Heald Warriors Club - Milpitas Campus

Heald Warriors Club - Milpitas Campus Club for Military (current and former) and their families attending Heald College in Milpitas, CA

08/04/2014
Bill Phillips Transformation

Bill Phillips Transformation

SELFISH VS. SELF-RESPONSIBILITY

Oftentimes people mistakenly believe that by accepting responsibility to take care of their own health and happiness, they’re somehow being selfish. The fact is, we are being self-responsible when we prioritize, each day, doing what we need to in order to recover and renew our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

That means we must choose to make time for exercise, eating healthy meals, as well as rest and recovery. We must choose to connect with positive, uplifting people who support and encourage us. And we must choose to make at least some quiet time for self-reflection and to clear and calm the mind on a regular basis.

When we do these things consistently, we become stronger and filled with energy and health. This allows us to give our best to others. Remember we can't give what we don't have so taking care of YOU is actually a selfless practice--one that helps you and those who count on you.

Love Our Vets - PTSD Family Support
04/25/2014

Love Our Vets - PTSD Family Support

To keep on hand...

Words have the power to tear down or heal. Be careful what you say.
04/24/2014

Words have the power to tear down or heal. Be careful what you say.

ZTop ten things not to say to someone with PTSD!

Photo credit goes to
WWW.MILITARYWITHPTSD.COM

PTSD Break The Silence
04/22/2014

PTSD Break The Silence

Ways to help a friend with PTSD.
PTSD Break The Silence

PTSD Break The Silence
03/25/2014

PTSD Break The Silence

Tips on dealing with nightmares:

1) Recognize that they can't actually hurt you in real life.....you will wake up eventually.

2) Journal: i'm serious here, how I got somewhat control over my nightmare that terrorized me for months was journaling about my nightmare, and then at the end of the entry, state that you have the power, that you are a survivor.

How to do that: start with your worst nightmare, what I refer to as the "big bertha" Write it down in your journal in detail, every detail you can think of/remember. Then at the end of the entry, write that you will not have a nightmare, that you are a survivor, that you have the power. After you get control of the "big bertha" the rest of the nightmares should be easier to get control of. *******important: do this EVERY day, consistently**********

3) Stop worrying about them: it seems impossible, but worrying about having a nightmare/the nightmare you had just puts more stress on your fractured brain, and makes it more likely that it WILL repeat.

4) Reach out: here, to a trusted friend, just get off your chest what's bothering you....your less likely to have a nightmare if you don't have everything bottled up.

PTSD Break The Silence
03/25/2014

PTSD Break The Silence

Tips on dealing with Flashbacks:

1) always keep in your mind that flashbacks are in the past.....they can't hurt you the way they did in the present.

2) Know your triggers: what upsets you, what makes you feel like that little boy/girl.......and eiether try to limit your exposure to them, or devise "safety plans" when you have to deal with them. (which we can help you with)

3) Ground yourself: when you are around a trigger, keep yourself present by noticing anything that's different.....turn on loud music, touch a piece of ice....

4)Pay attention to the early signs: When your around a trigger, how do you feel? what do you do? Those are the questions that will lead you to the early signs of a flashback, and help you devise a plan when you feel them.

Starbucks CEO announces $30-million effort to help veterans
03/25/2014
Starbucks CEO announces $30-million effort to help veterans

Starbucks CEO announces $30-million effort to help veterans

Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz has announced that he will donate $30 million to benefit the 2.5 million U.S. soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

PTSD Break The Silence
03/22/2014

PTSD Break The Silence

Judith Brooke posted to PTSD Break The Silence

I am almost finished reading a great book about pushing the limits and the cost. "The Secret Race: inside the hidden world of the Tour de France by Tyler Hamilton (a racer). Here is a meaningful and definitive picture of what depression is like:
"What people don't understand about depression is how much it hurts. It's like your brain is convinced that it's dying and produces an acid that eats away at you from the inside, until all that's left is a scary hollowness. Your mind fills with dark thoughts, you become convinced your friends secretly hate you, you're worthless and there's no hope"

03/21/2014
Love Our Vets - PTSD Family Support

Good resource for vets and their family

A wife needs someone to talk to...feeling very alone: "Are there any wives who have husbands/S/O's who are suffering from PTSD and depression? I just need someone to talk to. My husband tried to hurt himself and is in the pysch ward of a VA hospital at the moment. If anyone has been through it please give me advice. Thank you." We reminded her that we have a Support Network on the website LoveOurVets.org, both online and local groups. Also many helpful resources under Resource Links. No one needs to be alone!!! Thank you for your words of encouragement.

PTSD Break The Silence
03/21/2014

PTSD Break The Silence

PTSD is an injury to the brain caused by severe trauma. This shows how it affects the brain.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a chemical change in the brain caused by trauma

PTSD, depression and substance abuse can all be seen as a physical, chemical injury to the brain that occurs when the brain is exposed to trauma.

Love Our Vets - PTSD Family Support
03/21/2014

Love Our Vets - PTSD Family Support

PTSD can be a two-sided barricade. In the aftermath of a recent medical “procedure” (euphemism for torture), I gained a new insight on PTSD. It all started when the nurse could not get my veins to take the IV (I don’t blame them!). After the back of my poor hand morphed into a human pin cushion, I finally burst out in tears. It hurt! As I cried, feeling the pain, I also reached my other hand out to my husband to hold and comfort. Pain and love. I felt them both very clearly.

It was like I was free! Something about the feelings welling up from inside and flowing out, along with the love that was flowing into me from my husband…it all overshadowed the physical pain.

They wheeled me down to the surgery room and hooked up the air flow and IV to knock me out. The doctor stood by my bedside and explained the procedure one more time. When he was finished, I said woozily, “Wow…the stuff you’re giving me is working already!” To which he replied wryly, “I haven’t even given you anything yet.” :) The OR was in hysterics. It was a fun moment. The next thing I knew… I woke up.

Thankfully everything is fine. But in reflecting later (with the help of my counselor), I now see a facet of PTSD that I had not yet grasped. Because I was open, having made much progress in my own healing journey, I was able to feel the pain inside that needed to come out, and also receive the love from outside that needed to come in. It also freed me up to experience the joy and laughter in the OR (I still chuckle at that).

I see it like this: PTSD puts up a double sided barricade. One on the inside – and one on the outside. It blocks feeling from coming up to the surface (pain as well as joy), and it blocks outside “intruders” from coming in (danger, as well as love). The result is numbness. Lifelessness. Sure it feels “safe” but so does being unconscious.

When the PTSD hijacks us, it closes us in between the double barricade, and we erroneously feel a false sense of safety. The truth is that we are not safe. WE ARE TRAPPED! Inside the walls. The good news is that there is enough of us that is alive inside the barricades to still choose. Life awaits us. It is up to us.

ONLY AS WE OURSELVES BEGIN TO POKE HOLES THROUGH THE BARRICADE, TO ALLOW THINGS TO COME OUT THAT NEED TO, AND TO LET THINGS IN THAT WE NEED, WILL WE BEGIN TO REALLY LIVE.

We will never totally remove the barricade, but we can start sledgehammering holes through it to get to life. I had to let my pain out, and let his love in. We have to be willing to feel the pain in order to feel the love, which is far greater. And the laughter is the icing on the cake!

I am glad I have been able to poke holes through my barricades, and I hope that you can start busting through your walls too. Over the years I have seen my vet break many holes through his. The first blow is the scariest. It takes real courage. But it feels so good to begin to really live again. It may mean calling for an appointment at your local vet center, contacting a chaplain, or connecting with a good support source online (see LoveOurVets.org for options under Support Links).

…And the best surprise is who you might find on the other side waiting to hold your hand.

Love Our Vets - PTSD Family Support
03/14/2014

Love Our Vets - PTSD Family Support

Living on pins and needles waiting for the next blow up is hard on everyone! Anger Management treatment may help warriors learn to deal with the rage. ♥ Judy

PTSD Break The Silence
03/03/2014

PTSD Break The Silence

Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD)

Many people with PTSD struggle in coping with flashbacks. Flashbacks are considered one of the re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD. In a flashback, a person may feel or act as though a traumatic event is happening again. A flashback may be temporary and some connection with the present moment may be maintained, or a person may lose all awareness of what is going on around him, being taken completely back to their traumatic event. For example, a rape survivor, when triggered, may begin to smell certain scents or feel pain in her body similar to that which was experienced during her assault.

People with PTSD may also experience dissociation. Dissociation is an experience where a person may feel disconnected from himself and/or his surroundings. Similar to flashbacks, dissociation may range from temporarily losing touch with things that are going on around you (kind of like what happens when you daydream) to having no memories for a prolonged period of time and/or feeling as though you are outside of your body.

Both flashbacks and dissociation may occur as a result of encountering triggers, or a reminder of a traumatic event. To the extent that people are not aware of their triggers, flashbacks and dissociation can be incredibly disruptive and unpredictable events that are difficult to manage. However, you can take steps to better manage and prevent flashbacks and dissociation. These are described below.

Know Your Triggers

In coping with flashbacks and dissociation, prevention is key. Flashbacks and dissociation are often triggered or cued by some kind of reminder of a traumatic event (for example, encountering certain people, going to specific places), or some other stressful experience. Therefore, it is important to identify the specific things that trigger flashbacks or dissociation.

By knowing what your triggers are, you can either try to limit your exposure to those triggers, or if that is not possible (which is often the case), you can prepare for them by devising ways to cope with your reaction to those triggers.

In addition to reducing flashbacks and dissociation, knowing your triggers may also help with other symptoms of PTSD, such as intrusive thoughts and memories of a traumatic event.

Identify Early Warning Signs

Flashbacks and dissociation may feel as though they come "out-of-the-blue." That is, they may feel unpredictable and uncontrollable. However, there are often some early signs that a person may be slipping into a flashback or a dissociative state. For example, a person's surroundings may begin to look "fuzzy," or someone may feel as though he is separating from or losing touch with his surroundings, other people, or even himself.

Flashbacks and dissociation are easier to cope with and prevent if you can catch them early on. Therefore, it is important to try to increase your awareness of early symptoms of flashbacks and dissociation. Next time you experience a flashback or dissociation, revisit what you were feeling and thinking just before the flashback or dissociation occurred. Try to identify as many early symptoms as possible. The more early warning signs you can come up with, the better able you will be to prevent future flashbacks or episodes of dissociation.

Learn Grounding Techniques
Grounding is a particular type of coping strategy that is designed to "ground" you in or immediately connect you with the present moment. Grounding is often used as a way of coping with flashbacks or dissociation. In this way, grounding can be considered a variant of mindfulness.

Grounding techniques often use the five senses (sound, touch, smell, taste, and sight) to immediately connect people with the here and now. For example, listening to loud music, holding onto a piece of ice, or biting into a lemon are all grounding techniques that produce sensations that are difficult to ignore, thereby directly and instantaneously connecting you with the present moment.

As the name implies, grounding is a particular way of coping that is designed to "ground" you in the present moment. In doing so, you can retain your connection with the present moment and reduce the likelihood that you slip into a flashback or dissociation. In this way, grounding may be considered to be very similar to mindfulness.

To ground, you want to use the five senses (sound, touch, smell, taste, and sight). To connect with the here and now, you want to do something that will bring all your attention to the present moment. A couple of grounding techniques are described below.

Sound: Turn on loud music
Loud, jarring music will be hard to ignore. And as a result, your attention will be directed to that noise, bringing you into the present moment.

Touch: Grip a piece of ice
If you notice that you are slipping into a flashback or a dissociative state, hold onto a piece of ice. It will be difficult to direct your attention away from the extreme coldness of the ice, forcing you to stay in touch with the present moment.

Smell: Sniff some strong peppermint
When you smell something strong, it is very hard to focus on anything else. In this way, smelling peppermint can bring you into the present moment, slowing down or stopping altogether a flashback or an episode of dissociation.

Taste: Bite into a lemon
The sourness of a lemon and the strong sensation it produces in your mouth when you bite into it can force you to stay in the present moment.

Sight: Take an inventory of everything around you
Connect with the present moment by listing everything around you. Identify all the colors you see. Count all the pieces of furniture around you. List off all the noises you hear. Taking an inventory of your immediate environment can directly connect you with the present moment.
Enlist the Help of Others

If you know that you may be at risk for a flashback or dissociation by going into a certain situation, bring along some trusted support. Make sure that the person you bring with you is also aware of your triggers and knows how to tell and what to do when you are entering a flashback or dissociative state.

Seek Treatment

In the end, the best way to prevent flashbacks and dissociation is to seek out treatment for your PTSD. Flashbacks and dissociation may be a sign that you are struggling to confront or cope with the traumatic event you experienced. Treatment can help with this. You can find PTSD treatment providers in your area through the Anxiety Disorder Association of America website, as well as UCompare HealthCare from About.com. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) also provides a wealth of information on the connection between trauma and dissociation, how to cope with dissociation, and provides links to therapists who treat trauma and dissociation.

http://ptsd.about.com/od/selfhelp/a/flashcoping.htm

Love Our Vets - PTSD Family Support
03/03/2014

Love Our Vets - PTSD Family Support

To keep handy when WE need encouragement.

Emotional School Surprise For Lucky Sons
03/02/2014
Emotional School Surprise For Lucky Sons

Emotional School Surprise For Lucky Sons

Staff Sergeant Christopher Page has been serving our country for the past year, and has been away from his loving family. He decides to give his two sons a wonderful surprise when he becomes the star of the show during a school assembly. Get the tissues ready!

Love Our Vets - PTSD Family Support
03/01/2014

Love Our Vets - PTSD Family Support

It doesn't matter how they were wounded, our warriors all deserve our love and respect! ♥ Judy

PTSD Break The Silence
02/28/2014

PTSD Break The Silence

Did you know that the psychological experience of trauma can actually cause neurological changes? Well, it does! All this time there are scientific reasons for much of our behavior, including increased, diminished and killed brain regions, functions and neurons.

Can’t find the words to express your thoughts? That’s because the prefrontal lobe (responsible for language) is adversely affected by trauma, which gets in the way of its linguistic function.

Knowing that there’s a biology to trauma helps understand in a scientific sense why we can’t ’just get over it.’ Recognizing that trauma’s effects have been concretely documented by evidence-based data should let us know that PTSD is not a condition within our control; we have to learn how to regain mental power. The more we know and understand the more we can figure out how to heal.

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