familiesintrauma

Relief, Belief and Understanding


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Post Traumatic Stress

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Post Traumatic Stress

Post traumatic stress is a term which many trauma sufferers may identify with easily. Unfortunately it is also something that can creep up on us without even being fully aware of what is happening.

Shell shock and Battle Fatigue

Initially the term was associated with  the battlefield in other guises as “shell shock” and “battle fatigue” during the first and second world war.  However during the Vietnam war the term “post traumatic stress” came to the fore and many war veterans were diagnosed with the condition.

PTSD and Trauma

However, more recently the term PTSD can be used to describe the psychological conditions associated with any traumatic event.

Symptoms of PTSD

Some of the well known symptoms can be:

  • Panic attacks
  • Vivid flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • very intense feelings when being reminded of the trauma
  • Avoidance of any reminders of trauma
  • Pain, sweating, nausea, feeling lightheaded
  • Being easily upset or angry
  • Lack of concentration
  • Self-destructive behaviours
  • Keeping constantly busy to avoid thinking
  • Angry and irritable
  • Feeling detached and emotionally numb
  • Feeling suicidal

Self-Help

It can be a very frightening experience for individuals with PTSD and often the sufferers can feel very isolated thinking that this is only happening to them.  There are various things which can help in time – but the biggest barrier to this can be impatience. The feelings are so frightening that an instant cure is sought, but sadly this approach is often very short lived.  So a more balanced, rounded approach can often last much longer and also help to make a person feel more confident once the strategies have been put in place.

  • Talk to someone close to you
  • Talk to people in similar situations
  • Give yourself time
  • Contact an organisation for support and educate yourself about PTSD
  • Contact your GP

Families in Trauma

I have found in the course of my work that many people suffer from PTSD and feel there will be no way through this – but eventually with time, patience and help – it can be possible.  Families in Trauma will also be interviewing people who have shared their experiences of PTSD and we hope that it will be a help for many people.  Please feel free to share this blog with others who may need it or to anyone who may want to share their experiences and be interviewed either through video or audio.

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Anxiety – What Does it Feel like??

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WHAT DOES ANXIETY FEEL LIKE?

So what exactly does anxiety feel like?  Have you ever wondered if anxiety is just a little palpitation here and there – nothing to worry about, a little stressful but nothing to write home about?

Many of us have experienced these type of feelings perhaps when starting a new job, school, moving home and or when attempting something new for the first time.    We may feel anxious about how we will be able to cope or will we appear completely stupid in front of our work mates etc  However, this type of anxiety is quite short lived and will often disappear as soon as we feel more comfortable with our new circumstances.

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SEVERE AND CHRONIC ANXIETY

Severe and chronic anxiety, however,  is a totally different feeling altogether.  It is not easy to “snap out of it” and if the anxiety becomes severe, it can feel like a life threatening condition.  Ask anyone who has suffered from this debilitating condition!!

TRAUMA

Trauma of any sort can trigger anxiety and often does.  So the individual not only has to contend with whatever event has taken over their life – but also these very difficult feelings they are experiencing.  They can often be quite shocking and frightening for someone who has never experienced these before.

TURN TO OTHERS

There are many different websites which can provide help for these feelings such as  http://www.mind.org.uk/ and often your own GP will be able to advise in these situations, but one of the things which helped me was to  turn to others who could support me at that time.  Many of them had no experience of what I was going through – but they were kind enough to give me a listening ear, often crying with me .  I had offers of counselling, which I took up on occasion and I read every book I could put my hands on.  I became a devourer of everything and anything which might help me to alleviate this anxiety but ultimately it was my connection to other human beings – and their willingness to stretch their hand out to me that really was the healer. There are still days when anxiety takes over – but nothing like it used to be.

REACH OUT

So if you are suffering anxiety – reach out to others who can help especially family and friends you trust – and if you know someone is suffering anxiety – even if you don’t understand – never turn away – just reach out your hand by giving a little bit of time to someone else.  It will never be forgotten and you may need that help one day in the future.  As the saying goes – “There but for the grace of God go I.”

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“Stay in the Day”

Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed that many of the people I’ve spoken to seem to be suffering with depression or anxiety.    Now it’s easy to get a medical dictionary definition of what depression is but that often doesn’t seem to help much at all. It seems, that if we have a shared experience – and we feel we can talk to others – it can be a really helpful tool as the sufferer does not feel quite so alone. In all the different areas of trauma, it seems that humans really need to “connect” with others.

Here are some of the expressions I’ve read or heard recently in personal conversations about depression:

“It’s like drowning, except you can see everyone around you breathing.”

“You feel like you are moving in slow motion.”

“You can see everyone else getting on with their lives, yet somehow or other, you’re not a part of it – it’s like you are in a bubble.”

“Everything seems hopeless.”

“Its like you have lost all interest in everything – nothing motivates you any more”.

So it’s not difficult to see why depression and anxiety are major problems when they hit!   In fact, one in 4 people will experience some type of mental health problem over the course of a year.

Most people know the usual advice given by health professionals and try to put some of it into practise. The tried and tested methods often work – but it can sometimes take us a while to get there. However sharing our experience with others, talking to trusted friends, keeping a diary, reading as much as you can about your own illness can all help – but one thing i found which was extremely helpful was to “stay in the day”!!!

What does this really mean though??   When our mind’s are racing, we cant sleep for our thoughts, its painful to remember things, we feel panic when we think about doing anything – its extremely important to rein our minds in  (just as a thoroughbred horse needs to be reined in to train it), we need to do the same with our minds. Its one of the most important things I learned along my own journey.

Tomorrow will always take care of itself – the past is done and gone – but we must live in this day – here and now!  Take little steps – do not let your mind race ahead to next week, month, or year as it is impossible to  know what these will bring.

So if you feel you may be suffering depression or anxiety, try to find out as much as you can to help yourself – and try this one tip “stay in the day”!!

 


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First Interview for Families in Trauma – Kabuki Syndrome

Hi,

If you were like me when you first saw this title – “what is Kabuki syndrome”, then you are like most of us.  We go about our lives not aware of the difficulties that some families face on a daily basis and its only when you encounter someone who is dealing with a rare condition – do we start to notice.  This is why it is imperative that we all share information like this, for the sake of the families who have a daily battle. So if you can share this,  please do as it will help to raise awareness and generate more understanding and support.

I first met the family who have a lovely little daughter who has Kabuki syndrome a month or so ago whilst out at an exhibition which included Families in Trauma.  The father approached me and humbly said, “I’m not sure if this is what you mean by trauma – but it has been a trauma for our family”.  That is exactly what we mean!!

So what is Kabuki syndrome??  I’ve done a little research and obviously filmed the family involved, and it is a very rare genetic syndrome which affects around 1 in 32,000 children.  It affects many parts of the body and is characterized by distinctive facial features .  People with Kabuki syndrome have developmental delay and intellectual disability that range from mild to severe. Affected individuals may also have seizures, an unusually small head size  or weak muscle tone . Some have eye problems such as rapid, involuntary eye movements  or eyes that do not look in the same direction.

A wide variety of other health problems occur in some people with Kabuki syndrome. Among the most commonly reported are heart abnormalities so as you can imagine, along with all of the above, comes the risk of sudden death at any time .

This is the reality for all families who live with this daily – can you imagine how hard that must be for all involved?

As I mentioned we have filmed a lovely family from Kirkcaldy, Fife who willingly shared their story in the hope that it might help others – and it was extremely moving and inspiring.  The video will become available on our website in October.  Please watch out for this and share with anyone you can.

If you would like to contact me or make any comments on this post, please feel free to do so.