For a long time after my trauma I felt…. different. I didn’t feel comfortable or safe in my body. I didn’t even feel comfortable or safe in my mind. Suddenly, there were thoughts, emotions and memories that seemed out of my control. In order to deal with it all, I did my best to suppress the problems and carry on with a ‘normal’ life.
I bet you can already guess that I wasn’t exactly successful. The more we avoid post-traumatic issues the more they fester and eventually erupt. On the days that I just couldn’t hold myself together – when I melted down, lashed out or shutdown in order to lessen the stress – I thought the problem, certainly, was me. I was too weak to manage. The truth, I found out later, is the problem was not me at all. The problem is that trauma impacts and changes the brain in significant ways that impair our ability to function.
Recovering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is challenging. Unlike bronchitis, there is no universal treatment, no definitive timeframe for feeling better, and no way to know what kind of treatment will work. While you try different healing modalities from traditional (talk therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and exposure therapy) to alternative (information processing therapies, hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, somatic experiencing) it will be necessary for you to also develop your self-empowered healing skills.
You have enormous healing potential; the goal is learning to access it. Applying your own internal strength to the recovery process means developing not only your recovery skills but also your consciousness. Here’s why….
Have you survived a trauma and are still haunted by the after effects? Do you struggle with a bad case of insomnia? Ever feel like you’re literally caught in an instant replay of the moment you felt most helpless while your life was being threatened? Have you noticed that instead of experiencing emotions you are emotionally numb? If you answer, ‘yes,’ to these questions, you’re not alone! In fact, studies estimate that over 5% of the American population (that’s over 15mm people) struggle with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While posttraumatic stress symptoms are prevalent, many people don’t recognize the presence of them in their own lives. We get so used to being awake all night, having nightmares or suppressing disturbing memories that all of that seems normal. The truth is, though, you don’t have to live that way.
I don’t know who you are, or why you are reading this page. I only know that for the moment, we have connected for a reason, and that is good. Because I want you to know someone cares about you. I can assume that you are here because you are troubled and considering ending your life as I have thought about doing on many occasion throughout my life. If it were possible, I would prefer to be there with you at this moment, to sit with you and talk, face to face and heart to heart. Look you in the eyes so that you could know that I have felt the pain you feel.
Depression, a mental illness that causes many emotional, physical, and behavioral problems, is characterized by feelings of sadness, low self-esteem, loss of pleasure, apathy, and sometimes, difficulty functioning. When these problems persist for at least two weeks and interfere with daily activities, it is classified as clinical depression, which is also called major depressive disorder (MDD).
Patients who have MDD may experience single or recurrent episodes of depression. MDD may be mild, major or severe. The two primary symptoms of clinical depression are depressed mood and loss of interest in daily activities.
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For years, Charlie Callas made Johnny Carson laugh on the “Tonight Show.” However, I’ve never laughed harder in my life then the times Charlie and I just sat around and talked about the art of comedy. I learned so much from Charlie and now he too slips into the darkness of the unknown.
Mark Callas said his father knew every member of the Rat Pack, a group of actors that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.
Callas toured with Sinatra and Tom Jones, had a role with Jerry Lewis in the movie “The Big Mouth” in 1967, and was a guest on TV variety shows hosted by Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffin, Andy Williams and Flip Wilson. Callas guest-hosted on the “Joey Bishop Show.”
The fact is that more than 50 million people alive at this very moment will be dead within the next twelve months.
And though your brain is culturally trained to understand that as “them” I am here to tell you that one of “them” could be YOU. Our anxiety of death is really the anticipation of a future event. What we focus on in life is how and when we will die. Not the fact that we will. An event we have all been socially conditioned to fear, avoid and be afraid of.
Yet, we don’t even know what exactly it is.
When I started this new journey in my life, I knew it was going to test me in ways I have never been tested before. In fact it has. Learning you have HIV or any illness or disease can bring you to your knees and that’s exactly what happened to me. But I also knew that possibly the greatest challenge I would face would be confronting my own worse fears. It’s the worse challenges in life that shape our lives. It defines who we are as authentic people and what we are truly made of. While I have much to be proud of in walking this path so far, I know I still have a long difficult road to travel.
One of my recent callers sent me the sweetest note to update me on her situation. I thought I would share it with you since it’s not revealing anything that would identify anyone. It’s a typical situation that is affecting not just her, but many women out there in relationships right now and I felt that not only did she do the right thing, but she has saved herself in the process. The situation could have been much worse. Think: Kids, marriage, house, cars, joint bank accounts, and so on.
Here’s what she had to say a few days after our conversation by phone:
He called me and I said to him what you said I should say (that it’s been fun, but not in my best interest). Then, he told me I was being immature and emotional.