Healing Words: The Power Of Touch

A guest writer series about the ways we heal-on bettysbattleground.com

Hello! Welcome to Friday. I am extra excited about today’s guest post. If you have ever visited my guest post info page, you may have seen mention of a series called “Healing Words.” For the past several months I have been gathering stories about healing and recovery from trauma survivors and professionals; today, I begin sharing them with you!

“Healing Words” opens with Stephanie, who lost her brother suddenly to a mysterious illness while he was overseas. In her story she talks about the intense, life-changing grief she experienced, and then walks us through her process of recovery. Now, she is a healer, who uses a combination of massage and talk therapy to help others struggling with trauma and grief.

At some point, grief touches all of us. It comes in many forms. We grieve the loss of  those we love, or our pets who have served as our companions for years; we grieve losing an ability due to injury or trauma; we grieve relationships that fail, and potential which does not come to fruition. Grief comes in many forms, and coping with grief is a normal human function. Sometimes, however, loss is sudden and traumatic, and grief overwhelms us. When that happens, we need help moving on. Moving on does not mean forgetting those whom we lost, and it does not mean “getting over” the loss; it means finding a place of peaceful acceptance within ourselves so that we may continue to live. Read Stephanie’s story to learn one approach to healing and moving forward from traumatic grief.

Stephanie HarrisRead a guest post on healing from traumatic grief by Stephanie Harris on bettysbattleground.com is a New Zealand-based writer and coach, specializing in grief. Raised in South Africa, she graduated with honors from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town with a diploma in somatology. She is a professional bodywork therapist who incorporates her knowledge of the physiological impact of grief into work with clients and ongoing research. Stephanie’s career has taken her around the globe, from the Maldives to Iceland, and Cambodia to the British Isles. She has swum with dolphins in the Caribbean and held baby crocodiles in the Amazon. Now, she lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her golden Labrador retriever, Knox. In addition to coaching individuals and groups, Stephanie is a frequent public speaker and contributor to numerous online outlets. Learn more about her writing and research at www.StephanieHarrisCoaching.com.

Read how one woman turned to therapeutic massage to help heal from her brother's sudden death-on bettysbattleground.com

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The Great Trigger Warning Debate: Why I Don’t Use Trigger Warnings, Even Though I’m An Educated Liberal With PTSD

Why I don't use trigger warnings even though I'm an educated liberal with PTSD on bettysbattleground.com

I have had PTSD, the result of severe and prolonged domestic violence, for over nine years. I am actively in therapy; I attend both one-on-one counseling and a peer support group every week. I regularly engage in mindfulness practices like yoga, exercise, intentional breathing, or mindful cooking and playing. I know how to use grounding practices to help myself out of a flashback. I am learning how to ask for help when I need it.

Nonetheless, I get triggered, at least slightly, almost every day. I expect this will be the case for the rest of my life. The experience of being triggered, for me, ranges from slight passing discomfort, to total day-long (or even week-long) debilitation.

The last time I was triggered was yesterday. My husband, in a fit of boisterous energy, slapped a paper cup that had been left on a garbage bin, knocking it to the ground. He wasn’t angry, and he wasn’t trying to trigger me; it was a benign, even playful motion. Just a random burst of energy that my husband, who used to train MMA religiously, turned into a moment of target practice. But it reminded me of a much darker moment when cups and cutlery were knocked to the ground.

I didn’t have a flashback; I guess the effects of this trigger could be categorized as an “intrusive thought.” I remembered, very suddenly, a date I went on with The Ex. We were having a late dinner at a Japanese restaurant. We’d ordered a fair amount of food, which amounted to a pretty hefty bill; Japanese-American food is not known for its low prices. About midway through the meal, a young waitress approached our table and informed us that the restaurant would be closing soon. I smiled, said okay, and resumed eating. She hadn’t kicked us out. As I recall, she didn’t even deliver the bill. But The Ex laid down his fork and began to stare. Not at anyone or anything; just a blank, inscrutable gaze. I would see it again, in my apartment, before he threw sour cream across my good friend’s hair and body just for the crime of holding my son. It’s the expression he makes when contemplating whether or not to give in to rage.

I have never seen him decide against rage.

After a moment of staring, of deciding, he swept his arm across the table, sending almost every cup, bowl, and plate shattering onto the floor.

“I’m sorry,” he said, in the bumbling ‘good-guy’ voice I’m now seeing him affect in court. “I’m sorry,” then sweeping what was left on the table to the floor. “I’m sorry,” the last few plates, the last cup, to the floor.

My husband didn’t mean to trigger me. And he hadn’t done anything wrong; the cup was discarded, empty. He put it in the trash after. He just wanted to practice his aim, to play around. Nonetheless, it triggered me.

And that’s one of the reasons I don’t believe in the use of trigger warnings.

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