I hope you have all survived the holiday period and are feeling optimistic about this year. I am very much hoping we will see the end of the Covid pandemic this year and our lives can return to a semi-normal state. I also hope that our mental health will improve and that we will find ways to feel more in tune with ourselves, our needs, our bodies and our minds.
Mental health has been affected so much over the last couple of years due to the pandemic but it has been even tougher for those of us who have had numerous other struggles due to a traumatic past, toxic family members, grief, financial insecurity and other physical health issues.
For those of us specifically, who struggle with anxiety and CPTSD, we know all too well how tricky it is to keep our emotions regulated when we are triggered or scared.
Personally, as a lot of you may already know, I have always struggled with anxiety and low mood. Over the last couple of years however, I have been able to manage my symptoms much more successfully. This has made it easier for me to support others through my coaching and Youtube channel and to also continue to work on my own personal development through more training. Yoga has become a big part of my life, as is walking my dog and trying to keep active. Deep breathing and mindfulness has also helped immensely but the one thing I still struggled with until recently, was getting myself to an immediate state of calm when in the grips of anxiety.
The worst of my anxiety is usually when I travel by plane or when I have to do something that puts me in the spotlight. I also get extremely anxious when I think about losing someone I am attached to. Just before Christmas, I decided to try something completely different and was gifted something that eases anxiety. Although I was rather skeptical at first, after reading so many good reviews about it, I decided to give it a go.
This device is called CalmiGO.
CalmiGO is scientifically proven and uses 3 methods to lower anxiety levels:
-Multi-sensory stimulation or grounding
-Breathing regulation (exhalation prolongation)
These 3 methods combined, activate the parasympathetic nervous system and lower stress level hormones.
CalmiGO is drug free and safe to use and if you would like to find out more about it, then feel free to click on this link:
My experience with using CalmiGO so far has been absolutely brilliant.
After trying this device for 3 minutes as recommended, I immediately noticed a reduction in my anxiety levels.
The most important part of the device for me is that it encourages you to prolong your exhalation. This is scientifically proven to decrease those awful symptoms of anxiety such as dizziness, accelerated heart rate, nausea and chest pain. When we are anxious, we end up breathing much too fast which results in a decrease of PCO2 levels. CalmiGO reverses this with exhalation prolongation. Since prolonging my exhalation was always the trickiest part for me, CalmiGO has been incredibly helpful in getting me to do this successfully. It vibrates and lights up whenever you reach a long enough exhalation, so this helps immensely when you are doing this for 3 minutes or more. Take a look at the photos below for an idea of what CalmiGO looks like and how to use it.
When I ordered CalmiGO, it arrived wonderfully packaged and came with a very detailed guide on how to use it effectively. It came with a little rubber cover and also an easy to use pouch to carry it in. There was also a pack of AAA batteries, a small screwdriver and a pack of 2 scented element attachments. One of these scented element attachments is placed on the front of the device near the ‘on and off’ switch. My preferred choice was lavender but you can also choose peppermint or bergamot if you prefer.
Although there is a detailed guide on how to use it effectively, there is also a tutorial video which you can watch here:
Since I have found CalmiGO so incredibly useful in my personal life, I decided to collaborate with the founders of CalmiGO and I am offering a $30 discount on every purchase made through their website.
By adding the code COURAGE as a voucher when you add CalmiGO to your shopping cart, you get the above discount on the total price. Go to the link below to gets yours 🙂
CalmiGO really is an investment in a life with less anxiety.
For those of you who live with CPTSD or PTSD, CalmiGO will help ground you and if used every day for a month during a time where you are really struggling with panic and anxiety, you will see a huge decrease in your symptoms.
If you have any questions or would like to share your experience using CalmiGO, then please feel free to leave a comment below.
I wanted to share the great news that Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is recognised by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) eleventh revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11).
As someone who has openly spoken about living with the symptoms of CPTSD, it feels extremely validating to know that it is actually recognised formally. I wasn’t aware of this until very recently so for those of you who already knew this, please forgive my delayed discovery. For those of you who live with CPTSD and are aware of this, I hope this news finds you well.
In my personal opinion, a diagnosis of CPTSD could easily replace many other diagnoses. CPTSD is the result of child abuse, neglect and any other prolonged and repeated traumatic experiences.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression are in most cases part of having CPTSD, as well as the following (in the context of childhood trauma & abuse).
”Attachment – problems with relationship boundaries, lack of trust, social isolation, difficulty perceiving and responding to others’ emotional states”
”Biology – sensory-motor developmental dysfunction, sensory-integration difficulties, somatization, and increased medical problems”
”Affect or emotional regulation – poor affect regulation, difficulty identifying and expressing emotions and internal states, and difficulties communicating needs, wants, and wishes”
”Dissociation – amnesia, depersonalization, discrete states of consciousness with discrete memories, affect, and functioning, and impaired memory for state-based events
”Behavioural control – “problems with impulse control, aggression, pathological self-soothing, and sleep problems”
”Cognition – difficulty regulating attention; problems with a variety of ‘executive functions’ such as planning, judgement, initiation, use of materials, and self-monitoring; difficulty processing new information; difficulty focusing and completing tasks; poor object constancy; problems with ’cause-effect’ thinking; and language developmental problems such as a gap between receptive and expressive communication abilities.”
”Self-concept – fragmented and disconnected autobiographical narrative, disturbed body image, low self-esteem, excessive shame, and negative internal working models of self”.
Formal recognition and diagnosis will greatly help CPTSD sufferers with more appropriate treatment options:
Some current treatments are:
dyadic resourcing (used with EMDR)
emotionally focused therapy
emotional freedom technique (EFT) or tapping
expressive arts therapy
internal family systems therapy
dialectical behavior therapy(DBT)
family systems therapy
yoga, specifically trauma-sensitive yoga
It is also worth mentioning that CPTSD has also been referred to as DESNOS (Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified).
DTD (Developmental trauma disorder) is also proposed as the alternative equivalent to childhood CPTSD.
”Dr. Judith Lewis Herman, in her book, Trauma and Recovery, proposed that a complex trauma recovery model that occurs in three stages:
remembrance and mourning for what was lost,
reconnecting with community and more broadly, society.”
If you live with CPTSD and have had experience with any of the above treatment options, I would love to hear what you found helpful.
Thanks for reading
This blog post includes direct text from Wikipedia:
Just a quick post to update you on what I am up to at the moment. I am currently studying my first Counselling module with the Open University alongside my work. I am very excited about this and hoping to complete a whole Diploma in Counselling or a full on Bachelors. I am studying separate modules at a time, which enables me to be more flexible in my choices.
I am still making youtube videos on my channel and also still taking on new clients for coaching.
Awhile back, I wrote a blog post on my other site about the effects of narcissistic abuse and the different narcissistic mother types out there, according to respected psychotherapist Michelle Piper. You can find this blog post here:
After reading through Michelle’s website, I wanted to share the information she provides with my subscribers on youtube. With a growing audience, I felt it was the right thing to do.
In the following video, I talk a little bit about the roles children take on in a dysfunctional home and I list the 53 types of narcissistic mother that Michelle came up with. Most people can relate to quite a few of them, with their mother fitting into many different types.
If you find this blog post or video useful, then please feel free to share it.
Somatic experiencing, helps restore the natural energy balance in our bodies. It helps with restoring the energy flow in our bodies, in places where it is stuck due to stress, injury or trauma.
Somatic Experiencing® (SE™) was developed by Peter A. Levine, PhD to address the effects of trauma. Levine developed this approach after observing that prey animals, whose lives are routinely threatened in the wild, are able to recover readily by physically releasing the energy they accumulate during stressful events. Humans, on the other hand, often override these natural ways of regulating the nervous system with feelings of shame and pervasive thoughts, judgments, and fears. Somatic Experiencing aims to help people move past the place where they might be “stuck” in processing a traumatic event.
The Autonomic Nervous System and Somatic Experiencing Theory
The autonomic nervous system (ANS), which includes the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), and the enteric nervous system (ENS), is triggered into action when we’re faced with adversity and it governs the fight, flight, or freeze instinct. Although designed to be self-regulating, the ANS can become dysregulated, particularly when full expression of one’s response to trauma is repressed. As a result, the body continues to respond as if it is under threat. Somatic experiencing contends that negative symptoms of trauma—such as anxiety, hypervigilance, aggression, and shame—result from denying the body the opportunity to fully process the traumatic event.
Though many people who experience traumatic events recover completely, for those who do not, unresolved trauma can lead to larger mental and physical health concerns, such a post-traumatic stress (PTSD),sleep problems, mood swings, or immune system problems. Somatic Experiencing aims to restore the body’s ability to self-regulate in order to achieve balance and integrity.
Method of Somatic Experiencing
Somatic Experiencing sessions involve the introduction of small amounts of traumatic material and the observation of a client’s physical responses to that material, such as shallow breathing or a shift in posture. The therapist will frequently check in with the client to assess and record somatic sensations that may be imperceptible to the practitioner, such as feelings of heaviness, tightness, or dizziness. Practitioners proceed carefully and cautiously to avoid retraumatizing or triggering the client, and they help people to develop and employ self-regulating strategies. A key component to enhancing one’s ability to self-regulate is the practice of alternating, or “pendulating,” between the sensations associated with trauma and those that are a source of strength and comfort.
The SE practitioner will help the client find places of safety, whether that be a place in the body that is not activated by the trauma, or a physical place to retreat to in one’s mind. Experiencing the sensations related to the traumatic event in a safe way allows a person to fully process the trauma. Clients also achieve heightened awareness of their physical responses to stress, and this skill can serve them in everyday life.
The above text is from the goodtherapy.org website and is the best explanation I have found on somatic experiencing.
As somebody who lives with muscular armouring, which is a result of my CPTSD, I know how uncomfortable my body feels, especially around my neck, chest and back. Due to high stress throughout most of my life, this has resulted in a feeling of tightness in my chest, headaches, clinched shoulders, tight upper back and more. I also notice myself neurotically holding my belly muscles, which in turn disrupts my healthy diaphragmatic breathing. Sometimes, I have to remind myself to relax my breathing and in turn relax my muscles but unfortunately this isn’t enough in the long run, as my painful symptoms always return.
Muscular armouring causes Myofascial pain. Myo stands for muscle and fascia is the connective tissue that holds everything together. In more simple terms, when someone is stuck in a hyper vigilant state, this causes intense muscle tightness (muscular armouring) which results in Myofascial pain. Fibromyalgia is also a condition that can develop from prolonged trauma and is very difficult to diagnose in a lot of cases.
For those of you who have suffered trauma in your childhood or any other sort of trauma, it is worth paying attention to your physical symptoms, as body and mind are connected. If you have only tried talking therapy but haven’t tried somatic therapy, then I highly recommend that you consider it.
The theory behind somatic therapy is that the mind, body, spirit, and emotions are all related and connected to each other. Talk therapy is combined with physical techniques, such as deep breathing, relaxation exercises, and meditation. Other techniques used include dance, exercise, yoga, or other types of movement, vocal work, and massage.
It is important to be in touch with your body and to practice self-care as much as possible.
If you found this post useful then please feel free to comment, like or share.
Wishing all you wonderful readers and fellow bloggers a wonderful Christmas (although a little late) and I really hope that you managed to find beauty & love in your surroundings, even if you were grieving or not having such a good time today. If not, then know you were not alone in your grief! I hope that you were loved or at least were able to spoil yourselves.
The sad thing about healing from abuse is that many people who haven’t themselves been abused, can’t possibly understand the survivor’s journey.
Healing from abuse is unique to each individual who has experienced it. The survivor will be emotionally damaged and/or physically hurt and unfortunately this damage is sometimes irreversible. Abuse leaves behind scars unique to each survivor’s experience.
Although healing means that your mind and body are able to recover, this doesn’t mean that the person can return to being ‘normal’.
The aftermath of abuse is usually permanent.
There might be long-lasting Complex PTSD for those who suffered child abuse, human trafficking, kidnapping or other severe types of abuse.
For some individuals abuse might be all they have known. They don’t have a pre-trauma or pre-abuse identity. They might not know what it is truly like to feel safe.
To all survivors of abuse or trauma,it is very important to remember this: