This is the fifth part in the series “Living with and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis. The fourth part in the series, “The Overwhelmed Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”, can be found here. Without having trauma, people living with anxiety and depression on a daily basis can find them both debilitating. When you add trauma to the mix, it takes things to a whole new level. What I have been able to finally realize within the last year is the difference between regular depression and trauma depression.
Regular Depression and PTSD Depression
The difference with regular depression and PTSD/trauma depression is that there is no in between, or gradual shift into depression. Sometimes, you might be sitting in a group talking to people, and they happen to mention one word. That word might not have any major significance for them, but for you, it could be the opening of a traumatic experience that consists of twenty different things. The next thing you know, your whole system has dropped without warning, like the ride called “The Giant Drop” at Great America. The worst part about PTSD depression, which is similar to regular depression, is that it is felt at a deeper level if you are already dealing with other life events causing emotional stress.
Depressive Job Experience
A few years ago, I accepted a job at a manufacturing company, thinking that it was the ticket to getting out of debt, and more financial security for my kids and I. It was my worst nightmare. I stuck out like a sore thumb. From start to finish, the entire process that had played out in my twenty year marriage played out at this company. I went from being a trophy to being discarded like a broken toy. I didn’t fit into the culture of anything and everything goes, so there was a plan set in place to fire me , with a good majority of the employees involved. The workplace was a constant lion’s den of bullying, emotional abuse, and the “workplace untouchables”, so to speak. It was God’s great mercy and grace that I was let go. My whole system was wrecked with trauma when I started. By the time I was let go, I was in worse shape emotionally, mentally, and physically than when I started. The Holy Spirit had shown me what would take place from start to finish three months before I got fired. I am not sure what was worse: knowing what would happen, or the anxiously waiting for it to happen.
Fighting for Normality
I was not prepared for what happened afterwards. The “Giant Drop” occurred without any warning. When I explained how I was feeling to my therapist, she gave me a good analogy. I was a deflated ball when I started. So basically, the “already deflated ball” was kicked around. One friend tried to encourage me by telling me not to let the job get me that down. I was glad to be done. However, my system had been through so much compounded trauma, that in turn this is how it responded. I thank God that he slowly brought me out of it. It took a few months for the “giant drop” to leave, but a few more years after that to even start feeling significantly better. Have a blessed night!
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
Last week, I went on an adventure of trying to figure out what meals to make with the ingredients that were left. You know that it’s time to go grocery shopping soon when you start getting really creative. Either that, you’re feeling adventurous, or you’re bored. One of the three. What I ended up doing was making my own version of chili. It turned out pretty good. Last night, I decided to make it again since I had leftover ingredients. My son actually gave me a thumbs up. If he doesn’t like how something tastes, trust me, he isn’t scared to speak his mind in that area.
Racing to Get Out
It’s funny because I heated up a bowl of chili. Then, I decided that I would take a walk for some fresh air, and also drop three books off at the Train Station library while I was at it. Right before leaving out, I went upstairs to grab something. That’s when my son asked, “What are you eating down there?” And to which I replied, “A chili concoction that I made. Do you want some? Of course, the answer was yes. I had to quick heat him up some because it was starting to get dark outside, and then rush to take a quick fifteen minute walk and head on. If you are feeling adventurous, how about giving it a try. Drop a line below to let me know how yours turned out. Here is the simple recipe:
The Overwhelmed Aspect is another section in our series: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis. One might ask, “What is the overwhelmed aspect?” When I am discussing the Overwhelmed Aspect with my friends, they know what I am talking about because I have given it the nickname of “The Movie Reel”. Another one of my friends call the “Overwhelmed” Aspect a Whirlwind. So, my new combined nickname is the Whirlwind Movie Reel. It may sound funny, but believe me when I say that it isn’t a laughing matter.
What I have realized after having experienced compounded trauma in such a short period of time, is that the ability to handle stress is significantly lessened. Not only is your stress fighting abilities lessened, but your brain processing speed is affected as well. The overwhelmed aspect is a combination of the following:
Four Parts of the Overwhelmed Aspect
An acute traumatic panic attack.
Replaying the details of the stressful event(s) in your head over and over again.
The feeling as if you are literally in a whirlwind and can’t get out.
Images of the stressful/trauamatic events going around inside of the “whirlwind”, literally like a movie reel of events.
My Experience with the Overwhelmed Aspect
When I first experienced this, it totally knocked me off my feet. The whirlwind/movie reel effect was slower. Now, since God has increased my brain processing, the movie reel is faster, which makes me feel even more out of control when it happens. To be honest, there is no time table on when this will happen. It isn’t something that can be predicted. One day, one of my friends posted an article on Facebook. I decided that it was a good read since I have a teenage daughter. I clicked on the article to read it, but the article wouldn’t load properly. After trying for so long, and getting more frustrated by the moment, I figured that I would just read it later. I was disappointment because the topic seemed really good.
With trauma, sometimes one word can send you into a tailspin. After finally making peace with the fact that I would just read the article later, my brain opened up every traumatic event that I had experienced as a child. The whirlwind movie reel took over, and it took me a good thirty minutes or so to get out of it. What I have noticed as of lately if it happens, is that it is best to try to see if I can allow myself to come out of this whirlwind by giving myself permission to feel the pain from some of the events. I just recently learned that when this happens, this is a coping mechansim/form of dissociation as well. If we can feel the feelings a little bit at a time, we can more easily come out of it, and sleep better as well.
I hope that this series has been helping those of you who live with and are healing from trauma on a daily basis.
There are times in our lives when situations come up that are completely out of our control. When things get this intense, we know that it will take the hand of God to literally turn things around. I find myself laying out prostrate praying to God, waiting for him to deliver. A lot of times God would answer right away, almost before I had finished praying or right after. I would call my friends up and say, “You’re not going to believe what just happened!” There have been other times when my physical body was so wrecked with trauma, and I would literally be at the point of passing out from an acute whirlwind trauma panic attack, as I call it, and I would place my hands on myself, and zone in to prayer, and God would deliver instantly. I love these moments.
But then there are the other moments that we all know about. Days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, and months turn into years, and God still hasn’t answered. Can God Deliver? Yes, he can. Will God deliver? We don’t know. We know God is sovereign, all powerful, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. As he told Moses, he is the great “I AM”. He is a present tense God. What we don’t know is if he will deliver us from our situations here on earth, right now, later, or in heaven.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew God could deliver them, but they didn’t know if they would be delivered from the fiery furnace:
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Will He Deliver?
About three years ago it was time for me to renew my state sticker. I couldn’t renew the state sticker without having an emissions test done. To line up with how things were going at the time, my car didn’t pass the emissions test. We received an extension on the sticker, but to no avail. I was in one of the worst situations of my life financially. The worse. I had no money to get another car. I barely had money to buy food. The next thing we knew, we accumulated six tickets on the car because of the situation. I had it all figured out. God would answer my prayers through a certain situation. He didn’t. The depression from the trauma dropped even lower. God had us to wait ten months and then he came to deliver. Just like he delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace.
God gave me a sneak peak of how he would deliver. The night before he delivered, I had a dream. In the dream my friends handed me about four different turquoise colored gifts. One of these gifts was a sewing machine. I woke up thinking that maybe I would be blessed with a sewing machine for my craft table, and I could finally learn how to use one. I felt God’s Spirit, but I didn’t want to overthink the situation. I also asked God if he was trying to tell me something. I went to my small group that morning, and one of the members handed me an envelope with a note and check attached, saying that the Holy Spirit told her to give it to me to help me get a new, used car. I had my timing of deliverance and God had his timing of deliverance.
My mother loves perfume. She absolutely loves it! The funny thing about it is that ever since I was a little girl, she has been in love with perfume. As a child, we had special days when we would go downtown to look around. I liked window shopping, but my mother took this to a whole different level. To be honest, I wanted to look around for a little bit, and then get to the fun part: going to Beef N’ Brandy on State Street for a lunchtime sandwich and french fry special.
We usually looked around for a good three to four hours before she decided that we would eat lunch and head home. Those four hours entailed several makeup counters, jewelry counters, and finally the perfume and cologne counters, making sure that she had several samples of facial products and cologne by the time we finished shopping. Every blue moon, she had saved up enough money to buy herself the fragrance that she had been smelling for months. My mother has smelled so many fragrances over the years, that believe it or not, she has become a specialist at knowing her colognes. Whenever we are out and about, and she smells a familiar scent, she might strike up a conversation with a person, and then ask them, “Oh, is that such and such? I love that fragrance.” There are very few fragrances that she is unfamiliar with.
“The Christ Fragrance”
As Christians, we are supposed to be a fragrance of Christ. What fragrance are we giving off? Do they ask us what cologne we are wearing? Or, are we giving off any scent at all? Do people stand next to us and want to run because of our attitudes or behaviors, or do they want to stay and “smell” a while, because their noses are filled with the overwhelming fragrance of Christ?
For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 2 Corinthians 2:15
Tonight, I sat at the kitchen table hoping and praying for God to give me the words for a poem. Three days ago, I felt him nudging me about writing a poem on the power of our tongue. For those of you who write poetry, you know that you can’t just write a poem. The words have to come to you. You have to feel the words and the rhythm. Then, after they come to you, you have to write them down before they’re gone.
I sat and waited, and God delivered.
The Flow of the Tongue
It’s our mouths we can’t control.
Full of poison, can’t make us whole.
Giving the cursing and the blessing,
Giving our faith for sure a testing.
Filled with bitter and the sweet.
Asking for life for us to repeat.
Setting on fire the pit of hell.
Sharing the gospel that it entails.
Filling with power, and hate, and love.
Edifies sisters and brothers from above.
Knowing that it is one of our members.
Showing our grace, our warmth, our tenders.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. James 3: 6-12, NKJV
Because of the fact that my daughter is vegan, I am constantly trying to come up with vegan recipes that are fun, tasty, and simple. For quite some time now, I was thinking of trying to make vegan hamburger patties using the ground crumble, but I was unsure of what the results would be, considering that the ground crumble could simply fall apart if it isn’t bound well.
Finally, last week I gave it a try. To be more specific, I gave the vegan bites a try. The hamburger patties will be for another day and another post. I made one big bowl of this mixture. At first, I only cooked about 20% of the bowl, and refrigerated the rest. Later that day, I cooked the rest of the bowl. I noticed the difference immediately. Refrigerating the mixture causes it to stiffen and thicken up to a better consistency. Thus, my recommendations for you would be to make the mixture, and refrigerate the mixture for one hour, and then start scooping the bites. The one thing that I like about this recipe is the fact that the Mexican crumble has enough of a spicy kick, that you don’t need a lot of seasoning. Please enjoy and have a wonderful Labor Day!
Three weeks ago, this article was featured as “Six things that you Need to Bring the Beachside In”. This post has been updated to reflect “Ten things You Need to Bring the Beachside In. ” This post may contain affiliate links. Today is the last day of August. The last day of the month means preparation for a new month and new beginnings. In one breath, I can’t believe that today is Friday. In another breath, it’s been one long week. I am looking forward to the new things that God has in store for me for the month of September.
The end of the month also means one thing here at Valley of Grace: someone gets a free merchandise freebie. The deadline to will be subscribe will be 11:00 p.m., September 1st. The featured freebie for August is the Weekender Bag that can be used for some of everything. If you’re at the beach, going away for the weekend, or going to fitness class, the weekender bag is right for you. It’s the dump everything in it, and go kind of bag. Adding yourself to the subscriber list puts you in the running for the free merchandise raffle. Starting tomorrow, I will be sending out “Daily Devotions from Valley of Grace” to all of the email subscribers. I will still be posting devotions to Valley of Grace’s blog site on our every other week schedule. Here is a link to where the Weekender Bag can be found.
We’ve all heard of the phrase “Bring the outside In” when we look at home magazines. For this purpose, since I love the beach, I decided that I would do a blog post on bringing the beachside in. When I think of the word beach, I think of my feet in the sand, the water, and God’s big, beautiful sky.
It makes me think about painting the color white on a blank canvas, and then painting the blue sky and water, and tan colored sand. If I wanted to add to this canvas, other things that come to mind is a pier, a chair for one to sit on, minnows in the water, people, rocks, trees, flowers, etc. Take a few minutes to think about what your beach would look like.
Now, let’s transfer this canvas to your home. How can one keep themselves at the beach all year round? Use a room or two in your home as the beach all year round. I am including pictures of how I brought the beachside into my bedroom:
Paint: The walls would represent your canvas. The first thing that you need is the right color of paint. Bright, airy colors are needed to bring your beach to life. For my personal choice, I would have shades of tan, cream, blue, or white.
Pictures: Pictures tell the story of your home. They give your home life, and they keep your friends and loved ones close by. Since this is a beach canvas, people, flowers, trees, sand, rocks, and seashells would be great. However, this is your canvas, and therein lies the fun. This is one of my favorite pictures from when my children were little. They were about one and four years old. Sometimes when I can’t find the colors that I need, I just paint the frames, as well as the furniture.
I found the pictures below at Goodwill for $.99 each a few years ago. I have two sets of two on either side of my bed.
The picture below is one of myself, kids when they were little, mom, and grandmother, who is deceased.
I painted the canvas paintings on the left below. Three pictures were upcycled and painted over since my color scheme changed. The pictures of peonies on the left were taken a year ago. The clothespins and jute string were $1.00 at the Dollar Tree.
3. Furniture:The next thing that you would need would be furniture that would give the beach vibe. Adirondack, wicker, and bamboo seems to do the trick. If you have more than one style of chair, that would work out nicely. A mixture of texture gives rooms more of a natural feel, along with an illusion of more depth. I was blessed a couple of years ago with the wicker chair below. Next to the wicker chair is a wrought iron plant stand. I got rid of the glass top to place the plants on. It safely holds a journal and wallet that my sister bought me when she visited Europe. I love this journal, but I have to be careful because it can easily rip since the pages are made out of a linen, natural parchment.
4. Accessories: Let’s not forget about the accessories. In the picture above, I have a couple of books resting on top of the ottoman, a pillow, and fun necklaces that help give the beach vibe. You can also add mirrors to the wall, as you can see in the picture above, a little bit behind the wicker chair. The mirror was $6.99 at Goodwill. I also found this mirror a couple of years ago.
6. Plants and Flowers: The last things that you need are plants. They can be real or fake. Hanging terrariums are a nice accent. Using a combination of hanging and non-hanging plants makes your room look even more inviting.
I found the fake plant above at Good will for 3.99. The candle was on sale at Michael’s for $2.00 during one of their lowest prices of the season. It smells just like the beach.
The cream colored flowers below are sitting in a mason jar of rocks. They were $1.00 from Dollar Tree.
7. Wood Ladder
Wood Ladders can be a great addition to any room. I love the idea of using wood ladders for a paint studio. In this kind of setting, you can use the ladder to display and store paint, paint brushes, paint smocks, and even a second drop cloth for messy hands. They are also great for displaying books, flowers, towels in bathrooms, blankets, etc. Another thing about wood ladders is that they give a natural effect against a wood wall.
8. Drop Cloth Canvas Curtains
Just looking at drop cloth canvas reminds me of the sand at the beach. The wonderful thing about drop cloth is that it has the natural look of linen, but it’s not the linen price. It is forgiving, and very easy to wash. The drop cloth in this picture is attached to plumbing materials for a little bit of an industrial look. I use drop cloth for tablecloths, background prop for pictures, and it can even be used to make bed skirts and tree skirts. By the way, I do love linen!
9. DIY Wood Signs
In order to make my craft/painting area more beachy, I decided to make wooden signs. I went to Menards and ordered two 6 foot pieces of lumber for $3.00, and then had them to cut each piece into three more pieces. They charge $1 for every additional cut after three cuts. I used black paint that I already have at home, along with a small jar of acrylic paint that I bought from Michaels for $.99. Whatever makes you think beachy, is what can be written on the signs. These signs are displayed over the walkways and over doors.
The one below is my favorite. Painting these signs was also therapeutic.
10. DIY Word Art
Last, but not least, you can using any material that you have at home, along with jute string, clothespins, and push pins, to hang up any word art signs. In the picture below, I used some burlap tags that I had purchased from Michaels. They had a box on clearance for $2.00. My paint/craft area is small, but just the right space to get away inside. I need to use it even more.
Have a blessed rest of your weekend!
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.