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Archive for the ‘Disassociation’ Category

I’m getting closer to publishing my next memoir, Healing The Writer. I put it on my website today as “Coming Soon,” with the front cover I plan to use. DanLHays.com

The woman who edited my first book said she thought this would be one of the most powerful books I would ever publish. I didn’t get it at the time, but I’m beginning to understand what she meant. I’m about to read the whole manuscript for the first time. I published the first 29 chapters on Life As A Human magazine, but have been letting them get cold while I wrote the final chapters.

Book Cover Cropped

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I had a remarkable radio interview tonight with Kate Loving Shenk.  We explored my healing journey, and my upcoming book Healing The Writer.  Listen at the end, when Kate gives me a direction that had been sitting there in front of me, but I hadn’t seen it yet.  Helping other people with creative blocks, based on my experience. The picture is me at age 19 – and I’m reclaiming that creative soul!

Here’s a link to the radio show:

My Healing Journey

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I spent a lot of time walking around Houston in the middle ’80s with many of the symptoms of PTSD, and didn’t know it.  I was having flashbacks – of occurrences I didn’t remember.  I felt like the man in the Bourne Identity with amnesia, who was getting glimpses of his past – a past he could not recall.  Sometimes it was like feeling memories – like I was somewhere else living through something.  But I had no idea what was going on, and it was terribly frustrating and confusing.

I would disassociate under stress – I would emotionally numb out, feel like I was up in a corner of the room watching events, totally apart from what was happening.  I had a sleep pattern where I would go to bed at 11 PM nice and tired, suddenly pop awake and be wide awake until 3 AM.  I had outbursts of anger that were way out of proportion to the event that might have triggered my explosion.  I had hypervigilance – I called it my “on patrol” mentality, where I was alert with all my threat detectors going off – but not sure why.  I had an exaggerated startle response – slip up behind me and poke me in the ribs and I was like someone jolted with electricity.  I had stomach problems a lot, feelings of guilt and shame, feelings of betrayal, suicidal thoughts, struggles with substance abuse.

I had all these things going on, and one time in the library found a discussion of this thing called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – only recently recognized as a formal diagnosis.  The short definition was – exposure to a traumatic event in which the person experienced, witnessed or was confronted with an event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, and the person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness or horror.  That definition, with all the associated symptoms, sure looked like what I was experiencing.

The puzzling thing was – I didn’t have a traumatic event I could point to that might have triggered all of those symptoms.

That was the state I was in when the events in my book “Freedom’s Just Another Word” began.

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