Far be it from me –

Dolly Sen – Questions and Answers

I’ve read that you first started to hear voices at age 14, can you tell me what happened?
Every Sunday the radio would play the UK top 40. I listened to it and taped the songs I liked. All of a sudden the music went quiet and a troll-like voice issued from the radio: “What do you want, Dolly? How much do you want?” My skin prickled. I shut off the radio in fear. Deep demonic laughter followed. “Can’t get rid of me. I’m yours for life now.”
  “Who are you?”
“I am the universe. I choose whether you live or breathe.” I got up and ran out of the room. I stopped listening to the radio from then on. As the days passed, I thought maybe I just dreamed it all. But they came back and haven’t left me yet.
Was it one voice, or many? … What were the voices saying?
At first it was only one distinct voice with whispering voices in the background, but not long after my first experience, one voice became many. The voices were quite vicious and abusive, ordering me to kill myself, telling me I was evil and a demon, that my family were better off with me dead and that I would bring harm to them just by being alive. If there was a disaster on the TV, they told me it was my fault. They called me a whore, a slut, that my heart was rotting. Imagine hearing that day in day out, for years on end.
When you heard these voices were there any images that appeared in your mind? Did these become visual hallucinations as well?
Before I heard my first voices, I was seeing shadows in my room, and sensing presences behind me, or over me when I slept, so they all came together more or less. It was only days after hearing that first voice, that I began to see demonic faces. The voices felt demonic too. I was too scared to know their faces so I didn’t have any images in my mind as to what they might look like.
How difficult was it to go about your daily life whilst experiencing these voices?
I had no life. I couldn’t function on a day to day level. I rarely went out or communicated with my family. I had no friends, no hobbies, no work, nothing to occupy me but terror. When that happens to you, you either lash out or freeze. I froze. I became a statue for over a decade. I did nothing; I couldn’t do anything. Even when I tried to brush my teeth, the voices were telling to stab myself in the eye with a toothbrush.
Do the voices feel as if they coming from inside or outside your head?  For over 20 years, they came from outside my head. I even felt the breath and the body heat of the voices I heard behind me. The more I deal with why I have my voices and accept they are part of me I can’t face or are too painful, some of them move into inside my head.
Does the distance of the voice change with its character (i.e. angry voices compared to soft soothing voices?) They cover all sorts of distances. Sometimes they seem far and muffled, like they are in the other room. Sometimes they feel so close, their spittle touches me and disgust me. These close ones are the ones that are characteristically negative, abusive and overpowering.
Do you believe that the voices you hear are a metaphor, holding traumatic experience safely?
Absolutely. The evolution of my voices were at first thinking they were demons. When I was diagnosed with psychosis, I was relieved they were not demons so welcomed a diagnosis. But as the years went on and the medication turned me into a zombie but did nothing to address WHY I was having those voices. Pills do not cure trauma or abuse. Although voices produced terror, they also saved my life. The abuse at the hands of my dad and others was so horrible that if I believed what he told me about why he was abusing me, it would have ended with my suicide. Voices took it away from my heart and head to save my soul, to turn it into metaphor so I can deal with hell in installments. My voices are the sanest part about me. I have to learn to listen to their pain. Voices tell me about the state of my soul. If the voices are telling me I am an alien, it is telling me I am feeling alienated from the human race. If they tell me I am Jesus, God or all-powerful, I know it’s because I am feeling powerless and need to address that. Whether you want to describe voices as flesh, ghost or dream, I have to listen. What has changed over the years is the power dynamic of the voices. They controlled my life for many years, now I am in the driving seat, but I understand they have to be in the passenger seat until they have reached the end of their journeys.
You mention that you find it very difficult to make phone calls. Please explain more about this.
Try speaking on the phone whilst listening to music or talking on your headphones, and see if you are able to do it. It is physically impossible, because the voice at the other end of the phone is also disembodied, which is the right voice to listen to in the orchestra of confusion? That’s why I think you should have more than one way to contact crisis services than a phone.
Often when we hear about conditions like voice hearing it’s considered a ‘broken brain’ issue. Would you agree the issue should be considered in this way?
No, because they still haven’t proved it. But what I can prove to you is that people who hear voices have a broken heart that needs healing. The more my heart heals, the less power the voices have.
Tell me about some of the art works you’ve produced and the role of auditory hallucinations in the process. Do voices help you in your work? Creativity seems like an exorcism of pain. One day I will write and make art about pretty things and being middle class, but I have still some terrors to release and some ghosts to make even more invisible. Art helps me do that.

http://www.dollysen.com

 
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It Wasn’t Me

For the first 37 years of my life I suffered in silence. Emerging from a dysfunctional childhood and adolescent depression I moved into adulthood only to be come ensnared in a violent marriage which brought me to the brink of insanity. Only by walking away did I postpone for 6 years what was to be a highly terrifying descent into psychosis, a six month stay in hospital, culminating in 6 horrendous treatments of Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). During the next 6 years I stumbled in the darkness of my soul and insult was added to injury when 10 years after my psychotic breakdown, I was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes, caused by the ingestion of enormous quantities of neuroleptic drugs. I faced surgery twice and recovery from the second operation was both slow and painful. Seven years after my breakdown I’d given up the cocktail of medication. Withdrawal was far from easy and since 1993 I’ve relapsed on six occasions. I call that recovery. Others do not. Through talking therapies and cathartic writing I have broken my silence and found my voice. No one could hear my headaches or see my optical migraines. Now I know it is my responsibility and mine alone, to ensure that my mental well being remains constant and continual. By nurturing my psyche with good music, good nutrition and company of positive people – and by avoiding negativity as far as I can -I can achieve good health. I understand that the vagus nerve responds well to this regime and blood pressure and heart rate are attuned accordingly. More and more of us are now acknowledging the link between early life trauma and adult psychosis and the move towards demedicalisation of mental illness is gathering pace. Talking about distress and verbalising my pain has helped me process and absorb traumatic events and see, that once delusions and hallucinations have dissipated, the pain is unprotected – and hurts intensely. Without the cloak of madness I am vulnerable and raw, exposed and stinging. Healing comes when crying and talking clear and clean my psyche and allow new and happier memories to replace the wounds with genuine emotional growth – and understanding that it is a sign of strength, not weakness, that I survived those traumatic times and can now move forward, without looking over my shoulder.

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She’s Got A Ticket To Ride (But She Don’t Care)

It comes to something when a patient is asked to pay a General Practitioner to write a letter to the Department of Work and Pensions. A General Practitioner is surely there to oversee the mental wellbeing of a patient? Shouldn’t a standard letter, sent on behalf of a patient, to the DWP, or indeed any part of HMG, be sent by electronic mail, or by Royal Mail, for the cost of second class stamp? I’ve reluctantly agreed to pay £16.50 so that my GP can convey some information on my behalf. Once again, I shall think very carefully about approaching a General Practitioner for any help in relation to any aspect of my mental well being.

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The Surviving Spirit Newsletter – February 2013

 Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy 

 Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Kahlil Gibran

Hi Folks,

Before we dive into all of the wonderful resources to share from some truly amazing people, I thought I would take this time to ‘gently’ let you know of the Surviving Spirit’s presence on Facebook. We have two sections, first is our Surviving Spirit Facebook Page – where we hope you “Like Us”, but more importantly, a place to visit and learn from some of the great postings shared there – recent examples include:

Jeanne McElvaney – Recognizing the difference between ordinary memories, trauma memories, and dissociated memories can empower us ~

Rachel Grant – Today’s Blog: Embracing Yourself in Love

Misa Leonessa Garavaglia – Spiritual abuse is the misuse of a position of power and the misrepresentation of information.

And then there is our Surviving Spirit Facebook Group which is a place to visit and share what’s going on in your life, find peer support and share your creative expressions. It is a closed group, so log in and ask to join. Thanks!

Once again we are honored to share with you some helpful insight and information…and as the saying goes, “take what you like and leave the rest.”

1] Joining Forces: Empowering Male Survivors to Thrive Dr. Howard Fradkin Foreword by Tyler Perry

Joining Forces: Empowering Male Survivors to Thrive is an inspirational new book written to empower male survivors of sexual abuse and assault at any age to develop skills they can use to overcome the effects of their trauma and learn to thrive in their lives.  Visit the pages on this website to learn more about my book.

The book is organized to reflect the critical steps I believe are necessary to heal and fully recover from sexual victimization of any form.  The first part focuses on essential skills needed to begin the healing process; while the second part focuses on additional skills needed to move toward thriving. Throughout the book, I have incorporated the stories and the wisdom of a group of alumni of our weekends program, who I call the “Silence Breakers”.

Dr. Howard Fradkin – Words and Wisdom – Welcome to my website! I hope you will find inspiration, hope and healing here! I have devoted my career and my life to helping others, and I hope in the words, articles, interviews and links provided here, you will find help for yourself too. What I know to be true is that healing from sexual victimization, no matter what age it started or ended, is absolutely possible and achievable!

I have the pleasure and honor of knowing Howard for many years, dating back to when Male Survivor was first formed, back then they had a really long name, not so now, Male Survivor says it all!

Howard is the real deal….he gets it and his caring and love of helping others shines throughout this powerful book that is a testimony to hope, healing and help. His insight, knowledge and compassion speaks right to you – and that is what I felt while reading this book. I truly felt as if he was in the room talking to me directly, in a gentle and thoughtful manner – that is a wonderful gift of love that he shares, and that is not a word I throw out frivolously. His allies and friends in healing, the “Silence Breakers” also give wonderful insight and testimony on healing throughout the book.

My only ‘disagreement’ with the book pertains to the chapter on Forgiveness. I share his belief that we must learn to forgive ourselves for what was done to us…but I take exception to forgiving those who hurt us – some of us have been able to heal and thrive without having to forgive…and that is okay. That should be a personal choice and belief…

What is Male Survivor? We are committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through support, treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love & belonging & joy— the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brené Brown

2] Thursdays @ 10am pst Svava Books answers questions in the OneHealth chat room about childhood sexual abuse.

Register free – http://sexualabusesupport.onehealth.com/   & 2:12 minute audio clip

A safe place to heal – OneHealth is a private and confidential community where you can feel safe and secure when sharing with others and managing your health goals. 

A 24/7 source of community and support – Feel instant fellowship with our online community of people who share your health goals. 

A set of clinical tools that work – Set and keep track of your goals, and share your experience and progress. Find online community meetings when and where you need them. Share your story and life journey with others.

“If I am overwhelmed, I may be trying to do too much. Today I will try to “Keep it simple.” Courage To Change

3] Kids At Risk Action (KARA) – Advocating for the Rights of Invisible Children

KARA is a non-profit advocacy network focusing on issues related to neglected and abused children. Founded by Mike Tikkanen, a businessman turned socially-concerned citizen, KARA works to educate individuals and communities about the need to protect the rights of children.

OUR MISSION is to advocate for the welfare of at-risk children and youth through the identification and promotion of people, programs, and policies that work.

OUR INITIATIVES include raising awareness of at-risk children by:

  • sponsoring KARA Community Forums
  • organizing children’s rights Community Action Networks
  • offering free audiobook downloads of  Invisible Children
  • Contact KARA for information about public speaking engagements & workshops

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Hans Hofmann 

4] In mental illness, is ‘stigma’ the wrong word? How about ‘discrimination?’  Arielle Levin Becker  The Connecticut Mirror

“When I had cancer, I got cards and flowers,” Karen Kangas’ sign reads. “When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I got no cards and a pink slip.”

A picture of Kangas holding the sign hangs in the state Capitol complex, part of an exhibit called “Discrimination: A Roadblock to Recovery.”

The title is no accident.

People often talk about the stigma of mental illness. But some, including Patricia Rehmer, prefer the term “discrimination.” It’s stronger. It makes people uncomfortable.

And it more accurately describes what people with mental illness face when looking for jobs and housing, in social situations, and even in some legislation that’s been proposed in recent years, said Rehmer, the state’s commissioner of mental health and addiction services.

“I always say it’s the last bastion of discrimination,” she said. “I can’t really think of another group that’s still so discriminated against.”

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” Carl Bard

5] Ark of Hope for Children brings awareness of and provides emotional care for victims of child abuse, child sex trafficking and bullying (peer abuse). Ark of Hope focuses on care, habilitation and life transformation to help victims become empowered survivors.

When loving people stand in the gap with sacrificial and unconditional love, the trajectory of shattered lives can change forever. Through Ark of Hope programs we encourage local, church, state and international mobilization on behalf of abused, trafficked and bullied children.

 Ark of Hope programs:

“Love is a great beautifier.” Louisa May Alcott

Ruth Jacobs is another great example of a Surviving Spirit who has taken her own pain and suffering and turned that into a force of greater good for helping others – please do visit her website. And her Facebook pages [ https://www.facebook.com/rujacobs & https://www.facebook.com/SoulDestructionSeries ] where there are all kinds of great sharing, resources, hope and healing.

6] Ruth Jacobs – author   http://ruthjacobs.co.uk/

I write a series of novels entitled Soul Destruction, which dispel the ‘happy hooker’ myth and expose the dark world and the harsh reality of life as a call girl. My debut novel, Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, will be published in 2013 by Caffeine Nights. I studied prostitution in the late 1990s, which sparked my interest in the subject. I draw on my research and the women I interviewed for inspiration. I also have firsthand experience of many of the topics I write about such as posttraumatic stress disorder, and drug and alcohol addiction. My short charity publication, In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl, is available on Amazon.

To view the series of interviews for Human Trafficking Awareness Month, January 2013, click here.

In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl is available to download from Amazon. All royalties will be donated to Beyond the Streets, a charity helping women exit prostitution. The publication is 77p from Amazon UK here & 99c from Amazon US here. It is also available worldwide.

“Today I will make use of the precious gift of imagination. Thus I will turn away from negativity, self-doubt, and fear, and celebrate life instead.” Courage To Change

Some great news to share from my friend and fellow advocate and member of Males 4 Trauma Recovery, William Kellibrew of the William Kellibrew Foundation [WKF] 

7] WKF Stories of Surviving and Thriving

As the national conversation about violence prevention continues it is important that the voices of those who have been affected are heard.  

Each month we will share at least one story in order to build awareness, educate policy makers and help shape the public policy conversation. 

1. Send an email to – info@TheWKFoundation.org  

Include: Name, Age, Location, Your Story 

2. Be prepared to record a 3-minute video sharing your story.  

– What happened? 

– How did you feel then and now?

– How are you coping?

– What do you hope will be done to prevent this type of violence in the future?

– What do you think is an important message for others to take away from your story?

We start with a courageous woman from Kansas, Linda Oktach, whose husband was murdered in 1968 on Thanksgiving Day. In response to Newtown, Linda tells her story of survival; raising her 22 month old son who survived the day she lost her husband.  It is stories like Linda’s that give us hope. Thank you for your courage Linda. Linda now lives in Kenya. 

WKF Stories Restoring Lives: Linda Oktach – YouTube   4:54 minutes

“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.” Hubert Humphrey

8] The Road To Resilience  

How do people deal with difficult events that change their lives? The death of a loved one, loss of a job, serious illness, terrorist attacks and other traumatic events: these are all examples of very challenging life experiences. Many people react to such circumstances with a flood of strong emotions and a sense of uncertainty.

Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful conditions. What enables them to do so? It involves resilience, an ongoing process that requires time and effort and engages people in taking a number of steps.

This article is intended to help readers with taking their own road to resilience. The information within describes resilience and some factors that affect how people deal with hardship. Much of the article focuses on developing and using a personal strategy for enhancing resilience.

“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” Shakti Gawain

9] 10 Journaling Tips to Help You Heal, Grow and Thrive – Loran Hills @ Tiny Buddha

Keeping a journal has many positive benefits. Journaling can help with personal growth and development. By regularly recording your thoughts you will gain insight into your behaviors and moods.

Journaling can be used for problem-solving and stress reduction. It’s been proven to improve mental and physical health. It can lead to increased self-esteem.

10] You Can Be Your Own Hero – You Tube

Here’s a forum where you can share your own video of speaking out regarding sexual abuse as these courageous folks have done.

“To improve the golden moment of opportunity, and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great art of life.” Samuel Johnson 

11] Rethinking mental health: Local practitioners, groups reject mainstream treatment – Tracy Rose, Mountain Xpress Asheville, NC

Asheville psychiatrist Daniel Johnson didn’t set out to transform his profession. But he’s now part of a growing movement, both locally and nationally, that’s challenging the most fundamental assumptions about mental illness.

Dr. Johnson launched a private practice here in 2010 and, like most psychiatrists, he prescribed medications for his patients. But a controversial article he read nearly a year and a half ago got him thinking and eventually led to a profound shift in the nature of his work (see sidebar, “By the Book(s)”).

“Unfortunately, and sadly, more often than not, medications do more harm than good,” Johnson now maintains. “And of course I had contributed to all that in my own practice. I had a lot of soul searching and reckoning to do on a personal level.”

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Oscar Wilde

12] The Voice from the Spectrum: My First News Appearance on Autism Awareness

Ryan Comins is a graduate of Oakland University. In December 2012 Ryan received his Bachelor of Science and Business Administration with a major in marketing and a minor in English. While attending school, he was a member of the marketing honor society Alpha Mu Alpha. Ryan was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder (otherwise not specified autism) at age 12. Through use social media and internet radio, Ryan uses his eloquent way with words to help raise autism awareness.

“If I can see pain in your eyes then share with me your tears. If I can see joy in your eyes then share with me your smile.” Santosh Kalwar

13] How Child Abuse Primes the Brain for Future Mental Illness – By Maia Szalavitz TIME Magazine – Health & Family

Child maltreatment has been called the tobacco industry of mental health. Much the way smoking directly causes or triggers predispositions for physical disease, early abuse may contribute to virtually all types of mental illness.

Now, in the largest study yet to use brain scans to show the effects of child abuse, researchers have found specific changes in key regions in and around the hippocampus in the brains of young adults who were maltreated or neglected in childhood. These changes may leave victims more vulnerable to depression, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the study suggests.

& Study: How Chronic Stress Can Lead to Depression Maia Szalavitz

“They do not want to hear what their children suffer. They’ve made the telling of the suffering itself taboo.” From Possessing the Secret of Joy, by Alice Walker

14] America Has an Incest Problem – Mia Fontaine The Atlantic

Mia Fontaine is the author of Come Back and Have Mother, Will Travel, and a speaker on the subject of incest and child sexual abuse. She has written for the New York Times and Ms. magazine.

People are rightly horrified by abuse scandals at Penn State and in the Catholic church. But what about children who are molested by their own family members?

Last year offered plenty of moments to have a sustained national conversation about child sexual abuse: the Jerry Sandusky verdict, the BBC’s Jimmy Savile, Horace Mann’s faculty members, and a slew of slightly less publicized incidents. President Obama missed the opportunity to put this issue on his second-term agenda in his inaugural speech.

Child sexual abuse impacts more Americans annually than cancer, AIDS, gun violence, LGBT inequality, and the mortgage crisis combined—subjects that Obama did cover.

Had he mentioned this issue, he would have been the first president to acknowledge the abuse that occurs in the institution that predates all others: the family. Incest was the first form of institutional abuse, and it remains by far the most widespread.

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.” Herbert Ward

Kudos to Mia Fontaine for writing this…I would take this a step further and add in child abuse in all of its forms – the silent epidemic that is causing so much suffering throughout our world…someday this silence will end, till then, we all continue to do what we do in our respective advocacy endeavors…and thank you for that.

Take care, Mike, Mary, Zsuzsi, Rachel, Cynthia & Mary Ann

ps. Please share this with your friends & if you have received this in error, please let me know. 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 
                                               A diagnosis is not a destiny  

The Surviving Spirit – Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy – Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health 

The Surviving Spirit Speakers’ Bureau

The Surviving Spirit Facebook Page

mike.skinner@survivingspirit.com   603-625-2136  38 River Ledge Drive, Goffstown, NH 03045 

@SurvivinSpirit Twitter

“BE the change you want to see in the world.” Mohandas Gandhi

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From Michael Skinner – The Surviving Spirit Newsletter January 2013

 

Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy

 

Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health

 

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Kahlil Gibran

 

“The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possibly can.” Mike Dooley

 

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” Alan Cohen

 

Hi Folks,

 

Wow, 2013…another New Year and wishing all of you the joys, hopes and dreams that the New Year may offer and bring to you as you work on new ideas, resolutions, opportunities, self examination, trying new things…and old things, new goals, plans, dreams and ambitions. Whatever they may be, wishing everyone all the best in your pursuit of these endeavors.

 

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Saint Francis of Assisi

 

Our hopes and plans for The Surviving Spirit are to be expanding and improving our Website Resources and the newsletter – some of which is being worked on now. Slowly but surely we are getting there…a work in progress. All of our Board members are also quite busy with their undertakings of work and creative projects.

 

For myself, I will be starting the recording process soon for my fourth album, “Truth, Love & Light”…very excited to be doing this. It has taken me a bit longer to get to this stage due to the surgery I had a few years ago that involved the removal of my left thumb joint – it has taken a while for my fretting hand to get back in shape to do this. This has been another teaching lesson for me in the art of learning patience…sometimes I can be a slow learner, but with time, I eventually get there.

 

Once again we have compiled some helpful and insightful resources to share with you and very excited to open up with some ‘new’ things for the New Year from Rachel, Beth & Debbie. Despite some of the pain and turmoil going on in the world, there are still so many others doing what they can to help make the world a better place – the resources we are sharing in this newsletter are some great examples of that…

 

1] Fellow board member Rachel Grant is pleased to offer her newly published guidebook, Beyond Surviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse

Rachel Grant Trauma Recovery & Relationship Coach
In the world of recovery, there has been a shift from using the word “victim” to “survivor” when describing those who have been abused. This new label conveys strength-to empower and to embolden you as you begin the journey of recovery. While moving from victim to survivor is an important step in the healing process, it does not go far enough in framing an identity that leads to a thriving and powerful life.

In Beyond Surviving, author Rachel Grant, provides an understanding of the three stages of recovery-victim, survivor, and beyond surviving-and offers survivors guidance and tools for reaching the third stage of recovery. Based on cognitive behavioral techniques, neurological science, the power of language to heal, and Grant’s personal journey, Beyond Surviving teaches you how to actively challenge and break the patterns of thought and behavior that result from sexual abuse. It explores how different areas of life are impacted by abuse and communicates valuable skills for gaining a new perspective that inspires action and change. It provides an opportunity to reflect and practice these new skills through exercises and assignments.

 

Available for purchase in paperback or Kindle on Amazon or download a free excerpt.

 

2] A rooted mind….Reflections on saying yes to beauty, wellness and deeply rooted mental health – Beth Gager, singer, writer, advocate, peer and a gentle spirit

 

These past few years I have been working really hard on getting what I need in my life. I have been pushing myself to be what I need be in the world. I had covered myself up and held myself down for a long time because I had experienced so much pain and disillusionment with my experiences when I was in and out of the hospital and I needed to work at getting my life back together. I forgot who I was for a while and I needed to find my center again. I needed to uncover my roots and feel my feet on the earth. I needed to stretch my arms toward the sun. I needed to let the breeze be my gentle friend. But now, step-by-step, I have done that. My roots are strong. My fingertips know how to touch the sky. I have uncovered myself bit by bit and now I can see who I am again when I look in the mirror. And now, I am ready to be in a different place. I don’t have to be covered up but I also don’t have to push anymore.

 

It’s about letting the quiet that is inside me also surround me. It’s about beauty. And I say yes.

 

3] Deborah Louise Trueheart – Living Into Wholeness

 

I have many passions, which include the evolution of consciousness and spirituality, complimentary holistic health and a non-disease approach to mental health, and creativity.  These passions culminate in the development of a curriculum called, “Living Into Wholeness.”

 

 

Since we are all connected, I believe we see ourselves in each other. We gain and give strength, hope, courage and inspiration to each other by sharing ourselves. The Native Americans say that our story is medicine. My desire is to hold a mirror up to you of your own beauty, your own magnificence, your own wholeness and your own Divinity. May you find medicine in my story.

 

“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

4] Increasing Self-Compassion in PTSD – Countering Negative Beliefs and Thoughts about the Self by Matthew Tull, PhD  @ About.com Post Traumatic Stress

 

Many people with a diagnosis of PTSD struggle with self-compassion. The symptoms of PTSD can be very intense and can disrupt many areas of a person’s life. As a result, people with PTSD may start to experience feelings of guilt or shame, have negative thoughts about themselves, or feel worthless or like a failure.

 

A lack of self-compassion can have a huge impact on recovery from PTSD. A lack of self-compassion may decrease motivation to continue through those difficult moments in treatment. It may increase feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

[Folks, we all need and deserve self-compassion, whatever your struggles may be]

 

5] ‘Homeless Yoga’ And ‘The Art Of Panhandling’ by Kevin Sullivan – producer/WBUR Staff – Here & Now  [Please note, this link allows you to hear the audio clip for the radio show {16:09 minutes long} and a full story on The Pilgrim Magazine – worth listening to and reading…powerful and insightful]

 

Thumbing through Wednesday’s Boston Globe, back in the Metro section, there’s a story about a man found dead Tuesday on a park bench in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood.

Police suspect he was homeless, and won’t be able to identify him for a few days.

His story may never be told. But the stories of other homeless people, written in their own words, are being told.

 

James Parker, a columnist with the Atlantic, last year began publishing “The Pilgrim” with help from Boston’s historic Cathedral Church of Saint Paul. Each issue contains stories, essays, poems, even comics, written by the homeless. It started when Parker began a writers’ group for the homeless at the church. “As soon as these guys started writing, I became aware instantly that I had some amazing material,” Parker said.

The stories are stark and serious, ironic and funny.

 

Read the December 2012 issue of The Pilgrim  Pilgrim Magazine PDF

 

The Pilgrim is a journal produced by members of Boston’s homeless community, published by the Cathedral Church of St Paul, and dedicated to the proposition that homelessness is a state of acute pilgrimage. It features poetry, memoir, prayer, reportage, jubilation and despair. To quote one of our regular writers: “This paper is real. It don’t get realer than this.”

 

“It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” Nelson Mandela

 

6] The Irish Times – Slow progress in mental health service as tide goes out on Victorian-era hospitals

 

Many patients say an understaffed community mental health service has left them isolated and disempowered. Miriam O’Shea was looking for help. She had spent several months in a psychiatric hospital, where she was treated for bipolar disorder. But after she was discharged and looked for support in the community, she felt she couldn’t find any.

 

“Drugs work for some people but for me they just numb my emotions,” said O’Shea, who left hospital last February. “I needed the kind of peer support in the community and the kind of therapy that treats you as someone with emotional and spiritual needs. I couldn’t find any of that . . . All I was being offered was medication and more medication.”

 

“Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose – not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.” Anne Sullivan

 

7] Dark Side of the Brain – The National CBC Television Video clip 8:12 minutes

 

New research suggests that when the brain is in a resting state, it isn’t as dormant as previously thought, CBC’s Kelly Crowe reports on new research to help heal “mental trauma”…

 

CBC interviews a woman who experienced multiple gang rapes between 11 – 14 and all of the different diagnoses she was given – bipolar, schizo-affective disorder, depressive disorder, borderline, etc, etc.

 

This is a fascinating and informative report that is well worth watching to help understand how trauma severs the connections in our brains for so many of us impacted by trauma and abuse and some new thoughts and ideas on healing. The brain scans of a ‘normal’ brain versus a traumatized one helps put it into perspective.

 

8] Childhood Trauma Leaves Its Mark On the Brain – Science Daily

 

It is well known that violent adults often have a history of childhood psychological trauma. Some of these individuals exhibit very real, physical alterations in a part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex. Yet a direct link between such early trauma and neurological changes has been difficult to find, until now.

 

“This research shows that people exposed to trauma in childhood don’t only suffer psychologically, but their brain also gets altered,” explains Sandi, Head of EPFL’s Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics, Director of the Brain Mind Institute, and a member of the National Centers for Competence in Research SYNAPSY. “This adds an additional dimension to the consequences of abuse, and obviously has scientific, therapeutic and social implications.”

 

“We heal the past by living in the present.” Marianne Williamson

 

9] ‘Sliver Of Sky,’ Barry Lopez Confronts Childhood Sexual Abuse:NPR audio clip 44:18 minutes

 

Barry Lopez is known for writing about the natural world. His books include Arctic Dreams and Of Wolves and Men, where he explores the relationship between the physical landscape and human culture. But in a new essay in the January issue of Harper’s Magazine, Lopez writes that he was sexually molested by a family friend when he was a boy, and says the man was never brought to justice.

 

The abuse began when Lopez was 7 years old. The man, named Harry Shier, oversaw the alcoholism treatment for a relative of Lopez’s mother at the sanatorium Shier supervised in North Hollywood, Calif. He presented himself as a doctor. Lopez writes that Shier said there was something wrong with Lopez, and that the rape was treatment for that problem.

Lopez, who lives in Oregon, says this piece is the hardest he’s ever written.

Sliver of Sky – Confronting the trauma of sexual abuse  Harper’s Magazine

“The advantage that I had,” he says, “is that I’ve been a writer all my life, and I had somebody at Harper’s – Chris Cox – who was an exceptional editor, who could do what I could not do, which is I could not find and hold the emotional distance that I needed from this material in order to write about it in the way that I thought I had to, which is, in the end it’s not about me, it’s about us.”

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.” Mary Anne Radmacher

10] Showcase your art. Create your own free website – an online Art Portfolio

Your Website. Your Way.​ Change colors, text, backgrounds, pics and more to create your own unique site

11] Etsy – Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage, and supplies

12] ReverbNation – The best tools for musicians and the best music for everyone else.

Home to Over 2.72 Million MusiciansVenuesLabels, and Industry Professionals

 

13] Webs – Make a free website & get free hosting Create a Free Website:

 

  • Easy Website Building Tools
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14] Hayden Kian – book publishing – Donna Kshir & Sandra Potter also with Dreamcatchers for Abused Children

 

As accomplished authors who have been published both professionally and self-published, we know firsthand there are many routes you can take to complete the publishing process.

You can spend months and sometimes years submitting your manuscript to agents and publishers, and a majority of the time your manuscript is deleted, unread. As an alternative you choose to self-publish, but the process is a long and complicated process that tends to feel like you are trapped in a nightmare.

We at Hayden Kian want to change all that. We want to make the process as easy and convenient as possible.

 

“No human relation gives one possession in another – every two souls are absolutely different. In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.” Kahlil Gibran

 

15] Survey from the Office of Victims of Crime – Adult Survivors of Child Pornography Production

 

Are you an adult survivor of child sexual abuse that involved sexually explicit images taken of you when you were age 17 or younger? If so, please consider helping others by taking this survey, which aims to find ways to help meet the complex needs of victims of this crime.

 

The survey is funded by the Department of Justice, Office of Victims of Crime. It asks about help you received, barriers to getting help, and suggestions for improving how victims of these crimes are treated by police, prosecutors, courts, and counselors. It also includes a few general questions about the crimes that you experienced.  You are free to skip any questions you do not want to answer and you will not be asked for any information that could identify you.

 

Click here to find out more information and take the survey.

 

I was sent this Survey due to my affiliation with the RAINN Speakers Bureau….I’m hopeful that my responses can help others, but it certainly took the wind out of my sails for a few day due to what it dredged up. I think my first act of defiant advocacy was when I was eight or nine years old and scooped up a pile of magazines containing child pornography that were in my parents basement – full of fear, I took them over to the woods across from my home and buried them….

 

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt

 

Finally, some words of wisdom and compassion from Deb Trueheart along with a few articles addressing the horrific tragedy in Newtown, CT.

 

“This has also been a time of deep contemplation for me after the latest school shooting in Connecticut.  I seek within myself to find the soul-level response to these events.  When I go to my deepest wisdom and seek the highest guidance, I continue to be called into Oneness Consciousness, which reminds me that we are all interconnected and interdependent and that violence evolves out of a place of alienation; that real solutions require a change in social attitudes and practices that alienate whatever/whoever we don’t like, don’t agree with, or are afraid of and call it “other.”

 

“My sense is that the more we develop awareness and practices that reach out, in goodwill and loving kindness and help create communities where difference is honored, where we truly act on the notion that we are all one, then we create a place of belonging for all.  This is the world I want to live in; the one I choose to help create.  We all long to know we belong.  When we have that, I believe there is a supreme sense of safety.”

 

“The world is changing because we are changing it. And that makes me understand at least what kind of person I’d like to be…to seek ways, big or small to heal the world. That to me is spirituality and one’s soul.” Carl Safina

 

16] It Shouldn’t Take a Tragedy to Improve Treatment New York Times  By Harvey Rosenthal – Executive director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services 

 

The recent tragedies in Newtown and elsewhere are especially abhorrent to those of us in the mental health community, particularly since studies have shown that people with mental illness are 12 times more likely to be victims of violence, and no more likely to be violent, if they are not substance abusers.

 

Nonetheless, horrific acts of violence are inevitably associated with mental illnesses, often because the motivations for them seem unfathomable, and they end upgetting sensationalized front page coverage.

 

This has led to a wholesale vilification of conditions that 1 in 5 Americans share. That’s the sort of profiling that has been the fate of some racial or religious groups.

 

17] Mass Murder: Is There a Mental Health Issue? Huffington Post

By Michael Friedman, L.M.S.W.  Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia University Schools of Social Work and Public Health

 

From time to time, a person with a severe mental illness (or assumed to have a mental illness) commits a murder that makes headlines. As the tragic slaughter of children and teachers in Newtown, Conn. illustrates, the reactive call to address “the mental health issue” is entirely predictable. Sometimes the call to improve mental health policy and practice comes from people trying to distract us from issues such as gun control. But often it comes from politicians, journalists, and social advocates (even mental health advocates) who sincerely believe that addressing the so-called mental health issue could reduce mass murders in the United States. Are they right? Are there interventions that would reduce the incidence of mass murders?

 

Those who call for addressing the mental health issue in criminal violence have disparate and often unclear views of what can be done to help. But, despite their differences, they appear to share three highly questionable assumptions.

 

18] Let’s Stop Blaming The Mentally Ill  Arizona Daily Star  By Lollie Butler – director of the program Heart to Heart, through the National Alliance for Mental Illness of Southern Arizona.

 

There is a bloody war being waged in America; gun advocates versus those who would ban guns. This “civil” war may go on for a long time.

 

Meanwhile, those suffering from mental illnesses unfairly shoulder the blame for atrocities committed against the innocent. This is an unreasonable situation. Armed persons firing into crowds, whether at schools or shopping malls, defies reason and causes all of us to feel vulnerable. It also takes its toll on those with mental illnesses. Words like “crazy” and “deranged” fly across the front pages, and the mentally ill in treatment, saddled with severe funding cuts and ongoing social stigma, take it on the chin.

 

A 2009 study in the Archives of General Psychiatry states, “If a person has severe mental illness without substance abuse and a history of violence, he or she has the same chance of being violent during the next three years as any other person in the general population.” “It’s unproductive to besmirch a whole group of people recovering from (mental) illnesses as if they are all dangerous – when in fact, they’re not,” says Duke University medical sociologist Jeffery Swanson.

 

“Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized, in the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident.” Arthur Schopenhauer

 

Take care, Mike, Mary, Zsuzsi, Rachel, Cynthia & Mary Ann

 

ps. Please share this with your friends & if you have received this in error, please let me know.

 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 
                 A diagnosis is not a destiny

 

The Surviving Spirit – Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy – Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health

 

The Surviving Spirit Speakers’ Bureau

 

The Surviving Spirit Facebook Page

 

mike.skinner@survivingspirit.com   603-625-2136  38 River Ledge Drive, Goffstown, NH 03045

 

@SurvivinSpirit Twitter

 

“BE the change you want to see in the world.” Mohandas Gandhi

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Guest Post By Lisa Cherry – Quick Update on Free Download of Soul Journey

Quick update

Thank you for all your support regarding the FREE download….all of your information about your websites, charities and own books etc. was downloaded over 750 times across the UK, USA, Germany, France and Italy.How cool is that? Who knows what might happen now for any of us?
The next book is well on the way to being finished and I have also written a book on how to start writing….
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Staring-Blank-Start-Writing-ebook/dp/B00AS7TGAU/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_img_2
This was a bit of a practice as I shall just market as an ebook that goes with the writing workshop. If you know anyone who might be interested then please do pass it on…
Have a wonderful Xmas xx

 

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