Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I've moved!


Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the manic writer. I blog about PTSD and encouragement and write book reviews and romantic fiction. My passion is the military, soldiers, and veterans, especially those with PTSD. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you.

Come join me at my new site.  
Click here and don't forget to change your bookmarks!

Moving Day



Come join me at my new site.  
Click here and don't forget to change your bookmarks!

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it. I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

PTSD Treatment Options- EMDR

Courtesy of Sami Shannon

Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the manic writer. I blog about PTSD  and encouragement and write book reviews and romantic fiction. My passion is the military, soldiers, and veterans, especially those with PTSD. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve covered the common treatments for PTSD, self-help, CBT and medication. I don’t mean to say these are the best or only treatments, but they are the typical ones, in my opinion. They are the infantry in the treatment army, the first to go in and fix things. Hey, infantry is important, they are the initial surveyors, they head in, get the lay of the land and report back to headquarters with their assessments. Without these important tools, we would be overwhelmed with ways to handle and heal PTSD.

Once someone with PTSD has been triaged though, and the initial threats have been handled, it is time to look for healing because so often someone who is struggling with PTSD doesn’t seek help until their life is falling apart. They have serious depression, or they’re trying to mend themselves with alcohol or drugs, or the worst of all, they’re considering suicide. It’s important to triage them and handle those initial problems, help them get back on their feet because you can’t heal someone who is still hiding from the trolls under their table.

Over the next few weeks, I want to talk about some of the methods that are used to heal PTSD because I believe there is healing available. Will you be the same man or woman you were before your trauma? Of course not. Life is about change, both the good and the bad, but you can find relief from the fear, anxiety, flashbacks and depression. You can heal your mind to some degree and live again.

I believe in you.

Please remember that I am a writer and researcher, my key role is to filter through the mountains of information available and bring the best of it to you. I do not and can not offer medical advice if you suspect that you or a loved one is dealing with PTSD please seek professional help immediately. If you are considering suicide, or you believe a loved one is considering it, please call for help now. As I've said before, we can't let the trolls win this battle and 1 suicide is 1 too many.

This week I’d like to talk about EMDR. Most of the therapies I’ve talked about before last week are common, you’ve probably heard about them and are familiar enough to at least give a simple description of them. And I’m willing to bet that when you read my blog post about Prolonged Exposure Therapy you hadn’t heard it called by that name, but it sounded familiar and made sense to you. The therapy I’m going to discuss today probably won’t snag any memory bytes at all, and it won’t make sense to you either but it has many studies and a record of being very effective. That’s why I’m here writing about it.

Natalia's Eye
Courtesy of flickr

EMDR is short for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It was discovered by Francine Shapiro in 1987 by chance. She realized that as she was walking her eye movement was helping her process some difficult thoughts she was having. She realized there was much more to her discovery though and devoted the next few years to studying what she had discovered and creating the therapy that is known today as EMDR.

Initially, it was received with skepticism but she forged ahead and encouraged clinicians to look into it. By 1995, the experimental skepticism had been dropped, there had been multiple studies confirming its effectiveness and it was accepted as a viable psychological treatment option (reference). In 1987, PTSD was a new diagnosis and there was little information or research on how to treat it. Some clinicians gave EMDR a chance and found that it worked very well.

So what is EMDR anyway? How does it work? What does it involve?


Trigger warning, this video has footage of Vietnam combat in it.


EMDR is an 8 phase treatment option but that doesn’t mean it is a long-term treatment option. In fact, you can be treated in just a few sessions depending on your symptoms and your reactions. In phase 1 the clinician will take a complete history, identifying and targeting memories for treatment. This will not require you reliving your trauma, you can simply say “I was attacked.” That’s enough. Phase 2 involves the clinician ensuring that the client can handle emotional stress. The client will be taught how to relieve their stress during and between sessions.

The real work begins in Phases 3-6. During these sessions, the clinician identifies a troubling thought process or memory and targets it in treatment working through it until it is no longer troubling for the client. This involves three steps, recalling a memory, understanding and identifying the negative belief that arose because of it and recognizing the related physical reactions to it. The clinician will then help the client associate a positive belief with that memory and move on.

The final phases, 7 and 8 involve the clinician guiding the client through closure, both between sessions and at the end of treatment. When both the clinician and client feel that treatment is complete they will discuss the progress they made and what the client can expect in the future.

That’s it, in a nutshell.

EMDR has been shown to be accepted and helpful in the treatment of trauma, serious loss, and PTSD. It has been studied and discussed widely. The NYTimes  did an article on it in 2014. More information on the research can be found here  and the theory for how and why it works can be read about here. It’s some pretty deep and scientific stuff so I felt like you were better off reading it yourself than having me botch it up trying to explain it.

I hope that you learned something here today. We don’t know all there is to know about how the brain and mind work. We don’t understand the process of making, keeping and processing memories, but we do know that they affect us. It seems that Dr. Shapiro stumbled upon a way to help us process the memories that seem to haunt us and it seems to work. If you think it might be an option for you, read about it, talk to your practitioner and look into it.



This Thursday, in conjunction with this post, I will be reviewing Francine Shapiro’s book Getting Past Your Past which discusses the discovery and development of EMDR and some of the ways it can be implemented. Come back and read the review, learn what I’ve learned.


It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it. I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!

Friday, June 12, 2015

A moment in the mania


Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the manic writer. I blog about PTSD, encouragement and write book reviews and romantic fiction. My passion is the military, soldiers, and veterans, especially those with PTSD. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you.

It’s been another busy week, although not as busy as last week. I am trying to dedicate 40 hours a week to blogging and writing and, it seems, the world is trying to prevent that. I haven’t traveled this week, which was nice. I am very much a homebody and like to be there. I have been busy with family obligations though and it’s kept me from my computer.

If you follow me then you know that I have kept up with my blogging schedule, I am committed to that, I want to make a difference. I added the Youtube Tuesday to the schedule this week, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. It seems a bit too lighthearted to me and I am still considering whether or not I want to include it in my regular schedule.



I have also been writing, and revising, but not as much as I’d like to be. For my JunoWriMo goal, I have written just over 15K words which is not enough for it being almost halfway through June. If I am going to achieve my 50K goal in the next 18 days then I need to step up my game.

I have been working on the anthology, but it’s going slower than I expected. I am also working on revising Catch a Falling Star and have come to the conclusion that it needs a heavy revision to make it worthy of publication. I will start on that today or tomorrow. It’s a great story, but I see plot and point of view errors in it that I want to fix. When I fix the first chapter I will be updating it on FictionPress, removing the rest of the story and also posting the first chapter here.

Here is an excerpt from the first short story in the anthology- it is unedited and unrevised.

“Hello, I’m Chelsea Price. I guess we’re table-mates tonight.” She smiled as the men at her table rose to welcome her. 
Louise looked at her from under the weight of her heavy eyelids, painted with blue eyeshadow as if it would hide their weight. Her smile didn’t leave her mouth as she spoke, perhaps her eyes couldn’t smile with all the added weight. “Hello Mrs. Price. I’m Louise Olmstead, you can call me Louise.”  
“Nice to meet you Louise, thank you.” 
Louise’s husband who was still standing waiting for Chelsea to seat herself smiled broadly. He was tall and thin where Louise was not. “Mrs. Price, I’ve heard so much about you but never had the pleasure of meeting you. The rumors are true, you are a lovely young lady.” 
Chelsea’s face warmed at his compliment, Jack Olmstead career in finance had been very lucrative and his specialty must have been customer service. “Thank you Mr Olmstead. I’ve heard a lot about you as well. Thank you for the compliment.” 
Louise looked at her husband as if he had cavorted with the enemy for a moment. “Chelsea, may I call you that?” She didn’t wait for the affirmative nod. “I heard you recently had your youngest graduate college. It must be a relief to have them all taken care of now.” 
Chelsea flexed her back imperceptibly but kept her face still. It would seem Mrs Olmstead wanted the fine specimen of a man sitting beside the seat she was about to take to think that she was old enough to be his mother. She brushed it off, she wasn’t here to flirt, she was here to fund raise and with that in mind she turned to him and held out her hand. “I’m Chelsea Price.”


One final task I’ve been working on is my new domain. I’ve purchased my own piece of the web and I’m working on building my new blog there. You can check out the beginning of it by clicking here, the main domain is a shared site, my daughters also intend to have author platforms at some point in the future and we wanted to work together. My actual blog site will be a subdomain of that one.



I have also signed up for the July CampNanoWriMo. I was on the fence about doing it, but my friend asked me if I was joining and I jumped in with her feet first. Why not?

I guess that’s all the news this week. Nothing really exciting to tell. I was a JunoWriMo featured author this week and you can check it out here. Have a great week!

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it. I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!

I usually blog about PTSD and if you come here for that don't be discouraged by the different topic, this is what I do when I'm not talking about the subject that fills every corner of my life. I will be continuing to blog even while I write. It helps, a lot, to have something that I love to do and for me that's writing love stories! Even my husband gets in on the action, discussing books ideas, plots, and characters with me for hours. My work is available for free right now, just check out my links to the right. And make sure you make time for fun too!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Reflection- Let's end the stigma together

Photo courtesy of Northern Exposures

Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the manic writer. I blog about PTSD, encouragement and write book reviews and romantic fiction. My passion is the military, soldiers, and veterans, especially those with PTSD. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD.

That’s one of my taglines. Today I’d like to reflect on what I mean by that, how I might do it and how you can help me.

Dictionary.com defines Stigma as a mark of disgrace or infamy: a stain or reproach, as on one's reputation. The second definition in the listing refers directly to mental health. A mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease. The word itself dates back to the 1500’s and originally referred to the mark a criminal or a slave got, a brand or tattoo, that marked them as a slave or a criminal. We now use it to refer to mental health conditions that are misunderstood and stereotyped. That makes me sad. Individuals who are struggling with PTSD, depression and other mental illnesses are not slaves or criminals, they are human beings who need us to understand them not mark them.

So what do I mean when I say it is my goal to end it?

I’m not a doctor, or a therapist, I don't even have a degree in psychology. My degree is in Christian Ministry and I hardly use it now. Well, I did learn to write while I got it, so I use that part. I realized just after I finished it that the ministry wasn’t where I needed to be and I walked away. I realized that the work where I could help make a difference was on the front lines of PTSD. My husband has it, my Mom has it. And, I want to help others not go through the hell I’ve watched them go through. I want to end the stigma that comes with a soldier saying that he or she has it. I want you to be unafraid to admit you have a weakness and it is PTSD because we all have weaknesses. I want to walk beside you, help you understand it more and guide you to your healing.

So how can I work to end it?

Socrates Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel

I believe in education. I believe that understanding is the beginning of acceptance. In the case of PTSD I think misunderstanding causes fear and fear breeds stigma. We are afraid of that which we do not understand. My goal with this blog and the book I will eventually finish is to help people understand PTSD more clearly. If we can end, or reduce, the stigma that comes with saying “I have PTSD” then maybe we can more help for those who need it. Maybe then, instead of trying to get it accepted as a real condition, we can discuss and implement better treatments. Maybe.

I believe healing is possible. What I don’t believe is that you will be the same person you were before. None of us are the same person we were 2 years ago, 5years ago, 10 years ago. Life changes us and we adjust, with PTSD that adjustment is difficult and sometimes, most of the time, you need help.

So I write. I research. I share. I encourage.

I use this blog to share my research and my encouragement. I’m in the midst of writing our PTSD story, how we got where we are and I will include it in a book about PTSD. I will compile the posts I’ve done into that book and publish it in the hopes that it helps someone find their way through the forest. I will befriend you whether it be through my blog, through twitter or facebook or IRL. I will walk beside you and comfort you, listen to you and offer you my hand when I can.

Help Wanted?
How can you help me?

You can get help if you have PTSD and you haven’t already. Take care of yourself, you deserve it. You can share my blog and my other work with others. The more people who see it the great the chance I can help someone. You can keep the conversation going, tell others what you’ve learned. Education is the key to ending stigma.

We can do this if we all work together.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it. I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!

I usually blog about PTSD and if you come here for that don't be discouraged by the different topic, this is what I do when I'm not talking about the subject that fills every corner of my life. I will be continuing to blog even while I write. It helps, a lot, to have something that I love to do and for me that's writing love stories! Even my husband gets in on the action, discussing books ideas, plots, and characters with me for hours. My work is available for free right now, just check out my links to the right. And make sure you make time for fun too!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

YouTube Tuesday


Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the manic writer. I blog about PTSD, encouragement, and write book reviews and romantic fiction. My passion is the military, soldiers, and veterans, especially those with PTSD. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you.

I love these guys. They are hysterical to watch. In this episode, they are doing a blind taste and identification of juices. They did this once with bottled water and that one is worth watching also.

I love the faces they make when they don't really like what they are tasting and the camaraderie that occurs between them. It's clear that they are good friends and have been for a long time, their friendship shines through.




I included the water one just for fun.





I usually blog about PTSD and if you come here for that don't be discouraged by the different topic, this is what I do when I'm not talking about the subject that fills every corner of my life. I will be continuing to blog even while I write. It helps, a lot, to have something that I love to do and for me that's writing love stories! Even my husband gets in on the action, discussing books ideas, plots, and characters with me for hours. My work is available for free right now, just check out my links to the right. And make sure you make time for fun too!

Monday, June 8, 2015

PTSD Treatment- Prolonged Exposure Therapy


Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the manic writer. I blog about PTSD, encouragement, and write book reviews and romantic fiction. My passion is the military, soldiers, and veterans, especially those with PTSD. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve covered the common treatments for PTSD, self-help, CBT and medication. I don’t mean to say these are the best or only treatments, but they are the typical ones, in my opinion. They are the infantry in the treatment army, the first to go in and fix things. Hey, infantry is important, they are the initial surveyors, they head in, get the lay of the land and report back to headquarters with their assessments. Without these important tools, we would be overwhelmed with ways to handle and heal PTSD.

Please remember that I am a writer and researcher, my key role is to filter through the mountains of information available and bring the best of it to you. I do not and can not offer medical advice if you suspect that you or a loved one is dealing with PTSD please seek professional help immediately. If you are considering suicide, or you believe a loved one is considering it, please call for help now. As I've said before, we can't let the trolls win this battle and 1 suicide is 1 too many. 

Once someone with PTSD has been triaged though, and the initial threats have been handled, it is time to look for healing because so often someone who is struggling with PTSD doesn’t seek help until their life is falling apart. They have serious depression, or they’re trying to mend themselves with alcohol or drugs, or the worst of all, they’re considering suicide. It’s important to triage them and handle those initial problems, help them get back on their feet because you can’t heal someone who is still hiding from the trolls under their table.

Over the next few weeks, I want to talk about some of the methods that are used to heal PTSD because I believe there is healing available. Will you be the same man or woman you were before your trauma? Of course not. Life is about change, both the good and the bad, but you can find relief from the fear, anxiety, flashbacks and depression. You can heal your mind to some degree and live again.


I believe in you.

One method I’ve come across that has incredible success rates is Prolonged Exposure therapy or PE and I’d like to give you a quick overview of it today. I was surprised that the success rates are as good as they are because I’d never heard of it before but when I described it to a good friend of mine who used to work in public health she chuckled and said they’d been using it for OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) for years. I wondered why, with the success rates it has, it isn’t more common to hear about it.



Prolonged Exposure therapy can help decrease the effect your trauma has on your life today. For example, if you have PTSD and you don’t drive because you’re afraid of roadside bombs, or of flying into a mountain in the dark it can help you overcome those fears and regain your life. It does this by helping you deal with the thoughts and feelings that accompany your PTSD and the situations you are probably avoiding because of it. (source)

Prolonged Exposure therapy can be broken down into four stages, education, breathing, real world practice and talking through the trauma (source). Each of these strategies is designed to help you regain control in a situation where you feel you’ve lost it. PE doesn’t erase your problems it helps you learn to deal with them and live again. I know I keep saying that but living again is the goal when you have PTSD because PTSD steals the joy from life and I am determined to help you get it back from the trolls.

The education portion of PE teaches you about the therapy and your own reactions to trauma, and PTSD. It helps you understand what the new ticking in your mind is. Hint: it’s not a time bomb, it's a troll trying to distract you.

The breathing exercises help you learn to relax and regain your control when you are experiencing a stressor, this can be a flashback or some other symptom that causes you to feel out of control. Breathing exercises are used in many stress-related therapies and it is amazing how much they can help. I’ll cover them in more depth in a later post.

Real world practice is kind of self-explanatory, but I’ll say it anyway. It involves having the individual expose themselves to situations where they feel out of control and work through dealing with it.

I could use this with airplanes and spiders. I did this once with spiders, I held a tarantula. Kudo’s to the brave man who let me hold his pet, he has no idea how close it came to being squashed. I’m still terrified of spiders, but not tarantula’s so much anymore. So it worked, but obviously I need more work. If I am going to do this with airplanes I think it would help if the airplane was heading some place tropical, I’d definitely feel better about flying then.

Finally, the most important part of PE is talking through the trauma. You sit with a therapist who is trained in PE and they guide you through a series of exercises that help you see your fears more clearly and overcome them. Through this work, you learn to gain control over the trolls who are haunting you and put them to work for you. They should work for you rather than against you after they aren’t paying rent, are they?

It’s important to remember that PE doesn’t rid you of PTSD, but it can help you live more comfortably with it. PE has been shown to reduce symptoms and help individuals with PTSD live more productive and happy lives. It’s been widely studied and is good treatment even for those who have other mental health complications such as mental health issues or substance abuse problems. (source)

In my opinion there is no one way to treat PTSD, we are all unique and as such we all need different approaches. If you are suffering from debilitating flashbacks or fears then PE might be right for you. Only you and your doctor can decide the best treatment for you. For that to happen you have to be informed. Follow some of the links I’ve included to learn more.

I wanted to give you a success story for PE what I found instead was a video. I’m including it here, but I want to include a trigger warning. It is a 60 Minutes segment that covers an inpatient program at the VA in Arkansas. It is intense and emotional. If hearing other vets discuss their trauma, PTSD, and struggles is hard for you then I suggest you don’t watch it, or at least watch it with someone there to help you if you get upset.



Whatever you do, please don’t suffer in silence. You have PTSD because you have courage, use that courage to get help. I believe in you.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it. I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!



Friday, June 5, 2015


Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the manic writer. I blog about PTSD, encouragement, and write book reviews and romantic fiction. My passion is the military, soldiers, and veterans, especially those with PTSD. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you.

 If you are a regular reader then you know that I use Fridays to update you a bit on the mania in my life.  It’s been a busy week, full of research, travel, catching up and JunoWrimo and I have a lot of catching up to do with my real work.

Champlain College

Last week I brought my daughter, who also aspires to write, to the CCYW, Champlain College Young Writers conference. It was amazing. Not only was it set on the banks of Lake Champlain in beautiful Burlington, VT but the people there were great as well.

My daughter learned a lot and not just about writing. She made new friends and had a three-day college experience. Which is to say she avoided me all weekend. Just as it should be.

I also learned a lot. There was a workshop for the chaperone's and I very much enjoyed not only the instructor but the other students as well. We were challenged to write a bit of a memoir and then share it. It was the first time I’d shared something so deeply personal to people sitting in the same room and it was moving. I loved hearing their stories, the way they described them and the emotion they conveyed with mere words on a page. Memoir and biography are not fields I ever intend to delve into, but I learned a lot from working with them, about myself and about writing.

I also learned that it is a long ride from my house to Burlington. Very long. It is, however, a beautiful ride and I am looking forward to returning with my younger daughter next year. She doesn’t intend to be a writer per se, but a Mangaka and I think the experience would open her eyes to more within the writing world.

Courtesy of JunoWriMo

In the meantime, JunoWriMo has begun and I have hardly worked on my books at all. I had planned to write the anthology and I have three of the five planned stories for it outlined and one begun. Unfortunately, when I started to write it I just wasn’t feeling it. I got roughly 3K words of the expected 8-10K needed and felt like it was flat. I’ve decided to change strategy, for now anyway and work on my final revision of Falling Star. Maybe I’ll pick the anthology up later in the month when I can focus more fully on a completely new project.

I’ve written or revised 4700 words so far this month which is disheartening because I’d like to move faster, but it just hasn’t been possible yet.

In other news, I purchased my very own domain! I’m so excited that I can hardly sit still. I am working on building my WordPress blog there and a few other things and then I will migrate everything over and leave a link for redirection. It will probably be July before I can launch it but next week I may have a preview link of the new site and my place-holder post.

I usually blog about PTSD and if you come here for that don't be discouraged by the different topic, this is what I do when I'm not talking about the subject that fills every corner of my life. I will be continuing to blog even while I write. It helps, a lot, to have something that I love to do and for me that's writing love stories! Even my husband gets in on the action, discussing books ideas, plots, and characters with me for hours. My work is available for free right now, just check out my links to the right. And make sure you make time for fun too!

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

Thursday, June 4, 2015




Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the manic writer. I blog about PTSD, encouragement, and write book reviews and romantic fiction. My passion is the military, soldiers, and veterans, especially those with PTSD and ending the stigma that comes with it. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you.

This week-I am reviewing Why Are You So Scared by Beth Andrews.





Beth Andrews wrote her book to help the children of those dealing with PTSD. It offers a definition that even a very young child will understand, breaking down the condition into parts so that the parent can choose what to share and what not to share. Beth uses simple, easy to understand language in her explanations and suggestions. She offers reassurance that the child is not to blame and suggestions that can help the child reach out to their parent without putting undue stress on the child to do so. There are several opportunities within the book for interaction between with the information in the form of suggested drawings and conversation starters.

I liked Beth Andrews book. She writes to the general PTSD population, military and civilian alike. It is directed to fairly young children but that makes it appealing since the youngest children living with PTSD may need the most help understanding it. She reassures her reader that they are not at fault, their parents still love them and there is help available. She briefly discusses why someone gets PTSD and suggests that the child ask but quickly reminds them that their parent may not be able to talk about it. I personally loved the interactive pages where the child being read to was directed to draw a picture and help them connect their feelings through art. Above all, she reminds the child that their parent loves them and the PTSD they are dealing with in no way reflects their feelings about their children, a very important reminder indeed.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who is dealing with PTSD and has a young child.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.


When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it. I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Power of Positivity

Courtesy of Northern Exposures

Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the manic writer. I blog about PTSD, encouragement, and write book reviews and romantic fiction. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you. My passion is military veterans, especially those with PTSD and their caregivers. 

I had a kitty called Oreo, he was black and white. Did you guess that? And very fat. I'm not kidding we sometimes referred to him as a triple-stuff. 



He was also a very negative cat. He didn't like being handled at all. It's strange really because when I first brought him home he was tiny, just 7 weeks old and we handled him all the time, but over the years he began to dislike it more and more. It finally got to the point that I was the only one who could get near him. He loved me, but not as much as he loved the dog. I guess I know where I rank... 
That's a hundred-pound lab he's sleeping with!
He would crawl into my lap and sleep for hours on it. This wasn't always comfortable for me as he weighed close to 25 pounds, but I put up with it because I loved him. Making the decision to put him down was very hard for me but it was best for him, he was very ill and in a lot of pain.

Is there anyone in your life that you feel this way about? You love them but loving them hurts you sometimes. They are a weight in your day that tends to make body parts fall asleep.

I am not suggesting you euthanize them!

I am suggesting you talk to them about their negativity if you can. Tell them how their negativity affects you, help them find things to be positive about in life. If you can't talk to them then you need to take steps to protect yourself. Limit your contact with them, or increase your contact with other more positive people to balance them.

Distancing yourself from negativity is a kindness you can do for yourself. Negativity lowers your motivation, and ambition. By distancing yourself, you create space for positivity in your life. You can choose to surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you, and believe in you. You can believe in yourself and encourage yourself. And in the process you can help your loved ones caught in negativity as well because you will be the example they can follow.


Oreo was a special kitty in my life. He came into it at a time when I needed something cute and cuddly. Over the years, he distanced himself from others but I think he always had a special place in his heart for me. He allowed me to the be the positive influence in his life that he leaned on. Although I never got him to life the others again he always loved me and I cherish those memories.

Is there someone in your life who brings you down? What steps have you taken to minimize the damage? Have your own attitude changes reflected on them and helped? Share your story in the comments below, I'd love to learn how you've dealt with negativity in your life.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it. I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!

Monday, June 1, 2015

PTSD Help- Medication Therapy

Courtesy of SIShannon

PTSD, the troll that hides in the corner and tells us that we will never be better lies to us. There is healing available and many ways to treat it, they may not be easy or quick but then nothing worth having ever is. Don't let that troll win and keep you from enjoying the life you've been given. This series of posts is dry and I apologize but there is information out there to be had and I want you to know how to get help. Today I will be discussing medication therapy.

Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the manic writer. I have a great love for our military veterans, especially those who struggle with PTSD. I blog about PTSD, encouragement and write book reviews and romantic fiction. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you.

No medication can fix PTSD, but it can relieve some of the secondary symptoms such as depression and anxiety which can be helpful for the person dealing with PTSD (reference). Being able to to overcome the secondary symptoms can help them focus on the therapy and self-help techniques that will provide long-lasting relief. Let's be honest here, PTSD reflects a permanent change in your brain, but that doesn't have to lead to suffering for the rest of your life, you can find recovery and new ways to live, overcoming the trauma that brought you here.

Courtesy of Flickr

Three types of medications are typically used to help in recovery of PTSD, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and sleep aids, additionally many who deal with PTSD find that medical marijuana is helpful in controlling the symptoms and side effects of PTSD as well. Let's take a closer look at these and talk about how they might help with PTSD.

This is not an exhaustive list it is the highlights, please remember that I am a writer and researcher, my key role is to filter through the mountains of information available and bring the best of it to you. I do not and can not offer medical advice if you suspect that you or a loved one is dealing with PTSD please seek professional help immediately. If you are considering suicide, or you believe a loved one is considering it, please call for help now. As I've said before, we can't let the trolls win this battle and 1 suicide is 1 too many.

Antidepressants are usually the first medication prescribed for someone who has been diagnosed with PTSD. Antidepressants fall into a class of drugs called SSRI's or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor's and they are a common treatment for depression(reference). They can help the individual struggling with PTSD by relieving the crippling depression that usually accompanies it. My husband found the antidepressant gave him enough of a lift that he could focus on therapy and getting better.

Anti-anxiety medication can be helpful when PTSD causes an individual extreme stress(reference). They are usually used short-term to relieve severe problems and to give the individual an opportunity to find other methods that will help them heal. They have a strong likelihood to be abused but used appropriately they can relieve the symptoms enough that the root cause of your anxiety can be found and treated.

Sleep aids are the final prescription medication used in helping to treat an individual who is dealing with PTSD(reference). PTSD is often accompanied by sleep irregularities and I will only touch on them today since they deserve a full post for discussion. However, sleep irregularities can contribute to depression and anxiety so in the treatment of PTSD it is vital that they are dealt with. There are medications that will simply help you sleep and there are stronger ones that can help suppress the crippling nightmares that sometimes accompany PTSD, talk to your doctor if you believe you need a sleep aid.

Courtesy of Flickr


The final medication that I will talk about here is medical marijuana. Many individuals dealing with PTSD have found that using medical marijuana is helpful in relieving their symptoms of anxiety and quality of life(reference). The use of oral cannabis has also been found to help stabilize sleep patterns. The evidence is mostly anecdotal since the use of medical marijuana is relatively new and hasn't been studied effectively.

Overall, medication therapy has a place in the treatment of PTSD but it's focus is the relief of symptoms, not the root problem and as such should be used in conjunction with a treatment that will heal the whole person permanently and not just slap a band-aid on it. Medication is also not a panacea for anyone who suffers it is usually accompanied by side effects so be sure to talk to your doctor about them, ask questions and be informed.

Do you or your loved one take medications for PTSD? What have you found to be effective? My husband has used, as I said before, antidepressants to help deal with the depression associated with his PTSD. He does struggle with anxiety, but we've found that self-help strategies are enough to help him. He's also struggled with sleep disruptions and nightmares. We used a few natural remedies to get him through those and is now doing better with his sleep patterns. I will elaborate more in a future post on sleep and PTSD.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.


When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it. I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Courtesy of Northern Exposures
Hello there! If this is your first time visiting my blog welcome! Get a drink and pull up a chair, let the madness draw you in. I'm Ann Shannon, the Manic writer. I blog about PTSD, encouragement and I write book reviews and romantic fiction. My passion is the military, soldiers, and veterans, especially those with PTSD. I loved that you stopped by, leave me a comment or find me on social media. I'd love to meet you too and get to know you!

It's been a busy 2 weeks since my last journal update. I spent a lovely week in our capitol, Washington DC visiting as many places as we could. I've been to DC many times so some of what I saw was a repeat, but there is always more. I visited the Ford Theater for the first time and had a blast. I highly recommend it for your next trip. I also saw the Korean War memorial and the World War Two memorial for the first time, they are breathtaking.

So very true!

I walked a total of 57K steps in 3 days! Now if only I could manage that with my writing. 57K words in three days would put me in a coma I think. 50K is my total goal for the month of June, I can't imagine that in three days!

JunoWriMo begins on Monday! I will have a late start with it because I am chaperoning a writers conference that my daughter is attending this weekend and we return Monday morning. It'll be fine, I hope.

I'm a JunoWriMo newbie and not sure what to expect as the only WriMo I've participated in so far was April camp. I love the encouragement to get people writing and intend to participate whenever I can from now on. If you love writing why not join us too?



What have you been up to? Are you a writer, an artist? What do you do that makes you smile? Tell me about it, I'm always interested in what brings others joy.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it. I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Attitude


Courtesy of Northern Exposures
Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the Manic Writer. I blog about PTSD, encouragement and write book reviews and romantic fiction. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you.
A positive attitude is the filter that shapes how we interpret and respond to people and circumstances. Attitudes are habits, and since we become our habits it's important to choose them wisely.

A positive attitude can change everything. When I was in my 20's I was a single mom and I worked very hard to make ends meet which meant that I often drove a car on the verge of a breakdown. This trained me to have a positive attitude. Once upon starting up from a very long red light my car chose to make a sound that would have rivaled the coming of the apocalypse rather than move forward. The grinding, grating and other offensive noises coming from underneath my feet told me I was staying put for the moment. Where I could have cried I chose positivity instead, I climbed out of my car and cheerfully exclaimed “At least it's not raining!” That's when the volunteer fire alarm rang out for all to hear and I realized I had broken down directly in front of their driveway.

Ah well, positivity will get us part of the way. I made it through that day because I chose to be positive regardless of how dark the circumstances looked.

I know that a car breakdown is nothing in comparison to the challenges we face when we are dealing with mental illness and I do not want to belittle or disparage the pain that we feel when we have PTSD.

I do think there are valuable lessons in my story though. I had several ticks against me that day. I was broke, during that time in my life I rarely had two dimes to rub together. I was alone, I had no one to share the burden of a broken down car with me. I was miles from home, where I broke down I still had a 30 minute drive on back roads before I got home and with a broken car I had to figure out how to do that with a 6 yr old in tow. Finally, I was one step away from a crisis, with no car I had no way to get to work which would have started an avalanche that would have ended with me jobless.

These are all moments that we experience everywhere. If you suffer from PTSD, or love someone who does, then they are all points that, with attitude, you can adjust.

Are you broke? Struggling with PTSD can lead to employment problems but there are resources out there. If you don't have the strength to find them find an advocate who can help you. Be brave and ask for help. I know it's hard but in the end it's worth it.

Are you alone? You may feel very alone but look up and look around. I may not have had a partner at the time, but I had family and when I reached out they were very supportive and helped me while my car was repaired.

Are you miles from home? I've been there. That day I was a mere 20 miles from my home but I've been farther and I know how it feels. And you might just feel lonely in a room of people who love you. Be brave, reach out. I got a ride home and you can too.

Are you one step away from a crisis? Granted me being jobless and potentially homeless is different from the crisis you may be approaching if you have PTSD and again, I recognize that there is no comparison here, just life situations that crop up everywhere. If you feel a crisis coming on, or are in one please, please, please get help. Talk to a family member, a trusted friend, a doctor or call the crisis line. Don't let the trolls win this one.

All this to say that when we look on the positive side we often find a lot more going for us than we originally thought there was. Step back and ask yourself what's good about this situation. Is the sun shining, enjoy it! Do you have a full belly, revel in the feel! Are you surrounded by loved ones who care? Give them a hug and thank them.

courtesy of Flickr
Stay positive my friends.

Please remember that I am a writer and researcher, my key role is to filter through the mountains of information available and bring the best of it to you. I do not and can not offer medical advice if you suspect that you or a loved one is dealing with PTSD please seek professional help immediately. If you are considering suicide, or you believe a loved one is considering it, please call for help now. As I've said before, we can't let the trolls win this battle and 1 suicide is 1 too many.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!


Monday, May 25, 2015

PTSD Help- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Courtesy of SIShannon
PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It affects as much as 8% of the general population and 17% of the military population (reference). Last week I discussed a few self-help strategies for dealing with PTSD this week I'd like to talk about the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. It is often the first intervention that will be offered as it's easy and non-invasive and has been found to be effective for many who struggle with PTSD(reference).

Please remember that I am an author and researcher, my key role is to filter through the mountains of information available and bring the best of it to you. I do not and can not offer medical advice. If you suspect that you or a loved one is dealing with PTSD please seek professional help immediately. If you are considering suicide, or you believe a loved one is considering it, please call for help now. As I've said before, we can't let the trolls win this battle and 1 suicide is 1 too many. #22soldiers a day

What is it?
courtesy of Flickr
CBT is a type of psychotherapy that involves talking to a trained professional, not a banana, who will guide you to uncover unhealthy attitudes, thought patterns and feelings(reference). These attitudes, thoughts and feelings are likely making your PTSD worse by encouraging the negative feelings that the PTSD brings on. It is possible that they aren't even related to the cause of your PTSD, they are simply feeding it with negative behaviors and emotions. By dealing with them, you are taking a step towards balance and healing.

For instance, if you suffer from low self-esteem and you have PTSD, CBT can help you understand and correct the wrong thought patterns that lead to your low self-esteem. The correction of the thought patterns that led to your low self-esteem will help you be more self-aware which can help you find healing for your PTSD. It doesn't matter if your low self-esteem didn't come from the same thing that caused your PTSD, correcting those wrong thought patterns can still help you because you are an interrelated whole made up of many interconnected parts.

How does it work?

When you engage in CBT with a professional counselor, they'll guide you to identify any false or negative patterns in your thoughts and attitudes and work with you to help you see the truth(reference). Your counselor will then work with you to correct them by helping you to craft new positive and true thoughts and feelings. Often, your counselor will assign you homework to do between sessions that involve reflection and journaling to help you further. There is an excellent article here(reference) that goes in more depth than I can.

courtesy of Flickr


To build on my previous example of low self-esteem. If you believe that your work has no value your counselor will work with you to find the value in your work. Your counselor will then help you to replace your negative thoughts about your work with more positive ones and may assign you homework of reflecting on the value of what you do, and, possibly, how you can make it more valuable in your own eyes.

CBT is not meant to be ongoing(reference). You and your counselor will set goals and work towards them. Periodically you will both reassess those goals and decide together when you have met them. The counselor's goal is to teach you to do this for yourself and when you both feel you have reached that goal you can choose to end treatment or continue it if you feel you still need it.

Is it effective?

CBT has been used in the treatment of PTSD with success for a long time with good results. It has been found to lower PTSD scores effectively even when the person receiving treatment suffers from an additional mental illness. It is often used in conjunction with other treatments such as medication and other types of therapy such as hypnosis and supportive therapy. Success also depends on the involvement of the person receiving therapy, an involved patient who is actively seeking healing is more likely to find relief and stay with their counselor until they both agree they are done(3).

How do I find help?

courtesy of Flickr
Finding help for PTSD can feel overwhelming. If you are a veteran you can call the helpline and get started. If you are not a veteran there are still many options available to you. Your health insurance likely offers some mental health care, Mental Health America has resources listed for finding help, and National Institute of Mental Health has some as well. If you don't have health insurance don't panic! Many providers understand and will work with you, either charging on a sliding scale or by putting you in contact with one who does. Mental Health America, linked above, has some resources and Emedicine offers some arguments about why you should get help regardless.

I urge you to get help today if you are struggling with PTSD.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Review: PTSD: Overcome the Pain, Start Living Again




Today I will be reviewing PTSD:Overcome the Pain, Start Living Again by John Mackey (2015). Mackey wrote this in response to his own battle with PTSD and I applaud him for being willing to discuss and share his experiences in order to help others. It isn't easy to share that you have PTSD publicly. It is, as Mackey points out, a misunderstood illness that is difficult for people to talk about However, cancer also used to be misinterpreted and misunderstood and it was education that changed that. We need to follow in Mackey's example and expose the lies and misconceptions about PTSD so that we may support and love those who deal with its realities everyday of their lives.

I found Mackey's book to be an easy read. It is a pleasant basic primer on the illness that will not overwhelm someone who is just starting on their journey of discovery. Mackey starts off by sharing the experiences that caused him to develop his PTSD, he explains the illness, and finishes up by discussing some treatments and coping techniques. Overall Mackey does an excellent job of introducing any newcomer to the realities of PTSD and some of the techniques that can be employed to cope with it.

In his introduction Mackey tells the story of how he came to have PTSD. He does an excellent job of relating the two incidents. He shares some very personal information without going overboard and making his reader uncomfortable. I appreciated understanding his circumstances as it helped me understand where he was coming from and lent validity to his work. He does offer a disclaimer stating that it is not necessary to read his story to understand the book and that the reader shouldn't read it if they feel it will upset them too much. An excellent offer in light of the fact that there are probably many readers with PTSD who may be triggered by his experiences.

Mackey uses the first two chapters to explain PTSD by defining it and some of the reasons PTSD occurs. His explanation is simple and easy to follow using bullet lists for simplicity and ease of explanation. He addresses the symptoms by breaking them down into categories and further explaining them and urges anyone who is suffering severe symptoms to call for help immediately.

He addresses the causes and risk factors. Again his simple and straightforward bullet lists make his explanation easy to follow and understand to the inexperienced first timer seeking information and help whether they suffer from PTSD themselves or have a loved one that they suspect does. He also delves into some of the traumatic events that can lead to PTSD with the important disclaimer that it is not an exhaustive list.

Mackey devotes the final three chapters of his book to explaining treatment methods, coping techniques and strategies for living with PTSD. He makes an excellent contribution in discussing the need for consistent treatment and regular application of coping strategies. He touches on both therapeutic and medication based treatments touching on how both help the person dealing with PTSD to recover and return to living.

The coping techniques and strategies he offers are equally valuable, discussing the realities not only for the person who has PTSD but for those who have loved one living with it because the reality that no one has PTSD in a vacuum. Family and friends are always part of the equation. There is only one statement he makes in his book that I would disagree with. He says “living with PTSD can be a daily struggle,” going on to say later that as family we can help “sufferers cope and live happy productive lives.” His wording would lead the reader to believe that there is no healing, an idea I disagree with heartily. Will we be the same? Of course not! But I do believe that there is always room for healing.


Overall Mackey's book surprised me with his honest and upfront story of his own PTSD, it's simple and easy to read format of bulleted lists, and his excellent explanation of the strategies that can be used to treat and hopefully heal PTSD for those who suffer from it. I'd highly recommend PTSD: Overcome thePain, Start Living Again for anyone who is new to the realm of PTSD. It makes an excellent primer that will prepare you for the more in-depth works out there preparing you for the clinical and technical jargon so many books are full of.

John Mackey's book is a Kindle exclusive. Any links I offer to here are Amazon affiliate links that will earn me a small commission for the work I put into this review, it will not change the price you pay. This review is also available on Amazon.