Thank You, Sue, for inviting me to share my story on your blog. I’m honored to be part of your series to help raise awareness of mental health conditions by sharing our stories. My name is Alexis Rose. You can find my blog at https://atribeuntangled.com/blog/.
I am an author and speaker who is passionate about breaking the stigma of living with PTSD. When I’m not writing, I work a couple of hours each week as a marketing consultant and rental manager for a wellness center in my home state of Minnesota.
I’m fortunate that my grown kids live near us and come to visit often. My daughter will be going off to law-school in the fall, so she will be flying far from the nest. I’m hoping that with Facetime it won’t seem as if she will be so far away.
I’m pretty good committed to my yoga and meditation practice. I don’t do it every day, but I try to be very consistent. Exercise is a way for me to stay grounded, distract myself from my symptoms and keep me moving. I have an emotional support dog that keeps me active with walking too.
I have a wonderfully supportive family. My husband and kids were greatly affected by my PTSD, but now we have reached a new normal, and move through day-to-day, just, well, living life. I’m also very fortunate to have cultivated a circle of close friends. In the past ten years, since my diagnosis, my friendships have changed quite a lot. Some friendships dissolved fairly quickly, while with others, we became even closer. I have met some wonderful like-minded people, that have become close friends, since I started living a more authentic and vulnerable life.
I have learned quite a lot about people since I was diagnosed with PTSD. I appreciate the lessons, although at times they have felt quite painful. I have also learned how to be a better mom, spouse, and friend. I have learned to be more open and honest about how I’m feeling and to let others in to support me. I used to hide behind a mask of armor. Never “needing” or accepting help, always being the one to swoop in with a solution. I learned that is not how to have deep, and meaningful relationships.
I received the diagnosis of PTSD about ten years ago. I had to face how my trauma affected my relationships with my family, friends, parenting style, and career. While dealing, and coping with the trauma, there were a lot of “aha” moments. I saw how my behavior and ways of coping with life, were a direct result of my trauma and not because I was a bad person.
Some of my symptoms still have a good choke-hold on me. My symptoms include (not limited too) flashbacks, concentration issues, becoming overwhelmed which leads me to feeling like my brain is shutting down, difficulty making choices, anxiety/depression and a sensitivity to triggers. I sometimes use the phrase, “triggers, triggers everywhere.”
When I first began therapy I had no tools in place. I was living in a state of crisis all the time and did not understand what was happening to me. I felt as if I was losing my mind. My repressed
memories were exploding out of me and I had no idea how to make sense of them, or how to cope with the pain I was in.
My therapist and I put together a safety plan. I had to learn to keep my self safe during those beginning days, so we could begin to process the trauma. I developed many distress tolerance tools; including writing, drawing, exercise, and reaching out for support.
Those are still my go-to coping strategies. Also, an important skill and strategy I learned was to name the feelings, emotion, or trigger, let myself feel the feelings, and then to just sit with it. For me, it was imperative that I understood that, it’s okay to have feelings, and I don’t have to run away from them.
Leaning to recognize and acknowledge each step has been an amazing accomplishment. I notice when I am breathing without strife. I notice when I am walking a bit taller, not contracted and fearful. I also know that my journey towards health is not a linear one, and that healing takes time. Each step towards health is a celebration of resilience.
Today, I know my past, my truth. I have a congruent timeline of my life. I no longer live in the darkness of secrecy and fear. My goal is to continue to fuel internal contentment and live the best life I can, even though I still navigate symptoms of PTSD.
Since publishing my books, speaking to groups and blogging, I have connected with many people who live with mental illness. The stigma associated with mental illness, and the “you don’t look sick” challenge can keep many people in the shadows, silently living in isolation with a sense of fear of losing family, friends, and even employment.
Like any other illness, without proper treatment, mental illness can feel unbearable. With the correct treatment and family, friend and community support, those of us who live with mental health challenges can live life without stigma or shame.
It’s a very common statistic, that mental health effects 1-in-4 people. There is a lot of good information available to help raise awareness. If you know someone who has a mental illness, talk to them. Ask them questions. Someone you know, or love may be suffering in silence because of the fear of rejection. Let’s keep the conversation going.
Here is a link to Alexis Rose’s blog.
Thank you for sharing your story.
You are an amazing person and a strong survivor.
You deserve much praise and honor.
Your story is your glory.
We celebrate you.
If you want to share your story on my blog and join us on our campaign “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story,” please check out the post titled, Please Help Me With My New Campaign – “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story” to learn the mission behind our campaign.
For suggestions and ideas about how to write your story and for directions on how to share your story on my blog, please visit the post titled A Revised Guide – How to Write and Share Your Story For “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story.“
Thank you in advance for participating and helping our cause of increasing awareness and educating about mental health and mental illness, reducing suicide and ending the stigma of mental illness.
We are on a mission to save lives.
We are on a mission
to improve the quality of people’s lives
who live with mental illness.
Thank you for being you.
Much love and hugs, Sue
“There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
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