There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just traumatized

pexels-photo-54379.jpegMany people think that in order to have been traumatized emotionally that you must have been through a war, killed someone, been the victim of physical or sexual abuse.  Kidnapping is another horrible event that would leave any person traumatized.

Maybe you have never been through any of those events but you can still be traumatized.  First off I am not a Dr.  So please don’t get all scientific on me right away.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have plenty of experience with traumatic events.  Well I have been traumatized many times during my life.  Too many to really count all of the times.  And I was never in a war or killed anyone.  But I experienced traumatic events daily at work as a Peace Officer.  Not all of them were physical.  Many of them were something I read about.  Reading about crimes repeatedly can do damage to your psyche.  Your brain does not realize that it did not happen to you.  It just knows that it’s processing it.

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Let’s also just say right away that many people are in denial about their trauma.  There is a real stigma to being traumatized.  You are damaged goods, crazy, something is wrong with you etc.  These are all of the stereotypes about people who have been traumatized.

So perhaps you did not work at a prison and just have a relatively peaceful life.  But maybe someone died in your family or you lost a pet.  A relationship ends suddenly.  All of these events even though they are routine such as death, are all traumatic events.  So people have to learn how to process the grief that they have been through.

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People think it’s so easy to just leave it in the past, let it go, move on, keep going, shut up and just get over it.  Well grief doesn’t work that way.  It needs to go through a process.  You know the 5 stages of grief: denial,depression, anger, bargaining and finally acceptance.

I tell you what going through the grief process is very difficult.  You really need a strong support system and kind, loving people who will be supportive of what you are going through.  But sometimes people act out and then they don’t get help and self medicate.  They end up rude alcoholics, drug addicts, rage monsters, assholes, sex addicts and  porn addicts.  Yikes that’s a lot.

Well I do have some good news and actually it’s kind of a short cut to the healing process.  I always like to figure out the fastest way to do something.  And the easiest way to get through this is to just accept what happened.  Get to the point where you can just say yes it happened, I am sorry it happened, I accept that it happened but now it’s time to rise above that.  What is the lesson and what can I do to get better?  Also the hardest part is forgiving the person or institution that harmed you.

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Then that’s where the real work starts.  Support groups, self-reflection, counseling, crying, feeling your feelings.  Nobody wants to do it because it’s difficult.  But once you get to the other side, you’re like that wasn’t so bad.  And you get really strong.  But you must have a support system.  If you are estranged from your family, go to a church and start making positive connections with people.

Also remember, everyone is dealing with some bull shit.  So don’t think you are the only one.  You are so not alone and people want to help you.  You might have to turn off the TV and the phone.  Just reach out to someone.  A friend, pastor, cop, hospital, teacher, nurse, Dr.   Find out what is available to you and also there are a ton of resources on-line.  You don’t have to stay stuck dear one.  But you must begin the work to heal.  And I am sorry it’s not beautiful at first.  But it is so worth it.
Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and yoga Instructor.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy.  Learn how Valerie is coping here.

One Day Left to Work

At the time of this time I currently have 1 days left to work in my career. It is something that I have looked forward to for such a long time. It feels kind of like that feeling of finally graduating from High School. The only thing is after High School, one is so very young that they really must contemplate their future. At retirement, it is much the same feeling and one has to contemplate their future as well. The former contemplation usually involves career planning unless you want to live at home for the rest of your life. The latter involves what do you really want to do now that the career is done and the options are endless.

I am very excited about not having to get dressed every day in work attire and come into the office. I look forward to being able to plan my day as I see fit. My only fear is that I will not wear real clothes anymore and I will wear nothing but yoga clothes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but I do think it’s important to get dressed up. So I think one of my goals will be to simply get dressed and put make up on.

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I also have quite a few projects that I am looking forward to tackling. One of them involves a guest bedroom and the other involves adopting a dog. I have been wanting to get a dog for the last few years and I kept telling my daughter that after I retire, we will get a dog. Well the time is getting closer so I am looking for my favorite Canine. I am looking to adopt a Labrador Retriever and we will see if I am able to find one. I just love their floppy ears and they are just so sweet. So I plan lots of walks with my literal “Road Dog.” So I plan on loading pictures of my dog and I in the near future ( I hope).

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Earlier this week there was a very sad occasion when a co-worker passed away and he was a Canine Handler.  So at the funeral they had canines and their handlers from all over California to pay their final respects.  And many of the dogs were of course Labrador Retrievers.  There were black labs and golden labs and they were just so adorable.  I just wanted to bring them home with me.  They were smiling and looking so adorable.  Then I made some phone calls about adopting a lab and of course they don’t call me back.  Who knew I could get stood up by a foster dog?

JOURNEY FROM COP TO YOGINI

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Journey From Cop to Yoga Instructor
My journey from law enforcement officer to yoga instructor was many years in the making. It all started in 1999 when I was extremely stressed out, depressed and experiencing insomnia and back and neck pain. I had been in a car accident and was also a newlywed on the brink of divorce. At the time I was living in Bakersfield, CA and there was not any yoga classes in the area that I knew about. I knew in my heart that yoga would help me if I could only find a class.
I purchased a few yoga DVD’s and did those but it did not seem to have much effect on my stress. Fast forward to 2004, I was not as stressed out as I was before but I still did experience back and shoulder pain. Finally I found a gym that offered yoga classes. This was after I had moved to the North Bay Area. So I took my yoga classes every Saturday and realized how inflexible I really was. The poses all seemed so foreign to me. As a former dancer, I couldn’t believe how tight I was and I kept doing it and noticed how after class I started to experience post yoga bliss. I would feel really relaxed and peaceful. I noticed things were not bothering me as much and I was sleeping better.

In 2006 I heard an ad on the radio about becoming a Yoga Instructor. So I decided to inquire about the training. They had a class starting in July 2006 but there were some issues with child care and the Yoga Instructor providing the training, Michelle Paisley who is now an internationally best selling author of a few books. Michelle said she was going to do it again in November 2006 as well

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Later in July 2006, my dear brother, Christopher died. It was then that I knew I was definitely going to become a yoga instructor in honor of him as he was into the Eastern philosophy in many ways.
In November 2006, I started my Yoga Alliance Certification at Yoga Junction in Suisun City, CA. It was a year long program and it required hours of teaching and co-teaching and I learned quite a bit. I also met some really amazing people. I met Jeff Bridges daughter, Isabelle who took the training with me. She was really down to earth and sweet. It wasn’t until months into the training that I found out who her dad was. I was introduced to meditation and chanting although I didn’t really get into that at that time.
Michelle Paisley Reed was wonderful to work with as well. She was in the process of writing her first book, Yoga For a Broken Heart. It was interesting hearing about her process of writing the book. I think it was a great experience for me to be around such a strong intelligent woman. I realized that there was a possibility that if she could write a book then I guess if I wanted to, I could write one too. Although I had no idea at the time that I would ever want to write. It’s just interesting to note that by her living her dreams, she was inspiring me to live mine too.
After I received my Certification as a Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher, I was still working full time. Now what was my thought. So I went to the gym where I originally took yoga and talked to the Group Fitness Manager. She said I needed another Certification as a Group Exercise Instructor through AFAA. So now I started my journey to get my certification in that. It was more studying anatomy with a practical exam and an all day seminar in San Diego with a test and then I had my certification as a Group Exercise Instructor.
Now I was ready to teach yoga to the masses. So I did apply for a position as a yoga instructor and soon I was teaching yoga weekly.