Disorders and Treatment
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Michele Rosenthal, Founder
In 1981 life really shocked me: I was 13 years old when I found myself struggling to survive Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a freak allergy to a medication that turned me into a full-body burn patient almost overnight. None of my doctors had ever seen a case. By the time I was released from the hospital 3 weeks later 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 what was wrong with me, 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% PTSD-free.
Me and my dance partner, John
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; people responded. We got into conversations and I realized that the best thing I could do with what I learned was give back. And so, www.healmyptsd.com was born. 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.
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 Self-Empowered Healing Coach I studied to practice as a Certified Professional Coach, Certified Hypnotist, and Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programmer. Basically, 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, public speaker, blogger, writer, workshop/seminar leader and coach 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.
- Member for
- 4 years 5 weeks
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