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Showing posts from January, 2018

The Difference Between Trauma and Anxiety

I've been living with the effects of complex trauma for a long time, but for many years I didn't know what it was. Off and on throughout my life, I've struggled with what I thought was anxiety and depression. Or rather, In addition to being traumatized, I was anxious and depressed. 

All mental health is a serious matter, and should never be minimized. If you are feeling anxious or depressed, it's important and urgent to find the right support for you. No one gets a prize for "worst" depression, anxiety, trauma or any other combination of terrible things to deal with, and no one should suffer alone. With that in mind, there is a difference between what someone who has CPTSD feels and what someone with generalized anxiety or mild to moderate depression feels.

For someone dealing with complex trauma, the anxiety they feel does not come from some mysterious unknown source or obsessing about what could happen. For many, the anxiety they feel is not rational. Gene…


As a trauma survivor, some days are more manageable than others. I am learning the long, slow process of better recognizing ways to prevent overwhelm and ways to better care for myself when I am overwhelmed. Even so, sometimes it comes on so fast, I can't deescalate. For me, feelings of stress and anxiety can quickly morph into panic, sometimes without an obvious trigger. It could be triggered from the gradual build up of a stressful week, or it could be triggered simply walking into a noisy room. Sometimes, just the general sense of overwhelm itself can be the trigger to an even more intense emotional flashback.

Part of the reason for this is that therapy causes the goal posts to keep moving. I have made a lot of progress. I am re-wiring my brain. I don't relate in the same way to things that previously bothered me. This is all great news, but the reality is that this process of taking all the fuses out of my mental fuse box and rewiring them means there is still much to do.…

How To Think

I've been thinking a lot lately about how we think. I have always been one to challenge the status quo, a habit I picked up from not going along with my abusers' bullshit. I've always been able to see situations from different perspectives, another trait developed as a result of abuse. In my critical thinking classes in college, I wanted to shout "Amen!" after every lecture. My favorite word to insert into every one of my English essays was "fallacy." I've fought back against brainwashing since birth, so sometimes it surprises me when someone falls for a glaringly obvious lie.

Take "fake news," for example. It's the quintessential manipulative bait and switch of our time.  Yes, there is "fake news" and it is a problem, but the ones purposely generating it are also the ones who coined the term and projected it onto the legitimate news outlets. I mentioned to someone recently how the most important classes students can take ri…