after trauma… I discuss my own story as a post WWII and Korean War military child growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s during a time when there was no awareness of post-traumatic stress and treatment strategies for individuals and families.  Your comments and questions would be most appreciated.  Thank you!

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1& 2… Click the highlighted text for my author page to order my books and other stuff…

Steve2016

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate, and member, Lincoln County Oregon Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC)

51XVJuHBdUL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_

My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 2… Saving your children, family and loved ones from inter-generational Post Traumatic Stress (PTS)…Download ebook $3.99 here… or free Kindle Unlimited.

Pain Killers and OPIOIDS Kill! Estimated 28,000 People Die Annually in America! Combat vets at high risk…

flexslider_heroin_vital_signs

Substance Abuse Statistics…click image for larger view…

Prescription Drug Overdose Guidance Measures…

The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic.

Opioids (including prescription opioid pain relievers  and heroin) killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, more than any year on record. At least half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.

Pentagon getting serious about Apparent over-prescription of antipsychotic drugs

StanWhite

Stan and Shirley White of W.Va., whose son Andrew, a Marine, suffered from PTSD. When he died in 2008 at 23, they blamed a “lethal cocktail” of drugs. They were in Phila. fighting the use of antipsychotics for service people. DAVID SELL / Staff

Combat veterans are especially at risk… click here for more…

“During about 300 missions, Andrew had a steady diet of death and destruction.
A combat engineer, Andrew cleared mines and improvised explosive devices from roads before they blew up his fellow Marines, soldiers, and civilians. After nine months, White was sent home and eventually received a medical discharge for PTSD.
“It changed him,” Stan White said of combat. “He became a recluse. In the last four months of his life, he ate two meals with the family. He would take his food to his room.”
On Feb. 12, 2008, when Andrew had failed to meet her for a planned lunch at a restaurant, Shirley White went home. She found him dead in his bed. He was 23.”

#####

The above quote from the referenced website article is becoming an all too common tragedy by combat veterans who suffer from the symptoms of PTSD.  Since the illness is invisible and soldiers will not even talk about their pain, they become a suicide risk without loved ones getting any warning.  The diet of prescription drugs and use of alcohol as well can cause a person to lose hope and no longer have a desire to live.  I know from my own experience that the side effects of medications can cause psychotic episodes that put you and others at risk.  I remain hopeful that the continued monitoring and research of anti psychotic drugs, especially mixing with other prescription medications, including alcohol will help mitigate a troubling trend.

Pain killers came into my life after decades of using alcohol for self-medication.  Physical health challenges hit me like a baseball bat once entering mid-life, especially in my 50’s.  My doctor was very stern with me about the risk of mixing prescription medications or opioids with alcohol.  I drank too much back then anyway, but my ego and self-talk rationalized a determination to start on pain killers and continue my self-medication ways of the past.  After just 12-18 months on this new regimen of pain, sleep, and anxiety medications along with alcohol, I was a total basket case to say the least.

At age 55 with strong support from my family, doctors, and own hyper-vigilance, I stopped drinking, period!  But what I didn’t do is curtail or manage effectively the use of prescription drugs.  I became addicted and kept taking prescription drugs as long as recovery from multiple surgeries to replace joints and fix a severe arthritic condition with chronic pain.  It took me until my mid 60’s to finally get off of pain medications and other opioids, only to discover then the many alternatives of non-narcotic medications and mindfulness exercises.  Now at almost age 70, my life is completely free of narcotic based medications for pain, sleep, and anxiety challenges.

And what a gift in life it has been not to take anything related to narcotics or alcohol!  I feel very lucky to still have a relatively healthy body and mind for the coming golden years of new opportunities and adventures in life.  I’m thankful for my wife and soul-mate who has been so supportive and loving for all of our 32 years of marriage.  I treasure the many years of happiness together.  But without a close friendship and dedication to working together confronting our life challenges, there would not be a future of hope and joy in these later years.

My passion to give back and help others who suffer from post-trauma stress has been strengthened by my own life experience.  I know we can save lives through building awareness and in advancing the conversation of post-traumatic growth that literally saves the lives of so many children and families in life after trauma.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of healing in Life After Trauma, Part1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page to order books and other stuff…from Amazon.com.

Steve2016

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

Post-Trauma Growth Awareness Month of June… My own journey of healing…

banner-public

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like combat, assault, or disaster. Most people have some stress reactions after a trauma. If the reactions don’t go away over time or disrupt your life, you may have PTSD.”

ad_banner_war

Returning home from war… click this link…

What is PTSD?   National Center for PTSD June 2016

The goal of my book and this blog since the beginning has been to raise awareness of PTSD.  I spent the first 64 years of my life not knowing about moral injury and combat stress, especially how it affects the families of warriors returning home.  During my childhood we lived in a chaotic and abusive home.  Even after leaving home, it appeared convenient to push all the bad stuff under the rug and move on. For so many years there was a knot in my stomach that never went away.  I always felt troubled emotionally, but never understood why… I used intense exercise, adventure, and my professional life to channel all this hyper-vigilance and anxiety.  My home life was the most challenging when there was a little free time on my hands.  With the help of my courageous and devoted wife I took small steps over the years to rid myself of anxiety and depression, but never knew or understood the root cause.  It was following retirement that, with continued support from loved ones and friends, it became more urgent to revisit my childhood and early adulthood to put my own life experiences in perspective.

Since researching and publishing my book in November 2011, my life has been transformed.  I no longer have a knot in my stomach and there is  very little anger left in my heart.  Much of my time, in these joyful later years in life, is spent helping others and making a difference in my community as a major part of my own journey of healing.  It is in the spirit of my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, and writing this blog daily that my goal is to help others take the first step toward healing by becoming aware of moral injury and PTSD.  Please take some quality time this month and learn more about PTSD.  Then start your own conversation with others and perhaps your own journey of healing.  It is not easy, and continues to be a work in progress.  For me, it has been worth all the sweat equity and time ten fold to finally have peace of mind.  My life has been transformed and each day is now a blessing and full of promise for the future…

Be well and help others who suffer from post-trauma stress, especially the children and families who are the caregivers of our heroes both military and 1st responders.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2…

P.S. Take a look at these helpful ideas below from the National Center for PTSD.

Do you think treatment is only for people with extreme problems? Have you ever felt that you just don’t have time for treatment with all the other things in your life? The truth is that trauma can happen to anyone, and getting help is taking a step forward, not weakness. Making PTSD treatment a priority will help you get back control of your life.
This week’s step challenges you to think about all the benefits of getting help for PTSD, supporting someone in treatment, or learning how to offer the best care for your clients.

  • Meet Veterans who faced PTSD and turned their lives around at AboutFace.
  • VA providers can use the VA PTSD Consultation Program to get peer support for clinical practice, assessment, improving care, or programmatic issues.

Take the Step: Explore the options.

What can you do if you need help for PTSD? Whether you are learning to manage your own symptoms or you are a caregiver looking for resources, you have options. The steps you take to get care should be the ones that are best for you.
This week’s step gives you information about options for care and support resources to help you make the best choices for yourself or your clients.