Category Archives for PTSD/PTSI/Trauma

Anxiety, Depression & PTSI – The Silent & Dark Nights During The Holiday Season

 Honour The Space You're In

Beautiful colours, the smell of fresh Christmas trees, Carolers singing, the malls filled with people, the ceremonous get togethers with family and friends. Sounds like the most wonderful time of year, but is it really?

Bright lights that shines on our faces constricts ones vision; the smell of fireplaces are a reminder of what the crackling noises meant in our heads, the filled in rooms with people with hundreds of conversations going all at once; the room filled with love, yet constantly noticing ignorance. "Can anyone see me?"

A few examples of how one may look at the holiday season is not necessarily easy for another. The impact of what Anxiety, Depression and PTSI can greatly affect someone's ability to see the beauty of a holiday season. So how do we manage ourselves or help the ones we love during the stressors of the holiday? Here are a few but effective suggestions:

  • Acknowledging The Emotion We Are In
  • Owning the Emotion We Are Feeling
  • Grounding Ourselves with Affirmations of Safeness
  • Scaling Out Our Fears, Frustration, Depression, Anxiety, with the ones with love
  • Excusing ourselves from the situation without apologizing on How We Feel
  • Recognizing that Pre-Triggers exist - Your Body is Telling You Something - even before your triggers rise up.
  • Creating a "on the go" Coping Box when you are unable to remove yourself from the location you are at.
  • Repeating To Yourself That "It's Okay To Not Be Okay Right Now"
  • Close Your Eyes, Open Your Arms, And Breathe - bringing back and grounding back to simplicity can be more effective than planning.

Understanding Mental Health Injury as a Family

  Imagine having a family member away from home for  days, weeks, months at a time. Imagine the feeling we get when they return home from a shift, or time away. Imagine feeling something changed. Imagine feeling that a parent or loved one, is no longer happy. Imagine seeing the changes the war, or a traumatic event does to someone you love.   Imagine being that person who left to serve their country and see how their changes in thoughts and behaviours changes the dynamics in a household. Imagine. What do we do? How do we approach? What should we say? Can we handle talking about it?

At Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services we provide a feeling of safeness, guidance and resources on these very questions.  We continue to empower those who have lost their way through trauma.

Here are a few resources we provide for our Military, Veterans, and First Responders families.  A great reference in helping your loved ones understand what trauma can do without feeling it’s your fault or theirs.

#CollaborativeWork #BootsOnTheGround #ReturningHome #TransformingToCivilianLife #StrengthInNumbers #WeveGotYourBack

Beyond the Definitions & Diagnosis – Post Traumatic Stress Injuries

 We often explore mental health definitions, signs and symptoms. PTSD is no exception, yet what happens after we figure out that it is a possibility we have endured trauma and a mental health injury.  Frontline workers whether it be First Responders, Military, Veterans, Corrections,Probation and Parole often question this to Mental Health Professionals.  For instance most have advised us ” I have PTSD, how can you help me”  We often advise Frontline that PTSD is a diagnosis and it is one part of the healing process.  We often advise Frontline, that we change the lingo from PTSD to PTSI – Post Traumatic Stress Injury, as that is what we are focusing on, in a therapeutic setting.  Even changing the lingos can alter how we manage our own trauma.

We are often asked questions on how to seek help with a mental health injuries like PTSI.   First and foremost, Mental Health Professionals must be well equipped of understanding Frontline Trauma. Everyone can provide assistance, but understanding First Responders, Military, Veterans, Corrections, Probation and Parole role in their community or country, what that entails, the jargon, the evolution of protecting, serving and saving is one big step that is not only essential but necessary.

At Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, we have that expertise and we are  affliliated with a number of Frontline Organizations.  We just don’t provide therapy, we provide the essence of understanding the root of trauma, and how you can manage life beyond the badge and the uniform. #BootsOnTheGround #Mission #Training #Grounding #TransformingIntoCivilianLife #WeRemember #StrengthInNumbers

 

The Truth About Human Trafficking in Canada

80 percent of Airbnb in Vancouver are being used for exploitation.  

 

On Friday October 27, 2017 Founder and Therapist of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah attended a Full Day Seminar on Working with Trafficked Persons:  Dynamics and Best Practices.  Director of Anti-Human Trafficking Program Larissa Maxwell was the Guest Speaker for the Day.  Larissa spoke a lot about the difference between Trauma Informed Care  and the necessity of Mental Health Professionals to use Trauma Sensitive Care especially dealing with victims and survivors of Human Trafficking. Trauma Sensitive Care includes specifically designed Therapeutic strategies, building autonomy, compassion are a few examples.

There are three forms of Human Trafficking:

Sexual Exploitation,

Labour, and Organ.

The most known is Sexual Human Trafficking.  A 2005 Canadian Statistics study showed numbers in regards to Human Trafficking that were before the Courts are astonishing!  Out of 360 identifed 341 were Canadians related cases; 111 were underage and the numbers are rising.

 

Human Trafficking often has a result where some victims become the one who victimizes another. The cycle can continue, however Trauma Sensitive Care, can bring back the humanity in the horrific human acts placed upon them.

 

We often hear “walk a mile in my shoes” when we describe our own hardships, hurdles, complexity of life, trauma, but what happens when we actually understand that phrase. We build empathy, we learn there are two truths, we learn about someone’s trigger, or as Larissa Maxwell suggested “activating thoughts/emotions”; we learn to listen when someone tells their story; we learn to unravel the pain, and we learn to heal.

Excerpt: Information provided through Larissa Maxwell and her Organization Deborah’s Gate that is located in an undisclosed Location for those who have been traumatized through Human Trafficking.

 

You Are Not Alone!

Mental Health Day with Ottawa Probation and Parole Officers

On September 28, 2017, Founder and Therapist Of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah spoke to Ottawa and Area Probation and Parole Officers about Mental Health in the Workplace.

Everyone Has a Story on how we became the person we are today. It is that very story that not only changes our lives, it helps others know they are not alone!

A raw, heavy emotional day but with this, it showed that our struggles are real and that we must be okay to feel uncomfortable to the idea of talking about our own mental health.

It is in our healing that we find our freedom.

Group picture was taken to advise each other and to others in the Probation and Parole Profession that they are not alone, you Matter, your story matters, your feelings matter, your life matters!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank The morning Speaker an Army Veteran who served in the Canadian Military for 21 years and spoke so candidly about their struggle, the passion, the mental health injury, the hardships and the healing. Special thanks goes out to Elana, a Probation Officer who started this very conversation with our Founder about bringing Mental Health Talk To the forefront for Probation and Parole Officers who are often left unheard and on the sidelines.

We heard you and we hope that if anything , know , YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

The Journey of A Federal Framework – PTSD

 

 

19225600_10155382702787173_9018301155332640293_nChanges and Implementations of Federal Policies and Legislation takes time, sometimes it can take years.  A disheartening fact but important to recognize when advocating for Mental Health initiatives for any geographical area or population.

600 days ago, An Federal Proposed Bill C-211 was born.  An Newly Elected Federal MP took on this Bill and brought it to life, of the reality, the hardships, the dedication, the challenges and the heartbreaking stories of First Responders, Correctional Officers, RCMP, Military and Veterans trying to overcome their Mental Health Injury – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or now verbally known as Post Traumatic Stress Injury.  There is that heart wrenching reality that some who dedicated and sacrificed their lives for Canadians could no longer hold on to their pain and took their own life.

Death by Suicide is a very dark fact amongst Police Officers, Paramedics, FireFighters, Correctional Officers, RCMP, Active Soldiers, and Veterans. Stigma continues to be present not only in the public arena but at times within their own services.

So there was a very important job to do, and that was to have Bill C-211 a Federal PTSD Framework to come to light in the House Of Commons.  600 days ago the process of debates began.

For every Private Member’s Bill/Federal Proposed Bill – there are steps to take for it to be recognized of it’s importance.  Data and Statistical analysis begins, interviews, collaboration, listening to hours upon hours of traumatic and heartbreaking stories and then the debate (a tiered process) in front of all Federal MP’s to understand why this Bill weighed more than another.

For any Bill to move onto the next stage, they must pass all tiered process or as they call it in the House of Commons – Readings which they are three.  Bill C-211, passed 1st reading, the two parts of 2nd reading, the Health Committee, and as of Friday June 16, 2017, passed the 3rd and Final Reading. It now enters into the last phase before it officially passes from a Proposed Bill to a Legislative Bill.

Everyday a life is gone, Everyday someone puts on a uniform whether it be First Responders, Corrections, RCMP, Military or Veteran, and knows that their life becomes second to anyone they protect, serve and save.  It’s time to take care of them. It’s time to put them first.

 

Federal PTSD Framework -#C211

 

 

 

 

 

Federal PTSD Framework -#C211

The Wounds Within

unnamed


Understanding trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/Injury (PTSD) isn’t an easy thing, but imagine living with it. Here are a few pointers about how We can help.

Trauma changes people, period. It changes ones physical being as well as how one thinks.

PTSD/Trauma hijacks ones identity. It takes away the one thing they knew for sure. Every moment is looked upon as dangerous, threatening and unpredictable. All the meanwhile one feels helpless, powerless, fearful.

Trauma makes one always on autopilot, a survival mode. Therefore hyper vigilance is pre-dominant. Survival responses are not in the control of the person itself but what they see and in order to protect themselves from further trauma including re-traumatization .

Knowledge is POWER- the more we know and how it is seen through the person suffering from it, the less we become scared of it- we need to normalize the aspects of trauma and PTSD, because it opens the doors to healing for those who wear the wounds within.