Post-traumatic mindset is a real thing, and it happens to more than just our first responders and military. When a traumatic event occurs, the person experiencing it usually does not expect it to happen. There is a feeling of danger and fear involved with a loss of control. Stress-related reactions after a traumatic event are regular occurrences, and not everyone will arrive at a PTSD diagnosis. PTSD is disruptive to a person’s everyday life. The family may even be affected by PTSD if the reactions to the traumatic event do not go away over time.
Unsuspecting Moments that may cause PTSD
One beautiful, warm July, afternoon my family took off for a family day. Since it was the middle of Summer, a bunch of the neighborhood kids wanted to go with us. So we loaded up to vehicles and took a short road trip up the beautiful mountains of Los Angeles. We had the most fantastic time. After a couple of hours enjoying the break from the heat, we headed home. That ride home changed all of our lives forever.
My life was never the same
Somehow the cars got divided up into the boy’s car and the girl’s car, with the boys about ten minutes ahead of us, I jumped into our car and with my Mom and Dad and we headed off. About two miles into the road, the car in front of us started to slow down. As we slowed down, we could see there had been some kind of accident, and as we drew closer, we were horrified to know that accident was the boy’s vehicle. There were the bodies of three of the boys lying all over the road, with the driver stuck behind the wheel. My Mom was in the medical field and quickly responded, sending us all to stay with one of the boys so they wouldn’t be frightened. The boy’s car consisted of two next-door neighbor boys, 17 and 14, my brother’s best friend 14, and my brother 14.
Blindly moving forward
My Mom quickly assessed the conditions of the boys and sent us to stay with the less critical while she and my dad took the two most critical. I don’t remember much about that day, and yet I remember so much. It’s crazy how your mind protects you from trauma and tragedy. What I do remember clearly is my Mom sitting in the middle of the road, with my brother stroking his bangs and whispering softly to him, with tears streaming down her face.
Life changed forever
My brother was the one fatality that day, and now as a mindset coach and understanding how trauma affects the mind. I understand my Mom suffered for years after that from PTSD. She was terrified to drive in traffic, and if her bank were two freeway exits away from where she was, she would drive 20 minutes out of her way to avoid the freeway. We never took another family outing; she was terrified of what might happen.
The domino effect
My Mom had two more daughters after the death of my brother; two of the best gifts she ever gave me was the gift of my younger sisters. Life for them growing up was much different than my childhood. My Mom was terrified of losing another child or suffering that kind of pain ever again. She went from the Mom that snuggled, hugged, and annoyed you with the “I love you’s” to the distant parent who kept herself set apart from our lives.
Thinking back on
I now understand why she changed, and I wish I had known what I know now about mindset and the keys to releasing you from the prison traumatic events put us in. My Mom’s world became smaller and smaller as the years went by. She drove to work and directly home. I knew exactly where she would be at any given moment because veering off course was not an option for her.
Everything happens for a reason
As a mindset coach, would I tell you to get over the death of your child and move on with your life? Absolutely NOT! Would I ask you to get over your experience as a first responder, or your service to your Country… NO! I would not! Nor would I tell you that you had to live in that prison. There is no easy switch to flip on or off to make things go back to the way they were before; that is your past.
No one knows better than me that life is short, so you have first to realize you could use some help, and you don’t want to live in that prison your mind has created for you. Your beautiful mind is so amazing, and when I tell you that YOU can accomplish anything with the right mindset, it’s absolutely true.
The Power of the MIND!
Your mind has one job to keep you alive! We feel pain when we touch a burning flame so our mind can alert the brain to danger. You have that fear and anxiety going into a scary situation because your mind is trying to warn you of danger. It’s a pretty useful tool and has kept you alive thus far. So, silver lining, right?
That pain, fear, and anxiety you suffered are so real that your mind is trying to protect you from ever experiencing that again. Great, Right? Yes, and no. Unfortunately, it will also keep you from experiencing a lot of other situations. Joy, love, peace, calm…
What if you had the tools to reframe your mind
Imagine if you could go back and revisit that small child or the very moment that caused you so much pain, fear, anxiety, and grief? What if you could see that moment now! In this safer space, and speak to it? Have you ever had someone give you a ton of advice about raising your kids, and they didn’t have any? You probably think what the hell do you know? I am juggling three kids, my job, and doing the best I can; you have no responsibilities but yourself? Some of their ideas sound pretty dang good though… right?
The Peanut Gallery
They are observers; they can have a completely different perspective on the situation. Yeah, in all honesty, only about 50% of that information or “advice” they give is usable, but that 50% might have the answers that lead to some pretty amazing results. What if you went back into your mind, back to that exact moment, not to relive it but to be an observer, AND you were able to speak to that pain, speak to that anxiety, speak to that grief? I promise you, as an observer, it is entirely different, just like the woman giving “GREAT” advice on raising your kids and yet has never had one. They see things from a different perspective.
Free your mind
Create the change that not only lasts you a lifetime but serves you better. Frees you from old toxic beliefs about yourself and become that observer that looks at that younger version of yourself and embraces the lesson but also understands that is no longer you. Create permanent mindset changes that will loosen the bonds that have been holding you back and free you to soar into your true self. Allow you to push past all the old beliefs and reasons you think you are not worthy of achieving your dreams.
Words can create powerful change
I wanted to share this blog with all of you now, because of the current Pandemic we find ourselves living in. The words your loved ones said to you were not to screw up your life. My Mom didn’t hold back affection from me because of the lack of it, or that I wasn’t deserving of it. She held back out of her idea of self-preservation. Our next generation is watching and listening carefully right now. They are grabbing bits and pieces of our conversations, and little pieces of information, through social media, television, and friends. All of which they are processing now as toddlers, children, preteens, and adolescents.
We can start that ripple effect of hope, calm, and understanding right now! In our youth. Just take a few minutes to be aware of our surroundings when we are discussing the current events unfolding around us. We can make sure to laugh and hug and take a couple of minutes to ask our little loved ones if they have any questions or concerns?
I have flown maybe a 1,000 plus times in my lifetime, still to this very day when something doesn’t feel right on my flight, the very first thing I do is look at the flight attendants. If they look calm and like nothing is out of the ordinary, I take my cue to relax from their body language. Your children do the same. When things look scary, and out of control, they are looking around to see how we are reacting.
Be the drop that starts the ripple
The ripple effect is real, and it is so powerful! The little extra time you take right now to do the smallest of things to assure your family, friends, and co-workers that you are here for them, you are calm, and you are going to thrive through all of this. It will create a ripple effect that could change a world if that means only your world. I am a huge believer in the ripple effect, and I’m also aware that I may not always see the impact of the ripples I put out into the world. But I know they are real, and they are creating change, and oddly enough, I get confirmation of this every single day.
Let your light shine
You can hide, literally allow this to freeze you into place. Or you can shine, grow, and serve your tribe. Whatever your fantastic skill is, get out and share it! If you are awesome and making people laugh, we could use that. Are you a nutritionist, start going live and connecting sharing ways to boost your immune system right now. If you are a mindset coach like me, get out there and be that voice of calm, be that flight attendant, that others are looking to for soothing and assurance.
Ready for REAL CHANGE?
If you need additional help removing blocks that are holding you back from living your best life you can contact me at www.janashort.com. I would love to offer you a free booklet to get started on your wellness journey, The Effects of Stress on the Body and Mind. Just remember you are not alone, what you are struggling with is real and there is a road home, you don’t have to walk that road alone anymore.