Wednesday, August 14, 2013


There was a time when I found myself pleading for my life, wondering if the pain of unknown origin would ever end.  After years of self work, I have discovered that in my imperfections, I am perfect.  As are we all. 
During those days that I was living through hell, the first and only thing I wanted was to be treated like a person first.  I would not, could not, tolerate being defined by my limitations. It only made things worse.  I knew what my limitations were, but they were not who I was deep inside. It just made me angry!
All of our stories are unique glimpses into how we cope and struggle and work through the days of our lives as best we can.  There have been many days when I have needed to be carried, when I just couldn't do it anymore.  Who was there for me?  In whose presence did I feel safe and comfortable?  I know I have, and I imagine many of you have, lived in places and spaces where we felt excluded. 
It is in times like this when we all need someone willing to go looking for us when we're lost.
We all want to find our way home again.  The bottom line is how do we deal with the rough stuff?  I love this anonymous quote, "What saves a man is to take a step and then another step."  How simple that sounds.  And belief me it is true. Even if it is solely leaving the isolation of your house and taking a step into the front yard.  Next time take two steps.  With each step the journey will become easier, because you are beginning to find that faith and trust in yourself.  Soon you will find it in others. The ones that have been there for you.  The ones who come to your rescue and won't let you get lost. 

You may rant and rave when they try to help you and drag you screaming and yelling from the torture and darkness you are in, but they don't know any other way. 

Healing is where your story begins. 
So how do you help a person struggling from the effects and torment of Post Traumatic Stress emerge from the darkness?  Perhaps a single act of kindness is a starting place.  Give them hope that they won't be stuck forever.  Just as our therapy and service dogs do for us, make a bridge that conveys comfort, peace, encouragement, affection, and strength.  With my dogs, I like to call it 'the laying on of paws.' For if more of us would spend the time and carefully observe what our dogs do for us when we are feeling lost, they would know how to help us. They don't tell us to 'get over it' as so many humans do.  They are simply close by, waiting and being.
My dogs are soft and close by, but not too close.  They are a presence that doesn't leave me, a presence that I can trust, a presence that is sincere and real. A presence in whose company I feel safe and peaceful and comfortable. They don't have an agenda.  They don't say one thing and mean another.  They are what I have always called 'a gift of presence.'  People struggling with PTSD become absorbed in their own problems, causing emotional distress and demanding, constantly demanding vigilance.  But with dogs the attention is shifted, if only for a little while, thus reducing anxiety and depression, as they convey support, empathy, affection, humor, as they elicit it to their human!
A service or therapy dog can increase self esteem, confidence and control.  They increase interaction with others, brighten your mood, address your grief and loss in a very loving patient way.  They improve reality and orientation.  Eye contact with people is encouraged, as the dog becomes the focal point, not the person struggling out of the nightmare.  Dogs improve the ability to express thoughts and feelings.  They do not judge nor complain.  They are quite simply there for us. 
A dog has the ability to allow things to happen that wouldn't happen without the dog. The abilities of both are enhanced by the presence of the other.
The touches of a soft muzzle, or a tail wag all lift spirits, bring a smile, change an outlook and give hope. They, as well as those people who don't abandon you, will help you focus on a time when the problem no longer exists.
Small steps lead to large changes.  If something is working, do it more.  The simplest approach is often the best medicine.  If you look closely you will be able to see that there are indeed angels in the shadows just waiting for you to begin to emerge. 
This is the first in a series of dealing with Post Traumatic Stress. Please tell me if you like it, if you agree, what has helped you, how do you deal with it, how do people treat you.  This can be your forum!


  1. Thank you for sharing :) I would love to see more........I believe many of us want to help but don't know "how".....we want to help in the best way. <3

  2. so since I been hoping someone would respond, maybe no one wants to be the first? I already responded in private, (which kind of gives me away) ;) but if it gets the ball rolling... I like what she is doing here. Most people don't treat me like anything. The ones in my life, treat me like I am a plague or stupid, not everyone but most. I do not have a visible scar, except for my frown & a look in my eyes. I hide it most days behind humor, mostly at my own expense to make others smile. I have been called crazy. I have lost friends I thought I would never lose. I am still early in my journey but would like to see it through. My life my reason is my son. To be there for him I must be there for myself and so I have begun a painful journey exposing myself to most of everyone I know that I have PTSD. I wasn't in a war. Farthest considered over seas I have been is Alaska. I come from a long line of military of different branches. I am not military. I am a military wife. If this helps anyone speak up, I would appreciate it, because I am in the dark and every where I reach the hands pull away.

  3. Dear Anonymous, I am sure you are not alone. I receive many, many emails, comments, messages that say almost the same thing you have so bravely posted. Does anyone have any similar stories and how have you gotten through them? Most comedians have PTSD did you know that. I too hide my ptsd behind humor.

  4. it's me again, thought I'd try to answer the "how" ... I don't know where to begin with asking for help. I don't want to use the word pride, but maybe that's what is it? I don't want to sound selfish or needy. I just want to be treated normal again, not like I am broken, not like I need someone to hold my hand on everything. I used to be so very independent and that's what hurts the most next to how others have treated me. All I want is someone to listen - really listen. And someone to listen to. I been to many professionals and time and time again (except once - but I moved to another state) they have made me feel unwanted, unhelp-able and shoved pills down my throat making me numb and someone else I didn't want to be. I even have heard the speech 'I want to help you but...' from a professional mind you. So when it comes down to it... all I want is someone who wants to spend time with me. Show me what is outside my front door without overwhelming me and forcing me to do the things I most fear. I miss the small things like 'lady talks' and sipping tea with a friend or going to the store just to window shop. I am sure there is more I could write but I am making myself upset thinking about it... hope that kind of answered the question of how to help...