Friday, February 22, 2013


Last night, I couldn't find my way home again. Yes, it was a dream but it is a recurring one that started when I was a teen and had no home with either my mother or father; or at least a secure, safe one. In this dream, my car broke down and I was surrounded by creepy looking strangers on a rainy, dark street corner, one of whom shot up my car with bullets. I kept calling my father and he wouldn't pick me up even though it was a terrific thunderstorm and I started to walk home - wherever that was - because I never did find it. I woke and it was over but I remain shaken.

These are remnants of the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) I suffer. It started as a youngster when my 'home' was in sheer turmoil and I never knew what I would come 'home' to. It returned in full throttle after my dual diagnoses of cancer and Lupus and the trauma of an emergency tracheotomy and 16 torturous chemotherapy treatments during which my body continually tried to kill itself and I was in a hallucinatory state.

PTSD is most often associated with soldiers and victims of war. But prolonged exposure to what one perceives as a highly threatening environment or true health crisis can bring it on, too. Even national or worldwide worries about current events cause some of us to descend into a place of hellish stress, invoking trauma and symptoms of PTSD.

My PTSD experiences always seems to be the same - I simply can not identify home and am stranded in elevators and oceans; strange cities or street corners in the rain. It is so unpredictable. And during and after cancer treatment, I would wake from various states of stupor or dreams and run and hide in my closet or in the corner, shaking and crying uncontrollably from fear.

Recently, I learned about a PTSD healer - Michele Rosenthal of Florida and author of her own memoir BEFORE THE WORLD INTRUDED: Conquering the Past and Creating the Future. I don't normally tout anyone's commercial enterprise but Michele is on to something special and unique and, even if you don't feel like you have PTSD, take a look at Michele's story that began when she was five when she was diagnosed with a rare, critical health disorder, and you just might see bits and pieces of yourself. I know I did and, once again, I am glad I am not alone.

I know many of my readers are pet lovers like me. Michele tuned in to how one of her dogs handled severe stress and finds more lessons for us mere humans trying to soothe ourselves in times of stress, fear, or panic. I share this video that I feel is valid and important. There is so much we can learn from our furry friends. Thank you, Michele.


My own little buddy - Shadow. Photo credit: Sherry Vance 

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