Five Ways of Seeing Breakable Things by guest @LorenKleinman

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Please welcome poet, author and editor Loren Kleinman as she shares five ways of seeing breakable things.

1.

It’s the hairline crack in a cup that I don’t see right away. The length of the split stretches down to the base of the wide expanse. I hold it in my hands and I’m in a sea of tea. I take a chance and sip from its lip. Waves drip down my chin.

2.

Last night the wind howled, sounded like a helicopter breaking apart in the air. It’s wings held back by the wind reached out in pieces. Its breath was a shard that sliced against the pane.

It’s just one aspect of this apartment life: the split from the inside. But I’ve seen this before. The yolk splits on the plate, runs off the bread. I remember when I split the egg, slept in the atom at the center of my Mama’s belly. I split her, once in half, too.

3.

I love the cracks in my skin, the small lines, a web at the edge of my mouth. Love the time it takes for things like this to happen: age.

4.

Now, I’m just a Goblin fish caught in a net. I was sold for salmon filet. My face was hideous; my mouth, a shotgun.
The woman that cut my belly ripped my intestines with her knife.

I loved once, in pieces.

5.

I look back at the cup. Its break lets the light in. I see more clearly now, through the split, this new shape against my hand. It’s reflection in the window, mixed in with the wind; all the burst pieces of its breath reshape this fracture. I can almost feel the breeze in my hands.

About the Author:

Loren Kleinman HeadShotLoren Kleinman is an American-born poet and writer with roots in New Jersey. Her writing explores the results of love and loss, and how both themes affect an individual’s internal and external voice.  She has a B.A. in English Literature from Drew University and an M.A. in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Sussex (UK).

Connect with Loren on her website.

Breakable Things:

Breakable ThingsFrom the author of the breathtaking The Dark Cave Between My Ribs, Loren Kleinman, comes the intense and heartfelt new poetry collection, Breakable Things. Look for the release of Breakable Things this March.

After the fracture, after the breaks in the surface, there is always light. Breakable Things is a testament to the idea that everything is breakable, and everything somehow finds its way back together again. Whether it’s past, present, and future; falling in love and out; or darkness and light, life is full of beautiful contrasts. Loren Kleinman presents the world in breakable objects: bones, cabinets, hearts, sexuality, and more. She shows us that broken does not mean damaged, and that it’s a necessary part in the process of becoming a whole person.

Readers can order Breakable Things on Amazon.

Broken Places is available NOW from Booktrope. It’s already hit #1 on Women’s Poetry and Hot New Releases on Amazon! Broken Pieces is still going strong, #1 on Amazon’s Women’s (paid) Poetry list. 
Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo). Enter the free feature giveaway here! 
All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2015 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.

Trauma Survivors Have Symptoms Instead of Memories by guest @LinneaButlerMFT

Trauma Survivors Have Symptoms Instead of Memories

“Trauma survivors have symptoms instead of memories”

Harvey, M. (1990). An ecological view of psychological trauma and recovery. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9(1)

It can be really tough to try to make sense of a past trauma and how it effects you in the here and now. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has a specific set of symptoms, such as nightmares and flashbacks. But the reality of complex trauma resulting from repeated traumatic events is that the effects go far beyond the symptoms outlined in the DSM.

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds”

~LK Hamilton

One of the first steps in healing from trauma is to understand the problems that you are having in your life and how they might relate back to the traumas. Not every problem originates with trauma, but there are some problems that originate with trauma that you might not expect.

Trama

As you look at this image, what do you notice? Are you experiencing any of these problems in your life? Have any of these symptoms started to emerge as you are getting older?

Trauma is often buried in non-verbal memories and stored in a different part of the brain than typical, chronological memories. These non-verbal trauma memories can be hazy images, familiar smells, body aches, nightmares, urges to do things that harm you (like addiction) or noticing that certain situations, colors or sounds trigger an emotional response that seems out of proportion with the situation. Over time, those non-verbal memories begin to surface and become more problematic in your life. The trauma is ready to speak and be heard. That’s when you know it’s time to seek some help.

“All emotions, even those that are suppressed and unexpressed, have physical effects. Unexpressed emotions tend to stay in the body like small ticking time bombs—they are illnesses in incubation.”
― Marilyn Van DerburMiss America By Day: Lessons Learned From Ultimate Betrayals And Unconditional Love

Trauma survivors are more vulnerable and susceptible to these kinds of problems or symptoms. During trauma your nervous system goes into hyper-drive, releasing stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones prepare you for action, like running away or fighting. If you aren’t able to run or fight, then you head for other defenses like freezing in place so you might not be seen, or playing dead. Then later, when you experience triggers such as an image, smell or thought, your nervous system thinks it’s back in the past trauma and fires off cortisol again. BAM, you’re in hyper-drive again and you get overwhelmed by emotions.

So here’s the good news. You can learn to modulate your emotions as part of the healing process. With coping skills you can dampen the emotional rollercoaster. With self care you become less vulnerable and can tolerate more stimuli without getting triggered. The overall result is that you feel more stable in your life, your symptom are reduced and you can regulate your emotions.

If you’re experiencing a number of the symptoms above, you might want to seek therapy from a trauma professional. In the meantime, here are a couple of tips you can apply to your life.

Coping Skills: When you feel overwhelmed by emotion there are some things you can use to distract yourself for a short time. Note, these tips do not solve the problem and you’ll need to come back to it later on when you feel stronger.

  • Imagine placing painful thoughts and emotions in a box and then putting that box on a shelf.
  • Run your hands under very cold water. Splash cold water on your face and back of your neck. The cold distracts your body and mind away from what is causing you pain.
  • Hand wash a dish very slowly. Wash just one dish and pay attention to every second of the experience. That will take you out of the past and bring you into the present.

Self Care: Do something that you find enjoyable. Tune in to one of your five senses.

  • Make and drink some yummy tea (smell and taste)
  • Look at a beautiful picture (sight)
  • Smell a flower or some hand lotion (smell)
  • Listen to soothing music (sound)
  • Curl up with a fuzzy blanket or put fresh sheets on the bed (touch)
  • Self care can include a sixth sense, motion, like going for a walk or exercising or doing yoga.

Everyone needs to do self care, whether they have trauma or not. We all have stressors in our lives and conscious, intentional self care can help reduce our vulnerability to emotional stress.

Please note, these tips are not a replacement for therapy. If you are feeling overwhelmed please seek the help of a professional.

Linnea ButlerMore information about Trauma Therapy: www.bayareamh.com/therapy-for-trauma

More information about Sexual Abuse and the Brain: www.bayareamh.com/blog/sexual-abuse-you-dont-just-get-over-it-pt1

Linnea Butler, LMFT
Bay Area Mental Health
Los Gatos, CA
linnea@bayareamh.com
WebsiteTwitter | LinkedIn | Facebook

Broken Places is available NOW — yay! from Booktrope. It’s already hit #1 on Women’s Poetry and Hot New Releases on Amazon! Broken Pieces is still going strong, #1 on Amazon’s Women’s (paid) Poetry list. 
Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo). Enter the free feature giveaway here! 
All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2015 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Photo at top courtesy of Unsplash. Guest author photo courtesy of Linnea Butler MFT.

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