Tigger_flowers Tigger_flowers Tigger_flowers

Ooops I meant triggers!

What are they?

They are situations or things, sometimes they can even be people’s behavior, which actually “re-trigger” an emotional reaction to a past traumatic event. So, when you are triggered, you are really not responding to the present situation, but you are responding as if you were now in the past and the past situation was recurring, and usually it is a very strong reaction. This sounds so weird and so surreal, but it really can happen. Until recently I didn’t know what they were or that I was capable of being “triggered.” I guess I could get angry at my parents, it is the trauma that both of them caused me that is now being triggered. Yes, I am angry, that not only did they abuse me in the past, but even now, 50 years later, I am still paying for it. How is that any kind of justice at all? Oh, well, I’ll get over the anger, because what I really want to do is to find a way to stop being triggered, by anything at all. That means people, places, situations, or things.

I have come to realize that my trigger is always when I feel (even if I really didn’t do anything) I have done something wrong, messed up totally, and now my friends or relations will leave me. This comes from having been afraid and panic stricken that I caused my father to leave, it is the fear in me that I did something wrong, made a mistake and due to that my father left and never had anything to do with me again. That is a fear from when I was 4-5 years old and some things trigger it and then my response to these innocuous things is extreme. My response is not to the things that trigger it, it is a re-trigger of the intense abandonment feelings I must have felt when my father left. Also, my baby brother Farooq’s departure was not easy and probably contributed to my trauma.

I’ve been reading all day about triggers, although I’d have preferred reading about Tiggers, haha 🙂

All the psychologists, therapists, and mental health websites are very encouraging, saying that these responses can be understood and overcome!

“1in6.org Getting Triggered” (1) says the following, and it is very, very optimistic and hopeful: Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to greatly increase your awareness of your own unique triggers, and of what happens in your mind and body when particular things trigger you. With that foundation of awareness and understanding in place, you can learn how to avoid simply responding as you always did in the past, and instead respond in new and much more healthy ways.

Also, I found a book called “Outsmart Your Brain: How to Make Success Feel Easy”                (http://outsmartyourbrain.com/outsmart-your-brain-how-to-make-success-feel-easy/)

This is a book about how to control your emotions so you can be successful in your personal life as well as your work environment. I have it on my Kindle reader and have started reading it, I will post about the book after I’m done.

The blurb says: “Change your thoughts, you change your behavior” has long been the mantra for the personal growth movement. Yet no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to stop the negative mental chatter that leads to needless arguing, tension, frustration, and eventually a numbing process that restricts access to our joy and passion.

What is the reason we can’t stop the noise? We are under the spell of our over-protective brains.

To feel more energy, stimulate creativity, increase persuasive powers and live healthier, more joyful lives, you have to wage war against your brain. Once you know how your brain works, you can harness the processes and consciously choose how you want to feel and act. Knowing how to shift emotional states at will is the most important factor in achieving success and happiness. Outsmart Your Brain! is full of exercises, examples and guidelines that teach you how to tap into your hidden mental powers to make better decisions and influence those around you to create the results you desire.

Learn how your brain works, then outsmart it.

I am seriously so sick of my unruly emotions and getting carried away by them that I will do whatever it takes to get them under my control. I don’t care what it’s called, being triggered, PTSD, trauma, what ever, it’s just going to have to go away and I will be in control of my own emotions, as god is my witness, I will! I am really serious. I am talking to my therapist, I am still doing “inner child” work… I am still doing breathing exercises, whatever it takes, I am going to do, whatever it takes to successfully deal with my emotions, heal, and be a normal effing person!


(1) https://1in6.org/men/get-information/online-readings/self-regulation-and-addictions/getting-triggered/

Suddenly In Defense or Survival Mode

When triggers hit, they’re usually unexpected and beyond your control.

And what usually happens next, right after the trigger: You react with old ‘defenses’ or ‘survival strategies’ that are no longer helpful or healthy (if they ever were), and that only make things worse.

Some simple examples of triggers and the ‘conditioned responses’ they unleash:

  • Someone criticizes something you’ve said or done, and you instantly get defensive and angry, then verbally go on the attack.
  • Someone criticizes something you’ve said or done, and you instantly feel crushed and defeated, then go silent and try to ‘disappear.’
  • Walking into your childhood home, your body suddenly tenses up and your eyes scan for threats.

The Nature of Triggers

Triggers can be totally obvious, like someone touching you sexually when you don’t want or expect it, or someone threatening you or clearly trying to take advantage of you.

Triggers can be obvious or subtle, in our awareness or not.

Or they can be subtle, like someone making a mildly sarcastic comment that reminds you of mean and shaming things a parent used to say, or someone giving you a look that seems to have some contempt in it.

Triggers aren’t always about other people and what they say or do. They can be something like a faint smell of alcohol (that used to be on the breath of an abuser). They could be the shape of a man’s moustache, a style of clothing, a wallpaper pattern, or the sound of a slamming door. They can be an ‘anniversary’ date of a traumatic event like an abuse experience or someone’s death.

What are triggers for a particular man depends on his unique experiences of being vulnerable and hurt in his life, and the unique details of the situations in which those experiences occurred.

The trigger is always real. By definition, a trigger is something that reminds you of something bad or hurtful from your past. It ‘triggers’ an association or memory in your brain.

But sometimes you are imagining that what’s happening now is actually like what happened back then, when in reality it’s hardly similar at all, or it just reminds you because you’re feeling vulnerable in a way you did when that bad thing happened in the past.

Just as triggers range from obvious to subtle, sometimes we’re aware of them and sometimes we’re not. Your body may suddenly freak out with a racing heart and feeling of panic, but you have no idea what set off that reaction. You may suddenly feel enraged in a slightly tense conversation, but be unable to point to anything in particular that made you angry. Sometimes you can figure it out later (for example in therapy), and sometimes not.

Also, though we may not realize that we just got triggered, or why, it can be obvious to someone who knows us well, like a partner, friend, or therapist. When you feel comfortable doing so, with someone you really trust, it can be very helpful to talk over situations where you seemed to over-react.

Triggers that involve other people’s behavior are often connected to ways that we repeat unhealthy relationship patterns learned in childhood. Things that other people do – especially people close to us and especially in situations of conflict – remind us of hurtful things done to us in the past. Then we respond as if we’re defending ourselves against those old vulnerabilities, hurts, or traumas.

But our responses usually just trigger vulnerable feelings in the other person, as well as their own old self-defense patterns, and we both end up repeating the unhealthy relationship patterns we that fear and don’t want in our lives.

As noted above, other common triggers include ‘anniversaries,’ that is, dates or holidays that remind you, at some level, of traumatic experiences, of how your family wasn’t and isn’t so happy and loving, etc.

Triggers’ Power and Effects

The power of a trigger depends on how closely it resembles a past situation or relationship, how painful or traumatic that situation or relationships was, and the state of your body and brain when the triggering happens.

Reactions can be big and fast, or creep up on you slowly.

If you’re feeling very calm and safe, the reaction will be much less than if you’re feeling anxious and afraid. If you’re feeling little support or trust in a relationship, your reactions to triggering behaviors by the other person will be much greater.

A trigger can bring out feelings, memories, thoughts, and behaviors.

Other people might have no idea that you’ve been triggered, but you could be struggling with terrible memories in your head. Or you could suddenly have all kinds of negative thoughts and beliefs about the other person and/or yourself, like, ‘I never should have trusted her,’ ‘Every woman will stab you in the heart,’ ‘What a loser I am,’ etc.

Reactions to triggers can be very dramatic and rapid, like lashing out at someone who says the wrong thing or looks at you the wrong way. In these cases, your brain has entered a ‘fight or flight’ state and the part of your brain that you need to think clearly, to remember your values and what’s important to you, and to reflect on your own behavior, is effectively shut down.

But responses to triggers can also creep up on you, playing out over hours and days, and get worse over time.

You may find yourself depressed and retreating from any contact with friends, or drinking a lot more every night, or smoking way more cigarettes than usual. You may find youself getting lost in TV, videogames, or pornography. Days later you may wonder, ‘Woah, how did I get back intothis?’

Awareness and Learning = Freedom and Control

Basically, if you’re reacting to someone or something much more intensely than seems to make sense, then the situation has triggered something deeper and older in your brain. You’re not reacting to what’s actually happening in the here and now, and you’re certainly not acting freely.

You can change how you respond to triggers.

Instead, you’re feeling and acting, however consciously or unconsciously, as if you’re ‘back there’ in that old painful or traumatic experience, on autopilot and enslaved by old conditioning.

Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to greatly increase your awareness of your own unique triggers, and of what happens in your mind and body when particular things trigger you. With that foundation of awareness and understanding in place, you can learn how to avoid simply responding as you always did in the past, and instead respond in new and much more healthy ways.

In this way, you can free yourself from deeply ingrained conditioning, actually rewiring your brain to respond in new and much healthier ways to the inevitable triggers we all encounter in our lives and relationships.

For many men, understanding and reconditioning their responses to triggers will require, or be greatly speeded up, by help from a therapist or counselor. There are also self-help resources available, including those mentioned under Additional Resources below.


There are many reasons one can develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) Previously known as shell shock, tells you that soldiers on the battle field, when they came home developed it. War is an awful, sick thing, and what soldiers see and experience in war is something NO ONE should ever have to be a part of.

Soldiers get flashbacks, where they might have nightmares about or feel as though those horrible, traumatic events are happening again.

They have massive amounts of anxiety and fear and may have panic attacks.

They have a much stronger and more easily activatable startle response.

They can dissociate, where they feel and react as if the things that were happening to them during war, are happening again.

Sometimes, they live in the same fear and terror they experienced in the war.

They may even become agoraphobic, or develop other phobias.

They may use substances or activities to quell their fears, sometimes becoming addicts.

They may experience feelings of great distress and have intense physical reactions.

They may have trouble sleeping, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, feeling jumpy and being easily startled, and being hypervigilant ( constantly on “red alert”).

This is what happens to soldiers when they come home from wars. But it happens to other people as well. It can happen to people who have been assaulted. It can happen to people who were involved in a terrorist attack. It can happen to people who have experienced the death of a loved one and it can happen to people who were abused as children. That’s my category. After reading about PTSD, I realize that I have been living with many of its symptoms. “Dissociation”, hypervigilance, irritability or anger, reacting like a disaster is happening when it truly is not, having HUGE over reactions to some events. Another thing I think I can attribute to my PTSD is the need to control things and always having butterflies in my stomach and being fearful. And always waiting for the other shoe to drop. The childhood abuse that happened to me robbed me of my peace of mind. It made my mind hypervigilant and anxious, always on alert for the next awful thing that was going to happen. And now, sometimes, I have realized that I even dissociate and react to events, benign events, as though I was being abused again, over reacting 😦 This abuse robbed me of my childhood. Well, that’s one thing I’m never getting back. But I can get back my peace of mind, the inner child work I’ve done and continue to do has helped with that. What else can help? Well here’s a self help list:

Spending time in nature

Mindful breathing


Listening to uplifting music


Invoking relaxation response and often

Socializing and connecting with people

Vocal toning (!) making a mmmm sound until you experience a pleasant sound, seriously, I found it on the internet… so it must work… ;;-)

Taking care of yourself, avoiding drugs and alcohol.


Support group

There’s even a mobile PTSD App! http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/materials/apps/PTSDCoach.asp

Basically all things and anything that will increase your relaxation response and decrease anxiety. And for me, of course, reading about abandonment, child abuse, and taking care of my inner child (which I think is the same as your fight or flight response) has been instrumental in my healing process!

Here’s something I found on: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/treatment/cope/

Self-Help Options

  • PTSD Coach: Mobile App
    With you when you need it, PTSD Coach is a free iPhone app that can help you learn about and manage symptoms that commonly occur after trauma. Also available for Android.
  • Lifestyle Changes Recommended for PTSD Patients
    Discusses changes in your way of life that can help with PTSD.
  • Mindfulness Practice in the Treatment of Traumatic Stress
    Discusses changes in your way of life that can help with PTSD.
  • Mindfulness Coach
    Grounding yourself in the present moment can help you cope better with unpleasant thoughts and emotions. The Mindfulness Coach app will help you do this.
  • Peer Support Groups
    Describes peer support groups and gives suggestions on how to locate a group to help those diagnosed with PTSD or caring for someone with PTSD.
  • Dogs and PTSD
    Describes dogs as pets, service animals, and emotional support animals and discusses what is known about the role of dogs in PTSD recovery.
  • PTSD, Work, and Your Community
    Explains why people who do not understand PTSD may treat you differently (stigma). Read about how you can use community services or a job to change their minds.

You can also get professional help as in a therapist, who might do CBT, or Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, or Psychodynamic Therapy. Medication such as SSRI’s (if you don’t have bipolar d/o) may also be used.

A NAMI story of recovery from PTSD


 As I voraciously read and search for ways to heal myself from the abuse and abandonment I was put through as a child and the ensuing PTSD, I am so grateful and inspired to find stories like this, of recovery from the same things I struggle with. These stories give me so much hope that one day soon, I too will be whole and healthy and no longer in pain. Also, I learnt about Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) which I plan to learn more about. Thank you brave soul, for fighting and being stronger than your abuse, and for posting your story. Bravo!

Personal StoriesPTSD: My Metaphorical Experience

Imagine riding a new red bicycle. You are gracefully balanced and cruising down the neighborhood. Your bike has all the amenities for a fun ride- working petals, a nice fancy horn, and colorful pom-poms blowing in the wind. Now imagine riding that same bicycle with one petal broken, and a tire slightly deflated- you still can move, but it takes more effort, and you are losing speed. At the beginning of my diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder, sometimes it felt like there was a nail in the tire of my bicycle, and no matter how hard I kept pedaling and moving my legs, the air still slowly deflated the tire, eventually leaving me at a standstill.

Coming to terms with my diagnosis, finally met acknowledging my painful past, in hopes of a brighter future. After avoiding the trauma for so long, it finally made its way back to me, in the form of an expiration of the statute of limitations this past December. I could no longer avoid the deep pain I felt of injustice, fear, and victimization. My tire didn’t just pop, it exploded, with chunks of rubber left as remnants on the ground.
Deciding to do Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) was one of the bravest things I have ever done. Facing my past head on and allowing myself to truly process and heal from the assault was incredibly difficult. I have never cried so much, felt so much and simply allowed my emotions to be there. It was a very raw and emotional experience. As the weeks passed by I felt myself start to grow stronger, with a new strength of resilience and hope. I felt like I finally was able to give my pain and trauma the grieving that it deserved; its own rite of passage.
As more time went on, I started to become a new person. A person that realized that it was okay to be sad, to feel emotions, to look at the past and acknowledge what happened. I knew that it would no longer break me and that I could move forward in an honorable way. Through this experience I now know how strong and brave I am- and that my trauma is only a small piece of my autobiography, not the narrative. As I move forward, I can see a bright future filled with dreams and goals that I hope to accomplish. As I step forward, I now see that my bicycle is no longer broken in a way that slows me down- it is resilient and powerful. As the tire remnants are pieced together carefully one by one, they have created a stronger tire that no longer will deflate when it hits screws or nails in the road- making it an incredible bike with history.
I now stand incredibly humbled of how far I have come, knowing that this is just the beginning of incredible things to come. I am forever indebted to my family and friends, thank you for being there, for sitting right with me with my pain, for holding my hand when I knew it was painful for you to see my trauma. I can never thank you enough for believing in me, and for allowing me to finally believe in myself. For helping me to not be ashamed of PTSD and the experiences that I have been through, but being proud of the person that I am, the person that I have become. Your kindness and support is the greatest gift you could ever give to me. The greatest gift I gave myself was recovery.

Understanding the Pain of Abandonment and Abuse

Here are two things I found on the Internet, the first one is from a treatment facility website and the second one is a sort of abbreviated child abandonment 101, which includes physical abuse.  Yes, folks, here is my history, written out in black and white. The bold ones are mine.  I own them, or have owned them in the past. Lovely way to have been brought up, can not thank my parents enough. The damage was done to me and now I am responsible for reversing it. Well I damn well am going to reverse it. One way or another I am going to! Everyone tells me it can be done, but no one has yet told me how. It’s as if they are guarding some huge secret. But I will find out how and I will do it. I know I have the strength and the perseverance. I’m going to call the place below called the Refuge. If their rates aren’t too exorbitant, I may check myself in there, after my play. And hopefully, out will come a new and improved version of Samina.


Treatment For Abandonment & Attachment

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD of Abandonment

Treatment Options for Abandonment Trauma at The Refuge

Continuing Care- What Comes Next?

Fear of abandonment is among the most anxiety-provoking situations in childhood. When parents get home late from work or suddenly leave town, a child may feel mounting anxiety and fear about their parent’s safety. Children feel an emotional attachment to their parents and feel insecure if this is absent; often going to extraordinary lengths to re-establish it. The loss of a parent due to death or divorce often causes a child’s fear of abandonment to intensify, often well into adulthood. When a child grows up with an absent parent, they may have feelings of grief and blame themselves for their parent’s absence. When the child is completely deprived of any contact with his or her parent, they may attribute parental abandonment as a result of something the child did or did not do. Young children are egotistical, believing they are the cause for events in which there is no logical connection.

The damage caused by parental abandonment is particularly devastating if it happens before the child understands that he or she is not be responsible for others actions. If this happens, the child grows up with the belief that there’s something wrong with them that makes them unlovable. While the remaining parent may be able to provide emotional support and help the child develop a healthy sense of self-esteem, oftentimes very young children will still believe they are at fault.
Other types of childhood trauma can also lead to abandonment anxiety, such as childhood abuse, neglect, parental substance abuse, depression, or other mental disorders that parents unavailable can lead to long-term abandonment trauma.

Abandonment and Attachment
Children are born hardwired to become attached to caretakers which is critical for adult functioning and the development of interpersonal relationships. Childhood abandonment – real or perceived – causes problems forming secure attachments which can set the stage for poor quality of later relationships. Children who do not form secure attachments to their caregivers face challenges socializing with peers; the way most children learn social behaviors. Fear of abandonment is not found exclusively in childhood and can be seen in adults as well. Some adults who experienced childhood abandonment feel the effects and struggle to form satisfying relationships throughout their lifetime. A lack of a social support network deprives them of resiliency factors that provide protection from stress and a coping mechanism for handling the hardships in life.
While there are many effects of child abandonment, the hidden danger is that the person may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of long-term attachment issues, ongoing fear of abandonment, and lack of a supportive social network. Since an adult struggling with childhood abandonment has been silently enduring the psychological, emotional, and physical effects of abandonment for years, they may not realize that their feelings can be changed.
Signs and Symptoms of PTSD of Abandonment
The symptoms of PTSD related to early abandonment can significantly impact a person’s daily life, activities, and stress levels. Symptoms of abandonment trauma may include:
Mood Symptoms:
Intrusive, debilitating anxiety

Chronic feelings of insecurity

Chronic depression

Decreased self-esteem

Feelings of loss of control over life



Obsessive thinking and intrusive thoughts about the abandonment

Behavioral Symptoms:

Attraction to those who are unavailable to re-enact of the original abandonment
Heightened emotional responses related to abandonment triggers, such as feeling slighted, criticized, or excluded

Vulnerability in social situations

Emotional flashbacks from the time of abandonment/abuse

Addiction to self-medicate

Hyper-vigilance related to perceived threat similar to original trauma

Panic attacks related to unconscious triggers

Treatment Options for Abandonment Trauma at The Refuge

The severe, long-term consequences of childhood abandonment should be addressed as soon as possible; however this does not always happen. A child may grow not knowing there is an alternative to the way they feel. If PTSD does develop, these individuals may take it in stride, failing to identify the symptoms. These people may feel hopeless; that their future won’t be any better than their present or their past. Many have come to believe that they caused the abandonment and deserve to live a life of misery.
If you feel that you are in crisis, or are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.
While the fear of abandonment is a normal in childhood, at The Refuge, we know that there are many people who experienced actual or perceived abandonment during their development which may, in some people, become PTSD. Our PTSD and trauma treatment program includes a variety of therapeutic options to help process your early experiences and connect these with the ways this trauma has led to life-long difficulties. You deserve a life filled with happiness and the support of friends and family. Our compassionate, caring staff will provide you with empathy, treatment, and experiential methods allowing you to travel the path toward the life you want to live. We will show you how to accept your experiences as unchangeable and move past them. We’ll work with you to develop trust with techniques to aid in establishing and maintaining fulfilling relationships. We use empirically-validated therapeutic approaches, as well as experiential techniques to help you begin to heal.

Treatment approaches to abandonment trauma include:
Interpersonal therapy (IPT): focuses on social relationships and re-establishing normal roles in your life. This may include trusting others, increasing low self-esteem, setting emotional boundaries, increasing intimacy, an strengthening social situations. The goals of IPT is to help individuals establish a sense of mastery and control over life through establishing interpersonal relationships. We may use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to teach you to identify inaccurate thoughts and learn to replace them with positive, accurate thoughts. Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) integrates various strategies and validates your experiences, stabilizes your negative emotions, and helps you cope with stress. You will learn to accept your experiences, view them without emotion, and establish a plan to move past them.
Group therapy: We provide a variety of group therapy options at The Refuge. Our process groups will allow you to process your experiences while our psychoeducational groups will educate you about your difficulties, treatment, and other topics. The benefit of group therapy is that you will find you are not alone in what you’ve gone through and will be with peers who understand first-hand your experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
Intensive family therapy – Family Week: Families and loved ones are crucial in supporting you during your recovery. It can be difficult for those who’ve experienced abandonment to identify loved ones they feel comfortable involving in their therapy. We encourage you to identify at least one person in your life that you trust and will likely remain a stable presence in your life. Helping your loved one understand your experiences, disorder, treatment, and aftercare plan can help them understand you better and improve your relationship.
At The Refuge, we use a variety of methods to engage the senses as we are a holistic treatment center. Some of the sensation-based, experiential techniques we use include:

Art therapy

Creative expression

Ropes courses

Equine therapy

Music therapy

Dramatic experiencing


Sharing assignments and journal entries with the group and gaining feedback

Continuing Care- What Comes Next?

During your time with us, we’ll learn much about you and the trauma you’ve experienced, which allows your treatment team to identify the most appropriate aftercare options. Many people choose an outpatient setting with a high level of structure such as our partial hospitalization program (PHP). This program allows you to focus on your treatment during the day while slowly integrating back into our community. Other people may feel they’ve made enough progress with us to discharge home with referrals to traditional outpatient therapy and community resources. Whatever the next step on your journey, The Refuge will support you the whole


Claudia Black M.S.W., Ph.D.
The Many Faces of Addiction

Understanding the Pain of Abandonment

Living with repeated abandonment experiences creates toxic shame.

When children are raised with chronic loss, without the psychological or physical protection they need and certainly deserve, it is most natural for them to internalize incredible fear. Not receiving the necessary psychological or physical protection equals abandonment. And, living with repeated abandonment experiences creates toxic shame. Shame arises from the painful message implied in abandonment: “You are not important. You are not of value.” This is the pain from which people need to heal.
For some children abandonment is primarily physical. Physical abandonment occurs when the physical conditions necessary for thriving have been replaced by:
lack of appropriate supervision
inadequate provision of nutrition and meals

inadequate clothing, housing, heat, or shelter

physical and/or sexual abuse

Children are totally dependent on caretakers to provide safety in their environment. When they do not, they grow up believing that the world is an unsafe place, that people are not to be trusted, and that they do not deserve positive attention and adequate care.

Emotional abandonment occurs when parents do not provide the emotional conditions and the emotional environment necessary for healthy development. I like to define emotional abandonment as “occurring when a child has to hide a part of who he or she is in order to be accepted, or to not be rejected.”
Having to hide a part of yourself means:
it is not okay to make a mistake.
it is not okay to show feelings, being told the way you feel is not true. “You have nothing to cry about and if you don’t stop crying I will really give you something to cry about.” “That really didn’t hurt.” “You have nothing to be angry about.”

it is not okay to have needs. Everyone else’s needs appear to be more important than yours.

it is not okay to have successes. Accomplishments are not acknowledged, are many times discounted.

Other acts of abandonment occur when:

Children cannot live up to the expectations of their parents. These expectations are often unrealistic and not age-appropriate.
Children are held responsible for other people’s behavior. They may be consistently blamed for the actions and feelings of their parents.

Disapproval toward children is aimed at their entire beings or identity rather than a particular behavior, such as telling a child he is worthless when he does not do his homework or she is never going to be a good athlete because she missed the final catch of the game.

Many times abandonment issues are fused with distorted, confused, or undefined boundaries such as:

When parents do not view children as separate beings with distinct boundaries
When parents expect children to be extensions of themselves
When parents are not willing to take responsibility for their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, but expect children to take responsibility for them
When parents’ self-esteem is derived through their child’s behavior
When children are treated as peers with no parent/child distinction
Abandonment plus distorted boundaries, at a time when children are developing their sense of worth, is the foundation for the belief in their own inadequacy and the central cause of their shame.
Abandonment experiences and boundary violations are in no way indictments of a child’s innate goodness and value. Instead, they reveal the flawed thinking, false beliefs, and impaired behaviors of those who hurt them. Still, the wounds are struck deep in their young hearts and minds, and the very real pain can still be felt today. The causes of emotional injury need to be understood and accepted so they can heal. Until that occurs, the pain will stay with them, becoming a driving force in their adult lives.


“Child abuse produces damaging effects in bipolar patients.” Yes, true, but I am healing from all that!

Duh! People with bipolar d/o who have been abused as children develop the illness more than four years earlier than the not abused ones. They are twice as likely to attempt suicide and four times as likely to have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

But no suicide attempts here, not in the past, not in the present, and most definitely not in the future. I have too much to live for, my son, my family, and my friends and even my Flufffluff! However, I am certain I do suffer from PTSD. Some events throw me into a firestorm of fight or flight and I act so out of character and so extreme, that after the storm passes, I am just left shaking my head and saying “Was that really me?” No it wasn’t the true, the real me, it was me under the influence of active PTSD. I think along with healing the abandonment issues with the techniques I am using, breathing, feeling the past pain, talk therapy, I will also diminish the effect of the PTSD resulting from child abuse. All this will allow my true self, which is warm, caring, loving, understanding, and patient to emerge and stay. These healing modalities will allow the abandonment anxiety and the abuse PTSD to hopefully mostly go away.

I have a small proof that they are working, last night we went to dinner, and after we got home, I couldn’t find my phone. Now normally, I would literally have been beside myself, I mean sitting beside myself, my fight or flight in the full on position, as if a massive lion was attacking me. BUT last night, I CALMLY went downstairs and looked for my phone in my car, not there. I CALMLY called the restaurant and asked if someone had turned in a phone, no. I remained calm and remembered I had the “find your phone” App, and used it on my computer, turns out it was in my condo, the sound was turned off. And I CALMLY found it! I noticed my calmness as all this was going on, it was a new feeling, to not be in full fight or flight mode. It was a new feeling, to BE OK!

I have other small victories, I was getting very anxious about an important issue in my life, and I was going to email out of that anxiety, but I calmed myself down (breathing) and talked my self out of acting out of anxiety. Something I wouldn’t have been able to do even 2 weeks ago. 

So I am learning, I am learning. And if I can learn, so can we all!


Child abuse produces damaging effects in bipolar patients

London: Childhood abuse and neglect can lead to a range of negative outcomes in patients with bipolar disorder, warns a study.
Bipolar patients with a history of childhood maltreatment developed the depressive mental condition more than four years earlier than patients with no history of maltreatment, revealed the study.

In addition, they were almost twice as likely to attempt suicide and nearly four times more likely to have a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. Also, up to 15 percent of people with bipolar disorder die by suicide, the research, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, showed.

“Our findings have important implications for clinical practice, as they suggest that a history of childhood maltreatment could be used as an early indicator of high risk for poor outcomes among individuals with bipolar disorder,” said Jessica Agnew-Blais, post-doctoral researcher at King’s College London.
Bipolar patients with a history of childhood maltreatment have more severe manic, depressive and psychotic symptoms; higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, and substance and alcohol misuse disorders; earlier onset of symptoms; more frequent manic and depressive episodes; and higher risk of suicide attempt, the researchers elucidated.

One in every 25 adults is diagnosed with bipolar disorder at some point in their life. The disorder is characterised by periods or episodes of feeling very low and lethargic (depression) or of feeling very high and overactive (mania), the researchers said.
It is important to identify bipolar patients with the greatest clinical need and risk as early as possible, in order to ensure that they receive the most timely and effective interventions to reduce their risk of poor outcomes, the researchers suggested.

Maltreatment in the form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or neglect, affects one in five children under 18 in Britain and is known to be highly prevalent in bipolar patients (up to 60 percent).



The horror of combat is something many veterans live with, but a new study at UCLA is underway to see if administering mild electrical currents into the brain can reset its networks for those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

One Gardena veteran said this new research is giving him hope.

On May 3, 2006, retired Army Sgt. Ron Ramirez was on night patrol in Iraq when a roadside bomb blew up under his truck.

“I saw a bright light. I couldn’t see and I couldn’t hear,” he said.

The machine gunner suffered a traumatic brain injury and a perforated ear drum.

While his body has healed, “invisible wounds” continued to haunt him.

He’d have night terrors and couldn’t sleep. His violent outbursts scared his 12 and 13-year-old daughters and everyone he was close to.

“I would yell. I’d throw things. I couldn’t see it,” Ramirez said. “Everyone else told me there was something wrong, but I couldn’t see it.”

Ramirez said he tried to avoid people as crowds over-stimulated him and noises often set him off.

A year after the explosion, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychotherapy and medication did little to alleviate the anxiety, nightmares and anger.

Soon after, Ramirez heard about a new study for veterans with PTSD.

Researchers at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience are studying how stimulating a nerve on the side of the face, called the trigeminal nerve, might reset brainwaves.

Dr. Andrew Leuchter said TNS therapy has been used to treat epilepsy and depression, but it holds great promise in treating chronic PTSD.

According to Dr. Leuchter, the brains of people who go through a traumatic event in some ways get rewired.

“What we’re doing with TNS is we’re sending electrical signals that can help reset the function of the brain networks that can help them get over their illness,” he said.

Doctors say many people don’t realize that the language of the brain is electricity, and it doesn’t take a lot to make a change.

The current of this device is similar to that of a nine-volt battery.

Researchers say from what they can tell, it’s very safe, very effect and has very few side effects.

Dr. Leuchter is working with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to recruit more veterans who’ve served since 9/11.

Half of the vets will receive the treatment, while the other half will get a fake TNS patch to test the placebo effect.

Meanwhile, Ramirez continues his treatment as he places an electrode on his forehead and sleeps with the device.

After using the TNS therapy for two months, Ramirez said he feels like he can win his family back.

“It gave me more confidence,” he said. “It gave me a sense of happiness.”

For veterans interested in learning more about this trial, they can go to brain.ucla.edu and click the “contact us” link to get more information.

My last post, definitely PTSD


Ok, my last post, definitely PTSD. I react just as wildly as my son does to his problems. I react with the unbridled fear of losing him. There I said it, that is truly what I am terrified of, losing my beautiful, super intelligent, loving, compassionate son. I am terrified of the unknown. And the PTSD comes from the past, from the known, from losing my brother to bipolar 1. From the biggest tragedy in mine and my family’s life. Is it going to happen again? Unknown. And the unknown, mixed with a terrible, fearsome known, the past, is not easy to live with.

But although my son has an initially extreme reaction, he calms down and takes care of the troubling issue perfectly. And he has NOT been diagnosed with any illness 🙂 But that’s the thing with PTSD, it is not based on the present, it is based on the past and the fearful phantoms that memories and past thoughts conjure up. How do you get over this? Talking to my ecounselor about this pronto, no prontissimo! Life is really short, half or more of mine is over. I want to live it in peace and enjoying all the positive, fun things it has to offer, not in the black dungeon of fear.


My mood may also be kicking up. From the season, the increase in Synthroid, not enough Lithium, don’t know, but knowing that my mood IS getting too elevated is half the battle already won and I’ll take care of it. Do i have this? Yes, I think I really do. Breathe…

CLINT MALARCHUK Interview by Samina Raza. :-)


I had the great pleasure of interviewing Clint Malarchuk, NHL goalie, NHL coach, cowboy, horse dentist and now author of his first book “A Matter of Inches”, the title refers to the bullet in his head, as well as the skate that was actually a few millimeters from his carotid artery! This man is indestructible, thank goodness, knock on wood!

He suffered from OCD, horrible anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, and finally PTSD because of a horrific hockey injury to his neck. Even dealing with all those mental illnesses, he became a great goalie, playing for, among others, the Buffalo Sabres. And then an NHL coach. While battling his demons and alcohol addiction, he put a bullet in his head and survived with no side effects! His book is a tour de force of honesty, truth and a no holds barred description of his life, good or bad, he put it all to paper. The book is a must read.

Talking with him was a pleasure, he was just as honest and forthcoming on the phone interview I conducted with him on December 22nd, 2014.

The interview is below. Enjoy.

And thank you again Clint. You are amazing. I am a huge fan.


Thank you so much for agreeing to answer my questions for a post on my blog 🙂

I am literally floored after reading your book “A Matter of Inches”. I thought I had it bad with my bipolar disorder, but after reading about your struggles, battles, and triumphs over your illness, I understand that many more varied and severe forms exist. Your bringing attention to mental illness, opening up about your issues and bringing mental illness to the forefront to be discussed, recognized, confronted and hopefully destigmatized and most importantly treated, this is what you are doing by writing your book! It is extremely admirable and again shows your amazing strength!

Shall we start?


Me: 1) In our society, it takes a lot of courage to admit you have a mental illness. And you said in your book “Mental illness isn’t something people like to discuss.” How and why did you decide to take the courageous step of writing this book?

Clint: I used to do interviews before I wrote the book and you know I talked about it pretty openly and I got feedback mostly from people suffering and it seemed to help to know that they weren’t alone mostly by telling my story. And I guess when you’re helping people by talking about it openly, it puts it into perspective right ok, I thought the book would really help people.

Me: Your book is amazing, how you talk about everything. Your book is totally Incredible. How honest you are.

Clint: I think the honesty part comes from if I only tell my story halfway, then I’m only gonna reach people halfway. Being suicidal, telling the story the whole way, the whole deep dark places that I’ve been in, most people, it will reach most people, so I have to go to be honest, the whole, way, the deep dark places, to make it relatable.

Me: True! Yes, because there are people who are suffering, and who don’t know what it is like you didn’t know, and then when they hear somebody like you, who is famous and who is successful relate your story, then I think it is extremely helpful to them.

Me: 2) Love the quote: “The truth is that I’ve been so many different kinds of crazy that its limitations insult me. Crazy is too simple a word to describe me.” Brilliant!

Yet you found the strength to become a goalie in the NHL! In professional sports where you say “…the only wounds that matter are physical. The rest is just weakness.” Can you say something about that? 

Clint: Well I think especially as a goalie, you’re supposed to be the block, the real block, that is very strong in the way he handles pressure, the one the team looks to to be strong and if you have problems then you are perceived to be as weak, and now I look at that as I must have been double as mentally strong because I handled the pressure of being an NHL goalie and the problems of mental illness and trying to fight it. And it looked on the outside that you are incredible.

Me: Yes, that is exactly what I thought, that you had to be be twice as strong, because not only were you suffering and you were not feeling well, but on top of that you had to show that strength that the goalie has to have to have pucks being shot at him at 100 mph. You have to be very strong to be able to handle that and it’s amazing that you did that!

Clint: Yes, it was amazing, it’s the perception, you learn to fight and now I look back and think “I must have been really strong” but at the time I thought I was weak.

Me: Yes, I know, that’s what mental illness does, it makes you feel very weak, but because you’re coping and living your life, living it in a normal fashion, you are really twice as strong as someone who doesn’t have mental illness. That’s what I think too. I don’t know if i’m supposed to offer you my opinions, but that’s my opinion.

Clint: You’re right!

Me: 3) You say you found peace as a kid on the ranch and on the hockey rink. How did hockey relieve stress for you?

Clint: Well I think you know I was doing something that I could channel all my focus into, so I didn’t really have time to think about my disease. And for me that was where I was thinking only about the thing I loved, rather than the other stuff. For me that was really the only thing that really got me away from my troubling thoughts and disease.

Me: That happens a lot, when you are really concentrating on something, your symptoms sort of tend to go in the background and you can really function well. I know that happens to me too.

Clint: Yes, the only problem is it’s hard to get into that zone of concentration, you almost have to be forced into it. In my situation, because I wanted to be so good at hockey, you are almost forced into that zone, because it is so hard to get your mind out of what you’re going through.

Me: 4) With all that was going on in your head, the anxiety, the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), the insomnia, and later, the alcohol addiction, you somehow found a way to be functional, much of the time! How did you manage that?

Clint: Well it was through many trials and errors. Medication, and many therapies and again, self medicating even, thinking that that was a solution, not the best solution, but thinking it gave temporary relief from myself. Many different things, you know it’s been a long road.

Me: It definitely has! You know you’re a year younger than me.

Clint: Oh I am?!

Me: Yes you are! I was born in 1960.

Clint: Just barely (laughs.)

Me: Yeah! So… It hasn’t been that long, OK?

Clint: Laughs heartily 🙂 OK.

Me: Ok! (laughing.)

Me: 5) What would you think of a person who had done everything as you’ve done, become an NHL goalie, a wonderful father, all the while suffering from some very difficult mental health issues?

Clint: Well I guess that reflects back on the question of weakness and hiding and I would have to give that person credit for being strong and persevering through it all. I guess at the time for me I thought I was weak, and wanted to hide it. Now looking back at everything I’ve been through, I would have to say that person was really strong and persevering.

Me: Absolutely. That is the thing I was struck the most by when I was reading your book, is how strong you were! Whether you knew it or not, how strong you were to have survived all that you have. You know not everybody can come through all that you have.

Clint: Well trust me, I didn’t think I was strong and I thought I was weak, and when you’re going through all that, you are not thinking the same way as you are now, looking back at it.

Me: Right. Well because the illness makes you feel weak because you don’t feel like you have control over your emotions, you don’t have control over maybe sometimes, your actions. So it sort of takes that control and strength and it makes you feel weak, but really when you’re coping, you ARE strong.

Clint: Well and the stigma attached to it makes you feel weak. The society and the stigma with mental illness…

Me: That’s is absolutely true. I don’t want to tell people… I mean I do tell people now but I didn’t used to want to tell people that I have bipolar disorder. Because then they would think “You’re crazy, I don’t want to have anything to do with you.”

Clint: Exactly, because that is the misunderstanding, lack of understanding, lack of education. If you have diabetes or lets say an illness, and you needed to work at home a little bit or need time off for treatment, then you’d certainly go to your boss and say “Look, I’ve been diagnosed with something and this is what I have to do,” and the boss would say “We’ll help you in any way we can.” But if you have mental illness, you’re not even going to tell your boss, because of what the perception is.

Me: Yes. People don’t understand. And they also think that just because you have a mental illness, that you’re a dangerous person. When in fact, people with mental illness, as a percentage, commit far fewer violent acts than people in the general population. But it just comes with that territory, unfortunately.

Clint: I agree.

Me: 6) After the skate incident, the mask didn’t come off, it was still all bravado. What would you say to a young goalie/athlete who had suffered a similar injury now?

Clint: Oh I would absolutely say to see a therapist and maybe a psychiatrist and make sure you don’t develop full blown PTSD, which will magnify anything else along with PTSD, which comes in many forms, and illnesses like depression, anxiety. And to me, it is disturbing that there are 22 suicides a day with veterans! With PTSD, they survive the war but come back and end their lives because they can’t get the help they need.

Me: Yes, that’s really awful! That’s not a good way to pay back somebody who went and fought for your country. There’s so much in this society that really is just not the greatest. But I guess there are a lot of things that are.

Clint: Well we’re trying to make a difference.

Me: We are. And that’s one of the reasons I started my blog too, so, I feel we have that in common.

Clint: Well I commend you for that. No really.

Me: Thank you so much! And your book! My goodness! I sobbed through parts of it, smiled through other ones, and I was just really really incredibly amazed at how strong you are. You just have to know how strong you are!! You have to be very proud of that!

Clint: Thank you… Well, I still don’t see it… you’re telling me that, it’s incredible, I still don’t see it as strong. I don’t. And it’s probably a shame and it’s probably due to the stigma and you know, I guess it is strange, but for me I still don’t see it that way. Because maybe it was just survival. You know, I am probably like you, some days I just try to get through the days. And I think people that are in the dark place right now, it’s a struggle just to get through a day.

Me: True, very true. But, BUT, you don’t see it but think of it as… that’s why I asked you that question! That what would you think of a person who did everything you did along with all mental illness that you had and you said they were strong! Didn’t you?

Clint: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I did!

Me: So, you did.

Both of us laughing :-))))

Me: So now what do you think? 

Clint: Well, we don’t always look at ourselves in the same light as other people do.

Me: I know! We give other people so many more breaks than we give ourselves.

Clint: That’s true.

Me: 7) How did you first realize that you in fact did have mental illness? What were your first symptoms of mental illness? I know even as a child, you had a lot of anxiety.

Clint: You know I didn’t feel normal as a kid. And I know that I had the anxiety as a kid. And probably there was some depression in there, but the anxiety overwhelmed me to the point where that’s all I really knew. But I didn’t feel normal. I really thought the other kids were doing better, functioning, happier. And so I’d ask my mum questions, off the wall things and… but I think I just made it through until the accident (skate to the throat while playing as a goalie in a Buffalo Sabres’ game, March 22, 1989) happened and that just seemed to blow everything up in my face, as far as the anxiety, depression, OCD. It was hard for me to leave the house, and I wasn’t diagnosed with PTSD then. That didn’t come till later, but I guess what the accident did to me, was magnify everything! And it wasn’t long after the accident where I was diagnosed with OCD and depression. So I guess that was when I was really diagnosed.

Me: Right, right. So in a way, I mean not helpful, but in a way it sort of highlighted things that needed to come out, and so you got help after that I think.

Clint: Yeah, it brought everything to the surface.

Me: 8) How would you define insight? 9) And was that helpful in your life?

Clint: How would I define insight? I think insight for me it comes with age and wisdom and experience. You have a better way of breaking things down and that’s helpful and knowledgeable, with age. That’s insight.

Me: Right, right. So about yourself, in that sense, knowing, saying OK, I’m acting this way because maybe because my OCD is acting up or I’m acting this way maybe because… in that sense. Like when I get manicky or depressed, I sort of, at certain points, have insight and think this is the sick me, this isn’t really the normal me. Do you ever think that?

Clint: Well, now I am very in tune with my emotions and my thoughts. Today, I am very, very cautious. If I start to feel anxious or depressed, I have to immediately stop my day and check my emotions, check my thoughts. How are they related, you know, I have to have that insight. I also have the awareness and what do I do, why am I going there, what’s going on and really get my balance?

Me: Exactly! I mean people who are mentally ill and have a lot of insight, I think generally do better with their illness than people who don’t know why anything is happening.

Clint: Well yeah, I think it takes a lot of learning though, to get to that point. You know it’s taken me years to understand why my thoughts make my emotions go that way and and vice versa. So experience has taught me that.

Me: True! And also, you have to know yourself. For me, if I can say “This is not me, it’s my illness”, that’s insight.

Clint: Aah, yes! You have to be able to make a division between what’s real, what’s sickness, what’s a trigger. If I have a chemical imbalance, I know it’s not me, it’s the sickness. And I have to address it. It’s not normal, so I have to get to my normal state.

Me: Exactly, exactly! And if you can do that, it really does help you. Then you can call up your doctor and say “Listen, I’m not feeling well because of this, this, and this.”

Clint: Right, yes! You have a place where you can say, well this is what normal feels like and this is what sick feels like,

Me: Exactly, and that helps with treatment, and that helps you cope with your illness, and that helps you get better.

Me: 10) On the ranch, when you were young, you saw coyotes killing calves! You killed a bear at 14! Bull smashing planks and falling on you. Rodeo… Rush… adrenalin. All these things seem to be quite anxiety provoking. How do you think these affected your growing into a young man with anxiety?

Clint: Well I don’t think those things made me anxious. In some ways, people would say you can face these dangers, these things, so in some ways they brought me confidence, because a lot of kids weren’t doing what I was doing. Even though I didn’t feel normal, they couldn’t do what I could do, so that made me feel better.

Me: Right. You know in some ways, it almost sounds like you were courting these high risk activities to bring up the levels of your neurotransmitters, because that’s what happens, when you’re in a high stress situation, your brain is making the chemicals that makes you feel better.

Clint: Yes, I would agree, that adrenalin and I think it helped me. Because even though I didn’t feel normal, those kids couldn’t do this and it made me feel better,

Me: Wow! To other kids these things would be scary and you were out there going “Hey, I can do this! This is good, I’m good with this”

Clint: Exactly.

Me: Wow, you were an amazing kid too!

Me: 11) Your father was a raging alcoholic, with rages and destruction. You say “You hold on to the happy pieces and try your best to leave the worst in the rubble, but the dust of it all clings to you.” Was internalizing the way you dealt with this? How do you think your life would have been if your dad had gotten treatment? In your book, there were many instances when you and your mum were traumatized by his action.

Clint: Yeah, but I try to ignore that, because so many families are like that, you know. You know I try not to blame my father.

Me: I understand you don’t want to blame him, but just see what happened, just know what happened.

Clint: Yes I often wonder if he was mentally ill.

Me: Yes. A lot of times people who are alcoholic are self medicating.

Clint: And especially back in those days, we talk about how far we have to go yet. If you think about back then, it was not talked about at all. If it was very, very severe, they’d be locked up.

Me: Yes, yes, I know that some of my father’s siblings used to be locked up at home some of the time. I’m thinking bipolar d/o. And back in the 30’s, 40’s in India, mental health treatment was probably worse than here.

Clint: And they would say they’re crazy, lock them up and that’s where society was back then.

Me: 12)What would you say to someone who was struggling with a parent’s substance abuse problem?

Clint: What would I say? Aw man, I would try to get you to get help. Because you can’t force them to get help, and they’re in their own sickness so I would try to encourage somebody that’s around them, especially a teenager or something to get help or counseling or Al-Anon would do it.

Me: Wow that’s great advice. 

Clint: Yeah, so they can try and understand the illness and themselves and their parent.

Me: So true. Because if you can help yourself, then you can help somebody else. And if you’re in a tizzy over things, then you can’t help anyone.

Clint: No, at that point, you have no direction, so getting help, counseling, or Al-Anon would give you direction.

Me: 13) You say: “I harboured a lot of resentment towards the people I cared about—particularly women.” Why do you think that was?

Clint: Probably because of the failed marriages.

Me: 14) Playing hockey in the NHL meant obsession, hard work, constantly playing hockey. An “I have to be the best!” mentality. Obsession and compulsion, a double edged sword, that’s what allowed you to play at the elite level to play for the NHL, but at what cost?!

Clint: I think what I was trying to say there was, the obsessive compulsive disorder got me to work so hard that it helped me make it to the NHL and stay there. I think once we talk about my life, I don’t know if that would be worth it. I mean it got so bad, I couldn’t function as a player or a person.

Me: 15) When you got the Staph infection in your leg and the doctors said you wouldn’t ever play again. You said “They didn’t know the will inside of me. “Sometimes my obsessive personality was a curse. In this case, it was a blessing.” Your enormous amount of physical and mental strength got you back on the ice! Seems like when you had to be strong, you found the strength. Would you say something about that?

Clint: Yes, I think that would be the obsessive compulsive part. You know sometimes, you don’t even rationalize things. It’s all my doctor saying that to me, I didn’t even rationalize it because there was no sense. It was me saying in my head “I was going to make it, whatever it took.” So (laughing) I didn’t even hear the doctor. You know, I didn’t really register.

Me: Wow, such strong will!

Clint: Yes, it was.

Me: You mean because of the obsessive compulsiveness, you did what you needed to do to get back on the ice?

Clint: Yes, no matter what! No matter what somebody said, the doctor, or anybody.

Me: 16) You say: “As soon as the puck dropped, I was transfixed. I didn’t hear the crowd. It was just a hum in the background. Ability to concentrate while playing hockey”… You were in the zone! Right? Can you talk about that a bit, please?

Clint: Right. I think yes, the zone exactly, it’s like the zone, it’s like you’re doing it, it’s automatic, it’s getting the result. But for me it’s also, to attain that zone every game, it’s impossible, but you always strive for it. But for me, I had two zones, the one with the relief, I felt for not having to deal with my demons in my head, because I was so focused on playing and watching the puck and stopping the puck. So you know I had two zones, one was for a relief from my demons and the other was for trying to be in the zone as an athlete.

Me: 17) “Single-minded obsession is the most critical skill a goalie must have.” The very skills you needed to do what you loved, were also the traits taken to extreme, that were part of your illness. On the one hand, these made you a star goalie, on the other hand, they almost cost you your life. If you didn’t have these traits, perhaps you wouldn’t have worked so hard and been a first rate goalie. Do you think that may have been the case?

Clint: Oh for sure! Yes. That was the OCD. I credit the OCD for getting me into the NHL, but then it overtook my life. A lot like I think with Robin Williams, his incredible comic genius brought him fame and fortune and it was so instantaneous and everything. But when he was alone with himself, with his demons, it’s the extremes, just like extreme bipolar, you’re in two different poles, you know? So, his blessing was also his curse. And it was the same for me.

Me: Yes and he also had some drug problems, I think.

Clint: Yes, and that was the self medication probably. I mean, I didn’t drink to get high. I drank to get relief and to numb my thoughts and emotions.

Me: 18) You developed PTSD after your neck injury, a major life threatening injury, you were having bad dreams and just awful symptoms. And nobody really did anything. How do you think helping people with sports injuries can be accomplished?

Clint: I think they’re addressing it, they are making new rules in hockey for it. There is counseling for traumatic head injury, not just for the player but for the family. So I think that’s a big step. I think the next step would be having more of a support for players, that they can confidentially talk to someone. Just like they do with substance abuse. They can confidentially reach out and I think that would be good.

Me: Wow, that’s a great idea. So if you don’t want anyone to know, you can still get the help you need.

Clint: Exactly.

Me: 19) After reading the part in your book about the shooting accident/incident, the cocktail of meds that the psychiatrist gave you, which contributed to the shooting incident, and then the next doctor told you that they should never have been given together and at those doses. Do you think the shooting could have been a result of being on the wrong meds?

Clint: You know I can’t honestly answer that. I think they contributed to it. Whether I would have done it either way, it’s hard to say. I believe that they contributed to it.

Me: Yes, yes. I mean as much as psychiatric medications help, they also have some really strange side effects, like hearing voices and strange things like that. And you were given things that shouldn’t have been given together and not at those doses, not good!

Clint: Well that’s true. I think the doctors are still working too.

Me: You’re such a nice guy! You really are a very nice person!

Clint: (Laughing.) So are you!

Me: Awww! Thank you!

Me: 20) Your story is such an enormously powerful one. Against all odds, because of strength and love, you are still here!!! How do you feel, dodging a potentially lethal neck injury from a skate, respiratory arrest, and literally dodging a bullet?

Clint: Well, I think everything I went through, there was a reason. And I think that we all have a purpose in life, unfortunately we’re always searching for that purpose. I feel my purpose now is to speak on mental health and to help. Whether it be the book or speaking or just be an advocate for mental health and also getting rid of the stigma. I used to think my purpose was to play in the NHL, and then I did that. Then I thought it was to coach in the NHL, and then I did that. The way I look at those things, and everything that I’ve survived and gone through is the reason, my real purpose is, all those things happened so that I could speak and help people with mental illness. Having played and coached in the NHL gives me a platform to reach out and speak and be heard because I played and I coached. And now people know who I am. And I think all that happened, and all the things I went through as well, is for me now to be in a place where I know my purpose.

Me: That’s amazing really, when you know what you’re supposed to be doing and you do it! Do you have a lot of talking engagements? Are you going all over Canada and the US talking about this?

Clint: I am getting more and more.

Me: Great! I thought about something, since you have a ranch, you could do some equine therapy for mentally ill people. As you know horses are amazingly healing animals. And a lot of people who have mental issues can benefit from equine therapy 🙂 Would you do that?

Clint: Yeah, I have a few ideas about what to do and how to help and that’s one of them.

Me: You could have Canuck Ranches all over the US and all over Canada.

Clint: Well that would be awesome if that happened. Yeah.

Me: Yes it really would. Well, we are at the end of my questions. I also wanted to say that your wife is amazing too. As amazing as you are, she might even be a little more amazing than you!

Clint: Well what’s really incredible is that when we go for book signings, people that have read the book already, they want her to sign the book. Pretty cool!

Me: I would definitely have asked her if I’d gone to a book signing. She is an amazing woman. Is there anything you’d like to say or add to these questions?

Clint: You have to keep up your good work. I think you’re doing a great job. You know, together, people like us can make a difference. Always remember that!

Me: Thank you. And thank you SO much for agreeing to answer questions and being so gracious and open and honest. Would you like me to send you a transcript of what I am going to post on my blog?

Clint: No. I’ll just follow your blog now. (Big smile on my face.)

Me: Oh good. Yaaay.

Clint: Yes, and I’ll try to get others to do the same.

Me: Oh my goodness, that would be great. Thank you. You are am amazingly strong and wonderful person! It was lovely to talk to you and thank you again.

Clint: Same here. Bye.

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