Archive: Anxiety Stress and Fear

Letting go, pillar of mindfulness

letting go

Letting go takes practice.  It’s easy to let go of a thought or desire if it isn’t that strong or important.  Not so easy when it is.

The cause you’ve worked for all your life.  The son or daughter who wants to move to another continent. The issue at work that you fear might end your career.  These are the kinds of things that keep us awake, and that can take up every free moment in our day.

And yet, it’s by hanging onto them that we have the best chance of losing them – the child or lover who can no longer handle our neediness of them; the cause that needs a new and fresh approach that you can’t bring yourself to embrace.  The issue at work that makes you so stressed you can’t think straight and find yourself making big and bigger mistakes as a result.

Deep down, being unable to let go is about fearing to loose what is important to us.  The problem is that fear changes us, so that what began as something beautiful turns by that refusal to let go into something toxic.

Let go. Spread the love.

I first read of the 7 pillars of mindfulness in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book on mindfulness Full Catastrophe Living. These pillars are Buddhist principles that help us be present and mindful in our everyday living. The 7 meditations I offer to anyone who signs up on my website are based on these, and I use them in my own meditation practice.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at .

No time? How to reclaim it

How often have you said to yourself “What happened to the time? Where did it go?  I still have so much left to do!”  If it’s often, then you’re a lot like me. Every time I go away for more than a few days, the amount of stuff I have to get done before I go grows exponentially: I have to get the work I’d normally do the week I’m away done before I go; that office clean-up I’ve been planning for 6 months suddenly looms large in my mind; what about that sweater I began and never finished 2 years ago?  These things, reasonable or not, suddenly become imperatives, even if some rational part of me knows better.

My partner knows better than to argue and offer rational argument; he simply finds other things to completely occupy himself with while I go crazy and wear myself out needlessly.

It really is a compulsion, and as with all compulsions, sitting and thinking about it in an attempt to discover what’s really going on isn’t going to get me anywhere.  What’s needed is to take 10 or so minutes, and discover what my body has to tell me.  That’s right – my body.  It’s in our bodies that we store feelings and value sensations, and this compulsion is, for me, connected to my values and, possibly fears.

How do I do this? I do a body-scan, then sit quietly and meditate on what comes up for me. That’s all.  A body scan is a mindfulness technique where we breath into our body and be with whatever physical sensations come up.  We begin at our toes, then move up our legs, into the pelvic area, then up the torso to the shoulders, then from the finger tips up the arms, finally breathing into the neck, the face – jaws, mouth, nose and eyes, forehead and ears, the top and back of the head. By doing this, we not only become familiar with what is going on physically for us, we also get to know how those sensations are connected to our values and beliefs.  And for most of us, this is an unfamiliar feeling.

Here’s a real-life example from my own life: I’ll take my compulsion to multiply tasks before I leave for more than a few days.

While thinking about the impossible list of tasks on hand and my sense of urgency over getting them done, I scan my body.  I’m looking for discomfort and numbness.  When I discover these, I take note and continue my scan. In this case, I might notice a tightening at my solar plexus, a hardening at the back of my head, and a clenching of my back shoulders.

Now, for each sensation, I ask what it’s doing and how it’s helping me. For instance, if I breathe into my solar plexus and the tightening there, asking it why it’s there and how it’s helping me, it might respond with something like “I’m holding things together”, and “I’m helping by enforcing calm”.  This helps me understand that what’s really happening is panic, only what I’m feeling is tightening – tightening me up so that I can keep doing all those things on my list.  I’ve fooled myself into believing everything is A-OK.

The hardening at the back of my head and the clenching of my shoulders are similarly, helping me dull down the panic, so that I can finish everything.

Knowing this is the first essential step to changing this approach into something healthier and less driven. It isn’t the answer, but it is a huge start.


Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at .

Hurt People and Free People

hurt people hurt people and free people free people – anon

I first heard that phrase in an interview with Sarah Jones.  I thought it perfectly captured the dynamics of both sets of people.  When I’m hurting, I’m miserable and all my focus is on my misery. When I’m feeling great, the exact opposite is true: anything that happens during that time is completely workable.  There is nothing that really gets to me.  I’m generous with myself and others, helpful in a real way, and generally positive and energized.

I’m really no different from anyone else in this way.  To prove my point, if you’ve ever wanted something really badly – say, a red VW Beatle (are there any of those outside Mexico anymore?) – then all of a sudden, you will – guaranteed – begin to see an amazing number of red VW Beatles, or at least red cars.  Every time a red car is in your line of vision, it will literally grab your attention.  It’s like being in an auditorium and hearing your name: you may not have heard anything else, but you will hear your name.

Whatever I’m focused on is what I’m going to notice.  So, when I’m miserable, I’ll notice things that make me more miserable.  And even more, I’ll want subconsciously – or even unconsciously – to be with others who are miserable.  That old saying “misery loves company” should really read (as a psych prof of mine once said) “misery loves equally miserable company”.

And, when I’m feeling great, my focus is on that great feeling. And I want everyone around me to feel that great.

It reminds me of what I heard many different inspirational people say: if you’re simply surviving and not thriving, there is no way you can wish anything better on others.  The focus must be solely on survival. I don’t know if this is a law of nature, but it seems so. Sometimes, however, we only feel we are surviving; and simply feeling this will make us act as if that’s all we’re doing: surviving.  There may not be anything we can do when we are truly barely surviving – all our resources really must be focused on survival – but we can do something about our mindset if we’re beyond that point but don’t know it. Like the relative who has a million dollars in the bank but still rummages around garbage bins looking for cast-away produce (yes, I have known people who do this) – not because they believe in not wasting anything, but because they believe they are barely surviving.

For me, the way I got myself out of feeling I was only surviving, was understanding what I was doing to those I cared about.  I was making them as miserable as I felt, without realizing this.  I simply couldn’t help it! As long as I was focused on surviving, this was bound to happen.  For me, that realization snapped me out of the survival mindset, creating a crack in my armor, and I was able to see the truth of my situation.
Today, I don’t have a million dollars in the bank, but I can still feed and shelter myself. I’m careful with my money so that I can use it to live well and happily. Instead I spend a great deal of my time volunteering and finding ways of helping those in my community.

I love what I do, and a big part of why I love it is my focus.

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

Pastor Rick – Surviving isn’t thriving

hurt people

Quote of the Week

If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow in their capabilities.
― Barbara Bush

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website or contact me directly at

Personal Power or Stress? One thing you can do to regain your Power

These days, I often hear people saying that stress is good – that there’s a difference between “good” and “bad” stress, and that they want more “good “ stress in their lives.

All well and good.  But what, exactly is “good” stress?  When I ask, I almost always get some variation of the following:  it’s the kind of stress that gives you the drive to get something done; it gives you energy instead of taking it away; it’s when you’re in the “zone” and everything is moving like a knife through butter.

I get that – most if not all of us have experienced those moments of pure productivity in our lives.  And they are truly wonderful.  But this kind of stress is only “good” if it happens periodically.  These days, many of us expect ourselves – or are expected by others – to be that productive all the time.  When that happens, this “good” stress turns “bad”, and we end up feeling overwhelmed and powerless.

So the question of interest for me is: How can I determine when I’m moving from “good” to “bad” stress? The answer: by attending to my knowing, another way of saying trust my gut.  This is another phrase used a lot these days – it’s so easy to talk about and yet so hard for most of us to do – because it’s something we have spent most of our adult lives eradicating.

Those times when you didn’t feel like staying up late, but were talked into it; or when you were uncomfortable walking into an elevator with an angry-looking stranger but did anyway; or any number of situations you found yourself in where your gut said I don’t like this and your head said It’s OK – you’re imagining things, Gut! Those times added up into a disconnect between you and your knowing.  And that disconnect led to you losing your personal power, because personal power resides in your knowing.

We have personal power when we are sure of ourselves, when we trust ourselves to know what’s good or bad for us, and then always go for it.  Every time we ignore that wise part of us, we lose a bit of our own personal power, sending us into increasing self-doubt, increasing overwhelm.

Why? Because what’s in our head is knowledge we’ve collected from others = our parents, teachers, community leaders and friends.  This kind of knowledge is useful but not something that should ever replace what we know for sure.  And what we know for sure is in our gut, not our head.

If you’re uncertain of this, try this out: On a day that might rain – that looks possibly like it might and the forecast is uncertain, stand for a few minutes, eyes closed, and see how you feel about the weather. I don’t mean emotions or judgments, I mean sensations, because that’s the language of the gut.  Your body knows better than your head – or the forecast – whether or not to take an umbrella.  Then whatever your gut says, simply go with it.

Whether it rains or not, you’ve just taken care of yourself. Whether it rains or not, notice how you feel – relaxed or stressed? Relaxed or uncertain? Relaxed or in doubt?

You can relearn to do this in any situation. This is Personal Power.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

Three Steps to Cultivate your Authentic Power

Quote of the Week
You are more powerful than you think
It’s bigger than you
Leaders are made, not born
Leveling up is a choice
They say you can’t, we know you can
Dance with fear
See, assert, change
Overwhelmed is temporary
Out loud, in public
Hard work is far better than busy work
The crowd is wrong. The critics are wrong. Useful feedback is precious…
Management matters. So does leadership…
“Here, I made this.” Or possibly, “Here, we made this.”
See the end before you begin the journey
Culture defeats everything
It’s personal
-Seth Godin, 17 Rules for the New World of Work

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website or contact me directly at


How to get from underneath anxiety

The fast-approaching holiday season is a time of heightened anxiety for a lot of us.  It used to be for me too. There are so many expectations we put on ourselves, or others put on us, that the build up to that one day can be incredible.

It’s a scary time – who might we offend? is what we’ve done enough? or too much? If we’re alone, we may feel a longing for family at this time like no other.

This is the darkest time of the year for people in the Northern Hemisphere.  A time for hot chocolate, sitting by a roaring fire, looking inward.  It’s a perfect time for quiet introspection – an activity best done alone.

It’s also a time for welcoming the day back, because this is when daylight begins to increase. A time of gratitude, and good will.

Introspection and welcoming gratitude – both lend themselves to meditation. Deepak Chopra believes this is the perfect time to meditate.  He reminds us that meditation helps us through our fears, reducing them to a manageable size, re-focusing our thoughts on the beauty of the present instead of worrying about the future.

Fear is a natural reaction that’s built into us, called our fear-response. It warns us of a possible danger; and once that possibility is over, so is our fear.  The problem is that there can be so many expectations, that our fear-response doesn’t have a chance to calm down.  When that happens, it can become general, mysterious, seemingly unattached to any particular fearful thing.

This is generalized anxiety.  The good news is that it need not last, and one way that helps is to learn to meditate.  Here are three steps to getting out from underneath anxiety:

  1. Get out of your mind and into your body. Close your eyes, and feel your body.  It helps to bring your focus of attention to a part of your body that you notice, breathing into that area, until the sensations you experience shift and change. Then, move to another part of your body, and breathe into that part, noticing and getting interested in your own physical sensations.
  2. Let go of the fear Once you begin to relax through breathing, become interested in any physical sensations you continue to experience that come from fear – shaking and chill, shallow breathing, tension.  The idea is to let these sensations go a little at a time, by doing something that counters it.  If you’re cold and shivering, get under some warm blankets or take a warm bath.  If you’re breathing is shallow, take slow deep breaths.  If you are tense, say in your shoulders and back, stretch from side to side, loosening up the back muscles and reducing the tension.
  3. Calm yourself into natural relaxation. Once you are able to let go the fear, relax and allow your body to heal.  Lie down, have a relaxing tea, listen to calming music.  Take time to recover, honoring your body’s need to this time.

You can free yourself from anxiety and stress, even during the stress of holiday season.

I want to invite you to my free webinar, 3 Brief and Unusual Strategies to Manage Stress on January 5, 2015. You’ll be able to use these short, yet powerful, techniques anywhere to transform your day from stressed out to super, freeing yourself from that rock you might be stuck under.  If you’re interested , click here to register.

Ted Talk – How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed


Quote of the Week

You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free


Retraining ourselves to focus when we’re overwhelmed

There are many reasons for feeling overwhelmed.  One of them is fear of losing.  When I’m working on a project, I begin by listing everything I need to do or have done that will make the end result a success.  Then I prioritize, making sure those things that must be done, or done first, are highlighted.

So far so good.  Then I dig in, delegating whatever I don’t need to do, or that could be done better by someone else, if I can afford it.  Now, all I have left to do are a few major priorities.

Still good. And this is where things begin to unravel for me. For you, it might be a different spot in the process.  Wherever it is exactly, will be that point at which we begin to worry about the outcome. Why?  Because we are at this point diving into uncharted territory.  Because even after paring down our part of the do-do list to what seems manageable, there’s still too much to do.  Did I mention the rest of my life that continues with or without the project? If you don’t happen to have a project, you still have a life, and with today’s super-fast and super-available ways of sending us demands, requests, appeals for some of our time, there is always too much to do. And if you’re like me, after a while, I begin to panic that I’ve bitten off more than I can handle and it’ll all come crashing in on me any second.

The one thing we lose when we get overwhelmed is our ability to focus, or in Martha Beck’s words, we become attentionally blind.

We need to redevelop our search imaging ability.  When animals in the wild search for food, they do it by attending only to a particular search image that helps them ignore anything else that might otherwise get in the way.  We do that too.  Remember the last time you fell in love? Then for the next few months found it remarkable the number of people resembling your new love? In today’s packed world, we have too many choices; and if we allow any number of them to make space inside us, we lose our ability to focus, and end up attentionally blind instead.  When that happens, we simply stop and sink into overwhelm.

Last week, I shared 5 things you can do to avoid overwhelm.  Today I’m going to expand on one of them: focus. To relearn this major survival skill, I suggest you take yourself somewhere away from your computer and smart phone, from the usual elements that demand your time.  A coffee shop, or local event. Even a local shopping mall. Somewhere filled with competing demands that you aren’t particularly tied to.

You can think of this exercise as a kind of mindfulness meditation – in fact, a concrete application of mindfulness, with the element of fun added.

  • Close your eyes: Sit down, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing for a few minutes.
  • Chose and focus on a search image: Once you feel your heart rate slowing, and your breath slow and even, chose one thing to focus on – blond heads of hair, the color red – anything that simply takes your interest. Notice the numbers of things that fill your vision that are blond or red, and that everything else fades.
  • Chose a second search image: close your eyes once more, and focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Then open them and find a second element to focus on – women with children, or single men, for instance.  Notice how these then become prominent, and everything else fades. If you find you’re getting distracted with other things going on around you, relax and repeat the name of the search image to yourself – “women with children”, “single men”.
  • Now chose a practical search image: if you’re a good driver, you’ll know that it’s largely because you know what to look out for while you drive. This time, do it consciously – looking out for anything that moves.
  • Apply it to your particular problem: At home or at the office, chose your focus.  For me, that would be dividing the new priorities into small bites. That way, they go from overwhelming to doable. Then really putting everything non-critical in the rest of my life on hold till I get what needs to get done, done. I can give myself a level of comfort about this by letting my friends and family know what I’m doing, so that they don’t begin to worry about my absence. In other words, I’ve freed myself from anything but what I need to focus on.

If you aren’t convinced that your power of focused attention is huge, watch the next video.

Selective Attention

Quote of the Week

He was swimming in a sea of other people’s expectations. Men had drowned in seas like that.
― Robert Jordan, New Spring


At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations.  For more information, visit my webpage or contact me directly at

5 things you can do when you’re overwhelmed

The endless refrain of the overworked, stressed-out, modern-day man and woman. It produces in us a feeling of emotional overload, of being overwhelmed. In fact, it’s so prevalent, that society has adopted a new noun to cover it – overwhelm.

I live in Toronto, a fast-paced city loaded with the chronically stressed.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen or done the crazy driving, running between appointments. Knowing that this is crazy, and doing it anyway.

When we feel overwhelmed with too much to do, we often end feeling anxious – attempting to do something that’s actually impossible – pleasing everybody by wanting or trying to somehow miraculously get everything done. And done well!

In fact, what happens is – if we get everything done, or even if we don’t – we do a mediocre job and it isn’t appreciated. That leaves us feeling not only anxious about any future possibilities, but depressed about our present circumstances.

Overwhelm leads directly to anxiety, mediocrity, and eventually depression.

Erika Andersen and Marie Forleo suggest this:

  • Do only what you can. Too often we spend valuable time on activities that someone else can do equally as well.  And that’s assuming the task is important. Learn to delegate when you have a full load.
  • Learn to do things only once. How often have you left an hour-long meeting and then rehashed it all over again later that day or week.  Or discovered that the person you’re meeting with isn’t prepared. Really a waste! Ask yourself: how would I feel if I knew that every meeting I go to will either be productive or rescheduled? Relieved, I bet! This is something you can learn to expect of yourself and of others.
  • Focus on what’s important. It’s a fact that we spend more time that we know doing things that don’t matter.  Some of that time is necessary – we need down time, need to rest our brains.  The rest of that time we aren’t even conscious of.
  • Take time out.  Speaking of down time, make this deliberate.  It may seem like a foolish thing to do if you’re busy, but even 10 to 30 minutes – a walk, meditation, making lunch and enjoying it, will do something that mimics sleep: consolidation and integration.
  • Learn to say “No”. Everything takes more time than you think. Is it a priority?  Can someone else do it? Is even thinking of it exciting or draining?  Inside each of us is a voice of wisdom that knows when to say “No”. Source that inner voice and learn to use it.

Then, when you say “Yes”, you can give it your all.

Juan Felipe Herrera – What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed

Quote of the Week

Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.
– Dan Gilbert

Risk is Scary!

Risk is scary, especially today when we feel, for the most part, so insecure.  Few well-paying jobs, more real unemployment (no matter what the GOP tells us – their measurement methods are outdated), more and more old enough to retire and unable to, or young enough to wonder how to continue to live reasonably well with shrinking opportunities.

For some who have secure jobs, it may seem they have it all; but secure jobs come at a price, and that price might be more than they’re willing to pay.

And yet, these days if we want to live well, more than ever, we need to take risks.  It takes courage to take a risk – older person, younger person, secure job person – because it means stepping into the unknown.

I’m thinking of a friend who left a cushy joy to do something that means a great deal to her.  Of another friend who lost all his savings and in his 50’s, chose to begin a venture that would not replace what he’s lost, but would make him feel he was contributing to making a better world. Of a young woman just starting out, willing to live with almost nothing in order to pursue her art.

What can these people teach us about taking a risk?

Free yourself up for change – time spent working and living could take up all the energy you have.  Before you go ahead with the change, make time for it.  Take a look at how you use your time and see what can go, then dedicate that freed-up time to your pursuit.

Small steps – taking a risk is stressful – you are stepping out into who-knows-what, so none of your former learning can help, or so you think. Most new things can be accomplished in steps. For instance, when my friend lost all his savings, he chose a new venture by first preparing while he continued to work, then trying it out nights and weekends.

Re-purpose what you have – Just because you’re taking on something new doesn’t mean all the skills and wisdom you’ve accumulated, and that have supported you so well in the past, won’t work in this new situation.  They probably will!

Don’t do this alone – You don’t have to! When you invite others to join you in whatever capacity, you’ll be surprised at the response.  That young woman had the support of her family and community. It made a huge difference to her.

Stay true to your dream – or what moved you to make this leap.  You may need to adjust things and try different routes before you get to where you want to go. And for those of us beginning something new later in life, be kind to yourself – you aren’t 18 anymore and to start something new means you aren’t the expert.  Be willing to start as a newbie. It’s all part of the journey.

3-minute Meditation
This meditation was developed by John Kabat-Zinn to help you get through a tough moment, wherever you are.


Quote of the Week

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
-T. S. Eliot
For a set of free 3-minute mindfulness meditations, visit my website . Each one focuses on one of the 7 pillars of mindfulness. It’s a great way to start or end your day.I’m re-opening enrollment to my program, Burning the Candle at Both Ends this Fall, and working hard on planning a webinar, also in November called Three Brief and Unusual Ways to Live Stress-Free. I’ll keep you informed as things unfold.

Common Trauma Misconceptions

I’ve been speaking this month, quite often, about trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There are many misconceptions associated with PTSD both in the medical field and everyday society.

Rashish, a healthy living website, recently published the story about Rebecca, a 23 yr. old who never suspected she had issues related to trauma. The article states, “Before her diagnosis this past summer, Rebecca says she didn’t know much about PTSD. “I knew it was something serious that veterans dealt with, but I never had a reason to research the subject,” she says. “I thought there was some scale or level of degree of trauma that caused PTSD. I didn’t think my issues were comparable to a veteran’s, so I thought I was just weak.” Rebecca had struggled with depression and anxiety before, but she knew she was dealing with something else.” You can read the entire piece here:

I think what bothers me about misconceptions of trauma and PTSD is that we always think of someone ready to “snap” versus the daily struggle. Most people with trauma are like Rebecca. They feel anxious. They have panic attacks for that they think as “no reason”. They feel like laying down in bed all day or they can’t bare to stay home, they have to stay busy.

People deal with trauma in many different ways, often thinking they are fine- and often suffering from a multiple of subtle symptoms. Not everyone with trauma and PTSD is sitting at home, shaking, hallucinating, are being directed to commit a crime. Those cases are very rare. In fact, trauma victims are usually so confused about the subtle ways they feel, they end up being more of a harm to themselves than society- which is where I feel the misconceptions are birthed.

Another misconception is the cause of trauma or PTSD, which is often (and correctly) related to sexual abuse as a child or war. Well, these are not the only causes. Falls or sports injuries, Surgery (especially in the first 3 years of life),
the sudden death of someone close, a car accident, the breakup of a significant relationship, a humiliating or deeply disappointing experience, or the discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition can all lead to the same feelings of anxiety, depression and withdrawal.

So, what are some of the more subtle emotional and psychological symptoms of trauma or PTSD:

  • Shock, denial, or disbelief
    Anger, irritability, mood swings
    Guilt, shame, self-blame
    Feeling sad or hopeless
    Confusion, difficulty concentrating
    Anxiety and fear
    Withdrawing from others
    Feeling disconnected or numb
    Insomnia or nightmares

Of course, this isn’t the complete list. People respond to different circumstances with a combination of these symptoms or symptoms not listed above. I can tell you that if you have been feeling anxious or depressed for the past three months and you find a life event on the causes I listed above, you should start to speak with someone about not only how you’re feeling, but how you’re coping.

I also offer free consultations and a free 7-Day Mediation program, which you can find here:

Children with PTSD

Some of you may be sitting there this Friday wondering what you have to go home and face. I get it, the weekend is supposed to be relaxing but for many – the opposite can be true. Life is hard and terrible things happen, sometimes to children. It is hard enough to be a parent with a child suffering from PTSD, but then to be a working parent – well, you have a battle ahead and I hope some support. If not, please contact me. I do offer FREE consultations to get you started in the right direction.

If you have a child with PTSD, don’t feel different. Many people have children with challenges as a result of uncontrollable circumstances or violence. You are not alone.  If you are not sure if your child is suffering from PTSD, please know that they act differently than adults with PTSD.

For example; many children will refuse to do things which remind them of what happened, for example refuse to get into a car if it was a car accident.

Many children have sleep problems – they find it scary to go to sleep, and have lots of nightmares or shaking during sleep.

Children with PTSD do have separation problems – not wanting to leave their parents, wanting their parents to be with them at night (even older children and teenagers) and they do ‘regress’ in their behavior, losing skills they recently learned (such as wetting the bed, not being able to talk).

More so, children become irritable, easily upset, easily startled and have panic attacks – usually they are always  on the watch for something bad to happen.

If you know something is wrong at home, and there has been a traumatic life event or change in your life with your children or within your child’s life, please seek help. There is no shame in seeking help for you and your child and no reason to be weary of what you will face at home during this up and coming weekend.