Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On Grief and Loss

On grief and loss - I know the pain that feels as though death would be the only relief and have found a new life after that kind of inner devastation. 

Let those big feelings out. Don't try to contain them for they will consume you from the inside out. Find a way to safely express your anger, angst and pain through some physical form. Run it out, walk it out, scream it out. Throw something and let it make the loud noise against the wall as you fall to the floor sobbing.

Let go of those unable to sit with you or your pain. Let them go that you can find yourself. Dont try to find comfort from those who are not comforting. Give yourself a soft place to land each day. Visit the trees. Walk in the grass. Breathe with the clouds and know that with time it will hurt less and the hurt will come less often even though we know it never goes away completely.

Know that you are not alone.

Friday, August 1, 2014

As It Goes…

So, as it goes, things change. Life is an evolution and for me a marvelous, exciting and sometimes challenging experiment.

I've been writing here at A Journey since April 6, 2009 where I began to chronicle my journey out of the darkness  and into the light after a lifetime of seeing myself as a victim who had "no choice" and realizing in this amazing journey that I no longer had to live as a victim and that there was life far beyond "recovery" and survival. 

Then for awhile my path shifted and as the student who tries to be ready, I found myself drawn to other adventures like creating the Empowering Solutions page and podcast.

I tried my hand at guest blogging at a few places and was able to contribute on some issues that are very dear to my heart like the abuse and dysfunction many of us come from  , finding our own path to personal empowerment  and sharing a bit of my story as it relates to how I experienced the nearly 2 decades of my life when I was told by doctors that I had a brain disease, was ill and would need "medication for life" and the resulting years of protracted withdrawals when another doctor decided I no longer needed them as a trauma survivor. (NOTE: NEVER let a doctor tell you that you can "just stop" these drugs; this is very dangerous. I was fortunate to have the tenacity to go through this and come out the other end ok; many are not able to tolerate the impact of cold turkey or even a short taper. Get informed to be empowered - you can start here if you need resources.)

I wrote about how I came to choose a new paradigm for myself and this has led to my coming to terms with realizing that I had never been "sick" and that it was the drugs I was being given that actually was the source of the symptoms that seemed to get worse instead of better, even though I was following "doctors orders" to the letter.

As time went on my focus shifted to healing myself and my psyche from the damage of being told I was "ill" and the realization that I am not what they told me I was and had been so terribly harmed and made ill by those I trusted with my health and my life; my doctors and those I sought out for support and help in my journey.

In following the inner drive to make meaning of these experiences, in time I found myself shifting my focus from this blog to the Facebook platform where I have met hundreds and thousands of amazing people on their own individual journey's.

Here I found a camaraderie of persons who have experienced their own journey to well being in many different ways. To each of you - I am in awe of your strength and courage and in complete gratitude that somehow our paths have crossed. In support of those who have wondered about the use of psychiatric drugs I created a workshop and website and was invited to contribute a chapter on using the internet and social media to find support.

Time moved on and I was seeming to lose my voice, I was unclear to my path and my purpose and realized along the way that in order for me to regain my footing and clarity that it was vital that I stop trying to create new things and start focusing on letting go of the old so I could embrace the new. 

So here we are.

It's nearly autumn 2014 and my journey is again changing directions as I focus on continuing to reclaim my health, create my best life and rediscover my voice.

I don't have a clear vision of what my path is just yet - but I do have a desire again to write now and then so - stay tuned; my hope is that we will continue to travel this path together.


May you be well, be happy and live in peace.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When Things Are Changing

As things go - when something is not "flowing" I have to pause. 

In the past - I would have looked "outside" of myself to try to discover what I could do to "fix" things. 

I would work harder.

Push harder. 

I might even try "blaming" something or someone for why things are not working aka "flowing" the way they have in the past. 

Yet - one of the life lessons I have learned as I committed to being the student who is ready…?

Is that when things are not working - I've learned….

That working harder won't make it work better.

That pushing harder - only makes it harder. 

I've learned to let go that I can see what remains, what might come back and…

What new thing might emerge.

I've known and felt for some time that as much as I have loved writing here at A Journey and sharing on twitter and at the Empowering Solutions page on Facebook and the podcast at Blog Talk Radio…

I've felt a sense of discontent that if I ignore it only leads to more discontent.

A good friend and my own Life Coach has helped me to see that when things are not "working" that the Universe is trying to direct me to some sort of change. 

For the past many months I have felt that I was to let some things go…

In order to be ready to receive what might be next for me in my Journey.

If you are on my mailing list here then you will receive any future updates from there as well as by subscribing here (to the left) for blog post updates.

So - once again…

I'd like to say that This Blog Is Not Dead….and encourage you to visit the archives here at A Journey, at the Facebook Empowering Solutions page here and the Blog Talk Radio podcast here. 

Thank you for your continued engagement and encouragement to continue doing this work that is not work - I am always so grateful to hear your stories and testimonies of how A Journey and Empowering Solutions have impacted your life. 


Saturday, December 21, 2013

The "Disorder" in PTSD… and Some Empowering Solutions

We may be afraid and thats ok. 

Our fear becomes a problem only when we allow it to dictate our actions and interfere with our future. 

And asking or expecting others to change or accommodate us so that we don't have to face our fear? 

Serves to enable us in our avoidance and lets the fear control our future. 

Heres the thing I discovered

Is that "avoidance" is the "disorder" in "PTSD". 

The truth that set me free?

Knowing and learning that we can learn to calm our parasympathetic nervous system; that we don't have to "go

That we can take our life back from trauma. 

Tip: start noticing when you are feeling "amped" or as though you need to run away, fight back or shut down. 

Then start removing yourself from the "trigger" before you actually bolt, fight back or shut down. 

Develop the skills to use tools to bring these feelings of anger/fight, fear/flight and freezing/shutting down to a manageable place like:

  • Deep breathing 
  • Dancing it out 
  • Punching it out
  • Walking or running it out
  • Writing it out (without sending it :) )

The thing to remember is that most of us have been taught to run to others, to "ask for help" when we are feeling emotionally overloaded instead of being taught the life and coping skills to manage our feelings and that - leaves us feeling both powerless and hopeless for anything better.

These exercises when practiced over time - will empower you to be in control of your emotions vs your emotions controlling you. 

Keep in mind that this first step can take some time as we learn and choose to be in awareness of how we are feeling vs the disconnection that can come with experiencing chronic trauma over time. 

The key?

Is to practice this over and over and over….taking small steps instead of expecting big results "fast". 

Knowing that you are empowering yourself vs needing someone to tell you what is "wrong" and how to "fix" it. 

Heres the bottom line about dealing with "PTSD" issues that I discovered to be empowering….

Learning to bring things down to a manageable level before we "react" allows and empowers us to shift from "reactive" to "responsive" where we can consider our options and respond via choice vs the basic human need to engage in fight, flight or freeze as our only options.

So there you go. 

It's simple, yes. 

Not nearly as complicated as I was taught to believe it was. 

Is it easy? 

Nope. Not at all. Especially at first. 

Is it effective?

Yup. :) 

Is it empowering?

You bet. 

Discovering that I was in control of myself, my reactions, my choices….that I did NOT have to be in therapy or on drugs "for life"? 

Empowered me to start seeing myself as the creator of my "best life". 

May you discover your own "empowering solutions" and find freedom from your fears. 

Best always and forever,

Susan :) 

Resources Visit the archives to the Empowering Solutions podcast here for real life solutions to real life and relationship issues. Follow the Empowering Solutions community page here for daily tips on learning to live beyond the drama and trauma of our past… And the Empowering Solutions blog is here for articles and essays on life and life issues. 

 Please subscribe at the top for blog updates and join our mailing list. 

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™  
 Thanks for following, reading and sharing!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seeking Happy

Many of us are seeking happiness in people, places and things.
"If I get a new job and move to a different state then I can get away from all this bs"

"If I could just take a vacation - then everything would be ok"

"If I had this house, car, clothes, job, business ….then I'd be happy".

The problem I found with that? 

Is that if I wasn't happy with who I was by myself I would never be happy with that "someone" and in fact that relationship would go down the toilet just like all the rest of them did. 

I discovered that moving or changing jobs distracted me for awhile but in time things were the same as they were before. 

I found that no matter what I had, what I owned or what I did to make a living - if I was not happy where I was I would not be happy there. 

Happy happened when I learned to make it happen. 

And when I got happy with me

I no longer needed to be a "we".

I started looking at where I could move to instead of what I could move away from.


I discovered that I had everything I needed already; that I didn't need a new house, car, job or clothes. 

How have you found happy? 


I Was Looking For Happy In All the Wrong Places

Happiness is a choice? Then why am I not happy?


Visit the archives to the Empowering Solutions podcast here for real life solutions to real life and relationship issues. 

 Follow the Empowering Solutions community page here for daily tips on learning to live beyond the drama and trauma of our past… 

 And the Empowering Solutions blog is here for articles and essays on life and life issues. Please subscribe at the top for blog updates and join our mailing list. 

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™  
 Thanks for following, reading and sharing!

Share on twitter here and Facebook here

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happiness is a choice? Then why am I not happy?

I'd hear the saying "happiness is choice"…

And feel worse.

What was wrong with me that I wasn't able to be happy? 


There had to be something "wrong" with me. 

I mean seriously wrong with me.

I was angry.

I was sometimes mean.

I was oftentimes driven to be busy, busy, busy.

But I was not "happy".

So - when I sought help - it was confirmed that something was wrong - terribly wrong with me. 

My brain was indeed broken.

I had a "disease" - like *diabetes! 

I had an "illness" that affected my ability to be "happy".

Aha! That explained it!

A "diagnosis" made it all make sense.

Yet - the prescribed "treatments" that were supposed to make me "feel" better - never worked. 

I settled into a life of "less than" "for the rest of my life".

And stayed there.

UNTIL I met someone who had traveled this path before me and discovered their own truth and shared it with me…

That there was nothing "wrong" with me other than I did not know how to access the power that lives in each of us to see myself as the creator of my own "best life". 

Tip: if happiness has eluded you….set a goal for yourself and each day take steps toward that goal.

Maybe its a goal to move to a new home, get a new job or go back to school.

Maybe its a goal to learn how to become more self sufficient; to learn how to be less "reactive" and more "responsive". Or maybe to learn the difference between "boundaries" and "walls".

Whether your goal is to be-come your best self through personal development learning strategies or to do or have something that you have longed for…

The best remedy for chronic sadness is to focus on what makes us happy and find our own empowering solutions when we aren't'.

True stuff.

Susan :)

*Diabetes - the whole paradigm built on the idea that "mental illness" is a disease like diabetes is more true than we know. First we must differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In type 1 - there is a real physical issue that cannot be fixed. One is born with this. It is diagnosable through medical tests. In type 2 - this diabetes is brought on by overconsumption of refined sugar and can be reversed with diet and exercise. In considering the issues of "mental illness" in this context we must remember that there is NO diagnostic test for this - therefore these issues are not the same as type 1 diabetes which can be diagnosed and treated. In the context of type 2 diabetes - the issues of so called "mental illness" are also brought on by life experiences albeit more complex than just consuming enormous amounts of refunded sugar although refined sugar has been proven to cause issues that can be labeled "mental illness". For more on this I can recommend visiting Beyond Meds articles on gut health, this article at Mercola on sugar and mental illness, this article on gluten and schizophrenia, and there are numerous studies revealing the impact of childhood trauma to what is labeled "mental illness". In addition, very often the "medicine" we are given becomes the cause of the "illness" as I experienced. All this as food for thought and to point out - these issues do not have to be "for life" and the "mental illness" model is 1. not an effective life model and 2. it is not the only model, or paradigm, about the human condition, the life we live or the struggles we face - although it is the only one we hear about when we ask for "help". 

Be informed to be empowered. 

For more on these issues please visit www.beyondmeds.com 


Visit the archives to the Empowering Solutions podcast here for real life solutions to real life and relationship issues.

Follow the Empowering Solutions community page here for daily tips on learning to live beyond the drama and trauma of our past…

And the Empowering Solutions blog is here for articles and essays on life and life issues. 

Please subscribe at the top for blog updates and join our mailing list.

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™
 Thanks for following, reading and sharing!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why do I feel so powerless? The difference between "acceptance" and "tolerance"

I used to think that I had to "accept" or "tolerate" bad behavior and being abused and mistreated by others because I could not change them - so I had to change myself in the hope that they would treat me better….

If I was ______ or did _______ or said _______ or had ________ or looked _____

THEN they would love, appreciate, see me as worthy and valuable to be loved. 

Then maybe they would _______________. 



Acceptance of "what is" does NOT mean accepting or tolerating being mistreated.  

In fact when I lived like this - I felt overwhelmed and overcome with feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness. 

This is where I was doing the "dance" of dysfunction as I tried to figure out the steps

What could I do to make things better? 

How could I be different so they would love me, so they would stop being hurtful to me?

This is where I also lived in chronic "depression" and would "zone out".

When I started realizing "depression" and zoning out aka "dissociation" were not a "disease" but a natural response to not knowing how to own my power to change my life?

That is when my life started to change. 

Change can be painful

Change can be painful but not as painful as staying in situations where I was not happy about the way others treated me and knowing there was nothing I could do to change them or the way they treated me.

Acceptance is peace not tolerance

Acceptance means living in peace with what is vs trying to control or change others or circumstances to change outcomes.

Acceptance does NOT mean tolerating things that are intolerable. 

This -  is where we feel helpless and powerless. 

That is where we lose hope.

I found my hope when I found my power. 

Acceptance - yes.

Tolerance - no.

We can make a plan and learn how to change our lives when circumstances are such that we can't change them.

In the meantime

When we know that we can create the change that can change our life and allow us to live in that place of peace….

We can learn and practice living in acceptance of what is until we can achieve what could be. 

Q: What is it in your life that feels overwhelming and intolerable that you have been "accepting" and leaves you feeling hopeless and helpless?

What would life look like for you if you were to change this? 

What do you need to learn to create this change?

Life skills? 

How to set and maintain healthy boundaries?

What the difference is between healthy and unhealthy dependence and relationships? 

Coping strategies for difficult moments?

Do you want to go to school so you can have the career that would enable you to create this new life? 

Once we identify the "problem" we then identify potential solutions and start acting on those ideas vs staying stuck in telling the story of the problem over and over and over. 

The idea of taking that journey can feel scary yet - it is in facing our fear that we find our courage. 

You're a rock star.

True story. :) 

Until next time,



Visit the archives to the Empowering Solutions podcast here for real life solutions to real life and relationship issues.

Follow the Empowering Solutions community page here for daily tips on learning to live beyond the drama and trauma of our past…

And the Empowering Solutions blog is here for articles and essays on life and life issues. 

Please subscribe at the top for blog updates and join our mailing list.

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™ Thanks for following, reading and sharing!