Leave me comments if you’d be willing to help. It would be much appreciated.
Previous to starting my 2013 quarter at Clark College, I was involved in a trauma which lead me to being diagnosed with Severe Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and PTSD. In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must have been present in a life or death situation. I will admit. PTSD is life changing.
PTSD changes who you are.
If you take anything away from my writing today please note: Recovery takes time! Years, easily! It’s been six years and I still struggle with triggers.
My recovery started in 2012.
I feel as if in order for you to fully grasp the severity of my mental state in 2013 I should clue you in on the circumstances that led to the trauma.
That day my sister had just broken up with her boyfriend of six years.
That evening my sister Jessica, my five year old nephew Damian, and my mother were all at home. My mother and I had just sat down to watch a movie. Only to be abruptly torn from the screen moments later by the door behind me that started rattling.
I went into the kitchen to find my sister and nephew, who were staring intently out the glass back door. Seconds later a commotion came from the front of our house. The front door was wide open and there stood my sisters ex boyfriend, Mike. He looked at us, then began pouring a substance over our loveseat. It had a distinct smell of gasoline.
He continued dumping the gasoline now into the carpet. As he walked and spoke in our direction. He was then punishing us with his words he said “This is what you deserve” This phrase forever be ingrained into my mind; just to taunt me and cause to panic attacks.
Only then had Mike moved close enough to touch. Tilting his jug once again. The smell was now potent. Gasoline poured out into a puddle at my feet. I froze.
Mike shifted directions, going down the hallway towards the bedrooms. My sister bolted past me and towards Mike. Jessica attempted to snatch the jug away. The two fought over the gas, splashing the gas all over each other in the process. Ending with gasoline in Jessica’s eyes and all over her body.
As I came too, I heard my sister scream “he poured it on me!” I ran straight towards her voice; Only to nearly collide with her about halfway there.
I stepped out into the grass of my backyard cell phone in hand. I was dialing 911. By the time we ran to the front of the house mine and Damien bedroom had bright orange, yellow and red flames engulfed the windows. I stood in the middle of the street and screamed… as I tried to calm myself in order to tell 911 what had just happened.
An Ambulance and police came and attempted to help my sister flush her eyes out. I stayed with my sister in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
I was questioned by a detective who told me Mike burned 3/4th of his body when he set the fire. And I was to tell my sister. As I’m in the emergency wait room the tvs on. Then pop I hear something about my house fire on the TV. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.
The first question the detective asked was where was Mike? I answered, “jail hopefully.”
If you are wondering what happened to him. The judge gave Mike 16 years with zero priors. I was a very intense subject matter.
On a positive note my trauma helped shape my pursuit to help others who have suffered in similar ways. Which is why I decided on Addiction Counselor.
Directly after the fire I went into intensive outpatient services through Kaiser Permanente. Learning an emenses amount about mental health issues and how to cope. After successfully finishing the program.
In 2013 I was stable and capable of coping with my triggers. Sadly though on the spectrum of healing my PTSD. I was only in the first stages. A year and a half after my trauma I started at Clark College. As I settled into my classes.
I was thrown for a loop one day in German class when my teacher brought up a class discussion on school shootings. I was shocked at the impact the conversation had on me. I thought since I went through treatment I would be able to function in this type of environment. Due to our location in Hanna Hall; my teacher remind us we may be sitting ducks. If a school shooter ever happened to emerge. Sadly, the conversation continued. My teacher reminded us we would have to choose who would topple the shooter if this event occurred. Due to my recent trauma and recovery from my PTSD being relatively newer on the scale of healing. Remember your not just magically better after treatment. You are now a different person then you once were.
Daily you struggle with constantly battling ones triggers, From the smell of gasoline at a gas station, to an Eminem song playing on the radio, night terrors where I scream all night and wake up drenched in my own sweat multiple times a week. Or my anxiety telling me Im in an unsafe environment German class. I wanted so badly to be at Clark and feel safe. At that moment in my life my body shut down. I was unable to function properly due to my severe anxiety and PTSD.
My Plan To Ensure I Succeed At Clark College :
Keep regular contact with all my forms of support.
Mental Health Therapist (Alexis at Lifeline)
(Mike at Lifeline)
(Cathy at Lifeline)
d. Tutoring Support
2. My psychiatrist has advised me to pick up a Mental Health disability form; this will allow extra time to finish assignments.
3. Continue to use a planner to keep track of my obligations. Such as class times and assignment due dates.
4. Staying Organized
a. Keep a To Do List
b. Color code each class.
c. Keep one system for taking notes
d. Use color coded note cards to memorize new information.
e. Take time to plan out and get
organized for the up and coming week.
5. Write down weekly goals for school and daily steps to achieve them.
6. Keep School Fun and Interesting.
Reason being, I have Dyslexia which makes it hard to retain information. But by being creative and say putting stickers all over my colored note cards helps motivate me to keep trying.
7. Keep all syllabi from each course. Reflect on it regularly.
8. Stay a day or two ahead of assignments.
9. Have a conducive area to study.
My Solution For Coping With Triggers This Quarter At Clark College
I’ll encourage myself to stick out anxiety ridden situations. I tell myself I am enduring my own personalized form of exposure therapy. It may feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I’m aware uncomfortability is a sign of growing.
2. I’ll use pleasant smells, such as lavender or pretty perfumes to reduce feelings anxiousness.
3. Mental Health Apps
7 cups app:
I volunteer on this app as a Listener. I help others with mental health issues. This helps me boost my self esteem. Also a great source for support and gobs of great information.
b. Headspace App :
Headspace is an English-American online healthcare company, specializing in meditation. The company mainly operates through its online platform, which provides sessions of guided meditation to its registered users with the goal of mindfulness.
c. Daylio Mood Tracker app :
This app allows me to keep track my moods. Very helpful app.
d. Pinterest app : I find positive affirmations/ sayings here and post them on Instagram. Very therapeutic.
e. Docs app : Journaling is one of the best ways to stay on top of your mental health.
4. Feel confident as well as comfortable leaving triggering situations if it becomes too much to handle.
5. Tapping can reduce symptoms of Depression, anxiousness or even distorted thoughts of not being smart enough.
6. Continue Positive self-talk.
7. Use listening with earbuds as a way to cope with test anxiety, social situations, large group gatherings and for studying.