Each one of us have a different path to healing. No two paths are alike. However, our commonality lies in the fact that we are all human, we all struggle, and we all have childhood wounds of some sort that need to be worked out in order for us to heal and grow. Healing is a lifelong journey. Just when you think that you have completed this journey, it can be one random thought or song, or one major trauma or death that causes you to revisit certain areas, and then go in at a deeper level. The poem “The Path to Healing” reflects thoughts on my healing journey. God bless!
We all love a good night’s sleep. When I picture falling asleep, I think about having just the right amount of flat sheets, a soft comforter, a few pillows surrounding me, just the right temperature in the house, and having sweet dreams. Just thinking about this scene would make all of us stop and long for sleep.
Sleep can be one of the sweetest things in the world, and then on the other side of that coin, it can be that of agony for a person living with PTSD/trauma on a daily basis. There is also no rhyme or reason as to when sleep deprivation will occur.
Breakdown of My Sleep Aspect of Trauma
Five years ago, unbeknownst to me, I entered an extremely toxic work environment. At the time, I had already been dealing with sleep issues as a side effect of the trauma of my divorce, as well as the events immediately preceding and following the divorce. I would describe the events as a crazy Lifetime movie. Unfortunately, this movie was my life. Although I was already having problems staying and falling asleep, nothing could compare to the level of sleep problems that occurred as a by-product of working at this company for nine months.
People living with PTSD/trauma often face two issues when it comes to sleep: falling asleep and staying asleep. I had and have both. During the time that I worked at this company, I would try to fall asleep around 10 pm. From 10:00 pm to 3:00 a.m, I would fall asleep for a few minutes, wake up with my teeth and whole body tense and clenched tight, and the cycle would start all over again.
Breakdown Part Two
I am going to keep it real here. The first couple of times that this happens, you find yourself trying to stay positive and you start telling yourself not to overly think about. “Don’t be concerned about the time.” However, when you have done this 5 or more times within five hours, and realize that you have only had a total of maybe one hour of sleep, and you have to get up pretty soon for work, the positivity can wear off real fast. I had to wake up at 6:00 a.m. to get ready for work, which if we all do the math, we know that this isn’t enough time for restful adequate sleep.
The toxic job, along with this vicious cycle of sleep caused major life-threatening thyroid problems, along with an overactive adrenal gland.
God granted me grace by allowing me to be let go from this toxic environment. It gave me time to heal and try to breathe again.
Sleep Aspect: What’s Going On Now
I still have issues with my sleep patterns due to trauma. They are not as frequent as they were, but they are still a problem. Last week took me clearly by surprise.
I had been suffering with sinus and allergy issues since August, and last week these issues came to a head. And guess what came with it? Sleep deprivation from trauma. I had two nights with four nights of sleep.
Then, I had one night with five nights of sleep. Just as I thought I was turning the corner, the following night was an all-nighter with only one hour of sleep at best. I nodded off for ten minutes at a time, woke up, and then stayed up for hours, with my body attempting sleep several more times.
I have to get up at 4:00 for work, and so, when this time came, and I was still awake, I reluctantly resigned to calling in and staying home. What I had to do was to give myself grace and compassion. I had to tell myself that I needed a time-out to rest, get in as many liquids as I could to help my sinus issues, and just relax. Finally, I fell asleep at 5:00 a.m. and slept until close to nine.
I would have liked to sleep until one o’clock. However, that didn’t happen. What did happen is that I literally laid down for part of the day, and sat up part of the day and allowed myself to rest physically, emotionally, and spiritually in Jesus. Sometimes we just have to admit that we are having a bad day, week, month, year, and simply REST!!!
Sleep Aspect Conclusion
Sleep deprivation from trauma is real. I won’t downplay it. However, God is also real, and he can meet us right where we are. When we have these hiccups in our schedule, the devil wants to make us think we are right back where we are. WE ARE NOT!!
Unfortunately sleep issues are a part of living with and healing from trauma on a daily basis, but it doesn’t define us. God does! And guess what? When I couldn’t sleep during the night, I had praise music playing in my head as if I had turned on a radio. Even though my feelings were telling me different, God was telling me that he was with me.
God bless and have a wonderful rest of your week!!!
What are some of the things that you do to help yourself when you are dealing with the sleep aspect of trauma?
How many of you have gone on a journey? We take many things with us when we start to embark. When you began yours, what did you take with you?
Sometimes, there are things that we plan to take on our journey, and other times that are things that happen to us that are totally unplanned. Today’s podcast will feature a reading from my first book. I would classify it as an autobiography/ faith journey. There were several things that happened to me on my journey. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t have planned for a lot of the things that happened to happen. However, it is through this journey that God has made me stronger, and allowed me to see that he is my only security, and that it is through his grace that I am where I am today.
What Happens With the Combo of Trauma and Constant Busyness
Good afternoon! Welcome to Healing Our Brokenness, episode 45,
Entitled, “Be Still:” The Healing Aspect of Living with Trauma on a Daily Basis”
What does it mean to be still?
Being still means without movement, without speech, calm,
I like to think of stillness as the act of eliminating busyness
In Psalm 46: 10, God tells us, “Be still and know that I am
To know means to be aware of through information and observation. For us to know something or someone, we must
spend time with that person or learning about that topic. If we want to know
God, we must quiet our spirits, stop the striving, distractions, busyness, and
do what is required to be in a relationship with him. If we want to heal from
trauma, we also need a stillness to exist.
This stillness required from healing that helps us to know
about our mind and body connection, can only happen when we purposefully have 2
things: time and space.
When we are busy every minute of the day, we don’t have time
to know our bodies. Our bodies reveal the secrets behind our emotions. Just recently, and recently being about 3
months ago, I started working a full-time job. After a month, I realized that I
needed to tweak my schedule for the weekend. I had to block out 3 hours on my weekend
mornings in order to make sure that I could continue having my time of
stillness. Without stillness, it is hard to gain clarity.
Before working full time, I had more time and space for this
stillness to occur. Now, since my schedule has changed, i must be more
intentional about giving myself margin.
Right before starting work with this job, I had a traumatic
event to occur. Along with learning new things at work, and relearning how to
drive after 30 years, I was exhibiting “ADHD-like” trauma symptoms, and having
a hard time focusing. I knew that it was
only a matter of time till the emotional effects of this event would come out. My
system had to be relaxed enough with stillness, and time and space to go
through the steps of processing everything that had gone down.
The first symptom that was exhibited was that of nausea. I
knew immediately that this was grief. And how was I able to tell that? Four
years ago, when I was living at my previous residence , I became very nauseated
one evening after eating. It was the
worst case ever. I thought that I was
coming down with the flu or some type of virus. It was also during this time
that I had not begun to process any of the traumatic events that had occurred in
the previous 3 years. My system was on
emotional and mental overload.
All of a sudden, before I knew it, I ended up regurgitating 3
to 4 times. In between each time, I felt like I needed to cry very deeply. This
is how I was able to make the connection that nausea for me equals the need for
grief to be released from my body. At
the time, my son asked me about the contents of what I ate that could have made
me so sick. I told him that I realized that it had nothing to do with the food
that I ate.
When I told my therapist about what happened, she said, “Yes,
this was definitely physiological.”
Another symptom that occurred recently is where my lips started
to become numb. I knew immediately that
this represented anger that I needed to work through. Once again, if I did not have the time within
the last few years to process some of the trauma, I would not have had a clue of
what was going on. I probably would have
gotten myself all worked up and anxious, perpetuating the problem.
I was then able to go to God and ask him, “What is this
anger about? Is it just this traumatic event, or something else along with it?”.
Having my time of stillness, and space for reflection allowed me to get to the
root of the problem so that I could start healing from, it. That anger had been coming out sideways for about
2 1/2 weeks.
Music is one of my main go-to’s for enabling me to process
trauma , and so when I added more of this into my time and space, I gained even
more wisdom and discernment , along with being able to release the grief from
my system through crying heavily.
Changes are good. However,
changes are only fully embraced once the old has been grieved. All of the “would
haves”, “should haves”, and “not any more’s”. If you are having problems
healing from trauma, ask yourself if you are allowing yourself the time and
space of sitting in God’s stillness. The
pain, loneliness, and loss have to be grieved. I don’t want to mislead you. There
will be pain in this process. There’s no way to go around it. And I promise
you, if there was, everyone would be signing up for it. There is God’s grace,
mercy, and presence there. And it is
very much needed. It is also in this stillness that our mind, body, soul, and
spirit will begin to reveal the answers to our questions. It will help us to
lead the way and or continue our journey to a life of thriving.
First, try starting off with one hour of lying down without
any distractions and see if you can notice the difference of what this new
stillness brings. Initially, it will feel very uncomfortable because you will
want to quickly fill up your time with busyness. However, this quiet time will
begin to declutter your mind and allow you to get to the root of your issues, along
with the help a therapist.
I hope that “Episode 45: ‘Be Still: The Healing Aspect Of
Living With Trauma’” has been beneficial to you in some way. If Healing Our
Brokenness is making a difference in your life, please leave a review, tag a
friend, and give a shout out on social media. God bless! Have a wonderful week!
Background on Recovery: When you are recovering from PTSD/trauma, it requires a lot of in-depth work. This poem depicts just that. You have to regain your sense of self, learn to listen to your body for its story, and be still with patience as God does his work.
How many of you have had times like myself, where you’ve carried around
a heavy load, done all that you can do in a certain situation, prayed several
times over the situation, and yet you still feel like you’re not sure of how to
proceed. You end up being stuck in between a rock and a hard place.
We know that the bottom line is that God is in control. Even with that,
sometimes our hearts still remain heavy.
This was pretty much what Hannah had to go
through. Hannah was barren, and every year when she went to give worship
and sacrifice to the Lord, her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, would taunt her
to the point of fear because God had shut up her womb. We all know that
fear is from Satan himself.
And her rival used to provoke her grievously
to irritate her, because the Lord had
closed her womb.So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of
the Lord, she
used to provoke her. Therefore, Hannah wept and would not eat. (I Samuel 1: 6-7, ESV)
Hannah’s heart was so heavy, that she went before God’s throne of grace,
pleading to God to open her womb: “And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your
servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your
servant a son,
then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. (I Samuel 1: 11-12, ESV)
Hannah was so intentional with her prayers,
that her mouth moved, but her prayers were submitted to God through her heart
and her spirit. She was on a mission. Eli the priest thought that
she was drunk:
Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her
lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken
woman.And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on
being drunk? Put your wine away from you.”But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink,
but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.Do not regard your servant as a
worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and
vexation.” (I Samuel 1:
It was at this point that God gave Hannah a sign through Eli that he had
heard her cry, and her prayers would be answered:
Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the
God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.”And she
said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went
her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. (I Samuel 1: 17, ESV)
And when she had weaned him, she took
him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour,
and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young.Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli.And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am
the woman who was standing here in your
presence, praying to the Lord.For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
1: 24-28, ESV)
About six years ago, when I was at the peak
of my valley, everything in my home was in an uproar. I had done
everything that I could possibly do, been taken advantage of, and with a heavy
heart, I went to the Lord for help in a prostrate position. I felt led to
write out the prayer that King Jehoshaphat prayed in 2 Chronicles 20:
“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this
great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes
are upon thee.” (KJV)
God laid it upon my heart to pray this prayer
for the next forty days. As the days went on, spiritual warfare hit from
every corner. I was on a mission, and I continued to pray. My
friend and I decided to get together to pray on one accord with this same
prayer New Year’s Eve night.
Our kids were upstairs hanging out, and we
were downstairs praying. The kids came downstairs a few times to grab food
and were looking at us as if we were crazy. But just like Hannah, we kept
praying. We prayed this prayer so hard and so long till our mouths dried
out, and we could no longer talk.
Like Hannah, we needed an answer. We joked around about whose prayer God would answer first. And as in Hannah’s situation, God answered our requests. My prayer was answered thirteen days later. I don’t remember how quickly God answered hers. It was soon after. God split the Red Sea so that I could leave the Egypt of a toxic marriage. Praise God for his word and his promises!
Thank you for your word and your
promises. Thank you that when our hearts are heavy with grief, you are
still there. You never change. You are the same yesterday, today,
and forever. Please comfort our hearts when we just don’t know what to
do, knowing that you are in control, and will give us instructions when the
time is right.
Today, I am featuring another aspect in the “Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis” series. This aspect is that of music. Music can have several effects. It can make you go from feeling relaxed to nervous, anxious, and scared, and then switch over to anger, frustration, and sadness in a heartbeat.
Whether you are suffering with trauma/PTSD or not, listening to music can take you back to twenty years of memories that can feel like it was yesterday. Our emotions get stirred, and if we are not careful, we can start riding the waves. You can start thinking about old relationships and all sorts of things.
When it comes to music and PTSD, it can be both a good and bad thing, depending upon the situation. If the music is loud and harsh, with screaming involved, it can cause you to have the trauma symptoms of irritation, dissociation, and anxiety.
Unfortunately, I have experienced all of these. About five years ago, my son was listening to some metal Christian music. I had to ask him to turn it down, then off. It was just too much. The screaming caused the Fear Aspect of Trauma to settle in. I started to feel unsettled in my spirit, along with feeling agitation and anxiousness.
Whether you are listening to loud or soft music, if you haven’t processed memories that are associated with a particular song, you may not be able to tolerate that song or style of music for a while. You’ll usually know if you can tolerate the song/style because you will be able to listen to it without any problems. If the song is intolerable, you usually end up with bad flashbacks or dissociation.
Just recently, I realized that I am fully able to enjoy gospel music again. Starting in 2013, it became hit or miss. Gospel music is associated with attending a missionary baptist church as a kid, leading the choir with my ex-husband, praise dancing, and my roots in general. In order for me to truly appreciate it again, I had to process the important events that this genre held close to my heart. The events weren’t just from one particular time period. They were spread across years.
Recently, my friend invited me to two gospel concerts she performed in. I felt like I was back in the church that I attended as a kid. I knew that this genre had helped me to place the piece of puzzle of my identity in this area back to where it belonged.
Music from the 70s and 80s is also some of my favorites. When I listen to this music, it causes ambivalence. Why? This time period represents a life of simpler times. I have relatives that were alive then, and no longer alive. Community was food, dancing, talking, and enjoying one another’s company. Sometimes, I find myself dancing and crying at the same time.
The more I listen to it, the better it gets. However, I still have moments of extreme grief from trauma, as well as joy at the same time because these memories will forever be in my heart.
How has the music aspect affected your PTSD? Would love to hear your thoughts!