November Issue

Thanksgiving Blessings 

At Thanksgiving, my wife and I celebrate by stating what we are the most grateful for in the past year. Countless thanks go out to her for being employed and healthy. Due to her employment, I have health insurance and the ability to seek medical attention when it is necessary. Even though I have a list of medical conditions and quirky foibles, my wife has been by my side for 27 years and continues to love me. She is a blessing that goes beyond the mysteries of life, a partner who encourages me to reach for the impossible, and a friend who supports my efforts to be as authentic as I can be.

My thanks are for endless moments of incredible joy and happiness we have together observing the sunsets in Portugal, swimming in the Dead Sea in Jordan, exploring the Mayan ruins in Tulum, Mexico, and climbing the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. The mist in the distance of the cliffs remind me of reading books like The Mists of Avalon, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights. These books have fueled my imagination for creating characters in my novels who seek truth and unconditional love, and who are challenged continually by life’s traumatic events.

I am honored to receive the 2018 Living Now Evergreen gold medal presented to my book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness. The Living Now awards are given to books that change people’s lives. When I had a six percent chance of survival, I wrote this book which transformed my life. Many readers have given me feedback that the book has transformed their lives as well. I truly believe that healing from illness and trauma starts in the soul where the spark of life is fueled and fortified.

I am beyond grateful for creating “The Road to Unresolved Trauma Healing” (TRUTH) program that helps people heal from all types of trauma. TRUTH program is a tremendous gift which allowed me the time to research proven techniques to strengthen the mind, body, and spirit of the participants who make a continual commitment to heal from trauma. I am grateful for their endless efforts to resolve issues including physical, sexual, and emotional harm.

Being asked to write monthly articles for Sibyl Magazine has been a highlight of my year. I want to thank Sibella Publications and staff for allowing me to help women who are trying to heal from trauma. Surviving trauma can be a very lonely place, but it is my hope that readers have found their voices and courage in my words. Stories of sexual abuse and assault need to be told – and told often – to eliminate this terrible wrong in the world.

Also, I am grateful for my friends who pick me up in dark times, celebrate the good times, and are my true family. We are all warriors in our world of constant change. This Thanksgiving I am overflowing with a soul filled with gratitude and a life filled with blessings.

NEVER GIVE UP!

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Get the T.R.U.T.H. Program Today!

Dear Trauma Survivors:

U are the center of TRUTH!
If you’re dealing with unresolved trauma in your past, like a history of abuse, you’ll find this program a new start for you. T.R.U.T.H. provides you with a learning opportunity to mend and improve the quality of your life through guided imagery, meditations, writing activities, and many other tools to assist you on the road to healing.

The T.R.U.T.H. pilot program is coming to a close. We’ve seen tremendous growth in healing from unresolved trauma. Our participants were true heroes as I watched them take on tough memories and topics to reframe and take back the control they felt they lost. They found the true meaning in “I can’t cure trauma, but I can heal from it.”

After deep soul-searching, I realized that this one-of-a-kind T.R.U.T.H. Program is beneficial to ALL trauma survivors as a self-study. You don’t need to join a group, but if you’d like, you can work with a therapist or social worker along with your workbook, where you can gain this inspiring information and education shared in our pilot program. From understanding how trauma affects your health to healing your mind, body, and spirit; you have the exercises and tools you need to create a new life plan.

If you’re interested in purchasing the T.R.U.T.H. Program, please send $50* (check or money order) made out to:
Never Give Up Institute
5725 Willow Trail
Saint Paul, MN 55126

*The fee includes tax and shipping. For the companion book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, go to Amazon.com (Book is not included with T.R.U.T.H. workbook.)

There are no secret potions or magic tricks to enhance your health and wellness. There’s only hard work, determination, love, compassion, and peace. Take your life back with this amazing new program. Start today!

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you. –Zora Neale Hurston

 P.S. Now there’s the hope and the blessing to heal. Get T.R.U.T.H. today!

 

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Writing Your Way Through Trauma Workshop

If you’ve experienced trauma and want a positive way to express your feelings, please join us for our “Writing Through Trauma Workshop.” You’ll learn how trauma can compromise your health and wellness, and learn ways to heal. Workshop 1.0 is for beginners who are exploring healing through writing. Workshop 2.0 is for writers who have taken Workshop 1.0 and want to pursue other creative forms.

These writing workshops are held at a safe and comfortable location. Please review the attached poster for details.

I hope you’ll join us.

Alexis Acker-Halbur
Workshop Co-Facilitator

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Living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

I received the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) about ten years ago, after my daughter was involved in a serious accident while walking to school. Before the accident, I worked hard to keep my life, my family and their world so protected that the instant she got hit, my controlled snow globe world instantly cracked, hit the ground, and shattered. In fact, when my son and I were talking the day of the accident, he looked at me and innocently said, “Things will never be the same again.”  Extremely prophetic words that at the time neither myself nor my family had any idea what they would come to mean.

During the year following my daughter’s accident, I was busy with tending to her health, taking her to appointments, trying to work full time, and keeping our household running as normally as possible. Simultaneously, I kept having strange experiences that were making me feel like I was losing my mind. I couldn’t stop and think about what was happening, nor did I have the words to describe it to anyone. It was just an overwhelming sense of fear, and general feeling that I was going slowly going mad.

I was becoming anxious. I started losing all sense of time; finding myself wondering where I had been the last few hours and feeling incredibly disconnected from my body and the world. I was called into meetings at work because my performance was terribly erratic. I felt physically sick all the time. And I kept having these bizarre explosive memories leaving me feeling out of control and disoriented.  I knew something was seriously wrong with me, so I made a call to a psychologist who agreed to see me the next day.

When I started working with my first therapist, I was anxious to tell her everything all at once. I thought if I could word-vomit everything that was coming to my mind, that would be enough to feel better and get back to work.

I didn’t understand that I was having flashbacks, and that I was living in a constant state of crisis. I was writing my therapist letters from a dissociated state which made no sense but felt vaguely familiar as she would read them aloud. I would lock myself in my room for hours fearing that I was going to hurt myself, and I didn’t want to be around my family. I felt out of control, thinking I was losing my mind, feeling like I had failed my myself, my family, and I began spiraling down a very slippery slope.

One of the most important practices to have in place when beginning trauma therapy is to have a safety plan. I needed to develop tools for many things, including distress tolerance. Once a plan was in place, we could begin the process of working on and processing my trauma.

Not only was my therapy about processing the memories, but I also had to start accepting that there were some intense effects of the trauma, and they influenced how I saw and reacted to the world.

I also 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 PTSD symptoms still have a good choke-hold on me. As with many illnesses, PTSD can be invisible on the outside. My symptoms include (not limited too) flashbacks, concentration issues, becoming overwhelmed which leads 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.” The wind can blow a certain way, or fireworks, or a car backfiring, even the moon can sometimes bring on flashbacks.

Once I was able to name and accept my symptoms, I needed to learn to work within my deficits. This wasn’t easy or comfortable for me. And honestly, there are still times I find myself becoming frustrated and angry at my PTSD. When that happens, I stop, and use my grounding tools to rest and reset.

Writing gave me the courage I needed to address the pain I was feeling. I would write even when I thought I had nothing to write about. Often, I would write and send what I wrote off to my therapist. I started to find that I could write what I couldn’t say aloud.  At first, it provided distance from having to use my voice, but then I found writing gave me a voice.

Learning to recognize and acknowledge each step on my path towards health and understanding is a long and never linear process that helps keep me in a resilient mindset. I also try to remember to notice the perfect moments. I made myself understand that are 24-hours in a day, and within those hours are some spectacular moments.

I was not going to let the effects of what happened to me keep me from trying to have the life I wanted. I never lose sight of my goals. They are to live with my past, live in the truth, and recognize and relish in the feelings of internal contentment. Some days those goals seem as far away as the furthest star, and other days I understand that, I am living in my truth, I am content and understand that I’m not just a survivor of trauma, but that I am thriving despite my trauma.

Thank you, Alexis and the Never Give Up Institute for inviting me to be a guest writer on your blog. The work you do is truly inspiring!

Alexis Rose
Author, Speaker
https://atribeuntangled.com/blog/
atribeuntangled@gmail.com

Thank you, Alexis Rose, for your enlightening blog on PTSD. I know my readers will appreciate your insights, vulnerability, and power to survive. Thanks a million for being a guest blogger on my website.

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A Message About Mammograms

 

What’s a garage door have to do with mammograms? Women know!

What happened recently is soooooo Alex! I went in to have my annual mammogram and four weeks later I had a partial mastectomy. WHAT! Yes, and that’s why I’m sending this message to all of you who have not scheduled your mammos. Breast cancer is so sneaky. It can hide in the breast tissue and go undetected for months if not years. In fact, a woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I lost my mother to breast cancer many years ago. I know Mom was in the operating room with me holding my hand.

 

Genetics do play a huge role in breast cancer, but environment factors also contribute to the number of breast cancer patients.

For some silly reason I thought that because I had Stage IV colon cancer twice that I would be free from breast cancer. Don’t make this terrible mistake. Another interesting fact says: as of March 2017, there were about 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This figure includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment. That’s just too many women fighting breast cancer.

A male friend asked me awhile ago to describe a mammogram. My answer was this: mammos are like lying on your garage floor and having the garage door come down on your breasts — one at a time! But like colonoscopies, mammograms are needed to stay healthy. So, if you haven’t had your annual mammogram please schedule it soon. It could save your life.

In my book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, I make the point that stress from unresolved trauma can make us sick. I admit that the past several months have been highly stressful and I turned to food to medicate me. The result is that I had to have surgery and I’m way overweight. It’s time to follow my own advice and get on a healing journey again.

Please! Don’t ever give up!

 

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