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Overcoming the Burden of Guilt

Diane
When something terrible happens to you that causes you to be constantly fearful or ashamed, a deep level of guilt can begin to take root. Guilt can keep you from seeking out and experiencing the joy you so desperately need to fully heal by making you feel as if you don’t deserve it. Everyone feels guilt once in a while, but if you’re a trauma survivor, it becomes a part of you. Suddenly all the mistakes you’ve ever made (or think you’ve made) start to overwhelm you. You can feel guilty for what you did. You can feel guilty for

Easing Anxiety Through Mindful Breathing

Diane
With PTSD, you never know when you might be triggered into a bout of unrelenting anxiety. One of the first things to check for when you are trying to release some of the tension in your body is: your breathing. Often, without even knowing it, those with PTSD will “forget” to breath, holding tension and anxiety inside. The sooner you breath it out, the better. Three years of therapy taught me several tools which I have carried with me through my years, a few different methods of trying to steer the ship in another direction when it feels like anxiety

Prepped for PET

Diane
The waiting area was a small alcove off the main hallway, with three hospital style recliners, small side tables that were covered in magazines and a couple of houseplants that were in dire need of watering. On one wall was an elevator – and the other was one giant window to the outside; we were on the second floor, and I could look down on to the busy street below. Like the MRI center, it was quiet and cool – it had a little more activity, a few people walking back and forth, but for the most part it was

Yale School of Medicine – Let the Scans Begin

Diane
I report to the Yale Anlyan Center research facility the next morning. My MRI was scheduled at 8:00 AM. Just as I had to do in New York, I checked out of the hotel and carried my belongings along with me to the research facility. I packed light – but not light enough. A single backpack would have been ideal, because I was never able to settle down in any one place for very long before it was time to move along again. As I entered the building it was empty except for the lone security guard at the front

The Nauseatingly Long Road to New Haven

Diane
The taxi transporting me from NYC to New Haven was white with pink lettering, and to my relief the driver was a woman. Tall, friendly – “Hi, I’m Renee, nice to meet ya, let’s get ya going here” – with the strongest down-to-earth vibe I think I have ever felt from anybody. I wish I had been more ‘with it’…but on top of being anxious, I started getting carsick on the nearly three-hour journey there. I leaned my head back and breathed while counting…in one, out one…in two, out two…while occasionally thinking to myself “Oh god this lady is so

Brain Imaging Study Day One: NYU

Diane
I was to present at NYU at 9:00 AM sharp. As I checked out of the hotel I wanted to ask the woman at the desk how to get a cab (I’m not much of a city girl and definitely had a lack of experience in this arena), but was too embarrassed to do so. So I reached back – way back – to my ‘Sex in the City’ addiction days, rolled out the front doors to the edge of the street and threw my arm up with as much confidence as I could muster. I was so nervous I

NYU – Yale PTSD Brain Imaging Study

Diane
Getting My Head Examined: A Medical Research Study Experience I participated in a brain imaging medical research study with the purpose of imaging the Kappa Opioid Receptors (KOR) of the PTSD-affected brain. The study was conducted by the New York University School of Medicine in collaboration with Yale University School of Medicine; the NYU investigative team was headed up by Dr. Alexander Neumeister, Principal Investigator. So here’s the story of how an anxiety-ridden girl working diligently to overcome PTSD went all the way from Phoenix, Arizona to New York City just to have her head examined. But how could I