Tag Archives: Post Trauma Stress

Post-Trauma Stress (PTS) Experts & Survivors Podcast Interviews from Friend & Colleague Michele Rosenthal.

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Changing Direction Radio Full podcasts of all our expert and survivor interviews by Michele Rosenthal…

“In an effort to bring you even more ideas for how to reduce and manage PTSD stress, depression, mood swings, nightmares, insomnia, sadness, anger, grief and pain, plus redefine who you are and reclaim how you live every week for four years Michele Rosenthal invited professionals and/or survivors to discuss a topic specific to your life after trauma. On this program Michele and her guests covered a wide spectrum of topics designed to help you turn yourself around and get headed for healing in the right direction.

With guests from backgrounds that include self-help, mental health, trauma, motivation and inspiration, HealMyPTSD.com founder, Michele Rosenthal, interviewed experts and everyday people about what it takes to heal trauma and move forward with your life. Guests include civilian and military survivors and professionals sharing their unique perspectives on how to quell the chaos and take positive steps toward change, plus leaders in the fields of self-help, inspiration, motivation, science, trauma, recovery, and personal development.”

My favorite…How to Live A Joyful Life After Trauma with Angela Shelton

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Michele Rosenthal has been a friend and colleague during my own journey of healing since publishing my first book in 2011.  Her recent book review of my latest e-book, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 2 has made a huge difference in giving my story more attention, including the stories of other trauma survivors.  Thank you, Michele Rosenthal, for all your support during my journey!  And thank you, Angela Shelton, for sharing your story of healing…with joy!

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

Angela Shelton

AngelaSheltonAngela Shelton is an American screenwriter, actress, and documentary film producer, best known for the film Tumbleweeds and the documentary Searching for Angela Shelton, which she wrote, directed, and edited. She has also just released her book, Finding Angela Shelton: The True Story of One Woman’s Triumph over Sexual Abuse.  Also, Be Your Own Hero… Warrior Workbook…

Recovering Lost Memory from Traumatic Experiences? Is this a good thing?

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The world of identity theory is thorny. Based on independent philosophical questions about what makes an individual a person (versus what makes a human a conscious living thing), there’s no simple consensus about just what, exactly, defines personal identity.

Creating False Memories…October 27, 2015 by Michele Rosenthal  A Quote from this article…click highlighted link to read more…

“Part of how we grow and self-define (and the way we learn how to let go and find inner peace) comes from those experiences that create memories of how we ourselves (not a biochemical solution and a laser) generate experiences that bring change. We learn and integrate ourselves precisely because we are active in the memory formation process. Instead, creating false memories reduces us to a passive role, one that provides little in the way of choice, action, reaction, ownership and self-created experiential learning.

Taken to the extreme this scientific advance could lead to a psychological retreat. Better to allow individuals to purposefully create new experiences in the present than tinker with what (did not) happen in the past.”

Click here to get inspired by Rose’s easy steps to positively change your mind

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I have pondered memory recovery for many years.  My lost memory challenges are from early childhood to about age  8 or 9…after that most of my memory is pretty intact…  I also suffered memory loss from a traumatic experience while aboard ship serving in the US Navy in early 1965.  I have contemplated hypnosis as a treatment to bring back these memories with the idea it may help my own recovery journey in mitigating post traumatic stress symptoms.

Following my own personal research, input from mental health professionals, and in reading the article written by Michele Rosenthal, Creating False Memories,  I would say for me, leave well enough alone…  Sounds dangerous to attempt, through hypnosis and other mind manipulation treatments, memory recovery when there is a risk connected with this psychological procedure.  All this sounds too complicated to me anyway….  I feel pretty good with my own journey of healing these days, and wouldn’t want to “fix it if it ain’t broke.”  Check out these additional references to learn more about this topic…False Memory Syndrome, Wikipedia and Creating False Memories, Scientific American…

Thank you Michele Rosenthal for bringing this topic to our attention.  Although it is sort of complicated, it is important for trauma survivors like me with memory loss to have a high level of awareness.  I could have easily made an emotional decision to seek hypnosis a few years ago at great risk.  I have become very happy with the work in progress alternative treatment strategies that have worked well so far.  HealMyPTSD.com with Michele Rosenthal continues to be an excellent resource for me to stay on track and further my education.

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 or download books.

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate…

 

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week…The Resilience of Homeless Kids…

The Resilience of Homeless Kids…but not without long term emotional needs and support…

Who is the homeless?  “Storied Streets” Watch this powerful documentary trailer…

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National Hunger and Homlessness Awareness Week November 14th-22nd, 2015

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Homeless kids look and act typical in school but often suffer alone and in silence…

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I was moved today listening to Susan Sarandon on NBC Today talking about her new documentary “Storied Streets.”    I know in my own community of Lincoln County Oregon, we have experienced an increase in the population of homeless children who go to school each and every day and survive and thrive…moving on with their lives in very responsible ways.  These kids stay focused on getting a good education because they know this is the path to becoming a healthy and productive adult.

In my own experience as a board member of Neighbors for Kids, Depoe Bay, Oregon, and as a author and blogger, there are many stories of homeless kids who set a great example for others by overcoming the many challenges of surviving and thriving without the consistent emotional support of a stable and permanent home.  We work hard to help kids find a strong footing and balance with healthy adult and peer support in our community.  Most importantly we show love and compassion for children of all ages who join us each day during normal public school hours and out-of-school programs like Neighbors for Kids.

In my most recent book, My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2, I included a special story, written by Jenny Green, a former homeless child.  Following is an excerpt from my book, Chapter 3. in her own words as a homeless military child.

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Jenny Green while working for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife…

“It was during one of these summers when I was 12 about to be 13 and had to attend summer school, that Mom closed the door to me. It was my last day of elementary school, when I got home all the doors and windows were locked and Mom was not answering. I sat on the porch till 10pm wondering what had happened, asking neighbors if they had seen anyone at the apartment, nothing. I went to a 5th grade friend’s house, but her family did not want anything to do with stained clothed, ammonia smelling kid; they told me to leave and not return.

Under the glow of the dim street light I slept on the porch that night.  The next morning I walked downtown to the amphitheater next to the Ohio River. I would sleep in and around this amphitheater for the next three months. Summer school did not serve lunch, so at night for food I would dig in the dumpsters of the local restaurants after they had closed. I remember eating half eaten fried chicken legs, macaroni salad with my fingers, licking pie filling off of paper plates, and using old napkins with lipstick stains smeared on them.

I remember being afraid to sleep outside at night; so I would walk around town, watch the trains, or sit and listen to the coal barges and tugs going up and down the Ohio River till dawn. I was also afraid of the local law enforcement, as I was scared of getting in trouble for being homeless and filthy. I did not know at the time that they would actually have helped me. I kept going home every other day and knocking on the door and no one ever answered, even though I could see the mail was picked up and curtains were moved.

The day 7th grade started, again I went back home and knocked on the door. To my surprise my mom answered the door. Dark circles under her eyes, dirty clothes, and matted hair is how she greeted me. I asked where she had been, and all she could say was that she had been busy. I told her 7th grade started today and I need her to go register me for school at the junior high, she agreed and we walked to school. I walk in the office with the same jeans, t-shirt, socks, and shoes I had been wearing for four months since the end of April, as people are staring at us I get registered for school and receive my class schedule.

Second period was algebra, and I hated math but I did not know that my life was about to change. I met my best friend Tracy; she didn’t care what I looked like or smelled like. In fact, later in the school year her Mom and Dad invited me over to their house as often as I wanted. They fed me, washed my clothes, and let me shower. By 8th grade I was living in their house. Mom still had custody of me but she allowed for my move. I was in their household ’till just after high school graduation with a 3.75 GPA, college bound, clean clothes and good food.

Someone had finally given me a chance to survive, and I thrived…”

Jenny Green has been working for Neighbors for Kids as our STEM Teacher for several years now.  She is one of our most popular teachers.  Jenny continues her higher education with the goal of a long term career in teaching K-12 science.  Jenny also loves photography and spends her free time finding unique photo shots of the Oregon coastal region.

Please become involved in supporting homelessness in your community during this week of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness…and all year long…

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 and order my book(s)…  Jenny Green’s complete story is in chapter 3 of My Journey of Healing, Part 2.

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Child Advocate…

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Kids Early in School to be Mindful of Stress is a Huge Step in Mitigating the Onset of Long Term Depression and Anxiety!

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Students practicing mindfulness…with the aid of a teacher…

Schools are now teaching kids…and parents…how to deal with stress…  Quote from this link…

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On a recent Tuesday morning at Lafayette Elementary School in Northwest Washington, Sofia Parodi took a coveted seat at the head of the classroom and asked a fellow fourth-grader to switch off the lights.

“Close your eyes and take three deep breaths,” she instructed her classmates, who fell into a familiar rhythm of silently counting their breaths, then sharing their experience with their classmates.

Sofia was the day’s mindfulness helper, a temporary apprentice to Linda Ryden. Ryden is Lafayette’s peace teacher (yes, that’s her title), who leads about 500 of the school’s students in weekly courses on mindfulness — a practice aimed at enhancing self-awareness and reducing stress by focusing, without judgment, on the present moment.

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I have been writing about teaching kids and parents how to be mindful of stressful circumstances both at home, in school, and at play for 5 years now in this blog and through my books.  Just the other day during a stressful meeting as a board member of Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay, Oregon, we paused to be mindful as adults of the challenges facing us as community leaders.  Our teachers and mentors practice the same mindfulness exercises with our students each and every day.  We do this to help all of us recognize that we are not alone in feeling the stressful aspects of life and the day to day challenges we all face together.  The practice of “mindfulness stress reduction” (click this link) really works and is catching on more and more in schools everywhere.

During my early life in school, we were silent about stress most of the time…  It was an exhausting and lonely time for many post WWII and Korean War kids who lived in often toxic and violent circumstances at home.  Once in awhile there would be a teacher or mentor who paid special attention to those of us struggling with stress, and tried to help.  For the most part we tried to keep a safe distance from the emotional pain because it was not generally understood during the Post WWII era.  Consequently, and sadly, we moved on to adult life with all this bottled up emotional baggage that had to come out sooner or later…and it did in often tragic ways.

The good news…it is never to late to confront the baggage connected with post trauma circumstances, even after many years of denial or avoidance.  It took me until age 64 to find my way to a path of healing by writing my first non-fiction memoir.  There are many alternative strategies to practice mindfulness stress reduction.  Writing and speaking about the subject has been a gift of peace of mind for me for the first time in my life.  Be kind to yourself and others and learn more about ways to reduce stress through the practice of mindfulness.  I admit it is a work in progress, but has been very effective for so many who stick with it, especially children.

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…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Child Advocate

Patrick J. Kennedy’s Memoir is Cathartic and Healing…”A Common Struggle” indeed…

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Ted Kennedy and son Patrick…

Patrick Kennedy opens up about toxic family life and PTSD…

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Click the book cover to order…

“At the forefront is his father, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, whom Patrick now believes suffered not only from a serious “drinking problem” but also from untreated post-traumatic stress disorder following the assassinations of brother and President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and brother Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. 

Patrick goes on to paint a raw and unsettling portrait of his father, a man he says suffered “in silent desperation for much of his life, self-medicating and unwittingly passing his unprocessed trauma onto my sister, brother and me.”

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I know something about a common struggle of “untreated post-traumatic stress!”  Patrick Kennedy does too…  Children growing up in a family affected by severe traumatic experiences, often take on the same mental health symptoms and behaviors as parents who struggle.  Untreated PTSD is mostly hidden behind closed doors with family members getting the direct hit of the symptoms of self medication, anger, depression, panic attacks, including emotional and physical abuse.  The toxic behaviors are mostly invisible outside of the home where parents who suffer can keep a safe distance from the pain of the past while becoming workaholics who self medicate with a good whiskey to keep calm.  The false cover of calmness by day turns into a nightmare for family members during evening hours and on weekends as the trauma sufferer releases all the pent up anger connected with bottled up pain from the past and the sickness from a never ending hang over…

When I wrote my book many years after Dad passed away in 1998, my family members helped me with stories that were difficult to remember and to share with the world.  But it was a most cathartic and healing experience that gave me and others who read my story a path to recovery, including peace of mind.  When my book was published; however, family members became agitated and anxious, distancing themselves from me and our painful family story.  There has never been any denial of the events described in my book since my siblings and mother helped me reconcile the stories and experiences showing a violent and toxic family life that drove us all away.  We carried the emotional baggage with us and were consistently challenged in confronting something we did not understand until later in life.  We acted out in our own ways to each other and our own family members with behaviors that added up to all the symptoms of post-traumatic stress, that all of us know much more about in the 21st century.  Even though we know so much more, there is still denial and stigma keeping sufferers from seeking treatment and find the lasting peace of mind we all deserve.

I attempt to write in my latest book, My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2, about how critical it is to seek treatment, if for no other reason than to save your children from suffering the same fate, and their children as well.  PTSD is an inter-generational national mental health crisis that will take decades of awareness and treatment to cure from society.  We have been a nation at war since the Civil War with families becoming embroiled in the symptoms of post trauma as a fact of life.  It doesn’t have to be like bad genes that carry forward forever.  I am encouraged and confident that someday, following my life-time, that PTSD will be in the history books and cut off at the pass eventually.  We will become strong enough as compassionate human beings to address mental health needs effectively, starting with kids at an early age, without the stigma that holds us back today.  I know we can do it, and the books written and on-going awareness efforts by those who have survived and thrived like Patrick J. Kennedy will help society heal in time.  We must talk and write freely about mental health to each other and in public places so that it is as comfortable as talking about a cure for a common cold.

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…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Child Advocate

For Immediate Release… My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2…Press Release!

Press Release–My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2… “Saving your children, family, and loved ones from inter-generational post traumatic stress (PTS).”

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Depoe Bay, Oregon

 

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“Saving your children, family, and loved ones from inter-generational post traumatic stress (PTS).”

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 14, 2015 | Author Steve Sparks |

 

My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2, will be released on Friday August 14, 2015.  The nonfiction narrative represents four years of outreach and research captured from the author’s blog, Children and Families in Life after Trauma. Selected topics are organized into eight chapters focused on trauma affected family circumstances and positive outcomes.

This third book release is about Steve’s personal journey of healing.  He writes as a survivor of childhood and early adult trauma growing up in a toxic military family torn apart by WWII and Korean War.  Steve’s blog, Children and Families in Life after Trauma, provides rich content as an e-book.  The narrative carries the reader on a story of inspiration, passion, and discovery of the roots of trauma-affected children and provides strategies for parents, teachers, and loved ones to help mitigate the suffering.

Steve’s story addresses the broader circumstances of children and families living with traumatic experiences, including military families, 1st responders, kids growing up with domestic violence, and in troubled neighborhoods affected by gangs, drugs, and severe crime. Sparks carves out a path of healing and peace of mind that has brought joy to his life and far better relationships with family and friends, including far less stressful and more rewarding professional experiences. The book truly shows an inspirational and motivational journey that has its roots in making a difference for others. Steve lives with his wife and soul mate Judy in Depoe Bay, Oregon. Judy has been a critical partner in supporting his work, including writing the Foreword for this latest release. Circe Olson Woessner, executive director, Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF) writes an excellent Prologue to show the impact of post-traumatic stress (PTS) on the military family as a whole. One complete chapter of Steve’s book is dedicated to MAMF.

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

Listening is a tough act to follow… Awareness comes from the soul…

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With hyper-vigilance comes listening from your soul…click for larger view…

Paying attention is the key to awareness… Deepak Chopra about listening…Deepak

“The execution of any task or project depends on someone paying attention to someone else. Success isn’t created in a vacuum. It emerges from the situation at hand.  The situation can be a crisis or a routine project, a management problem or a simple exchange of information. The more skilled you are at paying attention, the higher your chances of success, along with other benefits such as not wasting time and getting along with co-workers.”

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Listening is a great challenge for most of us.  We work to improve this sensory skill for a lifetime.   Some of us have extra sensory skills called hyper-vigilance or being on alert with intensity most of the time.  In my experience, this extraordinary listening capacity can be powerful and comes from your soul.  We are either born with this complementary skill of a high level of vigilance or it is caused by experiencing a traumatic event(s) in life, or both.  Hyper-vigilance can be a huge benefit to improve listening and awareness if managed effectively.  If not, being on alert constantly can be very tiring and annoying to others as well.

My own hyper-vigilance, caused by experiencing childhood and young adult trauma, has been a benefit for the most part in my life, especially on a professional level.  Being on alert for danger all the time at home with loved ones is not so beneficial.  I have a keen sense of awareness about hyper-vigilance at this stage in my life, including the roots of this behavior.  With increased awareness, a person gifted with a high level of vigilance can become a much better listener in positive ways both at work and in the comfort of your home.

For me, becoming a better listener with loved ones and close friends offers the most value in improving interpersonal communications.  Even if you are a typical listener with good to excellent awareness intensity, learning more about the extreme nature of hyper-vigilance can provide an extra edge by learning a mindful or soulful approach to listening.  What used to be considered a troublesome symptomatic condition of post-trauma stress (PTS) is now viewed as a heightened awareness advantage…with major benefits on a professional level and at home where it really counts…

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