Healing from Complex PTSD Adrenaline Dump

I am doing my best to heal my complex PTSD.

 

Today was a bit of a set back for me.

 

Truth be told, I totally lost my shit.

 

It’s already been kind of weird lately for me. I haven’t been sleeping well. After  a few days of not sleeping well, everything becomes surreal for me. The other day I looked up at the clouds and thought: those are old clouds from weeks ago, nice try…

 

Today I got pulled over. It happened so fast, I was unable to even have that sinking feeling in my stomach like, oh crap, that’s a cop. I just looked in my rear view mirror and saw the flashing lights right behind me. I looked down at my speedometer and was not surprised to see that I was NOT speeding. As I pulled over, I hoped that maybe this was not about me somehow…

 

As the officer approached, I got out my license and thought…I hope that me getting my license out of my purse does not cause the officer to think I am getting out a gun.

 

By the time the officer got to the passenger window, I became terrified to retrieve my registration from the glove box because I became fixated on the police officer mistaking me for someone with a gun. The fear came upon me so quickly, I was surprised to see my hands were shaking as I handed over my license.

 

The first words out of the officer’s mouth were a demand for my registration. Of course. License and registration. I knew that. But…

 

My mind is like…what is that again? Registration…that thing in the glove box…

 

Very slowly, I reached for the glove box while making eye contact with the Officer the entire time as if to say: please don’t shoot me for opening the glove box.

 

I pull out the canvas/velcro holder of all things paper related to my vehicle out of the glove box and sheepishly open it up knowing that I don’t know what exactly I am looking for…

 

Doom doom doom da da doom doo

 

Under pressure…

 

All the while, the officer is advising me that the sticker on the back of my vehicle is the wrong color and I should know the answer to this simple question and where is my proof of insurance?

 

As I am sheepishly explaining to the officer that “the shameful truth here, is that I don’t know the answer to these questions because my husband takes care of this sort of thing,” the radio on the officer’s shoulder declares that my registration is expired.

 

Copy that.

 

No registration and no insurance? The officer tells me to wait here and goes back to the police vehicle.

 

This is the part where I totally lose my shit.

 

I’m in trouble. As I begin to scan the vehicle for evidence that I have active car insurance, I begin to convince myself that I am going to go to jail. Right now.

 

I call my husband and am unable to even speak to him for the first 85 seconds of the conversation. This is not his first rodeo, so he waits for me to speak with the patience of a saint. I tell him while sobbing:

 

I am scared…I got pulled over…they say I have no insurance or registration…I don’t know what’s going to happen to me…

 

Really? Rachel we have car insurance. I’m surprised about the registration. Let me get off the phone with you so I can send you the proof right now. It’s ok.

 

But it’s not.

 

I have Complex PTSD. A bucket of adrenaline dumped into my system. I was hysterical. I was shaking, my heart was racing, my stomach was cramped and burning with acid, I could not stop crying and I was having a hard time breathing.

 

The officer could not believe it.

 

“Turn that off.”

 

Seriously, that’s what the officer said to me. Twice.

 

“Turn that off.”

 

Meaning, my feelings. Lol. If only I could.

 

I handed my phone to the officer to show that I had active insurance and was told to bring that proof to court with me so that my ticket could be reduced. I took the ticket and said:

 

Thank you. I just want to say that I am sorry.

 

“You weren’t even speeding.”

 

I know. But I messed up. And I’m scared. I thought you were going to arrest me.

 

“Why? Do you have active warrants? Should I do a background check on you now?”

 

This actually pauses the crying for five seconds so I can laugh out loud.

 

NO! I mean, go ahead you can do a background check on me if you want. I’m just so sorry and I apologize.

 

Disinterested, the police officer asks me to sign the electronic acknowledgement of my ticket, needing to quickly go pull someone else over who had just sped past us.

 

It may be necessary for me to point out here that I could care less about getting a ticket and having to go to court. The problem for me here is, I don’t think I can drive because my body is processing a bucket of adrenaline that dumped unnecessarily into my system due to mother-fucking PTSD.

 

The officer cut me off to pull out, wanting to go get that other guy, which left me in the awkward position of reentering the freeway on my own in heavy fast moving traffic. The terror inside of me is just, unreal. I do have the ability to intellectually observe in real time: wow, this amount of fear is excessive. I do not have the ability to make it stop before it has run its course.

 

So I drive home scream crying. So startled. I am so startled by everything. And at the same time, I am able to say the truth to myself: it’s ok. You didn’t get shot. You didn’t get arrested. You didn’t even get yelled at. You’re ok.

 

But I’m not. I wish I could tell you here that I was ok, but the fear inside of me needed to come out, it was not all gone. I could not stop screaming. I could not get ahold of my breathing and I could not stop crying and the pain in my stomach was intense.

 

My husband called to follow up with me and I told him: I got scared and it made me sick.

 

He asked what he could do to help and I asked him to get me adrenal gland supplements from the health store. This was a suggestion written down for me by a psychic I saw several months ago, but for some reason had never followed up on. I shouldn’t need a psychic to tell me to get adrenal gland supplements, but the fact that she made the suggestion without me ever mentioning my health issues resonated with me.

 

adrenaline dump

 

My husband came home with a variety of supplements and tons of love and support for me. We talked about all of the healing tools in my arsenal and how this is a time to use my app. So I did.

 

I opened up the iHeal because iFeel app and it gave me the best homework. It asked me to list out my 5 favorite lunch meals. Now that may seem useless to you, but it was lunch time and I had not had anything to eat, nor did I plan to. Listing out 5 different lunch meals was hard but ultimately inspiring. I also meditated with the app and that caused me to fall asleep. When I woke up, I ate and felt much better.

 

The app helped me to transition. That period of time between “I’m not ok” and “I’m ok” can be the scariest time of your life. You don’t know when it will end, if ever. I have spent a lot of time in this space. The space between.

 

adrenaline dump

 

Interestingly, taking selfies of my crying face also helps me to transition. It’s hard to continue sobbing when you know exactly what it looks like. In fact, this almost makes me smile. Because I am so ridiculous. Shout out to my sense of humor for keeping me alive all these years!

 

Knowing I have the ability to heal my Self is empowering.

 

XO,

Rachel

THE BEST MEDITATION OF ALL TIME!!!

Guided meditation is an excellent way to heal dark feelings. Have you ever felt so angry or so sad you could burst?

 

I think the worst part about grief is the feeling you get when you tell yourself:

 

We can’t be together anymore. Ever.

 

Or:

 

I will never hold them in my arms again.

 

These statements cause tremendous pain inside, right around your heart and your gut. The pain is uncomfortable and can lead to anger or resentment.

 

Instead of replaying agonizing statements in your mind that cause you to feel pain, listen to this:

 

You can meditate a heart to heart hug with any one at any time.

 

I do it all the time.

 

It feels AMAZING.

 

It works so well, I have to share it with everyone.

 

Click here to experience the best 15 minute healing meditation of all time.

 

You don’t have to suffer from estrangement, loss, divorce, death or any other major change. Mindfulness about grief heals grief. If you want to feel better right now, then press play on this video:

 

 

We can all heal through mindfulness.

XO,

Rachel

p.s.: For more of my grief-healing meditations and tools, check out my grief healing app, iHeal because iFeel, available on Google Play and the App Store:

meditation heals and this app has 5 guided meditations specific to healing each stage of grief

iHeal because iFeel is a grief healing app available for iPhone and iPad on the App Store

Meditation heals. This app contains 5 guided meditations specific to healing each stage of grief.

iHeal because iFeel is a grief healing app that you can get on Google Play for Android devices

 

 

Amsterdam & Eating Disorder

It was not until October 2013 that I realized I had an eating disorder.

 

I was feeling a lot of anxiety when my pediatrician informed me our son could now eat the same things that we eat. Bottle feeding time was one of the more emotionally satisfying parts of my day…but I guess I saw this coming when we were spoon feeding him all those pureed fruits and vegetables.

 

The problem was, I usually skipped either breakfast or lunch, preferring to snack on something like peanut M&M’s and then ate whatever I wanted for dinner. I could tell this would not be appropriate for my son to mirror, as he seemed to be eating every two hours and I did not have a solid (food) plan.

 

So I made an appointment with a Nutritionist to learn how to feed my new toddler.

 

I LOVE her. She is really nice and her voice sounds exactly like my Aunt Renee’s, which I found fascinating and very comforting. We discussed the purpose of my visit and while I was explaining my ignorance on how to feed my son “real people” food it occurred to me that I was making no sense.

 

That’s harsh. I was making total sense, but I felt SUPER critical of the point I was trying to impress upon her because I am a lawyer, which means I have the ability to properly conduct my own research and apply my findings to my decision.

 

Not one time did I try to Google search how to feed my toddler before sitting down to that appointment. I realized in that moment that I knew how to feed my child, I just did not know how to continue blindly not feeding myself anymore. It had become apparent to me and now as a parent, I needed to make a change so that I could MODEL proper eating habits to my son.

 

When my nutritionist brought up the term eating disorder, the first thing I told her was that I thought I was not thin enough for that concern. The next few thoughts popped up simultaneously: I have never voluntarily thrown up in my life and I eat WHATEVER I want without feeling guilt.

 

But not whenever.

 

I could not eat WHENEVER I wanted.

 

Eating was part of a reward system. My own personal inner reward system I established long ago where I get to eat whatever I want but only when I say so.

 

When I deserve it.

 

When I am worthy.

 

How does that work?

 

Couldn’t really tell ya, I changed up the rules on myself all the time, really kept myself on my toes. I could eat the M&M’s if I got all my work done, but not if one thing went wrong. It was hard to keep up because I would become confused from dehydration and too fatigued to physically prepare healthy food.

 

eat·ing dis·or·der

noun

any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits.

 

My nutritionist advised me that ORDERED eating involves regularly feeding and hydrating your body because your body needs it. Ordered eating has nothing to do with deserving or worthiness or rewards.

 

Apparently, you are supposed to eat when you are hungry.

 

How did I not know this?

 

My nutritionist asked me if I would ever tell my son “no” if he asked me for food and I emphatically said that I would NEVER deny my hungry baby. She asked if I would be willing to love myself that much and I started to cry.

 

Why not?

 

My nutritionist recommended a book called Intuitive Eating for me and How to Get your Child to Eat But Not Too Much for my son.

 

Now I try to eat 5 times per day but it is very hard. My best meal times are together with my son, as I have no problem preparing healthy foods for us. My worst meal times are usually when I am alone. For a mom, alone time is pretty valuable and sometimes I feel like eating is a form of squandering that precious time. Then I realize that it is not squandering it because if I don’t eat I will have to lay down because my body literally NEEDS fuel to keep going. I am not a machine.

 

One thing that has helped me is identifying what it is specifically that can set me off and trying to just work around it. For example, handling raw chicken can be so disgusting to me that I can’t eat the meal when I’m done cooking it. Because my husband loves me and wants me to be healthy and eat, he now handles all the raw chicken in our household.

 

Also, when I am overwhelmed with other issues, I have a tough time deciding on WHAT to eat, which used to lead to eating NOTHING, but now I phone a friend. I designated certain supportive people in my life who were willing to at any moment make food suggestions to me in a kind and supportive manner (like: I think you should go get a smoothie right now and let me tell you with enthusiasm what foods sound good to me right now off the top of my head kind of friends). It helps.

 

Mostly, I just tell myself while I am eating: this is an act of loving my body.

 

Eating disorders have nothing to do with hating food. It’s a form of hating on yourself that needs to stop. I do not want my son to hate himself, therefore, at all costs, I will love myself. I do love myself. I model self love.

 

Seven months later I am telling this story because my friend Julia has been wanting me to for awhile now.

 

Today is Julia’s Birthday!

 

I met Julia in Law School but really got to know her well when we studied abroad together in Amsterdam. This is how I always remember Julia:

 

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We traveled in a pack of 4 and Julia always had the plan, the map and lead the way.

 

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I was SO thrilled to be in Amsterdam that I had no ambition to lead the way or make the plan, and there is no way I will ever pretend to look at a map. That’s not me. I would rather declare that where we ended up was my intent all along than try to navigate a map. I loved to travel behind Julia and take in the sights, no worries.

 

amsterdam1

Amsterdam2

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Museums, shopping, landmarks, bike rides, oh and school.

 

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We walked at least 10 miles per day.

 

eating disorder

eating disorder

 

I was in complete awe of Julia. Brilliant legal mind, confident, capable, quick witted, she was so funny.

 

Amsterdam3

 

I would have let her lead me anywhere, map or no map.

 

Amsterdam4

Amsterdam5

 

But I did find one thing odd.

 

Eating was NEVER on our agenda.

 

My friend Sarah and I had to fight for it at least twice a day. Hey, use that map to take us to food now ok?

 

076_76

 

Soup. It was usually soup. Much of our conversation during the soup eating had to do with how much fatter we noticed we were as Americans compared to the Dutch women we were seeing. We were there for 5 weeks and not one of us got hit on one time by a local. When we were shopping a sales clerk laughed while Julia was trying on a skirt and said “oh no, that skirt is for little tiny French girl.” Julia was so small, I did not understand what was so funny. We literally just agreed with the clerk though and left.

 

Now I realize how much hating your body can distract you from simply feeding your body in an ordered manner.

 

When you love your body, you feed it.

 

Losing Julia was very painful. Gaining Julia as a guardian angel has been very precious to me.

 

Per the recommendation of my dear friend, Shannon, every night I usually go to sleep listening to this YouTube guided meditation video called Lilian Eden Meet Your Spirit Guide. (Love you, Shannon!)

 

10 times out of 10 my spirit guide is my step-brother, Jody, but 3-4 nights per week Julia also shows up and reminds me about these eating epiphanies. I wake up and I know that Julia wants me to share my experience. So this is it, my friend.

 

Happy Birthday!

 

Amsterdam6

 

Today there is a ceremony to dedicate a room in the Ronald MacDonald House in your name.

http://rmhcwny.org

 

I miss the sound of your voice.

 

I love you.

 

XO

 

~Rachel