Emotionally Broken Momentarily but Stronger Forever

I was emotionally broken for the past 3 months. It was so debilitating and I felt like I had no control or will power. I didn’t go anywhere and I wouldn’t step foot anywhere in public. I laid in my bed as minute after minute, hour after hour and day after day went by. I didn’t understand how I could be so unhappy (I just got married in October) one minute and completely knocked down the next minute. I was really beating myself up about this mentally. I would say things like “why are you unhappy, you just got married”, “Petra, you make no sense at all!”, “Stop it!”, “You have no reason not to be happy”, “You’re ruining a good thing”, “Here we go again” and the list can really go on and on. The truth is I still don’t really know what caused it. It hit me like a freight train and I did not see any signs coming. I share this because it’s a reality for people who struggle with depression, anxiety and/or PTSD. I’ve had my normal ups and downs throughout my life but nothing this severe. I believed in my head it was going to get better and I would snap out of it. I would have one good day or a few good hours and I thought to myself, “okay it’s over” but then the next day I was right back to feeling very low. Little by little I started posting in the support groups that I am a member of seeking advice and encouraging words. It definitely helped in those moments of feeling hopeless.

After some time, I just knew I needed more then just a few encouraging words and I needed more help than I realized. I found a counselor who was able to see me within a week of calling her. I began going to counseling on a weekly basis. Then I decided to try and push myself a little more. I began to do some research to try and find a support group to go to in person. I found a nonprofit organization and made an appointment. Unfortunately, the support group they have is currently closed for new members. However, the coordinator that I spoke to was very accommodating and invited me to come in weekly and she was willing to sit and talk to me one on one. They are not licensed counselors however, she is a Survivor herself and I felt like we would relate on a personal level. I don’t want to ramble on for to long but my point is, someone does care! It might be a complete stranger but maybe that person has great empathy or understands your pain. You won’t know if you don’t reach out for help, so PLEASE reach out for help! Don’t be ashamed to say I NEED SOMEONE!

From that ONE experience, I was informed by the lady I see for my one on one sessions, about of an upcoming event called No More Secrets. I got to meet Erin Merryn (the writer and activist who advocates to prevent child sexual abuse) from Erin’s Law. Then from there it was a trickle down effect. I found a dance class (a Twerking dance class LOL who doesn’t want to have some fun, right?) to put some “fun” back into my life. I also stepped foot into a local church this past Sunday and it felt SO good! I am going to be attending their Relationships service this coming Thursday. I even found another event happening next month called “Start By Believing Rally” for Sexual Assault Awareness month which I am attending. I am going to make it a goal of mine to stay committed to staying busy and doing things I love and that I am passionate about. I’ve come to realize it is extremely important for me to have something to look forward. And for me that is being part of my community and my Mission to empower others. I pray for anyone who is reading this and wish you ALL many Blessings!

P.S. – I apologize I have not updated my blog in some time. I can now get back into writing and hope to empower others through my honesty. As I said before and I continue to reiterate. I am STILL in my journey of healing and I may always be on this path. I’m okay with that because it only makes me Stronger and My VOICE will be Louder!

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3 Ways to Face your Fears

Learning what your fears are. You don’t always know what you fear and fear is not always noticeable. When you picture a person whose fearful, you think of a person verbally or physically acting out. However, fear that’s deep down inside of us; buried for a long time is not always recognizable. Why? Because we have gotten really good at masking our pain and fears, even from ourselves. Who would of thought that, right? My suggestion comes from my own self awareness that I am challenging myself with right at this moment as I am typing this post. One way is paying attention to your emotions and anxiety. Those are two big triggers… Okay, maybe that’s two things to pay attention to.

When your emotions get the best of you, boy do they really get the best of you. Especially if you’re a woman, because we generally experience higher levels of emotional stimulation than men. Fear can come out in emotional outbursts, racing heartbeat, needing to escape, feeling detached, feeling powerless, attitude, feeling overwhelmed, anxiety or panic attacks. Start by truly Loving yourself and pay attention to your body for the signs of havoc in your life. For example, feeling the need to escape is easy to ignore because it may be part of your “everyday” life now. You’ve become so use to burying those feeling alive. If, however, the subject of fear is vague and there is no clear escape, then a common alternative response is to deny the fear, pretending that it does not exist. You know I’m going to say this out of love. This is not a way to live, it’s not healthy for your soul and not fare to yourself either. I know you will benefit from these 3 small tips.

Fear and Positive Thinking

Understanding your triggers. Did you know that fear is related to anger? Fear can also morph into anger when the fight-or-flight reaction goes down.  I seriously did not know that and it all makes sense now. Being on this path of healing, I am learning a lot daily. It’s important for me to share my “light bulb” moments because it’s not every day that I get to speak and share with others who can relate. I believe sharing is caring and I do truly care! A few common triggers for myself is being understood, order, respect, invading my comfort zone, consistency and being in control. I also compiled a list of some other common triggers which I hope will help you identify some of your triggers.

List of common triggers:

Acceptance
Attention
Safety
Be Needed
Be Right
Balance
Be Valued
Be Treated Fairly
Freedom
Included
Guilt
Instant Gratification
Lacking Confidence
Shame

 

Fear Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise

Start seeing fear as an opportunity. Fear can be used as a tool to help us identify problems and solve them effectively. It’s a guidepost, a red flag that warns us when something needs attention. Once the discomfort of the initial wave of fear passes, examine it more closely to see what you can learn. Maybe you fear failure, change, or something else that’s more difficult to pin down. Reflect on your fears and notice how much they affect your life.  No matter what it is that scares you, learn how to acknowledge, confront, and take ownership of your fear so that nothing can hold you back in life. Realize that fear can be good, and acknowledge the positive and protective role it has. Courage can’t come into play unless you have a fear to face down. By owning your feelings you’ve taken the first step toward gaining control over the situation.

I am Selfish I am Brave

The Ugly, The Bad, The Good; becoming Greater!

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Sometimes You Win Sometimes You Learn

HAPPY Wednesday everyone!

I’m going through a situation in my household at this moment and this statement couldn’t be anymore true. When I’m going through a hard time I can’t let the negativity of the outcome take over the situation. The moment I start to allow the way I look at the outcome, it does usually change my emotional state. Living with PTSD and depression I’ve come to the realization that my emotional health has to be a top priority. So I am making a choice to start trying to tell myself that no matter the outcome, it was a learning experience and it’s okay. I say “trying” because I know I’m going to have bad days and it’s not always going to be easy. However, I do know it will be worth it and training myself to do this will make it easier eventually. I’m no professional and I am literally learning one day at a time. This post marks my first day of “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn”.

Positive Mind Positive Life

Reaching for positivism in my life has really helped me tremendously. So I wanted to share a list of some great quotes that have help me get my day started.

 

Positive Words to live by:

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

When the voices of doubt start whispering, turn-up the volume of faith and listen to your heart.

Sometimes you gotta forget what you “feel” and remember what you Deserve!

Sometimes telling the story is the thing that saves your life.

When you’re trying to motivate yourself. Appreciate the fact that you’re even thinking about making a change, and as you move forward, allow yourself to be good enough.

Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison. Don’t be afraid to share it.

Don’t count the days. Make the days count.

Believe in yourself & you will be Unstoppable.

Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take toward reaching that goal.

Wake up everyday STRONGER than yesterday, face your fears and wipe your tears.

You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.

F-E-A-R has two meanings; Forget Everything And Run, or Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours. – Zig Ziglar

You have a beautiful future because your ugly past didn’t kill you!

Don’t forget that you’re human. It’s okay to have a melt down. Just don’t unpack and live there. Cry it our and then refocus on where you are headed.

 

I’m obsessed with finding the best and sometimes just simple words that really put me in a good mood. 

Depression Improving Each Day

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Struggling but making things happen

Petra Clarke PTSD survivor

It’s been some time since I updated my blog and I sincerely apologize to anyone who visits. I have had some ups and downs since my last post. At the beginning of this journey, I was adamant to share my story and I still am. However, I have realized I need to pace myself because part of my PTSD can easily be triggered with remembering past events. I do know how important it is to “talk about it” so I’m not going to allow my PTSD to get in the way of my goal. I will continue to share my story, the struggles and everything I conquer!

I never realized that a person struggling with PTSD can also struggle with commitment issues. When you think of PTSD the main things that come to mind are; nightmares, anxiety, irritable, flashbacks, hard time sleeping to name a few. Right? I’m bringing this up for a reason, I’ll explain toward the end.

PTSD involves many symptoms that can and does interfere with relationships. I can say this to be 100% accurate because I live it daily. The main issues I have emotionally battled with myself are; emotional closeness, communication and responsible assertiveness. Whenever a conflict arises I respond to it from a sense of responsibility and my need for control.  When this happens your significant other may feel controlled as a result. I am currently working on this because to be part of a relationship you need to focus on what you can do for each other. You know what this action does in return? You start to feel like your doing something productive and you feel joyful. It’s always… always the little things that can truly bring you joy. I recommend that you find ways to bring happiness and joy into your life. PTSD is going to keep sneaking back around. So when you set yourself up with goals of achieving things that make you happy. I know that it will help you on those dark dreaded days.

I am so extremely happy to announce I am getting married next month! Why am I sharing this news? Well it pertains to PTSD and my journey. This is where I explain my point about commitment issues. I have been engaged for almost 3 years. I am now able to truly understand why I was never in a “rush” to get married. It all boils down to “giving up control” If you have PTSD, you may not be aware of how your thoughts and beliefs have been affected by trauma. For instance, since the trauma you may feel a greater need to control your surroundings. That’s exactly what I have been doing with my relationship subconsciously. I am absolutely happy that I took this time to figure this out for myself. I wanted to be in a better head space and begin a path of healing. I can honestly say that this “healthy path” I am on has been worth everything that I have gone through. I feel like a better person and my heart is happy. When my heart is happy my emotions begin to match. Please watch my video “PTSD emotions not matching my brain” so you’ll understand the importance of being alert about your emotions.

So I leave you with this… be happy… be joyful… understand yourself… and take your time! It’s ok to take your time and learn about yourself.

Petra Clarke

 

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My counseling journey

Since my recent decision to share my story. I’ve also decided to seek counseling help through this journey. I’m not sure if when I really begin opening up and sharing all the details of the abuse, molestation and rape incidents. If I will start feeling depressed, anxious or triggering my PTSD. Therefore I am taking the necessary steps to take care of my mental and emotional health.

Petra Clarke PTD Survivor Thriver

I went to my admissions appointment last week. I received a call from the gentlemen who did my admissions. He informed me that the counselor I was seeing before had a full schedule. Unfortunately, she is unable to take on anymore patient. He offered to match me with another counselor. I wanted to give up the idea of counseling. I felt anxious of the thought of having to get comfortable with a new counselor. I’ve been going back and forth in my head about this situation. I want what’s comfortable and easy. Finding a counselor that you’re comfortable with is 100% a daunting challenge.

Tonight I decided…

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Having a supportive and positive network

Support for PTSD Depression Anxiety

One of the best things I have learned through my journey is having a strong support system with positive people by your side is a MUST. I kept using the excuse that I’m an introvert and that no one understood me. Yes, I am a bit of an introvert and no one understood me because I didn’t allow anyone to close. I needed to recognize within myself when I truly needed alone time and when I need someone by my side to talk to. I can’t promise it will be easy but I can tell you from experience. When you find the right people in your life. Things become more clear and easier to handle.

Finding friends and family who can relate to you and what you’ve been through is difficult. That’s okay because we all have been through different walks of life. We can’t possibly make someone understand the shame, guilt and ugliness that we feel inside. So it’s up to us to find people who can relate. In my city I have been unable to find any support groups to attend. It made me a little sad and frustrated at first. Then I had a light bulb moment. If I’m trying to share my story with the world. Why can’t I find other people who struggle with PTSD, anxiety and depression? In 2016 we have the power of research and the World Wide Web. I’m surprised at all the groups I found, how quick I felt welcomed and how many connections I’ve made. The groups I have found are on Facebook. Go to the top of your page in the search bar and type short keywords like: PTSD support, child abuse survivors, adult survivors of child abuse, anxiety and depression support, anxiety help etc… After you enter the keyword make sure you’re searching under the “group” tab to find all the groups using those keywords. Join multiple groups to find the right ones for you. Please be discreet and do not give out your personal information. Stay safe and don’t fall into vulnerability situations.

You are NOT alone and there are others struggling who also need a listening ear just like you. Let’s build each other up. Let’s not shy away from each other and engage in what could be long lasting friendships. For a very long time I felt I had nothing to offer anyone. That’s until I started to believe in myself and the person I was meant to be.

Yes, what happened to me was horrible but it doesn’t define me. I was stuck in this vicious cycle of hopelessness. I was crying out for help deep down inside. I am not that little girl anymore. I am a strong, caring, empathetic woman who is thriving each and every day. I am on a mission and a path I never thought I would be capable of traveling. I have no idea where this will end or what doors are opening up for me. All I know is that I want to be an inspiration and empower others to take back control. You are Beautiful!

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My PTSD and Triggers

PTSD Awareness

I was molested as a child and the emotional wounds have affected me into adulthood. I did not trust people and my surroundings. I also have issues with emotionally connecting at times. I’ve learned to shut down as a coping mechanism. I still struggle until this very day. The only difference is now I recognize some of the damage. For example, if I hear someone drop a fork (I know that sounds silly) in another room. I am instantly on high alert and asking “what is that noise?”.  My tone can come across as aggressive and that’s due to being on high alert and/or scared. To some people it may come across as angry or annoyed. This is a PTSD trigger that I learned about myself.

I also get easily startled and it brought out this fire of anger inside me. Literally, I would get angry if someone came into the same room as me and I didn’t know they were entering. It’s like my mind was so concentrated on something else and just the surprise of anyone coming in made me very uneasy. Even if it was a person I knew. For those first two seconds I could feel my rage inside me manifesting. The rage was from the anxiety…

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