Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Being held hostage by your memory. #Flashbacks.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Being held hostage by your memories. #Flashbacks.

Definition of Hostage

If you say you are hostage to something, you mean that your freedom to take action is restricted by things that you cannot control. Such is the force of PTSD.

Memories are something unique to each and every one of us. They are perhaps the only thing apart from our DNA that truly sets us apart from any other of our species.

They can be triggered by the sweet joyous sound of a baby’s laughter, the scent of a freshly baked cake, or a scene from a movie that we watch over-and-over again. All our senses take part in the remembering process.

The lingering refrain of church bells on Sunday morning and the butterfly touch of a spring breeze on our faces may all take us to places we once inhabited in real time.

But not all of our memory is sweet.

The darker times of loss, the time a love ended, the tragedy  that life hands out … but never in equal measure, all those times remain there in that memory and at our weakest moments they will surface, to test our strength, or to force us to become aware, finally, that we are  no longer in that place of weakness.

Our memories hand us our self-knowledge, and at times, those memories are the very things by which we judge our own self-worth.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has as a bi-product its own unique way of enabling our darkest memory to surface. These are the FLASHBACKS  … I have experienced many. I will share with you one that it still shakes me to recall, in the hope that in some small way I can help shine a light into the darkest of places.

When it came, there was only a fleeting moment of recognition before I catapulted straight back to hell.

It was a crisp August morning, mid-winter here in Australia. I was beyond excited, anxious and happy that morning. I wore a new business suit, my hair was freshly cut and styled and I was ready to attend my second interview, at a firm of Merchant Bankers that were well known and respected, located in the Sydney CBD. I really wanted that job. Hell, I really needed that job. Blowing the funds on the new clothes and hairstyle was done in the belief that I had what it took to nail this position. I had worked in the field for a good many years and my reputation was solid. They had now compiled a short list of five possible candidates, including myself. I liked those odds.

I arrived at the tower of power that rose high above our beautiful harbor, and joined the throng of workers lined up for the elevators.

I have always hated elevators, but twenty-two floors up was my appointment location, and my lungs already knew that stairs weren’t an option.

My life long claustrophobia clung hand in hand to my inability to stand at the front of the elevator … my unease at having people behind me unseen won the argument. I entered the elevator and went to the middle against the back wall … my ass was covered. I smiled, remembering my dear Jamie’s favorite expression, “Always cover your ass, Sass!”  The other occupants soon created a wall in front of me, which I escaped by keeping my eyes closed and only briefly glancing up as the lift stopped and disgorged people on each floor.

I believe I had a handle on the claustrophobia, and just breathed deeply.

We stopped again, someone else entered. I watched an older woman, well attired, and confident looking stand just in front of me. She loosened her colored scarf and her perfume was captured and sent in my direction by the movement.

I inhaled that scent. My guts clenched so tight I could scarcely breathe. The nausea was my second warning sign that something was wrong. I took a deep breath to quell the wave of it as it rocked me. That is when it truly began. That smell … the woman who gave birth to me always wore that perfume. I was shaking and attempting not to throw up; I couldn’t move my limbs, for they were weighed down by the concrete of fear.

The fight or flight reflex kicked in and I lunged forward and hit the next floor button. Those brief moments seemed endless, and I had wet myself as I had as a small child when that scent of her would linger long after a beating. That odor had me back in a hell I had long run from. A hell that held me hostage with the memories that even the smell of a perfume could bring back into being.

I was that broken child again, kneeling on the floor and then placing my mouth at the light coming from underneath the locked door in the darkened room. The forty-year-old woman that I now was simply ceased to exist. I was four-years-old again. My back so sticky with crusted blood that the singlet I had been wearing for days stuck fast to the surface. I could feel my control slipping away and could find no logical thought that would both stop it and me from spiraling deeper into that remembered nightmare of pain and darkness.

The lift door finally opened and I half fell out in my haste. I don’t know what floor I landed on, my only coherent thought was escape. I needed a bathroom but couldn’t open my mouth to ask for directions. I headed to a corridor that I hoped would contain public washrooms. I threw up all over the plush-pile carpet in the corridor, and all over myself, not knowing or caring if anyone bore witness to my humiliation.

I found a washroom and locked myself into a stall. I sat down on the closed lid of the toilet and searched for the ability to breathe. I sat with my head down and focused on the tiled pattern on the floor until I could at last see it clearly, that gave me a route back to the immediacy of the moment, the now time, the real time where she had no power over my life … except in my memories. I had no idea how much time had passed. It had for me, seemed like a lifetime. I didn’t think to check my watch. Such is the nature of Flashbacks.

I cleaned myself as best I could, using paper towel and soapy water. I had nobody I could call to come and pick me up from the city. At that time in my life, I was living alone. I inspected myself, grabbing reassurance from the adult face reflected in the mirror, surprised to discover not the child I’d once been, but my grown self. I looked at my reflection for a long time …  until I had gathered as much of me together as I could hope for just then. I lightly sprayed on my own signature perfume, in the hope of hiding the stench of my clothing and my fear from the Taxi driver on the twenty-minutes it would take to him to drive me back home to safe haven.  I tipped him well.

I recall unlocking the door and resetting the alarm system before sliding down and sitting with my back firmly in place against that door. Nothing and no one could come near me … for now.

I showered, dressed, and then rang the folks that had expected to interview me. I apologized of course. I’d simply told them that I had taken suddenly ill. They thanked me, but they didn’t suggest a reschedule. I was distantly grateful for that, for I knew with absolute certainty that I would never take the risk that that woman could possibly share any space whatsoever in my life. I rated the chance of her working there far too high.

It took me a couple of days to regroup. I thought about and then tried not to think about what had happened. I knew I didn’t want to take the option of isolating myself … not again.

The temptation to reach out for alcohol to numb me against everything was resisted, this time. Being under the influence of the large amounts of alcohol I knew I could consume would make me a loaded weapon placed in the hands of a terrified four-year-old child.

I didn’t sleep fearing the nightmares that experience had told me lay waiting. I needed to cry it out, but I could not.

Finally, after almost three days of constant vigilance, exhaustion claimed me, and I slept. I awoke on the morning of the fourth day and knew that, I had,at least for now, regained control.

I refocused my attention on finding a job.

And life went on.

For those who suffer from P.T.S.D, and for those loving, caring folks that have someone in their lives that are trying to deal with the challenging packages P.T.S.D hands out, please know this … there are people out there in the now of your world that can help you. They will help you go to battle … and they will cheer you on as you win.

Reach out. There will be many loving hands ready to take yours.

I have listed below sites that are available world-wide, it is by no means a complete list, but if anyone reading this needs to learn more, these sites will point you in the right direction.

Depression Alliance U.K

ABeyond Blue Australia. Information and help

Anxiety and Depression Assistance America

Police Post Trauma Support Group | PPTSG | Post Traumatic Stress

Help line. 0432 569 589. 7am – 10am. The PPTSG is a not-for-profit organisation, … Its aim is to provide support to those who are suffering from PTSD, anxiety, … officers, and emergency workers, PPTSG provides a family and spouse support function. … He has been through the system & suffers ongoing medical problems of …
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can cause fear, anxiety and trauma memories that persist for a long time and affect a person’s ability to function.
Blue Knot Helpline (formerly ASCA Professional Support Line) provides help, … The MindSpot Clinic does not provide an emergency or instant response service. … health conditions, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, …
Posttraumatic stress disorder (sometimes called PTSD) is a form of anxiety … Ask your doctor about any concerns you have, or contact the SANE Helpline on …
PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) can cause fear, anxiety and trauma … information, online programs, helplines and news on mindhealthconnect. … PTSD is a treatable anxiety disorder affecting around one million Australians each year. …. (000) for an ambulance or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Trusted information about complex PTSD, including symptoms, causes, diagnosis and … If someone has attempted, or is in immediate risk of attempting to harm … Complex posttraumatic stress disorder describes the long-term effects of …. Helpline 1800 18 7263 Home Mental Health & Illness :: Facts & Guides Get Help …

Find help for the effects of trauma – Phoenix Australia

phoenixaustralia.org/recovery/find-help/
This page lists Australian helplines and websites. For urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential 24/7 counselling and …. PTSD and trauma.
People with posttraumatic stress disorder often experience feelings of panic or extreme fear, which may resemble what was felt during the traumatic event.
  1. Confidential online assessment. Free to Australian adults.
    Dedicated IT Team · Free & Effective Service
    Steps: Learn, Get Assessed, Treatment…

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) | Mind, the mental health charity …

Explains what posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD are, and provides information on how you can access treatment and support. Includes …

It is normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but … The Combat Stress 24-Hour Helpline 0800 138 1619 is for the military … trauma in military and emergency service personnel and also complex PTSD and … Rivers offers treatment for the whole range of post traumatic disorders with the 

 

 

 

 

Book REVIEW Video “Empty Chairs” by Suzanne Burke writing as Stacey Danson. Reviewed by Gwen Plano. #RRBC

How marvelous it is to have my book reviewed in this way. I am so honored to have  Gwen Plano feel strongly about my work. Please, pop over to the YouTube site and leave a comment on her video.

Thank you for dropping by.

 

 

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“Glimpses Across The Barricades” #Poetry in progress. ‘In Dreams of A Perfect World’ by Suzanne Burke.

Welcome to ‘Glimpses Across the Barricades’ This poem was included in the epilogue of my book “Faint Echoes of Laughter”.

In A  Perfect World

by

Suzanne Burke

 

Dreams of aperfect world image

As I lay snugly warm and safe
Within my families womb
My heart begins a slow sad ache
For another child will cry tonight
Another child will die tonight
What was once their home
will become their tomb

Anger tears me as I read
The desperate plead of a child in need
How can we continue to ignore
The deafening cries from every land?
Can the balance be restored or
Are we so desensitized to pain
That we can’t give
Without thought of gain

If I had but one wish to make
Then that wish would surely be
That when my own sweet child has grown,
and if fate so decrees

I’ll hold her own children on my knee
And when I lay them in their beds
No sad thoughts will fill their heads

For our world will have become a place
Where all its children have their space
Where no ugly thoughts will touch their minds
When faith is restored in humankind

No sweet child will need to cry
No hungry child will need to die

We have that power in our hands
To make these changes throughout all lands
If we can but clearly see
That our world is not
What it needs to be

Once the changes have been made
Each child may sleep with sweet child dreams

Each child will wake to see the dawn
Each child will be thankful
they were born.

In my dreams of a perfect world.

 

 

‘Glimpses Across The Barricades’ #Poetry #Memoir “The Tears We Just Can’t Cry.”

Welcome again to my Poetry in Progress. This particular poem was written in the days after the last of the valiant kids I’d lived with on the streets ended his life.  It is one of many poems I’ve written for and about those dear people. All damaged strangers, they took me into their hearts, their home, and their lives.  My journey through life was forever altered by their existence and forever bereft at their loss.

Glimpses Across The Barricades

 The Tears We Just Can’t Cry.

Dedicated with love to all the kids from ‘The Palace’

By

Suzanne Burke

Broken hearted

There are those that never cry them

Those tears that cleanse the soul

For the rivers they create

Will never make them whole.

The anger they hold to them

Like a dark defensive shield

Holds back a tide of tenderness

Only undamaged ones can feel

Dark dreams forever taunt them

Laughing at their pain

As they leave veins forever open

To bleed out in life’s rain.

And when the waves of despair come

They have no place to hide

No shelter can enclose them

They have no sense of pride

They are afraid to face a future

If their barriers they remove

In case a love should die there

Best unknown, to be so mourned.

The ending that they pray for

Lay waiting in the wings

And for some it is hastened

By sad choices their lives bring.

As for those still left standing

That seek a way to cry

They spend a life demanding

Just one reason why.

There remains no place to hide now

No safe harbor from the storm

Nothing to prevent the cascade

Of tears as yet unborn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Glimpses Across The Barricades’ Poetry in progress. “And The Music Plays On.”

Thank you for being here, as I share my Glimpses Across The Barricades of life. Poems written long ago, and poems of life yet to be lived.

Glimpses Across The Barricades.

MUSIC OF LIFEAnd the Music Plays on.

By Suzanne Burke.

 

Oh, how those melodies linger,

stroking our souls with soft fingers.

Refrains of the journeys we’ve taken

and the people we’ve known.

 

Lyrics haunting and taunting

Caught on the wind

Oft’ bringing sweet sadness

Of things that our memory will not rescind.

 

Anthems of times of upheaval

When the world lost its way,

Sung by those that stood witness

On far distant shores.

 

Songs of love, and of laughter

Songs calloused with pain

All linger in memory

As we dance in the rain.

 

The last song not yet written

That last post un-played

As we come unbidden

To our safe place in life’s shade.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to my new feature. Author Showcase! Featured genre for June is “Children’s Books.” My first guest is Author Gracie Bradford author of “June The Prune & Lady Bird.” (Cancer Stinks.) Kids & Pets Cracking the POWER Code.

Hello and welcome to the first Author Showcase! I will be featuring different authors & genres each month. I interview each author, and showcase their featured work.

WHY? Simply because I enjoy supporting other Indie Authors every chance I get.

This Month, “Children’s Books” are being featured.

Please welcome Gracie Bradford Author of “June The Prune & Lady Bird.” (Cancer Stinks Kids and Pets cracking the POWER code).

AUTHOR SHOWCASE LOGO GRACIE EDITED USE

Meet Gracie Bradford

GRACIE BRADFORD PICTURE FOR BLOG

My business logo is “I AM….”. So, who is Gracie?

The best parts of me are that I am dynamic, an inspirer, a motivator, a risk taker, an explorer, a magnet to children, and a bookworm.

I am a retired senior healthcare executive who travels the world, a grandmother of an amazing 19-year old college student who lives with me, a grandmother to the awesome beagle, Lady Bird, an award-winning author, a lover of flowers, and a professional volunteer with causes related to childhood illness.

I am almost a vegan but still eats fish and eggs.

FEATURED BOOK: “JUNE THE PRUNE & LADY BIRD.” (Cancer Stinks.)

BOOK COVER GRACIE BRADFORD FOR FEATURE

 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

Question 1

What motivated you to write books for children? I started my career working with the kids who had juvenile diabetes and other young children who were undergoing renal dialysis treatments. During that part of my professional life, I went camping with these kids during the summer. The resilient and positive attitudes of these kids were beyond amazing.

After hearing so many stories from my sisters, who are classroom teachers, about bullying and how kids treat other children who have life challenges, it motivated me to tell the stories through books. I chose to write about children with special needs telling the story from the child’s perspective so that parents, teachers, and classmates could have a better understanding of how one feels. Children tend to open to a grandmother figure before they talk with their parents or teachers or friends if they have any. Being from a family of nine and a village of more, I learned early to adore children and their antics.

Question 2

Most children’s books are written to impart life’s lessons to children. Was this your goal?

Yes and No. My goal was to impart life lessons more to teachers, parents, and grandparents. Children can teach us life lessons just as we can teach them.

Question 3

What life lessons does your book contain?

My book contains a multitude of life lessons.

I chose to approach those experiences using the concept that kids use coded power gestures and language that adults could learn to interpret and embrace in their lives. At the end of each chapter are quotes relating back to the content of that section. For example, in Chapter 6 entitled “Truth Collides with Reality,” I relate THE POWER OF BODY LANGUAGE.  The power quote is “A dog can express more with his tail in minutes than his owner can express with his tongue in hours.”

It is my hope that the reader will discover and relate life lessons about the dynamics of family relationships, the power of a child’s love, the power of pets’ presence in the healing process, the wisdom of older adults, and the power of positive thinking during a medical crisis.

Question 4

What was for you the most challenging part of writing for children?

Brain cancer is such a serious topic and perhaps a little frightening for middle school children to read. The most difficult part of writing for children is making sure the content is appropriate to the grade level and age. The common question when writing a children book is “how do I write to capture and hold the attention of middle school children?”

Even though most authorities suggest including pictures in children books, I debated about adding pictures to my chapter book but decided to write the message instead. In hindsight, I probably should have included some of the photography.

Question 5

All authors are aware of the need for reviews, yet I imagine an author of books written for children would face an even more challenging time, simply because these are children. Have you found it challenging?

I believe reviews are critical for any genre. If the story and book cover grab the reader’s attention, reviews should not be a challenge. As authors and as a reviewer, we should continuously promote the need for parents to get feedback from the child and write the review quoting the child.  Unless the child is part of a book review club, it is the parent who selects the book for the middle school child, often time reads the book to the child, and recommends the book to other parents for reading.

It also depends upon the goal set for the type of audience you want to review your books and whether you are a novice or an established, recognized author. My goal is to get feedback from professions mentioned in the book (i.e. nurses, therapists, veterinarians, physicians, dietitians, etc.), other writers/authors, parents, book lovers, middle school readers, special education teachers, pet lovers, librarians, and grandparents.

Question 6

Are you currently working on anything new?

I am currently working on the third fiction book of the Lady Bird series. Now, I am facing a writer’s block but continue to conduct my research while the block decides to move, or my procrastination floats away into the bright blue sky.

I am also toying with the idea of writing a picture book about autism. I have identified the characters but is pondering on the title.

My next middle school chapter book will tackle the all-important subject of Autism. June, the 12-year-old brain cancer survivor, Alex, Lady Bird, and the new pet uncovers the secrets of autism and the mysterious magic of understanding dog language.

The First Page

“June, a ten-year-old brain cancer survivor, frequently sits on the back screened patio with her dog, Lady Bird, an aging beagle now suffering from arthritis and hearing loss. After recovering from her coma, June discovers that she could understand and interpret dog language. While listening to a conversation between Lady Bird and the new puppy, June noticed a rhythm, a bright light and a defined wagging of Lady Bird’s tail realizing that it had meaning that June understood. June’s heart began to race at a speed she had never known before. What was happening?

Alex, her 12-year brother, is aware of June’s secret and promised that he would not tell anyone. Alex instantly bonded with the new puppy. He identified with the unusual behaviors of the puppy since Alex has some of the same traits himself. The King Terrier, exhibits very profound human characteristics of autism. What will Lady Bird, Alex, and June do to help the new puppy adjust to the happy and noisy environment in which they live every day? “

The story will have the reader laughing, crying, and cheerleading the characters. Expected to be released before the end of 2017.

Currently Featured is “June The Prune & Lady Bird” (Cancer Stinks)

 

Featured Book  .BOOK COVER GRACIE BRADFORD FOR FEATURE

Book Blurb

Love, hate, humor, and determination bundled in one package to make this book one to add to your reading list. June is a 10-year-old feisty girl who goes on vacation with her 12-year-old, brother and grandmother to Europe and has the time of her life. Six months after their return from vacation, a mysterious “THING” referred to as “Noma” attacks June spiraling her life out of control. June tells the story of being in a crazy and scary environment revealing unexpected powers that help in coping with loneliness. June finds imaginary friends during the darkest days. Lady Bird, the dog, ole folks, Alex and G-Mom play a pivotal role during the journey through a tunnel of darkness called brain cancer.

 

Favorite Amazon review.

4.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Bradford writes with sensitivity and skill, May 29, 2017

Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

This review is from: June the Prune and Lady Bird: Cancer Stinks! Kids and Pets Cracking the Power Code (Kindle Edition)

I’m actually giving this book Four and a half stars. I’d give it five except for a few editing snafus. However, the story is extremely well-written and can be read in one sitting because it is so engaging. June is a precocious 10 year-old who has some awesome responsibilities in her young life and guess what? Life throws her even more. Enter G-Mom, June’s 80 years-young grandmother. G-Mom is the awesome, undaunted, diplomatic, loving grandmother we all want. When G-Mom is not there to fight for June and her older brother, Alex, their trusted canine friend, Lady Bird can handle things. This book is a must read for any age, but kids who are going through any kind of trial, especially medical, can read this to know they are not alone. There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Ms. Bradford writes with sensitivity and skill. This series is a hit!

5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Human Interest Story, February 13, 2017

This review is from: June the Prune and Lady Bird: Cancer Stinks! Kids and Pets Cracking the Power Code (Volume 2) (Paperback)

Gracie Bradford tells a quietly powerful story of a set of family relationships from the perspective of a ten-year-old girl. Some of the relationships border on dysfunctionality, such as the relationship between the mother and her two children, while the relationship between the two children and the grandmother are as solid as one can find in human relationships. The two strongest relationships in the story are the relationship between the 10-year old girl and her grandmother and the relationship between the girl and her dog. The author does an amazing job in developing the character of the 10-year old protagonist. She goes from a smart child, clever beyond her years, who manages to carve out a normal life for herself and her 12-year old brother in a home environment led by their neurotic mother, who lacks self-esteem and a sense of purpose in life, to a frightened little girl who has to come to terms with the fact that she has brain cancer. Because this book taps into so many aspects of the human experience, it will have broad appeal to the reading public. I highly recommend this book to middle-school teachers who are looking for engaging books for their students to read, parents and grandparents who have sick children in their lives, as well as anyone who just likes a good story. Huey L. Perry, Ph.D.

AUTHOR LINKS:

 

Instagram  authorgraciebradford

Purchase this book on Amazon.com

Gracie Bradford on TWITTER

FACEBOOK LINK.

Author BLOG

Thank you for joining me here and meeting my featured author today.

My featured Genre for JULY will be, Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. Are you interested in being featured here in July? Send me an email at Email link

Please include links to the book you would like featured. I will respond with the details of your author interview and other requirements. Each Showcase will run for one month. Beginning the 12th of each month.

My Next Guest for JUNE will be ‘Children’s Book’ author Maretha Botha.

 

“Glimpses Across the Barricades.” Poetry in progress: “Masks”

Welcome again to “Glimpses Across the Barricades” my poetry in progress.

Today I share with you a brief glimpse of my dear friend, Jenny. I met her on the streets when she was barely eight-years-old.  I was eleven. She took her own life several years ago. The world is a darker place now that her sweet soul no longer lights it.

Masks for poetry

MASKS

By

Suzanne Burke.

MASKS.

Eight-year-old eyes

Devoid of hope

For the innocence was gone.

 

Eight-year-old ears

That only heard

Violent words, of crushing fear.

 

Eight-year-old soul

That barely whispered

Before it was taken away.

 

Eight-year-old heart

With no joyous beat

A heart that stopped too soon.

 

And the masks that we wear

Cause others despair

As they search to find something long gone.

 

Masks of laughter bent and twisted.

 Faces shielding the dark within.

The weapons we are wielding

Peirce far beneath the skin.

 

We that are too broken

A place where forgiveness

Has yet to find a home.

 

We remove that last fear, finally

Into just one more unknown.

Eight-year-old eyes

that only cried

beneath the mask.

 

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