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Dealing with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Excerpt from "Lose the Baggage, Lose the Weight"
By Lorna Stremcha
Lorna Stremcha’s life was never easy.
She grew up in the foster care system and had to deal with d difficult situations including being taken from addicted parents and being attacked as a high school student. Those feelings and emotions came rushing back when confronted by a mentally deranged former student who cornered here in her classroom.
Instead of being supported by her Montana school and school board, she became a victim of bullying for speaking out against the way the school handled the situation.
It became a four year ordeal that ended with her suing the school board and individual staff members.
In this excerpt, from "Lose the Baggage, Lose the Weight," Lorna writes about how she dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that was part of the experience in fighting the Hill County School District No, 16 in Montana.
"All psychological problems, from the slightest neurosis to the deepest psychosis, are merely symptoms of frustration of fundamental need to sense of personal worth. Self-esteem is the basic element of any human personality."
~ Dr. William Glasser
"PTSD is not something you want nor is it something you’re aware of while it is happening. It sneaks up on you and can devour you if you don’t get help."
A Piece of Me: You Can’t Bury the Past
Feelings and emotions we think are long-forgotten can come back at any time. It happened to me after a mentally deranged former student cornered me in my classroom. Following that incident, I found myself haunted by my past. My emotions were out of control. I felt alone, anxious, ashamed, guilty, hopeless, overwhelmed, ugly, and unworthy. When I felt threatened, I had heart palpitations. I dreamed of being chased or assaulted, with flashbacks of past abusers.
I cleaned obsessively, purging my closest and my dresser drawers. I got rid of anything that reminded me of teaching, which I had loved. I stopped smiling.
I lacked joy. I was isolated from friends and from doing activities I normally enjoyed.
I felt disconnected from those closest to me. It was difficult to concentrate, to sleep, and to eat. I was a mess. At times, I walked for hours. I felt numb. I’d tremble uncontrollably. I would only go outside if someone accompanied me. I felt cold. I dropped weight without trying. I didn’t recognize myself. I felt out of control.
My skin turned gray, my legs gave out often, and I would fall on my snow-colored carpet. When I fell close to the bed, I would grab the covers tightly and pull my body up to a standing position. The paralysis would only last for a minute. Then I’d return to my daily routine. Sadly, part of that routine was lying in a fetal position on my bed with covers over my head to muffle the sounds of my crying. My clothing hung like drapery. I found my reflection repulsive, and a taste like that of a dirty ashtray made it difficult for me to eat.
Any loud sound startled me. My reactions were frightening. I’d lie hibernating in my bedroom with one sliver of light. I was afraid. I didn’t know what was happening. I’d cry until there were no more tears. I’d see things. I was convinced that crows were haunting me.
I Was Scared
Evil surrounded me. I could feel it. I was scared, and I needed help. I prayed, and God put me in the hands of caring doctors.
"You are not crazy," they assured me. "You are suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). You have to open the box, so you can move on."
I tried to keep it closed, but it didn’t help. So I surrendered everything to God and the memories rushed out like a roaring spring river. After I took back my senses, I realized I had forgotten that God was always with me. I began to understand that my emotions were normal reactions to extreme stress. My problems were the result of what happened to me, not because of anything I had done.
It’s Up To Us To Find Solutions
I learned from experiences that many weight issues and eating disorders issues are the result of situations or circumstances beyond our control. It is up to us to find solutions to our problems and not run from them. Denial is dangerous! Life is full of surprises. It doesn’t always go according to plan. Bad things happen. Parents divorce. Good, hard-working employees lose their jobs. Life requires that we dig deep and remember our goals and dreams. There’s where the original P.I.E.S. (physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual) philosophy formula can help. (A formula I created as a youth for survival.)
Original P.I.E.S. formula
For most of my life, I followed that formula. But for a time, I let emotions take over. This enabled others to control and have power over me. It also influenced how I saw and felt about myself. It created havoc with my self-image and self-esteem, something I would have never allowed before workplace harassment.
Determined to get my life back, I had a good, old fashioned come-to-Jesus conversation followed up a prayer to God and request to the universe. It reminded me that pain must be managed, not stuffed in a box. This light-bulb moment prompted me to find the motivation to share what I learned about self-image, self-esteem, nutrition, fitness, eating disorders, and life.
Excerpt from: Lose the Baggage Lose the Weight a woman-to-woman recipe for life. By Lorna Stremcha Copyright ©2011 Lorna Stremcha. ISBN # 9781618627612
Lorna Stremcha is the author of two books, an award-winning educator, coach, an advocate against workplace and school bullying. Sexual harassment and domestic violence also top her list. She is a registered speaker for Bullying Police USA and one of the first eleven individuals to co author the Healthy Workplace Act in the United States. She is a contributing author of the world famous E-book, What Every Target of Workplace Bullying needs to Know. Lorna's first book, Lose the Baggage, Lose the Weight a woman-to-woman recipe for life, helps readers use their life experiences to create positive change. Her second book, Bravery, Bullies & Blowhards lessons learned in a Montana classroom is a frank and eye-opening look inside the Montana educational system. Today, Lorna shares her professional and life experiences to help others live a healthier life. Her goal is to encourage people to "Thrive not just Survive". Mentoring is the name of the game. Plan! Love! Live!
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