Colorado Life Coach: For The Emotionally Messy

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 5.32.55 PMI’m a wreck today.

I used to be a wreck a lot more often, so when the weepiness starts now, I find myself baffled. What happened? Why am I so emotional? No, it’s not hormones.

It’s the trauma…again.

I’ve lived through some traumatic circumstances that lasted for several years. The counselor calls it “Secondary PTSD” (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

I call it hell.

I’m a pretty smart person-even though I’ve struggled to believe it most of my life. I know a lot about emotions, relationships, communication, growth, spirituality, boundaries, and living a healthy life. People come to me for help.

And yet, I still get triggered by seemingly little things, and here’s what happens:

~My brain shuts down. I can’t think of how to get myself out of the situation. Even though I could talk someone else going through a similar situation, when it happens to me, I can’t think. I can’t remember details. If you ask what happened, you’ll get a blank look.

~My heart starts racing, and I feel unsafe. It doesn’t matter that I know logically that I’m not in danger. I am afraid.

~I feel horribly discouraged. It’s as if all the work I’ve done (and believe me, I’ve done years of work) doesn’t matter. I’m right back there feeling helpless, scared, and totally unprepared to change my circumstances.

I’m powerless.

Understand, I know in my head that I’m not powerless. I have the degree! I wrote the book! I teach the class! I coach the clients! I get it!

But in that moment, I’m powerless. None of the head knowledge matters. My body just knows the trauma.

It happens in less than a second.

Have any of you experienced the RUUUSH up your chest? The sweaty palms? The brain fog? The terror? The memory loss? The panic?

So, after years of counseling (decades, really), EMDR, Neurofeedback, Theophostic Prayer, Journaling, degrees, certifications, trainings, intensives, etc. Here I am.

I’ve been weepy today, but it’s not easy when I don’t have a place to be weepy. It leaks out in the car.

And so I prayed, “Daddy, help me!” “Help me Jesus!” “I’m so tired, I’m scared, I don’t know what to do.”

Through my tears I hear, “I know my sweet baby girl. I know how much it hurts. I know you’re scared. I’ve got you. It’s going to be OK. I’m not done with you. I have so much planned for you. It’s OK. You’re alright. I’m right here with you and you’re safe.”

So, the tears continue, but now out of relief. The kindness overwhelms me once again. I’m not alone in this. I don’t know how I’d make it if I didn’t have God. I truly wish he would just fix this once and for all. But until he does, I’m so thankful for his reassurance, his tenderness to my wounded heart, and his presence in my loneliness.

Do any of you suffer from PTSD? What’s been the most helpful thing in your healing? Please share with me and others here!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.


  1. oh Carrie, I get this, I totally get this. A year and a half after my “incident” and the trauma resurfaces in the strangest moments and in the most unprepared times. While baking or cooking my mind wanders for just a few short minutes; I’m in another place reliving it al over again and not realizing that I’m crying until I smell the burning cookies. And like you, now with such healing and hope for the future restored, my tears are similar – the relief. Tears of great redemption – tears of recognizing His goodness to me throughout the labors of restoration. Love you.

  2. Melinda, Thanks for reading, and taking the time to comment! I love you too, and will miss your thoughtful, encouraging words when you move. Thankful for blogs, facebook, twitter, and cell phones!

  3. Julie, it’s so true!! Isn’t it funny how we sometimes think that only other people have these feelings, and we shouldn’t? I find it so reassuring when I know others struggle with the same things, and I’m not alone!

  4. Thanks Greg! I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment! Make sure you subscribe to get each new blog. What do you like about my blogs?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Contact Carrie O’Toole to schedule a confidential telephone call or appointment for coaching.