Substance Abuse plagues every family. No one is exempt. Although it is something that plagues every family, it is not something that we want to talk about. It causes shame, exhaustion, anger, and fear. Addictions leave the same effect, with innocent parties sitting back on edge, waiting to see what happens next. Click here to listen to Substance Abuse & Addictions Counselor Julianna Sliger with her take on Brokenness, Substance Abuse, and Her Journey in General.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
PTSD/trauma is real. And for those of us who live with it on a daily basis, it can be challenging for some, and debilitating for others. Everyday, we have conversations with people, and those conversations may involve sights, sounds, smells, etc. that trigger some form of trauma that we have experienced in our lifetime. The question that I have for you today is, “What happens when one traumatic event triggers another traumatic event?”
For instance, we are living in a pandemic. This pandemic is trauma-inducing. It brings with it fear, anxiety, uncertainty, unpredictability, isolation, etc. Just going over these elements themselves, it is important to take note that they rank high on the list as contributing factors to PTSD.
In the month of June, we had the death of George Floyd as the deaths of Breanna Taylor and Armaud Arbery were still fresh in our minds. His death led to a series of protests, looting, and upheaval all across the nation, and then all across the world. Some areas even got so bad that the nation guards were brought in, For some people like my mom, this series of events took them straight back to the 1960s when the Civil Rights movement was in full swing. Dr. King had come to Memphis, Tennessee to march peacefully in hopes of helping the sanitation workers get fair pay and treatment.
What he didn’t plan on happening, is that his arrival in Memphis would sadly be the beginning of the end of his life. The national guards would come in to take control. People like my uncle and cousin would be beaten with billy clubs. Looting would take over the city, as well as other places in the United States.
The hardest part about navigating a traumatic event like murder in broad daylight is hoping that you’re not alone. Someone understands and empathizes with your pain. In the sixties, there wasn’t social media. Today, there is. After these deaths, people flocked to social media for expressing their feelings, whether it was outrage, disbelief, shock, or empathy, as others lied in wait to attack them.
The surprise attacks caused these expressers to be retraumatized over and over again. People who you thought felt the same way that you do were showing their true feelings, causing you to feel like a knife was being inserted in your chest. Life became even trickier to navigate. Friendships among races became trickier to navigate. Nothing felt certain. So in a time like this, what do we do in order to navigate this trauma, the trauma of these lives that have been taken.
First of all, we pray, and then pray again, humbling ourselves.
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
We listen to our friends, our enemies, “our hearts”, the radio, our children, etc. How many of us listen to our bodies? Did you know that listening to your body can give you clarity into listening to the needs, longings, and desires of your soul? Take a listen to this week’s podcast to gain a bigger perspective. Just in case you missed my last podcast, you can grab that one here: Episode 59: The Gift of Margin. God bless!
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
3 Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.
The word “triggered” has become so overly used in this day and age. For those of us who live with trauma/PTSD, triggers are real. And when they occur, gaining solid grounding is what’s needed in order to get past the episode. This poem, entitled, “Triggered” paints a vivid picture of what it’s like.
Sleep is one of those things that we can’t live without. At one time or another, we’ve all had problems sleeping. But what happens when lack of sleep starts to get the best of you? Read the poem below to find out.
We all love a good night’s sleep. When I picture falling asleep, I think about having just the right amount of flat sheets, a soft comforter, a few pillows surrounding me, just the right temperature in the house, and having sweet dreams. Just thinking about this scene would make all of us stop and long for sleep.
Sleep can be one of the sweetest things in the world, and then on the other side of that coin, it can be that of agony for a person living with PTSD/trauma on a daily basis. There is also no rhyme or reason as to when sleep deprivation will occur.
Breakdown of My Sleep Aspect of Trauma
Five years ago, unbeknownst to me, I entered an extremely toxic work environment. At the time, I had already been dealing with sleep issues as a side effect of the trauma of my divorce, as well as the events immediately preceding and following the divorce. I would describe the events as a crazy Lifetime movie. Unfortunately, this movie was my life. Although I was already having problems staying and falling asleep, nothing could compare to the level of sleep problems that occurred as a by-product of working at this company for nine months.
People living with PTSD/trauma often face two issues when it comes to sleep: falling asleep and staying asleep. I had and have both. During the time that I worked at this company, I would try to fall asleep around 10 pm. From 10:00 pm to 3:00 a.m, I would fall asleep for a few minutes, wake up with my teeth and whole body tense and clenched tight, and the cycle would start all over again.
Breakdown Part Two
I am going to keep it real here. The first couple of times that this happens, you find yourself trying to stay positive and you start telling yourself not to overly think about. “Don’t be concerned about the time.” However, when you have done this 5 or more times within five hours, and realize that you have only had a total of maybe one hour of sleep, and you have to get up pretty soon for work, the positivity can wear off real fast. I had to wake up at 6:00 a.m. to get ready for work, which if we all do the math, we know that this isn’t enough time for restful adequate sleep.
The toxic job, along with this vicious cycle of sleep caused major life-threatening thyroid problems, along with an overactive adrenal gland.
God granted me grace by allowing me to be let go from this toxic environment. It gave me time to heal and try to breathe again.
Sleep Aspect: What’s Going On Now
I still have issues with my sleep patterns due to trauma. They are not as frequent as they were, but they are still a problem. Last week took me clearly by surprise.
I had been suffering with sinus and allergy issues since August, and last week these issues came to a head. And guess what came with it? Sleep deprivation from trauma. I had two nights with four nights of sleep.
Then, I had one night with five nights of sleep. Just as I thought I was turning the corner, the following night was an all-nighter with only one hour of sleep at best. I nodded off for ten minutes at a time, woke up, and then stayed up for hours, with my body attempting sleep several more times.
I have to get up at 4:00 for work, and so, when this time came, and I was still awake, I reluctantly resigned to calling in and staying home. What I had to do was to give myself grace and compassion. I had to tell myself that I needed a time-out to rest, get in as many liquids as I could to help my sinus issues, and just relax. Finally, I fell asleep at 5:00 a.m. and slept until close to nine.
I would have liked to sleep until one o’clock. However, that didn’t happen. What did happen is that I literally laid down for part of the day, and sat up part of the day and allowed myself to rest physically, emotionally, and spiritually in Jesus. Sometimes we just have to admit that we are having a bad day, week, month, year, and simply REST!!!
Sleep Aspect Conclusion
Sleep deprivation from trauma is real. I won’t downplay it. However, God is also real, and he can meet us right where we are. When we have these hiccups in our schedule, the devil wants to make us think we are right back where we are. WE ARE NOT!!
Unfortunately sleep issues are a part of living with and healing from trauma on a daily basis, but it doesn’t define us. God does! And guess what? When I couldn’t sleep during the night, I had praise music playing in my head as if I had turned on a radio. Even though my feelings were telling me different, God was telling me that he was with me.
God bless and have a wonderful rest of your week!!!
What are some of the things that you do to help yourself when you are dealing with the sleep aspect of trauma?
How many of you have gone on a journey? We take many things with us when we embark on our journeys. When you went on your journey, what did you decide to take with you?
Sometimes, there are things that we plan to take on our journey, and other times that are things that happen to us that are totally unplanned. Today’s podcast will feature a reading from my first book. I would classify it as an autobiography/ faith journey. There were several things that happened to me on my journey. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t have planned for a lot of the things that happened to happen. However, it is through this journey that God has made me stronger, and allowed me to see that he is my only security, and that it is through his grace that I am where I am today.
What Happens With the Combo of Trauma and Constant Busyness
Good afternoon! Welcome to Healing Our Brokenness, episode 45,
Entitled, “Be Still:” The Healing Aspect of Living with Trauma on a Daily Basis”
What does it mean to be still?
Being still means without movement, without speech, calm,
I like to think of stillness as the act of eliminating busyness
In Psalm 46: 10, God tells us, “Be still and know that I am
To know means to be aware of through information and observation. For us to know something or someone, we must
spend time with that person or learning about that topic. If we want to know
God, we must quiet our spirits, stop the striving, distractions, busyness, and
do what is required to be in a relationship with him. If we want to heal from
trauma, we also need a stillness to exist.
This stillness required from healing that helps us to know
about our mind and body connection, can only happen when we purposefully have 2
things: time and space.
When we are busy every minute of the day, we don’t have time
to know our bodies. Our bodies reveal the secrets behind our emotions. Just recently, and recently being about 3
months ago, I started working a full-time job. After a month, I realized that I
needed to tweak my schedule for the weekend. I had to block out 3 hours on my weekend
mornings in order to make sure that I could continue having my time of
stillness. Without stillness, it is hard to gain clarity.
Before working full time, I had more time and space for this
stillness to occur. Now, since my schedule has changed, i must be more
intentional about giving myself margin.
Right before starting work with this job, I had a traumatic
event to occur. Along with learning new things at work, and relearning how to
drive after 30 years, I was exhibiting “ADHD-like” trauma symptoms, and having
a hard time focusing. I knew that it was
only a matter of time till the emotional effects of this event would come out. My
system had to be relaxed enough with stillness, and time and space to go
through the steps of processing everything that had gone down.
The first symptom that was exhibited was that of nausea. I
knew immediately that this was grief. And how was I able to tell that? Four
years ago, when I was living at my previous residence , I became very nauseated
one evening after eating. It was the
worst case ever. I thought that I was
coming down with the flu or some type of virus. It was also during this time
that I had not begun to process any of the traumatic events that had occurred in
the previous 3 years. My system was on
emotional and mental overload.
All of a sudden, before I knew it, I ended up regurgitating 3
to 4 times. In between each time, I felt like I needed to cry very deeply. This
is how I was able to make the connection that nausea for me equals the need for
grief to be released from my body. At
the time, my son asked me about the contents of what I ate that could have made
me so sick. I told him that I realized that it had nothing to do with the food
that I ate.
When I told my therapist about what happened, she said, “Yes,
this was definitely physiological.”
Another symptom that occurred recently is where my lips started
to become numb. I knew immediately that
this represented anger that I needed to work through. Once again, if I did not have the time within
the last few years to process some of the trauma, I would not have had a clue of
what was going on. I probably would have
gotten myself all worked up and anxious, perpetuating the problem.
I was then able to go to God and ask him, “What is this
anger about? Is it just this traumatic event, or something else along with it?”.
Having my time of stillness, and space for reflection allowed me to get to the
root of the problem so that I could start healing from, it. That anger had been coming out sideways for about
2 1/2 weeks.
Music is one of my main go-to’s for enabling me to process
trauma , and so when I added more of this into my time and space, I gained even
more wisdom and discernment , along with being able to release the grief from
my system through crying heavily.
Changes are good. However,
changes are only fully embraced once the old has been grieved. All of the “would
haves”, “should haves”, and “not any more’s”. If you are having problems
healing from trauma, ask yourself if you are allowing yourself the time and
space of sitting in God’s stillness. The
pain, loneliness, and loss have to be grieved. I don’t want to mislead you. There
will be pain in this process. There’s no way to go around it. And I promise
you, if there was, everyone would be signing up for it. There is God’s grace,
mercy, and presence there. And it is
very much needed. It is also in this stillness that our mind, body, soul, and
spirit will begin to reveal the answers to our questions. It will help us to
lead the way and or continue our journey to a life of thriving.
First, try starting off with one hour of lying down without
any distractions and see if you can notice the difference of what this new
stillness brings. Initially, it will feel very uncomfortable because you will
want to quickly fill up your time with busyness. However, this quiet time will
begin to declutter your mind and allow you to get to the root of your issues, along
with the help a therapist.
I hope that “Episode 45: ‘Be Still: The Healing Aspect Of
Living With Trauma’” has been beneficial to you in some way. If Healing Our
Brokenness is making a difference in your life, please leave a review, tag a
friend, and give a shout out on social media. God bless! Have a wonderful week!
Background on Recovery: When you are recovering from PTSD/trauma, it requires a lot of in-depth work. This poem depicts just that. You have to regain your sense of self, learn to listen to your body for its story, and be still with patience as God does his work.