A curation of works, thoughts, and resources from Spencer's appearances and lectures. 

Quotes I Loved, After my Mental Health Crisis

In the darkest moments of our lives, when the weight of despair seems unbearable, it's hard to imagine that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know this feeling all too well. Over the past year, I've endured a series of devastating losses that sent my mental health into a downward spiral. But here I am, still standing, still fighting. I have built my career on being open with my mental health. I have always championed, advocated, and marched for mental health, equality and love. Being vulnerable is what I base my…everything…on. On the other side of my mental health crisis, I found these quotes to be particularly true. 


1. "Out of difficulties grow miracles." - Jean de La Bruyère

   - When autumn brought the storm of despair into my life, I lost my husband, my home, and seemingly everything I held dear. The pain was indescribable, and I felt like I had hit rock bottom. My world had crumbled around me, leaving me with nothing but grief and emptiness.


2. "The darkest hour has only sixty minutes." - Morris Mandel

   - In those dark moments, it felt like time had stood still. I couldn't see a way out of the abyss of depression and hopelessness. My mental health deteriorated to the point where I attempted to end my life not once, but twice. It was as if the world had lost all its color, and I had lost all my strength.


3. "When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about." - Haruki Murakami

   - But here's the remarkable thing about life: even in our darkest moments, there is a glimmer of resilience within us. With each setback, we have the opportunity to rebuild ourselves stronger than before. Over the past year, I've changed in ways I never thought possible. My hair may have fallen out, but my spirit grew stronger.


4. "Survival can be summed up in three words: never give up." - Bear Grylls

   - The road to recovery is often long and arduous, but it's worth every step. I realized that giving up is not an option. My experiences, as painful as they were, taught me the value of life and the strength that resides within all of us, waiting to be harnessed.




Today, as I write these words, I want to offer a message of hope to anyone who is struggling with their mental health. I've been to the darkest depths of despair, and I've emerged on the other side. It wasn't easy, and it required seeking help, leaning on loved ones, and finding the inner strength to carry on. Remember, even in your darkest moments, you can find the will to live. Life can change, circumstances can improve, and you can emerge from the storm stronger than you ever thought possible. You are not alone, and there is help and support available. So, please, choose life, because your story is not over, and there is beauty in the chapters yet to be written.


Now, more than ever, I say this. If I can survive, you can too. 




Suicide.mp4

Suicide Awareness Month

Let's look at the importance of community, support, and breaking the stigma around mental health and suicide. September 2023


Spencer Hatch.mp4

On Grief

Based on my TED-Talk speech, I discuss the universal experience of grief, its emotional impact, and the potential for personal growth in the face of loss. I emphasize the importance of acceptance, support, self-compassion, and resilience as key elements in overcoming the pain of grief. From my April 2023 speech.

Echos of Unspoken Love

In the dim-lit room, I take my place,

Gazing at you, lost in your grace,

Counting the steps, a distance to find,

One hundred and five, a numerical bind.


Like tiny blades in a silent parade,

From your skin to mine, a secret cascade,

And I feel it, though my eyes betray,

My gaze on the ground, I can't look your way.


In this clandestine dance, I choose to partake,

A love unspoken, for both our hearts' sake,

In another life, where words could be sung,

My teeth and my tongue, our love would be wrung.


For I'd give my all to make you just mine,

In each moment, I'd gladly bleed every time,

I don't mind the pain, I don't mind the climb,

I'd return a thousand times in this rhyme.


You can keep me waiting, forever I'd stay,

Push me away, tell me "never," I'll sway,

But my love remains, I don't mind the delay,

I'd return a thousand times, night and day.


Kiss me goodnight, like a friend with a guise,

I'll do the same, though it's veiled in lies,

Love, a cage we're caught in, as time flies,

These words on this page, our love's true guise.


In another life, where I wouldn't need to hide,

I'd release this love, like a rushing tide,

For I'd give my all to make you just mine,

In each moment, I'd gladly bleed every time.


Again and again, I let my heart go,

Muffled words behind hands, an inner woe,

I wouldn't dare tell you, for you not to know,

The fear of losing what I don't yet own, though.


I grow weaker with each passing minute,

Is it so wrong if my heart's boundless spirit,

Yearns to cry out, to let love's flame ignite,

I'd return a thousand times, day or night.


And I'd give my all to make you just mine,

In each moment, I'd gladly bleed every time,

I don't mind the pain, I don't mind the climb,

I'd return a thousand times, in rhythm and rhyme.


Make me wait forever, I'd still be here,

Push me away, tell me "never," I'd still hold you dear,

I don't mind the distance, the doubt, the fear,

I'd return a thousand times, for you, my love, I revere.



-Spencer Hatch


Reflections on a Boundless Journey


In the tapestry of life, broken threads cannot always reveal their true colors, and we often find ourselves yearning for beauty beyond measure, for it is the rarest of treasures. Nothing, I dare say, can be worse than the looming specter of losing what we do not yet possess, a poignant reminder of the fragility of our aspirations.

Let us consider the poignant act of bidding farewell, as bittersweet as it is. "Kiss me goodnight like a good friend might," these words echo through the corridors of our hearts, resonating with a familiarity that tugs at our emotions. Yet, we must acknowledge that such partings are often marked by a duality of intentions – a kiss exchanged with the weight of unspoken truths.

The verses on this very page carry within them the pain that has etched itself upon our souls, but they are not the means to liberation. For we must remember that words alone, no matter how eloquent or heartfelt, cannot truly free us from the shackles of our own emotions.

As we stand on the precipice of existence, it is natural to yearn for the impossible – to rewrite the chapters of the past, to rewrite the very essence of our being. The words, "I would die to change the past, I would come back a thousand times," speak to the boundless human spirit, the relentless pursuit of redemption, and the indomitable will to transcend the constraints of time itself.


-Spencer Hatch



Cultivating Resilience: Embrace Life's Challenges and Find True Happiness.

For someone who had faced and conquered substantial challenges throughout their life, it was a shocking realization that the past year had delivered more trials and tribulations than all the preceding ones combined.

Life, at times, can seem like a master of cruel jests, an eternal trickster, and a relentless force. It played a most heart-wrenching joke on me by snatching away my entire world, leaving me in a bewildering and desolate landscape. Late last year, in an unexpected twist of fate, it felt as though the universe conspired against me, dismantling the very foundations of my existence.


Imagine a scenario where everything you held dear, the dreams you nurtured, the bonds you cherished, all vanished into thin air, leaving you standing amidst the ruins of your former life. It was as though life reveled in its capriciousness, reveling in the chaos it had wrought upon my world.


In that moment, the laughter of fate seemed deafening, its irony unbearable. It's a feeling many of us have known, where despair and disbelief intertwine, and we are left questioning the fairness of it all. But it's precisely within these darkest moments, within the crucible of suffering, that the true essence of resilience emerges. It's a journey from the brink of despair to the pinnacle of strength. 

I would like to share a profound truth that life often reveals: "The day you lose everything is the day you truly discern who your real friends are." It's in our darkest hours that the authenticity of those who stand beside us becomes crystal clear. Yet, let this revelation not dishearten you; instead, let it ignite the fire to surround yourself with genuinely caring individuals, even when life tests you to the core.


Keep this in your heart: genuine strength isn't merely about receiving, but giving selflessly. "Help others even when you know they may be unable to reciprocate." This exemplifies your character and compassion, and it sets in motion a virtuous cycle where the kindness you sow returns to you in unforeseen, beautiful ways.


Life, undeniably, can be a battleground where we face our trials. However, I implore you to never relinquish the knowledge that "No matter how broken you may feel, remember you always have the power to start anew and emerge stronger than before." Adversity doesn't signify the end; it's an invitation to begin afresh, to rise with greater wisdom, resilience, and fortitude.



As we traverse life's winding path, we amass wisdom and experience. "The more I learn about the world, the more I realize how my prior perspectives were flawed." Embrace this journey of growth. Acknowledge that evolving, altering your viewpoint, and admitting past errors are signs of wisdom and self-awareness.


Let us not neglect the pursuit of happiness as an intrinsic right. "Some of us have dedicated our lives to survival, forgetting to find moments of happiness." Yet, mere survival isn't enough. Seek happiness amid adversity, discover joy in the minutiae of existence. Your unyielding spirit and determination can illuminate the path to a brighter, happier future.


It is my hope that these words resonate as a wellspring of motivation in your lives. Embrace the challenges, cultivate your bonds, give selflessly, and never lose sight of your capacity for growth and happiness. You possess the power to conquer, to flourish, and to inspire others along your unique journey. Your path is yours to tread, and it brims with boundless potential. Therefore, forge ahead with courage, for greatness beckons those who dare to seize it.


-Spencer Hatch


Embracing Contentment: Discovering Happiness Where You Are

In today's fast-paced world, the pursuit of happiness often seems like an elusive goal. Many of us find ourselves constantly seeking external sources of joy, believing that happiness lies just beyond the next milestone or accomplishment. However, the key to genuine and lasting happiness might be closer than we think – right where we are. This blog post explores the art of finding happiness in our current circumstances and how embracing contentment can lead to a more fulfilling life.

We often fall into the trap of postponing happiness until we reach a certain goal or acquire something new. We tell ourselves that we'll be happy when we get that promotion, find the perfect partner, or achieve a specific level of success. This mindset perpetuates the idea that happiness is conditional upon external factors, leading to a cycle of perpetual discontentment.

Mindfulness, the practice of being fully present in the moment, can transform our perception of happiness. When we learn to appreciate the beauty in everyday experiences – from sipping a cup of tea to watching the sunset – we cultivate a deeper connection with our surroundings. Mindfulness allows us to shift our focus from what we lack to what we have, fostering a sense of gratitude and contentment.

Gratitude is a powerful tool for finding happiness where we are. Taking time each day to reflect on the things we're grateful for can shift our perspective from scarcity to abundance. Whether it's the support of loved ones, our health, or simple pleasures, acknowledging and appreciating these aspects of our lives can significantly enhance our overall sense of well-being.

Our connections with others play a crucial role in our happiness. Instead of seeking happiness solely in material possessions, invest time and effort into nurturing meaningful relationships. Engaging in authentic conversations, spending quality time with loved ones, and fostering a sense of community can provide a deep sense of fulfillment that extends beyond momentary pleasures.

While finding happiness where you are involves embracing the present, it doesn't mean forsaking personal growth. Engaging in activities that challenge you, pursuing your passions, and setting achievable goals can provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment. The key is to strike a balance between self-improvement and contentment with your current progress.

The pervasive nature of social media can fuel the dangerous habit of comparing our lives to others'. Remember that people often curate their online presence, showcasing the highlights while omitting the challenges. By focusing on your journey rather than constantly comparing it to others, you can free yourself from the trap of inadequacy and truly appreciate your unique path.

Conclusion

In a world that constantly encourages us to strive for more, finding happiness where we are requires a deliberate shift in perspective. By practicing mindfulness, nurturing gratitude, fostering relationships, pursuing personal growth, and resisting the urge to compare ourselves to others, we can unlock a deeper level of contentment and joy. Ultimately, the journey to happiness starts within – by embracing the present moment and recognizing the abundance that surrounds us every day.



 Navigating the Journey: A Guide on How to Survive a Divorce 

Divorce can be an emotionally and mentally challenging experience. It is a period of significant change and adjustment, but with the right mindset and approach, it is possible to not only survive but also thrive during and after a divorce. This essay aims to provide you with practical strategies and guidance on how to navigate the difficult process of divorce and emerge stronger and more resilient.

Acceptance and Emotional Healing:

a. Acknowledge your emotions: Allow yourself to experience and process the range of emotions that come with divorce, such as sadness, anger, and fear.

b. Seek support: Surround yourself with a strong support system, including friends, family, or a therapist, who can provide a safe space for you to express your feelings.

c. Self-care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote emotional healing, such as exercise, meditation, journaling, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy.

Practical Considerations:

a. Legal counsel: Consult with an experienced divorce attorney to understand your rights, responsibilities, and the legal process involved.

b. Financial planning: Assess your financial situation and work on creating a budget that reflects your new circumstances. Consider seeking the help of a financial advisor if needed.

c. Child custody and support: If children are involved, prioritize their well-being and work towards a cooperative co-parenting arrangement that serves their best interests.

Communication and Conflict Resolution:

a. Effective communication: Maintain open and respectful communication with your former spouse to address practical matters and minimize conflicts.

b. Mediation or therapy: Consider professional mediation or therapy to help facilitate healthy communication and resolve conflicts constructively.

c. Focus on the children: Keep the children's needs at the forefront and strive to create a positive and supportive environment for them, even if you and your ex-spouse have differences.

Self-Reflection and Growth:

a. Personal growth: Use this challenging period as an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. Explore activities that enhance your self-esteem, self-confidence, and overall well-being.

b. Set new goals: Create new goals and aspirations for yourself, both short-term and long-term. This can give you a sense of purpose and direction as you move forward.

c. Seek professional help: If needed, consider seeking the guidance of a therapist or counselor to help you navigate the emotional complexities and discover a path to personal growth.

Surviving a divorce requires resilience, self-care, and a supportive network. By acknowledging and processing your emotions, seeking practical guidance, and prioritizing effective communication, you can not only survive but also grow from this challenging experience. Remember that time is a valuable healer, and with patience and self-compassion, you can rebuild your life and embrace a brighter future.




Featured Article: Reflecting On Diana


The extraordinary life of Diana, Princess of Wales, not only humanized the British monarchy, but captured the world’s attention. And she harnessed that media frenzy to raise awareness of a number of progressive philanthropic causes.


Diana was known as a prodigious fundraiser and at one point was linked to more than 100 charities. Although she chose to cut ties with the bulk of them in 1996 to lead more of a private life after her divorce from Prince Charles, she remained the patron of six charities until her death on Aug 31, 1997. Her passing initially led to a funding shortfall for those charities, but they eventually received grants from the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, which set up in response to public donations amounting to more than $100 million following her death.

Diana's philanthropic legacy has inspired many to give to charitable causes. At the time of her death, thousands of Americans responded to raise more than two million dollars in charitable gifts. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was created as a way of continuing Diana's work in the United States. To date the fund has contributed $4 million to forty-two youth driven groups. Diana made philanthropic work glamorous again, especially among the rich and famous.


Not only did she raise millions of dollars for many causes benefiting the sick and the poor, but she also gave of her time and herself. Many examples exist of Diana's personal visits to homeless shelters and leprosy wards, of her physically touching those with HIV/AIDS or sitting with children dying of cancer. She was known to take her sons, Princes William and Harry, with her to poverty-stricken areas of South London to meet homeless people camped in cardboard shelters. She ministered to the children and adult victims of unretrieved landmines. To outsiders, her life began in a fairytale fashion; yet, she rose to demonstrate to the world that one can overcome adversity and leave a meaningful legacy. She restored a sense of mission and humanity in a stodgy institution, the monarchy of England.


HIV/AIDS: One of Diana's favorite causes was for the research and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Diana understood and saw firsthand, the ravaging effect of this disease. Five people die from AIDS every minute (The Diana, Princess 2003). This work took Diana's philanthropic efforts internationally, something new to the monarchy of Britain. Her philanthropic activities raised millions of dollars for AIDS treatment during her life and after her death. Many other foundations and charities have joined her in the fight. For example, the Elton John Foundation raised over $2.1 million to support those vulnerable to HIV and People magazine established a Diana's Fund for children infected with HIV.


Landmines: One of the causes the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund champions is the campaign for a worldwide ban on landmines and medical treatment for those injured by explosives. In the months preceding her death, Diana's most publicized activities were her agitation against land mines. She visited victims of landmines in countries including Angola, and spoke in favor of the treaty to ban landmines before the present Labor government took office. This was one of the few political causes Diana supported.


Palliative Care: Palliative care is an approach to caring for people who are dying. It is a holistic way of enabling people to die with dignity and to support the families through the grieving process. A very important component is pain relief and the relief of troubling symptoms. It is also one of the causes championed by the Diana, Princess Wales Fund.

Above all, Diana believed that people have the power to change the world. Continuing her legacy means supporting children and teenagers and helping to change their lives by tackling the big issues of our time. Like the people's princess, they are not afraid to speak out and be at the forefront of change. I can only imagine how immensely proud she would be of the tens of thousands of young people from across the world who are continuing her life's work, and acting with similar kindness and compassion.


Here are five things you can do to help extend that legacy:

1/ Serve someone or a cause without seeking reward.

2/ Be inclusive. Look out for that person on the ‘outside’. Diana often used her privilege to shine a spotlight on excluded communities.

3/ Show kindness like Diana did, in school or work – but especially as we head back to school.

4/ Give generously: you have a currency that someone else needs. Diana believed that everyone has value and everyone has the potential to give back.

5/ Invest in young people. Help The Diana Award continue its vital work by becoming a supporter of the charity. Your generosity will help us extend her legacy.



How PTSD Can Affect Your Life

Though everyone’s body and mind react with a “fight or flight” response during a traumatic event, individuals with PTSD continue to have problems long after the event has passed. It’s possible to treat PTSD with a combination of counseling, therapy, and in some cases medication. What does PTSD do to a person? Simple answer... iIt keeps them from functioning, even after they survive what’s likely the worst thing that will ever happen to them.


People with PTSD suffer a variety of traumatic stress symptoms after hearing about, witnessing, or experiencing a traumatic event. Most PTSD symptoms begin within the first three months after trauma exposure, but they can take a year or more to appear. The mental health condition disrupts everyday functioning and severely decreases the traumatized person’s quality of life. 

Many types of traumatic events can trigger PTSD. Assault, abuse, loss of a loved one, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other traumatic stressors can cause people to experience emotional and physical symptoms long after the actual event. 

There are five categories of PTSD symptoms: intrusion, avoidance, negative changes in mood, arousal/reactivity, and dissociation. For a PTSD diagnosis, someone has to experience a certain number of symptoms in each category. These symptoms need to last longer than a month. They also must cause significant disruption to the person’s life.

Are you struggling, or think you may be struggling, with lingering issues after a traumatic event? Here are some ways PTSD may affect your everyday life:


1. Psychological: PTSD can make you Feel Powerless & Scared

One of the main symptoms of PTSD is a re-experiencing of the traumatic event. This means that images and sensations from the event will come back to you, sometimes without any warning, and impact your life. This can take several forms, including:

Recurring flashbacks in which you actually feel like the event is occurring once more

Nightmares where the trauma is re-lived over again

Repetitive images or other sensations from the event, including sounds, smells, or feelings.

How may re-experiencing symptoms affect your life? These intrusive thoughts and feelings can make you feel powerless, as each trigger can bring you back to a state where you feel the event is happening all over again.


2. PTSD can Make you Avoid Everyday People, Places, and Things

When it comes to PTSD, many people will start to experience the effects of avoidance in their lives. This means that you will start to actively avoid situations that remind you of the trauma. For example, if you were severely injured in a car accident, you may start to avoid driving or even being in cars. If the traumatic event took place in a certain area, you may feel unable to go near that place. Avoidance can impact your life in a big way as you change your routines of everyday life to work around it.

And it may not just be for physical places: in some cases, avoidance can happen internally as you force yourself to avoid certain thoughts and feelings that cause distress. Avoidance can have a negative effect on your life, causing you to avoid normal situations out of fear.


3. Physical Health: PTSD can Change the Way you Eat, Sleep, and React

In addition to psychological symptoms of re-experiencing and avoidance, many people with PTSD also manifest with physical effects from trauma.

Experiencing angry outbursts

Trouble sleeping, eating or concentrating

Feeling jumpy and on edge

Becoming easily startled

These physical symptoms may make it more difficult to sleep, concentrate, or even eat or drink normally. You may find yourself prone to jumping easily or lashing out at other people in anger. This can have some major effects on your social life and relationships, as you may react to people you love in anger without really meaning to.

 4. Emotional & Mental Effects: PTSD can change your mood

Many people also experience mental effects from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People with PTSD often have changes in the structure of their brains as a result of the trauma, and can have impacted levels of neurotransmitters like cortisol and norepinephrine (stress hormones). This means you might experience the following:

Apathy towards events that used to interest you

Negative thoughts and feelings (about yourself, other people, or the world)

Loss of memory about the traumatic event, and what surrounded it

Guilt or blame

The cognitive changes of PTSD can really impact your quality of life, making you feel listless and depressed. You may not be interested in previous hobbies and you may be stuck in a sad or anxious mood that you just can’t shake. In some cases, these mental effects can lead you to feel detached from loved ones and unable to relate to ordinary life. People who live with PTSD often experience negative thoughts about themselves and the world in general. Even people who were once optimists may start believing that the glass is half-empty. In severe cases, people with PTSD may believe that life is not worth living. It’s important for anyone with suicidal thoughts to seek immediate medical attention.

5. Social effects: PTSD can Make you Feel Alienated and Alone

For many people with PTSD, the symptoms of re-experiencing and avoidance, coupled with cognitive changes and physical symptoms, can create issues with social activities and relationships. You may feel like the people around you have trouble understanding what you’ve gone through, and you might create distance between yourself and others. Or perhaps angry outbursts can alienate you from those you love over time.


It can also be hard on our family, and friends. The person without PTSD may struggle with secondary trauma and burnout from caring for the person with PTSD. On the other hand, the person with PTSD may feel misunderstood, isolated, or as though they are a burden. In truth, it is the disorder and not the people who are causing these problems.

It’s important to remember that there’s always hope to recover when it comes to PTSD, and with help, support, and patience, you can combat the effects of this disorder in your everyday life.

Although most people start experiencing the effects of PTSD within three months of the traumatic incident they encountered, for others the symptoms may not manifest for years afterward.  If you believe you are suffering from PTSD, or have received a diagnosis in the past, you don’t have to go through this alone. Know that many people have sought help for their symptoms with great success.


The Bottom Line

People who live with PTSD often experience negative thoughts about themselves and the world in general. Even people who were once optimists may start believing that the glass is half-empty. In severe cases, people with PTSD may believe that life is not worth living. It’s important for anyone with suicidal thoughts to seek immediate medical attention. 

The effects of PTSD do not have to destroy your life. If you or a loved one are experiencing PTSD symptoms, you can start the path to recovery simply by reaching out for help. Although there is no definitive cure to PTSD, treatment methods, including counseling and meditation, can diminish its impact, and you can live healthy and fulfilling lives. 




Love.mp4

Unconditional Love.

Let's explore how the act of embracing people without judgment can bridge divides, create a ripple effect of positivity, and lead to personal growth. Let's challenges ourselves to make the world a better place by practicing compassion and acceptance. Based on my July 2023 interview with Tennessee's 103.3 Country

Change, Don't End Your Life

Most of us have experienced that pivotal peak of pain, anger or frustration in which we want to scream “I hate my life.” Yet, the feeling that a dark cloud has specifically settled over us and our experiences can feel pretty isolating. The truth is, no matter how singled out or overwhelmed we feel, and no matter what area we are struggling in, we are not alone.  More than half of U.S. workers are unhappy with their job.  One in 10 Americans struggles with depression. All of us have moments of utter despair. Escaping from this hopeless-seeming state may feel impossible. Yet, in reality, we are not doomed, and we are not powerless.  No matter what our circumstances, we can all learn tools to help us emerge from the darkest moments in our lives.


It’s important to recognize that many people experience things in life that make it unpleasant. Whether your job is awful or you feel like you have no time for friends or your relationships are suffering, then it’s important to recognize that there are things you can do to make it better. Whether you need some serious intervention like depression counseling or you just need to change some things in your environment, there are steps you can take to make your life better. If you can say, “I hate my life,” then these tips are for you.

This process starts with asking ourselves a few questions, starting with:


 Whose life are you really living?

One of the reasons we have the feeling of “I hate my life” is because we aren’t really following our own path. Instead, we are, often subconsciously, carrying out someone else’s idea of how we should live.  In order to have the life we say we want, we have to separate our real point of view from negative influences from our past, from people around us or from society at large. To do this, we can engage in a process known as differentiation, which can help us to distinguish our real wants, goals and desires from undesirable outside influences.


Avoid comparative thinking.

They say comparison is the thief of joy, and for good reason. Comparing yourself to others can stall progress and set you up for failure. It is also an extremely discouraging habit. Instead, focus your attention on yourself and what you are good at. Make a list of successes or achievements and celebrate them—daily affirmations are handy here—and avoid situations which trigger comparative thinking, like social media.


Explore Your Passions

While everyone should do something that brings them joy on a daily basis, most of us don’t. Family, work, and life get in the way. However, the happiest individuals are the ones who, somehow, practice self-care. If there’s something that’s always interested you, that you haven’t taken the time to pursue—whether its traveling, mountain biking, cooking, or education—find others who are passionate about those things, and do it.


Develop and execute a plan.

If you find you are still dissatisfied with life after altering your thought patterns and behaviors, it’s time to make a plan. After all, there are countless reasons that may cause you to "hate your life," and many of these factors are external—like toxic friends, the city you live in, etc. However, if  you find you need to change jobs, pals, locations, or whatever you choose, start small.


Take time to reflect

The very first step you need to take is to understand why you hate your life. It may be obvious, like having a job that drains your energy and has no higher purpose whatsoever. In other instances, the source of your hatred may not be so obvious. It could be a group of aspects of your life, like an unsupportive family, lack of time for hobbies, overly expensive apartment, wrong profession, and so on.


Determine what's in your power to change

When you're done with the soul-searching from the first step, you should analyse the situation. What is it that you can control and change? What is out of your hands?  For example, if you're in an abusive relationship, there's little point in trying to make the abuser change. However, you can transform your perspective on things. You can gradually start refusing to think about your life and yourself as they dictate. Their insults do not have to be the building blocks of your identity.


That said, it's important to note that sometimes severe self-loathing and dread are signs of a more serious issue. If hating your life causes a complete loss of interest in things you’ve always enjoyed, if you have no motivation to do what’s necessary for day-to-day functioning, if you have had a dramatic change in your appetite and are losing or gaining weight, if you feel fatigued, or are unable to sleep, and/or if you become isolated from family and friends and have thoughts like, it would just be simpler if I wasn’t around anymore, you may be dealing with a mental health condition.


Remember to always seek help  – Going to therapy is an action that would benefit everyone. There is no shame in seeking help. In fact, it is an act of bravery and strength. No matter where you are in the world or what your economic status is, help is available. Samaritans.org is a great international resource to find help. If you or someone you know is in crisis in the United States, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1 (800) 273-8255 or visit them online.


No matter where we’re at in our lives, it’s important to remember that we can handle loss or change. Human beings are incredibly adaptive. We may struggle at first, but we can get through the toughest of times. Things will get better. Even those who experience thoughts of suicide must know that the suicidal state is almost always transient and temporary. Help is available. You can feel better.  You can conquer whatever internal forces are telling you to give up, and you can go on to have a uniquely meaningful life.



Need help?  If you or someone you know is in crisis or in need of immediate help in the United States, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free hotline available 24 hours a day to anyone in emotional distress or suicidal crisis. Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 


Lying, and Trying and Triggers... Oh My!

Trauma memories are encoded sensorially, not linguistically. This means that they are encoded through the senses. What does this mean? When we experience a trauma our brain attaches sensory experiences to the trauma memory. This means that when we experience a similar sensory stimulus again it can trigger PTSD symptoms. When we experience a similar sensory stimulus to one we experienced at the time of the trauma our brain tells our body that we are in danger. It is telling the body to mobilize the resources needed to either fight or flee the danger.  PTSD triggers can include anything we experience through the senses of sight, smell, touch or taste. They might also include anything that reminds you of the trauma.


Who Gets PTSD?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), PTSD can develop at any age after exposure to a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. People who have experienced physical or sexual assault, abuse, an accident, disaster, or other serious event are at risk for the condition.


In 2021, 3.6% of adults experienced PTSD, and many of them probably suffered from symptoms long before the diagnosis, according to the NIMH. The prevalence of PTSD among adults was higher for females (5.2%) than for males (1.8%).


PTSD Triggers

PTSD triggers cause a person to re-experience a traumatic event. Learn about common PTSD triggers and how to treat them.

Traumatic or stressful events are an unfortunate and common part of life. Although the majority of people will experience some sort of trauma in their lifetime, a small percentage of those people will go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


PTSD is a psychiatric condition that develops in some people following a traumatic or stressful experience, such as violence or loss of a loved one. PTSD can also develop in people who witness a traumatic event, or people who hear about the trauma secondhand. For people who suffer from PTSD, the distress following a traumatic event can last for years, and extreme symptoms and emotions can be brought on or worsened by triggers that remind a person of their trauma.


PTSD triggers can vary depending on the type of trauma experienced and can be directly related to the trauma, or something seemingly unrelated. Examples of PTSD triggers can include people related to the traumatic event, specific objects, sounds or places. For people who know their triggers, they may go to great lengths to avoid them or become on edge or avoidant if they fear they may encounter these triggers. PTSD triggers can be common in war veterans, people with substance use disorders or those exposed to stressful environments.


How Do Triggers Develop?

PTSD triggers are developed before or during a traumatic event, and often include small moments or feelings that occurred leading up to the event. For example, someone may hear footsteps or smell smoke leading up to a traumatic experience. The brain then associates a trigger with an upcoming threat or danger; the smell, person or feeling then serves as a warning signal.


Even if a trigger is not at all related to a traumatic event, the brain can create an association between the two. This association can cause a person to re-experience their trauma if they encounter that trigger. These experiences are extreme, emotional and can be anxiety-inducing and debilitating.


Reactions to triggers can develop in many different ways. For example, triggers may cause:

Dreams or vivid memories of the traumatic experience

Anxiety or panic attacks

Aggression or violence

Extreme sadness

A heightened startle response, or seeming”‘jumpy”

A need to “numb the pain” of the trauma through substance use

Different Types of Triggers

PTSD triggers depend on the sights, sounds or people that are around a person leading up to or during a traumatic event. Although many people are acutely aware of what triggers them, some people — particularly if they have sensory triggers —  may not be sure what causes them to relive their experience. Triggers are associated with an extreme fear response and can include:


People: People who were near an event that was traumatic, or were perpetrators of trauma can evoke distress

Places: People with PTSD might relive their trauma by revisiting places that are linked to a traumatic event

Feelings: Particular feelings, like worry, panic or stress, can remind a person of how they felt during a traumatic experience and cause them to relive their experience

Things: Certain objects that were present or implicated in a traumatic experience can trigger an emotional response related to PTSD. This could be a piece of clothing, a type of vehicle, or anything that held significance or was notable leading up to or during the trauma.

Scents: A certain smell, like smoke or a particular aftershave, can also evoke traumatic memories. Scents are thought to have a stronger connection to memory than some of the other senses and may be linked with an extreme reaction if triggered.

Sounds: Sounds that are the same or similar to a sound that was part of a traumatic event can be extremely triggering. Sound-based triggers are particularly common among war veterans or victims of violent crime.

Anniversaries: Knowing the anniversary or significant dates surrounding a traumatic event can be anxiety-inducing for people with PTSD. The awareness of a significant date can bring on thoughts, feelings and memories related to trauma.


Identifying PTSD Triggers

Identifying PTSD triggers is not always obvious; someone with PTSD might not be aware of what sets them off or provokes their feelings of fear or anger. This is particularly true with sensory triggers like smells, colors, tastes or touch. Recognizing triggers may require a combination of talk therapy, or observation by a psychiatrist to examine parts of the environment that provoke an emotional response.


Recognizing PTSD triggers when they occur can be different for different people. While some people may be fearful or avoidant, others may be angry, aggressive or panicked. While some people may be able to recognize these behaviors in themselves, others may not. In these cases, healthcare professionals and family and friends may be needed to help to identify triggers.



Recognizing PTSD Triggers

PTSD triggers can be different for everyone, and the can range in severity for everyone. Sometimes, they can be more severe and chronic, including feelings of numbness, estrangement, guilt, and irritability. You may feel hyper-aroused, stressed, or anxious, and you may also experience physical symptoms, such as nausea, shaking, chills, heart palpitations, and tension headaches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 


To be diagnosed with PTSD, you would typically have been directly affected by the traumatic event. You may believe that your own life or someone else's life is in danger. According to the American Psychiatric Association, symptoms have to last for at least a month to be diagnosed as PTSD. Many people develop symptoms within three months of the trauma, though they may appear later and often persist for months or years.


Triggers are everyday experiences that cause people to relive an earlier trauma. People, places, smells, and sounds that are similar to what survivors experienced during the traumatic event are common triggers.


Upsetting smells, such as burning meat and diesel fuel, could remind veterans of charred flesh and military trucks, for example. Triggering sounds, including helicopters, firecrackers, or other loud bangs, may be reminders of a shooting. A victim of sexual assault may experience PTSD symptoms when reminded of the circumstances of the assault. If it took place in a dorm, for example, an individual may not go back into small rooms. A certain perfume or fragrance can also be a reminder of an assault, as can consensual sexual activity.


Coping With PTSD Triggers

Although avoiding triggers may seem like a logical way to avoid reliving trauma, it’s unlikely to help with symptoms of PTSD in the long term. Quite the contrary, exposure to triggers is the most common and effective treatment for PTSD. This can help to remove a trigger from the traumatic context and place it in the present, where it doesn’t hold any value or association.


People can also cope with PTSD triggers through peer support groups, mindfulness and relaxation strategies or the assistance of an emotional support animal. In many cases, a combination of personal coping strategies and exposure therapy supported by a psychiatrist can be beneficial.


Some of the treatment options for managing PTSD triggers include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Prolonged exposure therapy

Group therapy

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

Medication

Family therapy


PTSD Solutions

In most cases trauma symptoms dissipate a few weeks after experiencing a trauma. If symptoms persist after one month it is advisable to get some professional help with the trauma from a trauma trained professional. Trauma treatments might include EMDR therapy or Trauma Therapy.


It may be very hard to take that first step to help yourself. It is important to realize that although it may take some time, with treatment, you can get better. If you are unsure where to go for help, ask your family doctor. You can also check NIMH's Help for Mental Illnesses page or search online for “mental health providers,” “social services,” “hotlines,” or “physicians” for phone numbers and addresses. An emergency room doctor can also provide temporary help and can tell you where and how to get further help.


To help yourself while in treatment:

Talk with your doctor about treatment options

Engage in mild physical activity or exercise to help reduce stress

Set realistic goals for yourself

Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can

Try to spend time with other people, and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Tell others about things that may trigger symptoms.

Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately

Identify and seek out comforting situations, places, and people

Caring for yourself and others is especially important when large numbers of people are exposed to traumatic events (such as natural disasters, accidents, and violent acts).


Resources:

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-and-complex-ptsd/self-care/

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd

https://fherehab.com/ptsd/causes-and-triggers



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