About Michele Rosenthal & Heal My PTSD
Michele Rosenthal, CPC, NLP, CHt
Radio Talk Show Host, ‘Changing Direction’
Faculty Member, Clinical Development Institute, Timberline Knolls
Wondering why I care so much about PTSD, and what qualifies me to talk about it as much as I do? Here’s the answer…
HOW TRAUMA & PTSD CHANGED MY LIFE
In 1981 life really shocked me: I was 13 years old when I found myself struggling to survive Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Syndrome (TENS), a freak allergy to a medication that turned me into a full-body burn victim almost overnight. With a mortality rate of up to 70% this rare illness was so unknown that none of my doctors had ever seen a case. By the time I was released from the hospital I had lost 100% of my epidermis.
Today, TENS patients are immediately induced into a coma. Back in 1981, however, we were left to endure the horror of having your skin ripped off your body while fully awake. You can imagine that after such an experience I was a very different girl. The kid I had been was gone. The girl in her place was a complete stranger.
It didn’t take long for insomnia, intrusive thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks to set in. I didn’t tell anyone. I was determined to go back to who I’d been before my illness, so I avoided all mention of my trauma, pretended the past was behind me and ran as fast as I could into the future.
Within 5 years I was a complete and total insomniac, anorexic, melt down mess. Over the years everyone thought I was a difficult teenager, and then a temperamental artist, and then just a really moody woman. The therapists my parents forced me to see didn’t recognize my classic symptoms of PTSD.
By my mid-twenties the stress of constant hypervigilance and hyperarousal, the lack of sleep, the unrelenting on-the-go lifestyle I lived so that I did not have to be alone with my thoughts began to entirely undermine my health. By the end of my twenties I was very ill: my hair was falling out, my liver, stomach and small intestines were in various stages of dysfunction. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and possible liver cancer (both of which turned out to be false, psychosomatic symptoms). By my mid-thirties I had developed advanced osteoporosis because, unable to get the nutrition it needed, by body pirated the minerals in my bones.
Still, none of the specialists or psychologists we consulted and with whom I worked recognized my symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress. In desperation I began to do my own research. It was my proactive, self-empowered search for information and help that led to my PTSD diagnosis. Finally, after 24 years of living without understanding why I seemed crazy, I had a name for my insanity.
Receiving my diagnosis was only the beginning of my healing journey. Literally, the journey took me from New York City to Palm Beach, Florida. In the end, it required 10 modalities and quite a few practitioners to get me to where I am today: 100% free of all PTSD symptoms.
HOW I’M USING MY EXPERIENCE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Now that I’m on the other side of healing I’m devoting my career to giving back and pulling together all the information anyone would need to discover what there is to know about symptoms of PTSD, treatment options and the path to feeling better. I share what I learn all over this web site, and also in my weekly newsletter. You can subscribe to Heal My PTSD for free to have this info delivered straight to your inbox.
How Heal My PTSD came into existence:
I learned a lot during my PTSD recovery. I learned about the importance of hope and belief – from inside myself and from those working with me. I also learned about the critical element of self-empowerment and how we can harness its strength and apply it to PTSD recovery. By the time I came out of the dark PTSD fog I’d learned a lot about what it takes to release the past, connect to the present, and build a new future. I’d also developed a really deep desire to do something with all that knowledge. I began blogging about my recovery. The first to respond with comments and emails were veterans writing,
“How do you know exactly how I feel?” “You’ve just put into words what I’ve been trying to find words to describe for over 20 years.”
It didn’t take long before I was receiving those kinds of comments and emails from survivors of all types of trauma, from child abuse, to sexual assault, domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse, rape, accidents and illnesses. A community formed. We got into conversations and I realized that the best thing I could do with what I learned was pull all of it together in one place where information and education were easily accessible to survivors and their caregivers, families and friends. In 2009 www.HealMyPTSD.com was born. Basically, I built the site I wished I had when I was diagnosed: something easy to read and full of information about PTSD symptoms, PTSD treatment options, and PTSD recovery support. Read the full version of my personal posttraumamatic stress disorder history and mission.
The birth of a bigger vision:
The response to Heal My PTSD was overwhelming and positive. It didn’t take long for me to understand that this site was only the beginning of my post-PTSD journey. In order to really be equipped to give back I’d have to become professionally certified to help people. So that’s what I did. In order to become a PTSD Coach I studied to practice as a Certified Professional Coach, Certified Hypnotist, and Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programmer. I learned how to help survivors access their healing potential through methods that empower, strengthen, and harness the creativity of both the conscious and subconscious minds. Now, as a mental health advocate, professional keynote speaker, award-winning blogger, award-nominated author, workshop/seminar leader, certified professional coach and Changing Direction radio show host I use my personal experience, education, professional training and research to help survivors learn to cope with, manage and strategize the PTSD recovery process. Geez, I love my job! Partnering with survivors to help them take back their power and learn to live with courage, confidence and imagination gives me a sense of joy as powerful as letting me loose on a dance floor.
Some of our top resources:
On my radio show, Changing Direction, I interview the leaders in the trauma industry about how to lessen symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, plus how to heal.
My PTSD recovery book, BEFORE THE WORLD INTRUDED: Conquering the Past and Creating the Future, was nominated for three awards.
Our free webinar series HOW TRAUMA AFFECTS THE BRAIN offers monthly education about how trauma causes brain changes that create symptoms.
My next books:
YOUR LIFE AFTER TRAUMA: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity, will be out from W.W. Norton in March 2015.
HEALING THOUGHTS FOR PTSD RECOVERY: A Daily Handbook, will be released from Conari Press in November 2015.
Want to learn cutting-edge approaches to understanding how trauma and PTSD affect the brain, plus techniques to avert, stop and heal PTSD? Subscribe to Heal My PTSD (it’s free) and you’ll get updates on the recommendations of renowned trauma experts, scientists, best-selling authors, researchers and, of course, me!
Heal My PTSD was founded in 2009 as an organization whose mission is to advocate for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) awareness, education, treatment and self-empowered healing support.
We are guided by a vision that includes the sponsorship of PTSD awareness campaigns, the development of PTSD educational material, the promotion of PTSD treatment options, and the development of PTSD self-empowered healing methods.
A clearinghouse of resources for all segments of the global PTSD community, Heal My PTSD works in partnership with survivors and survivor supporting organizations to spread the word that PTSD is a treatable condition, that survivors themselves must participate and take responsibility for the healing process, and that recovery is possible.
As a web site for the PTSD community, designed to promote healing of the PTSD community, it’s been only fitting that it be built with help from the PTSD community. Heal My PTSD, LLC, thanks the many survivors who lent their support, information, time and experience to increase the value of the resources on this site.