Writing & Blogging: Writer’s Block from a fear & flashback POV

Flashbacks

This is not your typical “here are (x) number of tips to help you write” post. I’m sharing my fears and vulnerabilities about how the trauma and PTSD affect my writing. You will read about the challenges and the background. But this time I don’t have any coping strategies or techniques to share. If this interests you, please keep reading. If not, thanks for visiting.

Self Care: Sleep, aromatherapy, herbs & Ice Packs

I slept most of the weekend trying to cope with feeling sick and achy. No I don’t have the coronavirus. Maybe it’s allergies.

But most often, this time of year, it’s a special brand of cold and sinus-like symptoms that make me feel like I have a swollen face, stuffy/drippy nose, sore throat, and clogged ears.

Not exactly a lot of fun.

On Saturday, my counselor taught me a new tapping routine for my face that seems to help too.

So what did I do all weekend?

Sleep more than 20 hours this weekend. I woke up long enough to meet with my counselor on Saturday and didn’t wake up until almost 2pm on Sunday.

Drink sanity chai and moistening cold tea because the sanity chai is warming and drying while the cold tea helps add moisture back to my dry self and cools me down from the inside out. Yes I need both because the moisture to make all that drippy stuff had to come from somewhere inside me right?

So what does each do? And why?

Well, the sanity chai helps in a lot of ways, but for the purposes of this post:

  1. Warms me up from the inside out when I feel too cold inside and too hot on my skin
  2. Has astringent herbs to help dry out the places with too much moisture and reduce swelling (inside nose and cheeks)
    1. But the drying part works everywhere in my body, not just the areas that need it
  3. Helps me move stuff inside my body, improve digestion, and circulate blood – more sneezing, etc., but at least it’s coming out instead of staying in

And the marshmallow root/fennel seed cold (more like room temperature) tea does this:

  1. Balances the heat from the chai so that I don’t start sweating or get a rash from too much heat coming out at once
  2. Moistens the cells, tissues, organs, etc. from the inside out so that the sore throat and feelings of dehydration/dry skin, etc. go away
  3. Helps with digestion and elimination so that all the stuff being moved around goes where it’s supposed to go – i.e. nutrients to the cells, blood to nourish the body, and waste to the elimination organ systems.

As for the ice packs, well I resisted them for a long time. For some reason that I can’t remember, using ice packs triggers anxiety. Lots of anxiety. But Sunday night I used an ice pack to reduce the swelling around my nose, cheeks jaws,, and eye sockets. Yes, I am being very specific because there are many places on the face that can get swollen. But these places always get swollen, puffy, and angry on my face this time of year.

No idea why. I can’t remember. Wish I could because that would help me figure out more effective coping strategies. But life is what it is.

So if I”m a little late in posting the next few weeks, it’s because I have a cold that’s not a cold and am figuring out how to stay healthy.

Thanks for reading.

Writing & Blogging: Excerpts from the Scent Reflections Newsletter March Bonus Booklet

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.

Dear Guests,

Earlier in March, I wrote a post about newsletters and updates. In that post, I promised that my guests here at Untangled Connections would get access to any writing and blogging content exclusives that I shared in the Scent Reflections LLC newsletters. But only writing and blogging-related content.

The newsletter is coming out on March 31st, so I’m sharing 2 excerpts here for you to preview. One excerpt is the same as I posted yesterday on Scent Reflections. But the second excerpt is different and more directed to the audience here.

No, you will not have to subscribe to the other newsletter to get the booklet if you are interested in reading more. I will, as promised, make the PDF file available here for guests to download for 2 weeks. After that, you will have to subscribe to the newsletter to get current past bonus content.

Exclusive Excerpt from the “Introduction”

This guide started as a conversation between myself and the young woman cleaning my apartment. We started discussing education based on a mutual love of plants, herbs, and aromatherapy. I felt compassion for this young woman and related to her frustration about finding better paying jobs without a college degree. At the time, I was looking into alternative education tools for my team.

~TJ Hom at Scent Reflections LLC

Exclusive Excerpt from “Types of Resources”

Non-profit, Outreach, Community Centers, and Volunteer organizations

Personal Finance

Back when I lived in Massachusetts (2013 approx), I realized I needed help learning about personal finance and budgeting. My life and finances got messed up when I separated from my family and lacked resources to ask questions. But I didn’t want to fall into the debt hole like so many others did because of living expenses and medical expenses being more than my paycheck could handle.

So I looked around for free financial advice programs that didn’t require me to be in a classroom. Many of the free programs were for people within a certain financial threshold. The rest required payment and a commitment of some kind. Or that I attend their in-person classes.

Eventually, I found a non-profit organization whose financial requirements and lifestyle restrictions I did meet and spoke with a tutor for 1 hour a week over a course of several weeks to get help. This person taught me how to understand personal finance, organize my bank accounts and track spending, and create a budget that made sense to me while also building my confidence and encouraging me to continue learning. I really liked the tutor even though I did not like the other people who communicated with me via email as much.

Safety, Security, Communication, and Legal help

But those communication problems were partly my fault too. Around the time I completed these sessions, I realized that I needed more help to start fresh. That included changing my legal name, getting protection from people tracking me via mail, credit cards, and utility bills, and opening up to different trauma recovery resources that appeared closed in the past.

Up until 2013-2014, I struggled with the fact that I was a victim of abuse, especially domestic violence, because I didn’t fit the criteria listed in many of the “warning signs” documents available through other nonprofits and government organizations. Plus, inside my mind was a little voice telling me that I didn’t deserve help and would get hurt worse if I tried to ask for help. But then I stopped sleeping again. And it was on one of those sleepless nights that I finally accepted being both a victim and a survivor. That one didn’t negate the other. And I deserved to feel safe and secure even if that meant putting my pride aside and asking for help.

So I did ask for help. I reached out to a domestic violence shelter who got me in touch with an attorney who helped me go through the legal name change process and get me enrolled in an address confidentiality program that kept me relatively safe for 2 years. Then I walked into the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and asked for help because my life felt like it was spiraling out of control. They assigned me a case manager and helped me get individual counseling too.

Through the case management program, I was connected to a scholarship program for survivors, a non-profit moving service, and limited government disability support that allowed me to pay the required legal fees for a name change, move to a new apartment, and feel safe enough to make future plans. Plans that included moving out of state for a fresh start.

In case you’re wondering, all these experiences contributed to me starting Untangled Connections.

~TJ Hom at Scent Reflections LLC

Thanks for reading

Be Well Message

Dear Guests,

I hope you all are doing well and staying safe with the coronavirus scare. In times like this, it’s not easy to stay healthy, be positive, and find moments of laughter or joy to balance the fear, frustration, or other negative sensations that may rise.

For people who enjoy being active outside and/or interacting with others face-to-face, this is an especially challenging time. Being confined alone or with others for extended periods of time can bring out the best and the worst in relationships or highlight things we’ve all tried to ignore or deny about ourselves and each other. Tempers get roused easily. People react and act to stuff they normally wouldn’t. Maybe out of fear. Maybe out of frustration. Maybe the stressful times are their version of an excuse for behaving in such ways?

Please remember that we still have choices.

We can choose react from a position of fear-based choices.

We can to argue and fight and lose our tempers. Be angry at the world and socialize and continue with our routines like nothing is going on (denial). We can ignore government mandates and health authority warnings. We can let prejudice rule our opinions and influence our interactions with others. We can choose to feel and express anger in ways that hurt ourselves and the people around us.

Or we can choose to to react from a position of love-based choices.

We can use effective communication and compromise strategies. Use Active Listening skills to to ourselves and each other. Check in from a position of love and acceptance. Be kind to ourselves and each other no matter how scared or stressed out we feel. And most important, express our fear, anger, shame, or other negative emotions in healthy ways that support us and the others around us instead of hurting ourselves and those other people.

Sometimes we might not have choices in how we act or react. Instinct and learned behavior (i.e. survival skills) override everything else when we feel overwhelmed or pushed too far.

In situations like that, when “the damage is done” we till have choices to make. We can pretend nothing happened. We can continue to escalate the negativity and cause more damage to an existing relationship until nothing is left. We can acknowledge the situation and try to make reparation and/or amends or listen with compassion to the other party and work out a solution. We can acknowledge our part in what happened, reflect on the situation, and work out ways to prepare for future ones. Maybe preventative actions or a coping strategy?

But no matter what, we humans are a resilient species. And we can survive this. We will survive and learn to thrive in the changed and changing world.

I believe in you. Please believe in yourselves too. 

Sincerely,

AlterXpressions