Tag Archives: writing

Goals for 2016

Resolutions have always set me up for failure.

I’m not very good at keeping at things that are solitary. Even when I was little, I found ways to get out of doing something I didn’t really want to do. I usually gave up when the expected results were not met, especially if it were not near immediate results.

I’ve been good at not wanting to give up writing. That’s the one thing I vowed never to give up, especially after I re-found my dream a few years back. However, the last two years of “finding myself” through this blog, as well as taking care of and understanding my situation with TheHubs, well, my fiction writing has been put on hold.

With the new job duties I was given back in August of 2015, the stress of that has left me utterly exhausted on top of everything else I have to do. The holidays were rough, but I had time to relax a little while working from home and trying not to work on vacation. Over this time, I came up with a few goals I would like to see myself achieve in 2016. If I don’t complete them, that’s ok. The only thing I want to do is make progress.

I came up with this saying a few years back on my writing blog, to help me get (and keep) my focus. Because, really, it’s all about the progress, the journey, not the end result. I have to retrain my brain, which is an ongoing process-one in which I fully intend to keep until my dying breath.

So, forget about the words. This can be attributed to any goal you wish to set. If you’re interested in how I came up with this Golden Rule, go ahead, click the image. 😛

So, my goals for 2016 are as follows:

  • Remain Positive. Keep looking for the positive in every situation, no matter how small. This is very important, and the most difficult. But it’s the only way I can survive.
  • Practice patience, especially when it comes to the VA. I also need to remember to do this with my family as well. When I get stressed, I fail. So I need to keep reminding myself.
  • Keep up with placing my “Operation Beautiful/Positive” Post-it Notes for everyone to see. Sharing is caring. Being the reason someone smiles is a wonderful feeling, even if you don’t know who it is, or even IF they smiled. The other idea is that you never know who NEEDS it at that moment.
  • Make time for writing. Do, or do not. There is no try. My 2nd novel has been on hold far too long.
  • This one will be my most difficult, I fear.
    Since August, with my new position, I’ve been dealing with a lot more stress at work and very little time for my family’s needs. So, I hope to not let a certain someone/situation at work bother me like it did last year. I’m already on my way to accomplish this since that someone/situation did try to get under my skin earlier this week and I didn’t let it bother me. I think I will utilize my white board at work as a tally board.

What do you think? Good? Should I add more? I’m open to suggestions.

What are you celebrating this week? 

Thank you to our lovely host, Lexa Cain for taking over and continuing the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. I would also like to thank her co-hosts, L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Katie @ TheCyborgMom – without them, I’m sure this would be a daunting task!

To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is put your name on the linky list on Lexa’s Blog, and then post every Friday about something you’re grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! (Originated by VikLit)


Related Articles you may like:
Been A While – Celebrate the Small Things
Pain – Celebrate the Small Things

WRITING – Cover Reveal – CHAMELEON (The Domino Project #1)

I am so so so excited to share with you the cover reveal for a very dear friend of mine and her debut novel! I’m also excited to get the book out there in the world. Let me tell you, I’ve read it (before it was edited) and it is something I fell in love with. I love this woman! I love her words, her brain, and her stories. I hope you will share in that love! It’s available for pre-order on Amazon and there’s a giveaway! (links at the bottom of the page)

Chameleon (The Domino Project #1) is a YA futuristic science fiction story. It’s set in the wasteland of earth after a meteor shower devastates landmasses, makes seas rise, introduces the psionic gene into the human race, damages the atmosphere, and gives the gift of an alien parasite to the world.

The goodreads blurb is as follows:

After Sai’s newly awoken psionic power accidentally destroys her apartment complex, she’s thrown into an intensive training program. The only grades are pass or die.

Surviving means proving her continued existence isn’t a mistake–a task her new mentor, Bastian, takes personally. Her abilities place her in the GNW Enforcer division, which partners her with Domino 12, who is eerily human for an alien-parasite and psionic hybrid. When her assassination duties are revealed, Sai understands the real reason for her training.

On a mission to dispatch a dangerous Exiled scientist, she uncovers truths she never thought possible. Sai is unsure who to trust as her next mission might be her last, and a double agent seems to be manipulating both sides.

Without further ado – here is the cover, by the amazingly talented S.P. McConnell.

It’s finally here

CHAMELEON Domino Project Front with Text 2

Isn’t it GORGEOUS!?!?!

Sit back and bask in this for a moment.

It’s available for preorder for a special price of $2.99 from

Amazon Link

About the Author


KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds.

Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you.

When she’s not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, interns for a NYC Agency, and chases her daughter, husband, corgi, and cat. No, she doesn’t sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky.

Note: Still searching for her Tardis


To celebrate, we’re giving away 2 x $10 Amazon e-gift cards (open to anyone who can receive and use an Amazon e-card) Just click on as many options as you like and enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 Related Articles you may like:
1st Published Poem

My Greatest Fear


I’m a writer. It’s what I do. It’s how I process. It’s not always about my stories.

Recently, I happened across an article that talked about the fears that motivate our characters. Now we’re not talking about the fear of spiders or heights. I wrote about fear, once. It didn’t go deep enough. We’re talking about fundamental fears, the things that scare us the most, that shape our personalities and our decisions. It has given me insight into my own character – Me. But can I change it? That is a huge question. Well, maybe not change it, but at a minimum try to combat how I react to certain things.

This past week has put me back in my darkness, where I can no longer see hope. But I keep trying to reach out and find something, anything to grasp. Just when I thought I was learning how to better communicate, my whole world is turned upside down and I am forced back into a place where I can no longer get that communication across, either because I failed to say the right thing or because the other side has blocked me out. Either way, I’m lost. Without communication, we cannot progress, we cannot grow, we cannot change, and we cannot expect to have any type of relationship, with anyone.

My heart breaks.

So what is it I fear most?

I am afraid, oh so afraid, of being unloved.

According to David Wisehart, those characters whose greatest fear is of being unloved are called The Helper. He goes on to say,

These characters want most of all to be loved. To achieve this, they give love to others, expecting others to give love back. But no other type is as giving as they are. These generous characters may be disappointed by what they get in return. At times they may be manipulative and vindictive.

Helpers want most of all to be loved. They are people-pleasers. In an effort to get love, they give it first, fully expecting love in return. This bargain remains assumed and unacknowledged until the issue is forced to the surface by the Helper’s growing resentment. No one but another Helper can match their giving nature, so they often feel used, surrounded by a world of heartless takers. This is when their personality can pivot toward vindictiveness.

At their worst, Helpers are possessive, manipulative victims.

At their best, Helpers are generous, caring, and insightful.

I’m still trying to process the why of this fear. Where did it come from? Both my parents love me. I was never neglected. No, so far from that it was just the opposite. So that’s not it. But maybe it has to do with being an only child? Moving around every 4 years and losing touch with every friend I ever made? I think both of those play a major role in the development of this fear.

Being an only child meant I was alone most of my life. I had to learn to play by myself. I had to learn to rely only on me. Most of my friends lived inside books. The ones in real life, well, they came and went. Some friendships lasted 6 months, some a year, and then if I got really lucky, some would last through two duty stations, which meant about 6 years. I’ve never had the luxury of a childhood friend, a best friend, someone who would always be there for me.

So maybe I built defense mechanisms? Since I knew the only one I could count on, ever, is me, I only listened to me. Decisions, problem solving, directions, all were made by me, and me alone. It could very easily be the reason why some friendships didn’t last as long as they could. Because I expected them not to last.

Expectation is not the norm in the issues that have arisen of late. I mean, come on, 25 years and he’s still here. So why can’t I get it through my thick head he isn’t going to leave me? Well, that’s because those mechanisms seem to still be hanging around. That fear is my rock, my foundation. I guess I always knew it; but putting a name to it, validating it with proof, well that’s another thing.

These last two years have been a journey of discovering what makes me tick, as well as what makes him tick. I thought this was all progress. I truly thought we were working better at this whole communication thing. But I guess, he’s been holding so much back about me, letting me make all the decisions, for so long, for whatever fear he has, that he couldn’t take it anymore.

I’m selfish. I’m stupid. I’m inconsiderate. I never think about anyone else but myself.

As for being inconsiderate and never thinking about anyone other than myself. Well, that is so far from the truth. Everything I do is to please everyone else. That’s my downfall. Logically, I know you can please some of the people some of the time but you can never please all the people all the time. Still, my heart tries so hard to do the latter. Everything I do, I do out of love. Some of these decisions may be centered around me and I’m blinded to that fact, but in the end I don’t do it thinking solely of me. Yes, I’m stubborn. If I get an idea in my head I run head strong with it. I’m bull-headed. Always been told so. When something ticks me off, say a car that has broken down over and over and over again that we put so much money into I get fed up and just go out and buy a new car. I ask for input. I guess over the years with these major decisions, he’s given me less and less input. I get so frustrated at the “whatever” responses I get. So I just do. And that probably gets me in trouble, too.

I have told myself I am stupid countless times since I was young. Now, though, I know this is not true. I am doing my best to stop thinking this way about myself. Sometimes it’s hard when consequences of my actions, or words, rear up and show themselves. Yes, I’ve made some stupid decisions. Yes, I’ve said some stupid things. Haven’t we all? It doesn’t make us entirely stupid. Right?

As for selfish? That’s a whole lot harder to push down. I wrote about only some of the things I feel selfish about, before. Only child syndrome, I guess. I can’t recognize it when I’m doing it, so I wish someone would point it out to me. Yes, I might get upset, at first. But I need it. I need to know in order to change.

So why did he bottle it all up and never confront me? Maybe he didn’t want to upset me. But how will I know what needs to change? How can we compromise? How can I learn to recognize these behaviors and work on changing them? First off, acknowledging them, even here on the blog, helps. They become tangible, real. Rather than something fleeting in my mind. They always say, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right? So I hope I can change for the better.

What is his greatest fear?

What’s yours?

Related Articles you may like:
9 Character Types That Will Improve Your Story


PS: In light of this weeks issues, I am foregoing a post dedicated to Celebrate the Small Things. Please forgive me. It’s been a very, VERY rough week. I’m processing and recovering. However, I will say that I am celebrating peace returning. But there is a new challenge that we must deal with. We will get through it, together!

1st Published Poem – #CelebrateTheSmallThings – 3 April 2015

This week, I’m celebrating the publication of my first poem. I started out writing poetry as a teenager. You know, teenage angsty words. I never thought any one of them would see the light of day. Yet, here we are, my first one published for all the world to see. My soul bared. My heart anxious. I hope you enjoy it.

TheHubs says it’s dark. I say it’s raw. I can see the hope at the end, but for someone stuck in that abyss it’s hard to find the light I guess. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Let me know what you all think. If you like it, please share. The more my name gets out there, the better. I thank you in advance.

You can read my poem at O Dark Thirty, the literary journal of the Veterans Writing Project. Just click here or on the picture to the left.

What are you celebrating this week? 

Thank you to our lovely host, Lexa Cain for taking over and continuing the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. I would also like to thank her co-hosts, L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Katie @ TheCyborgMom – without them, I’m sure this would be a daunting task!

To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is put your name on the linky list on Lexa’s Blog, and then post every Friday about something you’re grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! (Originated by VikLit)


Related Articles you may like:
You Are Not Alone
Anxiety, Depression, And Secondary PTSD


My Personal Anti-Bully Campaign



There is a *HUGE* movement, now, against bullying — cyberbullying, bullying in our schools, bullying in the workplace, fat shaming, skinny shaming, gender shaming, whatever shaming. Most everything I’ve seen is about stopping the bullying in schools. Even our government has a website dedicated to STOP BULLYING. And their definition is limited:

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.

The problem I see here is that they are focusing solely on the school aged children. Why should we limit it to school age children? Granted, stopping this as quick as possible would be ideal and we could have our children grow up with less trauma to their lives. However, it is my opinion that this goes back even further than that. It starts at home. No,  scratch that. It starts within ourselves.

What I’m talking about is changing our internal dialogue. Changing our negative self-talk.

Last year I started this blog to openly admit the feelings I had as a caregiver, as a wife, as a person. Admit them. Own them. I needed to understand that these feelings are normal, that I am human. And it’s ok. After a while I realized that all the feelings I’ve kept bottled up inside me were negative.

  1. Unworthy
  2. Selfish
  3. Overwhelmed
  4. Anger
  5. Guilt
  6. Fear
  7. Grief

I needed to get these feelings out because they were drowning me. I have been so negative towards myself my whole life that I thought I was such a horrid person.


Do any of these sound familiar?

  1. I’m a horrible friend.
  2. I’m a horrible wife.
  3. No matter what I do, it’s never going to work.
  4. I’m stupid.
  5. I’m not good enough.
  6. It’s always my fault.
  7. I always ruin everything.
  8. Why bother?
  9. I suck.
  10. If only I could…
  11. I’m ugly.
  12. I’m ashamed. I must be bad.
  13. How could anyone like me, let alone love me.
  14. Why does this always happen to me?
  15. What’s wrong with these people?
  16. That’s not fair!
  17. Anyone can do that.
  18. I’m *only* <insert whatever you are and then follow it with a comparison to someone else>
  19. If I were to lose my <job, spouse, keys, whatever>, my life would be over!
  20. I’ll never get a good job because I sucked in school.
  21. I’m such a loser because of my crummy childhood.

The list can go on an on, depending on the circumstances, but the negative self-talk gets us down. No one tells us that negative self-talk is actually BULLYING! We are bullying ourselves.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes a bully as:

: to frighten, hurt, or threaten (a smaller or weaker person)
: to act like a bully toward (someone)
: to cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using force

bul·lied  bul·ly·ing

transitive verb
: to treat abusively
: to affect by means of force or coercion

intransitive verb
: to use browbeating language or behavior

Do you not think that when we say those negative things about ourselves that we are acting like a bully? Treating ourselves abusively? Using browbeating language?

THIS is where the anti-bullying campaign should start! Within ourselves. Because no one talks about negative self-talk as actual bullying, no one sees it as such. If we could stop bullying ourselves, maybe we would have less of the other types of bullying out there in the world. So, my anti-bullying campaign is to spread the love and open people’s eyes to the fact that they need to stop bullying themselves!

How, though?

Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend. Say things to yourself, give advice, as though you were giving it to your best friend.

As many of my friends know, three years ago I started on a positive path. FIND THE POSITIVES, IN EVERY SITUATION, NO MATTER HOW SMALL has become my mantra. Make a conscious effort to recognize the negative words and then replace them with more positive words.

Even the smallest negative word can cause a harmful effect on our psyche. For example: Instead of saying, “I’m selfish.” and you really are NOT being selfish, you can turn it around to say, “It’s OK to take care of me.” Because, in my situation and many other caregivers’ situations, if we am not healthy enough physically or mentally, how can we take care of our veterans? Right? So there’s how you turn the negative words around to be more positive.

Most negative self-talk can be categorized as such:

  1. Assuming
  2. All or Nothing Thinking
  3. Over-generalization
  4. Catastrophizing
  5. Discounting the positives
  6. Focusing on the negatives
  7. Unfavorable comparisons
  8. Labeling
  9. Blaming

(You can read more about these here: http://eddinscounseling.com/negative-self-talk-anxietydepression/ and http://addictions.about.com/od/overcomingaddiction/tp/cognitive_distortions.htm)

To help us recognize our own bullying and change our perspective, we could write down our thoughts in a journal. Start by writing the first thing that comes into your head. Then try to counter it with what you would say to your best friend.

Here’s an example that might be in your journal, I know it’s in mine:

Negative Self-Talk: “If I only kept my mouth shut, he wouldn’t be so angry.”

Cognitive Distortion: Assuming

Questioning: Were my words really something that would make him angry? Was he already in a bad mood? How much pain is he in? Am I being totally objective?

Counter-statement: He’s in pain. The pain is causing him to be grumpy. Even if I had not said anything, he would have been grumpy at something else. I just need to step back, breathe, and say “I’m not the cause of his pain. He doesn’t mean to snap. It’s not my fault.”

Remember: Negativity kills. It kills the mind. It kills the heart. And it kills the soul.

Once I started the habit of spreading the positives, I just couldn’t stop. I knew I needed to find the positives in my situation as well. But for some reason, things were not working quite well. I started this blog and my “Writing to Heal” journey. It really has helped me, a lot. But I wasn’t quite there yet. Something was missing.

And that’s when I realized it was my self-respect. If we cannot respect ourselves, how can we respect anyone else?

All my life, my friends would tell me I’m smart, or I’m beautiful, or I’m a great person. I never believed it and just brushed it off to them being “nice.” I could never understand how my husband could think I’m so beautiful and how could he love me? If he’s so angry with me all the time why does he stay with me? I never once thought to look at myself through anyone else’s eyes but my own. And that’s what was holding me back. I started on a path to change my own perspective.


I want to share my love, my smiles, and my positives with everyone. In the process, this helps me change the way I see myself, change my negative self-talk. I am doing the best I can to find positive words, rather than focusing on “everything’s my fault” when TheHubs is in so much pain he looks and acts angry. I can not fix him, but I sure as heck can be here to support him and give him hope. If I can keep seeing the positives in everything, maybe that will help him get through each day. If I can share a smile with some one, a stranger or a friend, my heart will be happy.

We need more love in the world and this is my way of doing it. I WILL see myself in a more positive light. You can too. Will you join me?

Related Articles you may like:

Writing to Heal
Changing Perspective
Finding The Positives


Where Were You When The Towers Fell? (Repost)

I’m re-posting this from my 10th Anniversary tribute I did on my other blog. Because we must NEVER FORGET!

September 11, 2001 started out like any other day–for everyone. But that day ended in total devastation for many, heartbreak and disbelief for all. It was double for me because of the terrorist attacks and the fact that my father found out he had lung cancer. My father is now cancer free and still blesses my life. But, today, I would like to remember the fallen.


Where were you when the towers fell?

Me, I was already at work. Back then, I was working on the Tactical Automation contract for III Corps, US Army at Ft. Hood, Texas. That day was going to be the start of our annual exercise with their sister troops in Korea. I had started my 12 hour shift at 6am and we were getting the servers all set up for live connections, making sure everything worked before the troops arrived at the Battle Simulation Center (BSC). We were going to play a game of war.

Around 8:50am I received a call from a co-worker who was due to start his shift at nine. He wanted me to pull up a news website and verify what he just heard on the radio to see if it was a joke. He had told me that the radio station had just reported an air plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in NYC. He also said this radio station was known to joke around. So he wanted to be sure. Our television in the BSC had been off all morning. And at that time, the Network Operations Center (NOC) did not have a television hook up. Since our computers had already been connected to the Internet, I tried to pull up CNN.com. When the network timed out, I tried FoxNews.com to no avail as well.

The commotion of the troops filtered in and out of the BSC for their training exercise usually calmed down by now on any other given day. That day, it built into a manic deluge. I went to the BSC break room where there were gathering soldiers around the only active TV and watched, over and over the unbelievable footage of a Boeing 767 crashes into the side of the World Trade Center. Maybe this was an accident. Maybe the pilot had a heart attack and something happened to the co-pilot. Or maybe the controls got stuck. How could anyone NOT see that big building in their path. My mind was trying to rationalize what it had just seen.

After watching only the split second I needed to comprehend what was going on, I rushed back to the NOC and said, “Turn on our TV, a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center.” A flurry of speculation went up between us all. As we watched and theorized, time ticked slowly by. At 9:01am we watched in disbelief as another plane rammed the second tower. It went from “possible accident”, to DEFINITE TERRORIST ATTACK. I rushed outside to call my husband (cell phones were not allowed inside the BSC). My husband was currently active duty Army and worked across base. The cell towers were slammed and no phone call was possible at that time. I kept trying and trying. Over and over I dialed his number. I knew what was next. He would be leaving. I wanted to call him. I wanted to hear his voice. Finally, I got through.

“Two planes just flew into the Trade Center,” I said.

“I know. I have my radio on. I just told my troops, ‘Pack up guys. We’re going to war!'” replied my husband.

“I’ve got to go. The phone lines are getting jammed. I love you.” I told him.

“I love you, too.” he said.

And that was our first conversation after the attack.

I went back in to the NOC and we all readied for the start of our exercise. Delayed though it was, we were still having it. At 9:37am another plane crashed the Pentagon this time. I knew my brother-in-law had just been there and was unsure if he was leaving that day or the day before.

We sat in disbelief, going through the motions of our routine of the exercise.  And at 9:59am, 57 minutes after the first plane hit, the South Tower collapses. It was so surreal, almost like watching a movie. And moments later, a 4th plane was reported crashed  in the fields of Pennsylvania, missing its target.

This couldn’t be happening! No way!

We all sat with our mouths hung to the floor.



What broke the silence was the phone ringing and my boss telling me then need me down at the Sanctuary.

“What is the Sanctuary?”, you ask.

It is the war room. It is the place 2 stories below the ground where all real-world operations take place. It is the safe haven for the General and his staff. The motto on my III Corps G3 Operations mug says:


Any other time of the year you can hear ants eat. I hated working in the Sanctuary. It was boring and isolated. We had TV, but it was always on the news. And where I had to sit was nothing more than a converted broom closet that housed our classified servers. It was loud, and cold. And did I mention, lonely?

I pack up my things and leave the BSC. When I get into the Sanctuary the noise was astounding. There were about fifty people all sitting at their stations, people walking in and out, people talking plans, people, people, people. It was a sight I’d never seen before in the Sanctuary.

The wall of LCD monitors at the front of the room were sectioned off, 4 of which had the General’s presentation, the rest were either on new channels or showing some military computer program that I can’t talk about. 🙂 I went straight to work getting people their accounts, email and internet set up on the classified network so we could get information flowing between bases. New computers were introduced into our area and people were always having troubleshooting issues I had to resolve. It was a busy time. I was on my feet all day helping people and didn’t realize the passage of time.

In between computer issues and tasks, all eyes were on the news. Talk centered around the stability of the North Tower. We were all hoping and praying she would stand tall. But at 10:28am the North Tower begins to collapse. 

NYC, America, and the world will never be the same. I continued to keep myself busy with all that was going on in the Sanctuary that day. Tears didn’t come until after my shift and I was safe at home in my husband’s arms.
I was one of the lucky ones.
Unfortunately, many were not so lucky. The worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil left 2752 people dead from the World Trade Center buildings, 189 from the four planes that were used (not including the hijackers), and 44 people at the Pentagon–totaling 2,985 families devastated.

It is now the 10 year anniversary of this horrendous crime. I beg of you, NEVER FORGET!

Where Were You When The Towers Fell? 

Where were you when the towers fell?
Tucked all safe and snug in your bed
Waking to smell pancakes and coffee
Getting dressed, rushing out the door
No need to be late
Just another day of routine folly
Where were you when the towers fell?
Making your lunches
packing your things
Checking your homework,
meeting your friends
Filling the buses
Cramming the cars.
Where were you when the towers fell?
Just came in through the office door
Set your briefcase, keys, and cell phone down
Flipping through papers
Business meetings
Conference calls
Emails and emails and more.
Where were you when the towers fell?
Radio, television tuned in to news.
Calling loved ones to hear their voices
Phone lines busy, anxiety runs high
Voices in huddles speak of nothing less
Daily habits are a distant dream
United in terror and pride.
Where were you when the towers fell?
Our home no longer safe
Family clenched tight
Clinging to the common bond
Strangers become family
Grasping at hope
Desperate for peace.
Where were you when the towers fell?
Back to your methodical drone.
No care in the world, not one reminder
On this ten-year anniversary
Please don’t make this
Just another day of routine folly.
-Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
September 11, 2011

Related Articles you may like:
The Lasting Effects of 9/11

Writing to Heal

Last year, I fell into a very dark place. A place I didn’t want to be. Ever. I’ve been there several times before but time threw me a lifeline. This time, though, no matter how hard I tried to find the smallest positives in each day, they faded over time until I was left in the abyss of hopelessness. I felt alone. I felt abandoned. I felt like there was nowhere else to go but down.

I knew I needed to get out of that funk. Have you ever heard the old adage, “Misery loves company?” Well, I can honestly say I completely understand that now. I learned a long time ago that negativity is a killer. Being around anyone who was constantly negative killed my positive outlook on everything, especially during deployments. It was during one of those deployments in which I realized that I was so much happier when I was not around that person. So I cut all ties with her. My vision started looking up and I got through that deployment with a lot less stress. It was my epiphany for the way I needed to live my life.

But what happens when you have that negative voice inside your head screaming and bashing things about? You can’t cut it out of your life as easily as a person. Nope. Those are your thoughts. You own them.

The key comes in admitting you have them, accepting them, understanding them, and moving past them.

It wasn’t until I started doing just that did I realize exactly how the darkness took hold and dragged me down for so long. I’ve been caring for my husband through all his troubles for 15 years now, through all the issues, the problems, the trials, the uncertainty. It’s been a real rough road but it wasn’t until these past 18 months had things been revealed out in the open and I guess they affected me more than I figured they would.

I knew he suffered chronic pain and daily migraines. It was the moods I couldn’t understand. He had been diagnosed with bi-polar and PTSD, but I never knew the extent of the situations that he had gone through. He never went into detail, nor did I press him. I just loved him as best I could and waited through the terrible times. In October 2012, a claim review meeting, he went into some detail about his ordeal that caused him the nightmares. I was in tears for him. I was sure he didn’t tell me, or the VA personnel, everything due to the emotions it invoked in him. He was a wreck and all I wanted to do was fix it for him.

I dwelled on that for the longest. I thought it was my job to fix things. I mean, I was his wife, I was supposed to make him happy, right?! But then things just got worse from there. The pain levels went up. He wasn’t eating. He wasn’t sleeping. But he wouldn’t get out of bed. Then we realized with the introduction of a “new” drug, he had a severe interaction that caused him serotonin syndrome, again.

And then, he told me he was suicidal.

He reassured me he had had an epiphany one day and he would never be that selfish again. But then, the auto-thoughts kicked in. How could I be sure? Depression cycles. How would I know if he went there again? I didn’t even know it this time!!

That must have been what threw me over the edge. I plunged so deep I couldn’t claw myself out. I felt alone. Like no one would ever understand. Our situation was unique. I had no joy in anything anymore. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to go to work. I didn’t want to wake up. I never smiled anymore. I couldn’t even concentrate enough to work on my novel. Nothing was fun anymore. Everything was such a disappointment. My heart hurt. All I wanted to do was sleep, or run away.

I began having panic attacks for no “apparent” reason. Daily panic attacks. My writing took a turn for the worst as well. I was excited for my new story. I wrote a good outline and back story for it. I even started writing the first draft. Then the words dwindled until they came no more. I think I stopped writing back in October 2013. And that’s when the uncontrollable crying fits took hold of me.

The last time that happened, I had just given birth to my son. I had a reason last time – Postpartum Depression. This time, though, what was my reason? I had none. I just wanted to give up, quit. Because there was no hope that I could see.

I knew straight away what I needed to do but I was so scared. Scared that it would affect my family, my job. What if I lost it all? Scared that it would make me look weak to everyone around. Scared that I was a failure.

But I couldn’t keep this up. I needed help. I made a point to mention it to my doctor the next time I went, which happened to be in November. He prescribed me a mild anti-depressant. The same one I was on during my postpartum depression episode. I think it really only took about a week or two for the haze to begin to clear so I could see the light again. It was faint. But it was there. It’s what started me on my path to healing.

I began to search for help online again. Every other time I searched for help for caregivers, I always came up with those caring for elderly dementia patients. There was no way I could fit in with any of them. No way would they ever comprehend my situation, my struggles. But I kept looking. I honestly don’t remember how I came about it, but I found the VA Caregiver Support Program. It took a lot of gumption for me to call their number. I think I suffered yet another panic attack. But I called. And the lady on the other end was so nice to me. She listened. She told me about the program. She offered ways to help and even signed me up for a seminar that was happening in December, to help caregivers through managing their stress.

Follow-through has never really been my strong suit, especially when it meant leaving my husband and son, all day. I knew I needed this course, even if I already knew the information. I knew I had to go. My husband encouraged me, even. I made the conscious decision, I had to force myself to go.

It was one of the hardest things for me to do. But I did it. And I’m so glad I did because when I was sitting there, going through the class, listening to all the other ladies talk about their home life, their struggles, crying for them, for me, I realized I wasn’t alone!

During that same time, I received an email from my local writers’ group. The coordinator was having 4 different sessions throughout December where she would talk about the ways in which writing can heal. I signed up for one. And then I changed my mind and cancelled. After my VA Caregiver class, I knew this was another stepping stone in my healing journey so I rescheduled for another date. I made sure I went to that one as well.

It was a small class, and yes, I was the youngest one there and everyone else had different reasons for attending – most came because they couldn’t get passed the grief they felt from losing their spouse. Me, always the oddball.

Didn’t matter though, I got through it. It was through this course that I decided it was high time I admitted the feelings I had, not hide them away, confront them and accept them. It was causing me undue stress, mental and physical health issues, and just down right negative all the way around. I didn’t like it at all. During this class I found my coping mechanism. And rather than keep it hidden, I owned my feelings and put them out for the world to see, here on this blog. My goal is two-fold –  to help me heal and to help others passing by to know they are not alone.

So, what did I learn?

I learned about the Expressive Writing Technique. It is said to be beneficial for a healthy body and mind, great for relationships, provides you with a safe environment, and is a powerful tool for stress management. It can strengthen your immune system by reducing the stress hormones your body releases. Studies have also showed how this technique can reduce the effects of a traumatic event. It is not limited to any one group. Anyone can use this technique in order to work through a really bad day at work to PTS symptoms to caregiver stress. It doesn’t matter who you are. (If you are uncomfortable with words, you can also use a similar method with painting or drawing what is troubling you.)

What is the Expressive Writing Technique?

It is personal writing that explores the feelings of the writer. Simple as that.

How do you do it?

Well, there is not one right way to do this. In fact, I’ve been doing something very similar ever since I could write. The only difference is, this course gave me structure and a time limit.


The power of words!

You know that old saying we teach our children, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words can never hurt me” ? Well, it’s an unfortunate LIE! Words have power. Depending on how you use those words will determine whether or not they are helpful or harmful. So, when those negative auto-thoughts pop up in your head and you start listening to them, try doing the following:

Over the next two to three days, find your most comfortable, happy place where you won’t be interrupted for 15 to 20 minutes. Sit down with either a pen and notebook, or your laptop. Some will swear by the long hand. Me, I have this thing where my inner editor hates my handwriting, so I chose the computer every time. Take that negative auto-thought and write it down. Or you can choose to write about an illness, injury, pain, trauma, loss, grief, or stress. It doesn’t matter. Just pick something and write it down. And it doesn’t have to be the same thing over the course of these few days. Also, don’t worry about grammar or punctuation or anything. Just write.

If you feel overwhelmed at any time during your writing, take a break. Return to a breathing and grounding exercise. Slowly inhale through your nose. Find the peace you know to be inside you. Recall that place. Then slowly let that overwhelming feeling seep out through your mouth in your exhale.
You do not need to share, or even read what you’ve written, although many people find it helpful to do so. You can ball it up and throw it away, or keep it to revisit later.
Write your way through the questions below, to bring the issue full circle.
  • Situation: What’s disturbing the peace of your heart, body, or mind right now?
  • Body: What does your body feel right now? Any pain or tension? Where? Has this feeling
  • changed over time? If so, how?
  • Feelings: What comes up when you think about this situation? What else? How have your
  • feelings changed over time?
  • Self: How does the situation affect how see yourself? What one thing could you do for yourself
  • right now?
  • Others: How does the matter affect the way you see others? How has this changed over time?
  • Future: How does this affect the way you see the future? What changes do you see?
  • Add: What meaning does it bring into your life right now?
Simple, right?
Ok, so I’m sure you want to see what I wrote for my very first exercise. I am, after all, exposing my soul and admitting and accepting my feelings. So here’s what was going through my head. Watch how it goes from negative to positive.
(remember, grammar and punctuation aren’t counted here!)


Situation: The chronic pain my husband suffers is taking a toll on me. He is constantly in pain and I haven’t been able to see any light or any way out. I miss the man I married over 24 years ago. I want a normal life a normal marriage.

Body: I’ve had a heavy chest and panic attacks. I’ve been unable to control my crying which leads me to writers block and worry that Im making my husband worse. I think I may have exaserbated my IBS as well since I have been sick my entire vacation.

Feelings: a vicious cycle that gets my head whirling. I cant stop thinking about the future worrying about my husband. I feel guilty for taking his career – his dream –  away. I spirals out of control and drags me deeper into the abyss.

Self: my part is that I have to be the strong one – the one who does everything for the family. But in reality the guilt and burden I place on myself is too much sometimes. I need to let that go. I need to stop worrying and just live. because when you worry its either about the future of the past and not the now.

Others: my husband he’s the one who experiences the chronic pain and depression. But I can’t always go to him so I am seeking out like minded people who can understand my situation and we can support each other. I’ve managed to open up more to [him] but I always worry he’s worrying about me. Luckily I’ve reconnected with [an old friend] and we can talk since her husband’s accident.

Future: The future is uncertain I hope to be stronger and not let my emotions rule me like this anymore. Live for today and when some breakthrough happens be greatful. not expect it and be disappointed when it doesn’t work out.

What did this add to my life? It gave [him] the opportunity to be a stay at home dad. it gave me security that he won’t be shipped off to war and hurt anymore than he already has been.


While my inner editor is screaming, “WHERE’S MY RED PEN?” and trying to claw at all those words that really probably don’t make a heck of a lot of sense, well, there you have it. That is my example of how I went from negative to positive. Because before I wrote that, I was all tense and stiff and panic-y. While I was writing, and breathing, I could actually feel my muscles relax. By the time I was done, I felt calmer and I could see some positive out of the whole situation again. All in the span of 20 minutes.


Have you tried this method? Do you find it helpful? What other things do you do to help with your healing process?