As promised, here is the References & Resources Booklet link. The link takes you to a Google Drive folder where you can download the PDF file.
Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.
Disclaimer: Resource Posts provide information and links to the organization sharing information with guests here. I DO NOT promote, advertise, or receive any benefit/compensation for sharing the information and links.
Short Sabbatical Break; Extra Post this month
My partial sabbatical is going well so far. I’ve been concentrating on family stuff and the paid job. Aromatherapy certification requirements are on hold. Herb classes online work as a TV alternative and fun hobby to relax and learn something interesting after work. So does creating aromatherapy blends.
I continue to brainstorm new ideas for Untangled Connections and figure out where it’s headed in 2020. My plan was to write a post on Halloween since it is an Anniversary I never shared much about here in the past.
But then I got an email from an outreach coordinator at Maryville University’s Online college program about 1.5 weeks ago asking me:
- Am I still updating Untangled Connections?
- Would I add their article about Veterans, PTSD, and higher education to my Resources page if I was still updating the site?
- This article can help Veterans and people working with Veterans succeed in college and other higher education pursuits.
- Our University also offers other resources and support for veterans and active duty soldiers who want to enroll in college or graduate school
At first, I didn’t know what to say. This would be a big opportunity for me, but also triggering, in many ways. Talking with my counselor helped, and so I decided to share this resource with you. All of the links go back to Maryville University
In Support of Maryville University’s Active Work with Veterans and Active Duty Soldiers
I work with Maryville University, a nationally recognized private institution offering comprehensive and innovative education.
Our health guides aim to spread awareness on various mental conditions and break the stigma surrounding them. Seeing your page, I thought our guide would be a great addition to it. You can review it below:
This resource provides valuable information that your audience may find helpful.Maryville University Outreach Coordinator
When this email appeared, my first thoughts were:
- I’m not qualified to write about this
- Wow, this is a first – a higher education institute requesting to be added here – exciting and scary
- But I really want to share this resource here and help guests who are part of the military or military families.
- How can I do justice to this topic and this resource?
Then I reached out to the coordinator (forgot to ask permission to include this person’s name here) and explained the reason for a delayed response (sabbatical) and my process for adding a resource. If this process was acceptable, I’d do the research and publish the post on the next Sunday (today).
Also, was there anything else the coordinator wanted to share with my guests? Answer below
Maryville’s Understanding a Veteran with PTSD guide aims to spread awareness on our heroes’ off-field worst nemesis: PTSD. The guide contains information on how we can understand their situation more and how to help them get through the situation as well.Maryville University Outreach Coordinator
In Support of Veterans and Active Duty Soldiers
As you know, I am not a veteran and have never been part of the US Military or a government employee. I do not claim to know anything about being a soldier or what it’s like to serve the US or any country in this capacity.
My time as a soldier was for the paramilitary branch of a human trafficking organization disguised as a cult. The leaders were predominantly pedophiles who trained kids they got tired of as child soldiers instead of killing or throwing them away. It wasn’t voluntary, but it taught me how to survive.
Since then, I’ve had the privilege to know and learn from many veterans and soldiers. One of my favorite uncles was a Navy veteran who shared his love of cooking with me growing up. Many of my mentors at the paid job are veterans too. Finally, some of my TCM or acupuncture providers at the teaching clinic have been veterans.
Choices, Experiences, Trauma
One topic that often comes up in our conversations is perspective about trauma and PTSD. They can acknowledge my experiences as traumatic easily, but have difficulty applying the word “traumatic” to some of their military experiences.
One person told me it’s because soldiers choose the military life and what it entails to follow orders from command. Sometimes those orders include actions they would not otherwise commit outside of military life. Therefore, they were not really traumatized or victims of trauma.
In some ways, I can agree with that. But not in other ways. Because not all trauma survivors are victims or victimized. Many are. But not everyone.
Plus, he and other soldiers or veterans may have chosen their career paths – chosen to follow orders – but they did not choose to be traumatized by the experiences of being a soldier. They chose to follow orders, not to commit acts that would scar them in so many ways.
I believe this because I experienced it. What many people don’t realize (and I hardly ever share anywhere or with anyone) is that I chose to go back to the scary other life in college. I chose to be part of that world for many years because it felt safer and more secure than exploring the unknown other world.
It wasn’t until I got the permanent, paying job and learned how to function in the “legitimate” “normal” world with friends and peers that I decided to leave the other world behind.
So yes, like the soldiers and veterans, I chose to go back to that familiar world and be an active part of traumatic experiences that only reinforced childhood lessons for many years even though I had many opportunities to leave.
Was I a victim because I chose to go back to that world? I don’t know.
Does serving in the military make soldiers and veterans victims of trauma? I don’t know.
It’s a matter of perspective to be honest. Not just how the world views us, but also how we view ourselves
Helping Ourselves by Helping Each Other
If you or anyone you know may find this information beneficial, please share it how ever you choose.
Thanks for reading
What a year it’s been…
So many changes and discoveries. Reconnecting with family. Enjoying time with family.
Creating new paths. Learning different ways to live and thrive beyond survival. Opening up to the wonders of the universe.
Finding a spiritual path & a way to make dreams come true.
Last Week with Family
Other than typical air travel issues, the visit went well. My family and I spent quality time together enjoying each other’s company, giving gifts, and eating great food. My dad and I got to spend some alone time together and with the rest of the family. My brother and sister-in-law are happy; we hugged and talked and laughed on Christmas.
As for time with mom, we carefully started rebuilding the bridge again. It got tense at times, but someone was always around to help smooth things over. In the end, we shared contact information; this way she can reach me if she feels like it.
My mom’s side and I didn’t get to meet after all. Between the flight delay and busy schedules, 4 days became 3 days full of other activities. In the end, we promised to see each other next time I travel back east.
My dad’s side of the family hosted Christmas this year. Seeing my younger cousins for the first time in a while was filled with anxiety on both sides. We weren’t sure how to interact at first, but things got easier with time. We ended up laughing and talking by the end of the visit – that felt great.
My aunts and uncle and I spent some quality time together too. We talked and caught up with life before giving gifts. Things got a little tense with one aunt, but that was expected. Her way of coping with fear is to push people away. Some time apart (and maybe conversations with others) helped both of us work it out for a pleasant rest of the visit.
Finally, I got to spend some quality time with my grandmother. She wasn’t doing well on Monday – my first day visiting – and spent a lot of time sleeping. On Christmas Day (Tuesday), she was awake and more present – enough to enjoy opening gifts, talk, and eat dinner with us.
We had a chance to talk in private. I told her how much I love her and that she doesn’t have to worry so much about me anymore. I’m healthy and happy and safe, so she can focus on taking care of herself and doing what she needs to do to feel healthy and pain-free.
Milestones, Changes & Goals
For the first time, maybe ever, I completed all of my goals for 2018. That felt good and acts as a symbol of the many positive changes that happened this year.
Of the many changes that occurred this year, the biggest ones have to do with the transition from survival mode to living to thriving. Here are 3 on my list:
- Open up to others in the outside world – making friends & connections; going to workshops; participating in events & activities at work – because I feel safe on every level of being (spiritual, emotional/mental, physical)
- Change my self-image in order to be assertive at work and act on my dreams – job changes, go back to school, continue writing this blog, work on my spiritual practice
- Find closure with my past by embracing my shadows and connecting face-to-face with family again
As for milestones, my biggest one is letting go of the fear that held me back for so long by finding my faith again and choosing to live a life rooted in unconditional love and acceptance. For every individual, finding that faith in a higher power; believing she or he is deserving of unconditional love and acceptance; then opening up to receive those gifts is a unique and difficult journey.
The New Website & Aromatherapy
My other web site and blog is in progress, but on hold for right now. Other priorities got in the way of completing the pages and starting the new blog, so it’s empty and will be for another few months.
As for aromatherapy, I’m still taking the online classes in between work and life. It’s slow going, but lesson 1 of 7 is finally finished. The aromatherapy blends work well and smell great. I used them to help with some cold and sinus problems that affect me every fall/winter season. Lesson 2 is in progress.
Questions for Guests
What will/do you reflect on for 2018?
How do you feel about the milestones, changes, successes, or lessons learned?
What will you leave behind or take with you into 2019?
2018 was an incredibly positive year. Many unexpected successes and positive changes tempered by some losses, more than a few lessons learned, and much confusion. I’ve discovered a spiritual practice that suits my solitary nature and allows me to believe in God and other wise beings or deities without having to choose a specific religion. The openness of this spiritual practice helps me develop my other gifts instead of fearing them and teaches me how to listen to my intuition too.
Feelings still confuse me. Being in crowds still has a negative effect on my memory. I am not (nor will I ever be) 100% comfortable or relaxed outside of my home, but I can utilize coping strategies to get at least 80% comfortable or relaxed now. Most important, I feel safe interacting with other people even when triggered or feeling severely anxious.
Personally, I’m looking forward to many surprises and possibilities in 2019 🙂
I wish all of you a happy, healthy, prosperous 2019!
Thanks for reading
Back at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, I mentioned a couple times that some changes were coming to the website and blog. I wanted (still do) to update and add more quality resources and make sure that the content stayed high quality and relevant to the original intentions and keeping this a safe, anonymous, FREE resource.
There are new and different priorities taking over right now. Some of my explorations require a bigger time investment and a new space to write/share thoughts. Others are or will be big life changes that also require dedicated, long term focus.
Since I want to do all of that and maintain this website and blog, compromises and changes have to take place.
- Untangled Connections is moving to a paid account by June 2018
- The domain name and/or URL might change (I’m still trying to understand this), but the Web site Name and accessibility WILL NOT CHANGE
- I will write an ADMIN Post announcing the changes 1-2 weeks before they take place
- At some point, probably the next holiday or vacation, I’ll be collating all of the Resource posts and putting the links on the Resources page
- The Search and Menu functions will change to become more user-friendly
- This might require changes to the theme, but I will know more after making the upgrade
- Posts about me, my experiences with resources, reviews, etc. will take place 1x a week – probably on Sundays
- Posts about topics and ideas from the Internet or other bloggers will be shared as I find them – could be none one week or up to 4 another week
- These posts may or may not have comments from me, but the links will be available in the body of the post
- You might or might not also find links to videos, websites, and Podcasts instead of links to blogs, articles, and organizations
- I’m implementing phase 1 of the career change plan with the goal of complete changes by 2020
- I’ve finally saved up and bought the supplies to work on aromatherapy certification lessons (blending, case studies, research paper, etc.), so will be spending a lot of time on that.
- The new blog mentioned above is part of these lessons. It will chronicle my explorations in class and with personal use to help maintain emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness
- **REMINDER** I am not a practicing medical professional and probably won’t be until the agoraphobia becomes less intense, so anything on there will be informational only
- My home still needs a lot of work – organizing and decorating – to make it feel safe and comfortable and easy to clean no matter my emotional state
- Requires thoughtful purchasing of storage solutions, time to organize said solutions, and space to cope with any triggers all that brings up
- Requires creating and implementing new house chore routines to address trigger issues like laundry, food shopping, cooking, and other tasks that require leaving the apartment
- Requires creating a safe space in my apartment where I can meditate, do crafting, and go for self soothing comfort
So, yes this is a lot. Not everything will happen this year. I am going slow, turtle slow. And my social media usage is taking a big hit because of that. But there is progress in every aspect of these big changes.
And each small bit of progress is a success.
Whatever you’re doing, please go slow and make time to celebrate your progress too.
Thanks for reading
Before and after ever post, I skim through my feed to see what interesting topics the writers I follow or WordPress shared.
Today, I found an interesting post about resources to help children showing signs of anxiety or mental health issues in school. The blogger is new to me, but I enjoyed her article enough to follow and share her information here.
If you are interested, I encourage you to click on the link below, read the whole article, and maybe look at some of her other posts too.
Thanks for reading.
I was browsing through BBC news a few days ago, when I came across the story of 16 year old George Hodgson. Despite suffering from extreme anxiety, OCD, panic attacks and even suicidal thoughts, like so many other children, George was placed on a waiting list to get the help needed, but was told that […]