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Welcome Readers and Partners in Care

Welcome friends.

I hope you find this site helpful. I have created it to help you manage chronic pain or anxiety and stress. Please remember to heed your healthcare provider’s advice first before following my advice.

Good Luck. Judy

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Toxins and Inflammation

Two years into this pandemic and it does NOT feel like yesterday. It has certainly taken some getting used to, and I continue to struggle against the stress of the changes we face.

We all know stress is a toxin, but there are many other toxins out there that can cause inflammation and disease.

Repetitive injuries can be harmful and cause inflammation. If the body doesn’t have time to heal, or if the injuries are not dealt with properly, then the area of inflammation can spread to uninjured tissue, causing widespread pain.

Diseases can be toxic to your body. If you have an autoimmune disease, your body produces antibodies that can be toxic to your tissues. Diabetes leads to high glucose which is toxic to your body.

Some people are very sensitive to sugar and refined sugar can lead to inflammation, either directly to tissues or indirectly, by causing inflammation. It’s hard to cut back on sugar, especially when you have addictive genes. I find being satisfied with a mere bite of chocolate the holy grail. Oh, well . . .

Alcohol is another toxin. It is not equally dangerous for everyone. Those of us with complex PTSD or metabolic disease (often these go together), we are especially likely to develop disease from alcohol. Alcohol can damage nerves and the brain and it also attacks muscle. Nerve injury from alcohol can be very painful and affect one’s ability to walk properly.

Another toxin to the body is inactivity. The body becomes stiff and sore without proper movement. During the day, we should move at least every 20 minutes. When we wake in the morning, especially when we get older, we are often stiff and sore from not moving. It’s hard to move when you have pain and often you have to start with a minute or two every hour and slowly increase.

Complex PTSD often interferes with movement. If you are born with a heightened freeze response, you are more inclined to resist movement. Limbic system trauma can affect the motivation centres of our brain and this makes doing 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day rather like climbing mount Everest.

If your flight response is heightened, you may be more interested in doing other things rather than attending to your trauma. You could be more likely to focus on helping others, running around busily, rather than attending to your body’s needs. It’s a way to avoid facing our past traumas.

To help your body heal, you could try Ways to Calm Down. This program can help calm the Limbic system and lower inflammation.

There are many other toxic substances we encounter every day, either specifically toxic to us, or generally toxic. Even pain medications, like Tylenol, if taken regularly, can cause headaches.

I hope this website can help you find ways to stretch, breathe, pace, and heal.

Good luck on your journey to healing.

Judy

Treating Hypothyroidism

Low thyroid levels are fairly common especially in postmenopausal women.

Checking your thyroid levels is very important. Low thyroid levels for a long time can cause changes to skin, hair, and can make you feel tired and cold. You may even gain a little bit of weight or become constipated. It can even change your cholesterol levels.

If you doctor prescribes thyroid medications, your health care provider will check TSH levels. TSH is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. It comes from your pituitary gland in the Limbic system.

The TSH stimulates your thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone. If your thyroid levels are too much, your TSH level will be low. If your thyroid hormones from your thyroid gland or from your medication is too much, then your TSH will be very low.

Too much thyroid can be dangerous, especially over a long time. As you get older, your TSH levels should be a little higher – in other words your thyroid hormones a little lower – than when you are younger. Too much thyroid is more harmful to your body than too little.

Here is a great link to the THYROID GLAND.

I hope that makes sense.

Take care.

Judy

ABC of Pandemic

Thank you to Vancouver Sun for publishing my piece.

https://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/dr-judy-dercksen-the-abc-approach-to-managing-a-pandemic

Remember to get your booster shot as soon as you can. Take care

Judy

Resources for Healing Complex PTSD

Where to start? So many places and so little time. But, before we get to the resources, consider if you have overcome the first hurdle – accepting that you need help. That’s hard. I should know. It took me decades before I reached out to others to help me with my complex PTSD.

Asking for help is the next step. Shame can prevent you from reaching out. We’re taught to suck it up, buttercup. Or made to feel we’re no good. Who needs someone else confirming the lowest opinion we have of ourselves? Being so vulnerable may make us feel unsafe. When we have complex PTSD, most of us seek safety, and asking for help can feel unsafe. We can feel judged.

A friend could help overcome these barriers by accompanying you on a visit. Your healthcare provider could refer you to a mental health team, women’s resource center, or the Canadian Mental Health Association. You could have free access to these in Canada and don’t need to be referred.

The internet is a great tool. There are many sites that provide valuable free resources. 

Here are some links to tools to help you manage your symptoms of complex PTSD.

The Crappy Childhood Fairy

The CPTSD Foundation

Complex Trauma Resources

In this time of extreme stress, we need to reach out to others to help improve our quality of life.

Good luck.

Take care

Judy

 

 

 

 

BC Flooding and Safety

The flooding of BC is awful, people’s homes and belongings damaged or swept away. I feel for the residents and travelers and everyone affected by these floods. As if COVID isn’t enough!

At times like these, for those of us who have PTSD or complex PTSD, unease, or feelings of threat trigger a place in our brain where trauma is stored – we call these areas ‘nodes’. These nodes are activated in times of severe stress, and a person is then triggered back to the initial trauma that caused that node to form.

Because a ‘node’ stores trauma as if it is happening in the present, your body responds strongly. It can feel as if event or events are happening now, and the feelings can be as strong or nearly as strong as they were when they happened. Or, you could overreact to a stressor, like the flooding, when it is not directly impacting you.

The Body Keeps the Score, is a book by Bessel van der Kolk. He tells how our bodies are damaged by these stored memories. These events can also be from repetitive trauma, or feelings of neglect, in childhood.

It is so very important not to push these feelings away. Ignored, they can cause body diseases, like hypertension, diabetes, and other serious disease.

I have created a ‘safety program’ that you could try. Scroll past the top and you will see it introduced in purple. Safety First

There are many links to the brain center that reacts to stress, The Limbic System, and to Complex PTSD, and to PTSD.

Good luck. Stay safe.

Judy

September 30th Orange Shirt Day

This year, Canada will spend September the 30th recognizing the atrocities that occurred on residential schools.

Truth needs to be told through stories. We need to open our hearts and our minds to the stories of people who have suffered and who still suffer from personal and intergenerational trauma.

Please visit this site to support Orange Shirt Day. Here is another site for Orange Shirt Day.

Judy

Unvaccinated?

I understand COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Of course I do. Most of us who took the vaccine after only a year of study were troubled. I’m very glad I was able to have the vaccine, but I understand many people are still unconvinced.

I have a magnificent link you can use. Team Halo.

Team Halo are a group of scientists and healthcare professionals from around the world. They are volunteering their time and experience to bring you up to date facts on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.

It is part of a United Nations Initiative. There are many team members waiting to hear from you. 

Good Luck.

Judy

Feeling Forced to take COVID vaccine?

Many people are understandably anxious about being pushed to take the COVID – 19 – either in their workplace – where you stand to lose your work if you don’t take the COVID – 19 vaccine, or by pressure from others. On the other hand, you face taking something into your body that you don’t want. This is a very high threat and goes about issues of safety.

It feels wrong that control is being taken away from you especially around consent to do with your own body. If you don’t take the vaccine, you could lose your job and you also lose certain freedoms – cant go to clubs, restaurants, indoor meetings, you could lose friends who don’t agree with you. This is all very threatening.

When a person is threatened, one response is to withdraw. You become even more socially isolated which is terrible, especially in this time of stress. It causes depression because you don’t want to be around or work with people who don’t respect your boundaries or your feelings. All day long you are bombarded with people insisting you are wrong.

This is especially difficult after the news that AstraZeneca vaccine caused deaths. Even though the number of deaths were low, those people that died, were often young and would probably not have died of COVID. This makes the threat even higher. Why should you trust the pharmacy companies when one vaccine caused harm and we don’t have the long term outcomes of the other vaccines?

Most people would want more time to see what the long term outcomes are for COVID vaccines. Most people are sensibly wanting to wait it out. This vaccine came out really quickly – far quicker than any other vaccine and any other drug. No wonder we’re scared.

The news reports on any deaths related to vaccine are even more frightening, and many people feel they are being lied to about safety of the vaccine.

The Problem: We have never faced this situation before in our lifetimes. It’s been hundreds years since the Bubonic plague and 1918 was the last devastating flu epidemic that wiped out millions of people. In 1918, 500 Million people died of the flu virus and 1/3 of the population was infected.

Currently on worldometer.com there are over 217 million people infected with COVID-19 – although the cases in some parts of the world are very much under-reported. So far over 4 million and a half people have died of COVID, this does not include the number of people who couldn’t get proper care because the hospitals were overloaded, patients couldn’t be seen by doctors in time, cancers and other diseases have had late diagnoses. People are dying of poverty because they are losing jobs. These are only some of the consequences of the pandemic.

Lets look at that . The longer we wait to become fully immunized, the more harm is being done. The instinct is to believe our immune systems can cope, and, more often than not, you are right. Most people who get COVID have not died. Some don’t even know they had it. But – this is a big BUT. The virus has changed and with each new mutation it seems more aggressive. 6 times as many people in their 50s and 60s are dying from COVID than last year.

The longer COVID hangs around, the more dangerous it is becoming because it seems to be mutating and becoming stronger, more aggressive, more dangerous.

If vulnerable people have been vaccinated, why should I vaccinate? Good question. Great question actually. Many vulnerable people, the aged, those with cancer, those taking chemotherapy for cancer or rheumatoid arthritis, or other diseases, they don’t build enough immunity even if they take the vaccine.

Most people, if you take the vaccine, if you get COVID, which you can, your disease will be mild. But these vulnerable people, they don’t build immunity, and they can die even if they are vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, you can still carry the vaccine, but the more people who become vaccinated, the less infections we’ll have and the less spread.

Also, the more people who are vaccinated, the less we will fill the hospitals and ICUS and the less people will die because they didn’t have access to care.

Hundreds of millions of people are getting vaccinated in the developed countries. If we can win this war against COVID in the developed countries then we can vaccinate the rest the world who can’t afford it.

Freedom: There were many of us who chose to have the vaccine, even though we were terrified, even though we took the vaccine not for ourselves, but to protect others. We took the medicine to protect our loved ones and other vulnerable people. Don’t we have the right to protect ourselves then from people who chose to remain unvaccinated? Don’t we have the right not to want to associate with people who aren’t taking the risks we took for others.

I didn’t want the vaccine. I took the vaccine because I wanted to protect my patients. Many of my patients, young patients, didn’t want to take the vaccine. They took it to protect their grandparents and diabetic and other vulnerable family members.

It is your choice not to have the vaccine. But it is also the choice of employers and other employees to protect themselves from unvaccinated people.

In this battle against COVID, you can’t stand on the sidelines. You have to choose. Yourself or others.

YOURSELF OR OTHERS?

All the best

Judy

Shame and Trauma

I receive comments from readers that show me how often trauma and shame are linked.

Chronic pain and trauma can make a person feel helpless and this causes shame. Sometimes people blame themselves for accidents or for behaviours that lead to injury. Often we behave in certain ways that are reckless or even self-sabotaging because of trauma.

Trauma causes the body to react in ways that are automatic. A stress response is an automatic response. It can be flight or fight, but often the response is a freeze response. A person can’t be blamed for an automatic response when it is linked to survival. People with complex PTSD, PTSD, and a history of recurrent trauma are often stuck in this state.

Sometimes you can be so overwhelmed or so frozen, that you feel the need to hurt yourself. It is very difficult to find a state of calm when you feel this way. The more overwhelmed you are, the more help you need. And the harder it is to find help. When you are overwhelmed, even therapists and health care providers often find it difficult to help you.

When your body is so overwhelmed, either with pain, or with emotion, the Limbic system switches on the alarm center and this causes pain and emotion to be even worse. The worst kind of pain is pain from nerves – burning, hypersensitivity, numbness, tingling, pain worse at night, pain even at the lightest touch. This pain needs special care and is hard to treat. I have addressed some of these issues in Nerve Pain.

It is very difficult to use any of these tools – even watching videos – when your body and brain are screaming in agony. I suggest watching a video for a minute or two then stepping away and practising breathing (Step 2) and then trying the Daily Program.

I hope you find health care providers that can help.

All the best

Judy

Other Effects of COVID-19 – feeling unsafe

In the midst of a pandemic, there is reason to feel unsafe, not only from the virus itself, but from the consequences of social isolation, and also from the division that has occurred between groups of people who put their trust in science and those who have a distrust of third world medicine and pharmacies.

 Feeling safe is vital for health. When we don’t feel safe, our body’s alarm centre goes off. This alarm centre is meant to protect us, but because the danger is complicated, it’s not a rhino thundering across a veld towards us – we don’t have something physical to run from, (or somewhere to run to for safety), the alarm centre hurts us.

If our alarm system stays on, chaos follows. Imagine how you would feel if your house alarm goes off, you are inside, and you can’t shut it off. How would you feel staying inside your home with that alarm ringing 24 hours out of 24?

Dr. Stephen Porges is an expert on this subject. This video is long, but well worth watching. Below it, my shorter video. 

 

I am missing hugs and personal contact, but I have found Zoom and other social contacts through Slack immensely helpful.

Reach out for help if you are struggling. I have some resources On-Line and also my Daily Program has additional information as I learn more about tools that could prove helpful to you.

Good luck. Stay safe

Judy