A Vicious Cycle Spin Class

I AM A FELON.. i think.

Pretty sure I have committed an unbeknownst-to-me FELONY.

The punishment I just received was surely not for a misdemeanor. I did somethin ‘ Baaaaaaaaaduh!

A sweet friend…. (going time have to rethink that there adjective preceeding friend) … said, “Let’s try a spin class.”

I said, “okay.” – stupid/stupid/stupid! Picture me banging my head against a metal gym locker.

I should have known when I had my feet clamped in to some apparatus that this was going to be “fun!” like when you have your nether regions checked by ob/gyn.

NOTE TO SELF: Feet secured or placed in any apparatus should scream “not fun, not fun, not fun!!! Run baby RUN!”

Also there is a lot of talk about TENSION. This orangy/red knob was pointed out to me as a means if increasing tension. If I had any inkling of what I was getting into, there most definitely would have been TENSION from the start but I had a reprieve of about 4 minutes.

A guy I had seen and talked with in step aerobics class came over time check my set up and give a few pointers.  He said, “The number one thing is to just keep spinning!” I honest to goodness looked at him andl said, “I got that. I am always spinning up here.  (motioning to head). Nod to my unstable mental health. Lol. I am a funny one.

Then he said, “and when we start doing push ups…” Interrupted by me with- “SAY WHAT???!!?! Pushups?”  He giggled under his breath and he us somewhere upwards of 65 years old. I am 47, in pretty decent shape, and as he spoke his warnings, a cold chill crept down my spine.

Class starts. Lights out. Except black lights, so I couldn’t see a darn thing. But in hindsight, I had my eyes closed trying to gulp in air for survival purposes during 95%of class so lights would have MOSTLY been superfluous.

There was some stretching while peddling. Then some comments screamed at me overtop of highly energetic music. I liked the music until I didn’t. Until I wanted to punch everyone in the jaw. They all seemed to pedal to the beat but as I stood up -as directed- one foot would come flying out of the stirrup. The tension on the bike’s pedals was either too low or too high to find the rhythm that the others had fallen into. I just kept falling. Off beat and pedals spinning “sans” my feet.

About the others and the lights. As per my torture for my bad behavior, I tried to look around and see if the faces of the others looked contorted. I started thinking pretty seriously about HELL at this point.

My bible study has taught me that there will be “burning and gnashing of teeth.” Check. Part of today’s spin class.  The heat was oppressive like no other time I could recollect. But it was coupled with me sweating away all my stored electrolytes, minerals, salt, water.. and my LIFE away! I was supposed to put my hand on my back but it felt like a greased pig at the county fair. Yes, I did grow up in a place and time where we chased greasy pigs at the fair.  Same feeling today.  Dripping sweat from EVERYWHERE. Gross.

I started thinking about how Diane’s spin class could bring many to Jesus. She could just do what she did today and then ask, “Now, do you want to spend eternity here.. In this heat.. In pain.. I imagine an evil laugh from her and getting confirmation that she is the bad guy coming in the end times.


Completely serious folks.  This is heat was going through my head I was trying to get a look at people. And I can’t see faces. I am incredulous about doing this willingly.

This should be part of our Juvenile Justice program. Or for adults too. If I could mandate a punishment that really SUCKS (unless you choose to be here for exercise), I would pick THIS SPIN CLASS. This would totally suck more than community service. Oh, and teacher Diane controls the tension knob and they must complete exercises as directed. Mmhaha. (My evil laugh as I think about certain people who need consequences.)

But then my squirrel brain thought, “we had better have the guards also take class because the suckers in jail are going to be to fit and be able to run like.. Well we already established thus -was like being in… Hell.” Mark 9:48b, “and the fire never goes out.” Isaiah 66:24 says “the fire that burns.” Isaiah 66:16 (I see three 6’s in reference, … Mmm.. interesting!) says, “The Lord will punish the world by fire.” Just saying, there are clear correlations here.

I began thinking about the people who steal being sentenced to do 30 classes in 30 days. Like a 12 step intervention. But not 12 steps. If you counted each time you put your foot down, it was more like a 4,000 step program. I crack myself up.

There was also a lot of lying going on in said spin class. Like “just 3 more.. ” Code for “3 x 50!!!”

And the lie, screamed, “you guys are lookin’ great!!!” When the actual class members were teleported back in (replacing the droids I vaguely could make out in the dark doing push ups on handle bars to pulsing music) and pedalled in the inferno with me for the last few minutes, the lights came on… And we all looked like we had been abused, mugged, beaten up and held underwater AKA- drenched in sweat.” Honestly, no one looked great. LIES. MENTIRAS!

And that’s how I spent my Monday.

Silver Lining -I can chiise to view my time as a good set up for the week because it couldn’t get more tortuous.

Whatever I face this week could be viewed through the lens of my attendance at A Vicious Cycle Spin Class at Jupiter Fitness.

Thankful I made it through.

Still here.

ADDENDUM: After leaving this class, I had a blow out if my back tire in the fast lane on I-95 at 70 mph, car swerved uncontrollably across 3 lanes, semi- slowed down to let me get off road… Almost rolled car.. And I had the top down on VW Beetle convertible. And I chuckled at Satan, “Is that all you got Satan?” Cuz me and Jesus just did Spin class.


Recently, I was sitting in a group of my Velveteen buddies… (do you hear the play on words – name stolen from The Velveteen Rabbit.. 🐰 bunny ~ buddy, get it!) Sitting with godly-living friends who live out the truths in his Word.

And in sharing about hiding from a hurt, someone mentioned the way something as benign as Netflix can be an unhealthy coping mechanism. And yes, it can.

As alcohol can be.

As eating can be.

As exercise can be.

But I want to think through the ways we can be PTSD STUPID vs. PTSD WISE. Often in a triggered fight, flight, or freeze frame of mind, we can choose PTSD STUPID in a way to “get revenge” on the ones who didn’t show up in the way we wanted them to. I have an intense desire for my closest peoples to tell me “YOU ARE SAFE HERE WITH ME”. Unfortunately, that is a burden too big for those persons to carry every minute. They are sinful and selfish – exactly like me.

And they are not Jesus.

Expecting my tribe the beat the drum to the rythum only in my head, is asking the impossible. I can inform said circle of what calms my frazzled frenzy but a vital component to PTSD WISE is realizing “it isn’t all about me”. My peeps have their own hurts, habits, and hang-ups. They will not be my everything, all the time.

So stepping back and remembering that truth embedded in reality is one of my first HUGE steps forward. They are not perfect because in the Garden of Eden, momma and daddy humans, Eve and Adam, sinned. We all sin darn’ it. I can’t depend on my amazing daughter because she wasn’t meant to be my rock. I shouldn’t put the weight of my disordered brain entirely on the shoulders of my husband.

But there are shoulders that can carry all the heaviness in my heart – Abba, Daddy, Father, God… But specifically, God of the Bible.


Not a GOD OF MY OWN MAKING! HEAVEN help us if God is what a human makes up!

– we aren’t all- knowing so how can what we create in our limited minds be GOD.

– we aren’t unconditional in our love so how can we create a selfless GOD.

Oh. Heaven help the ones trying to tell GOD how He ought to be. They will screw it up, just sayin’.

Step Two is having repeatedly projected on others, pain they didn’t inflict, choosing to stop reacting as if they are intending to hurt me like reality and/or others did. [super-super-super hard for me].

This involves [gulp] TRUST… and no card-carrying PTSD SUFFERER easily trusts. When you touch a stove and burn your hand, there is a neurological pathway created so that we learn not to do that again! Duh!!!

The same is true of emotional pain. Once hurt by making a perceived “mistake” like opening your heart to a fragile and mentally unhealthy person, you learn to not do THAT again and close off your heart to many people.

Because she hurt you.

She did.


Moving on down the road to recovery, you must enter into something akin to….



You will need to move obstacles weighing triple your body weight!

Mentally, you have to choose to throw aside the coping skill of :


PTSD STUPID- somewhere unsafe. For instance, it is the opposite of safe to leave your home unannounced, drive two hours away to a state park you have never been to and not let a single person on the planet know that’s where you are, park at the entrance to a trail that leads as far away from humans as your hypothymus allows you to think and run.

To PTSD WISE – run in your neighborhood with mace and cellphone, or in a state park close to home with the heads-up to another human.

This running. It is an event in the ESG. The Emotional Spartan Games of the will. Very few ever understand the emotional effort it took to not just run away from all if IT. For me, Facebook groups for RAD moms and PTSD groups tell me I am not crazy-weird imagining and reacting like a psycho (I get that all too often).

Yeah, I completely can’t understand nor do I get that Olympic game on ice with housework involving stones swept furiously. Curling, I believe.

And rugby. They grab said player’s shorts and create a very uncomfortable situation for the poor guy in a massive wedgie, as well as for the spectator cringing at this bizarre tactic. ….So I will work hard to think, “I definitely don’t understand “THAT,” but I respect the effort.”

“A” for effort! Clearly I am a southern North American lady in regards to geographic norms in sports.

The point – PTSD requires intense act of will to stay and not run! The effort feels like carrying a piano on your back down the beach in soft sand wearing flippers. Just about impossible.

IT hurts. But healing is possible when you put in the work.

I am beginning to notice my patterns of making unhealthy decisions. And I am putting in the work and competing in the arena.

Fencing. That happens in an arena. I hate watching fencing. Not the rancher putting up barbed wire across miles and miles because that would be boring …

The [it pains me to call it a] “sport” of arming one’s self with a skewer, dressing in a weird white get-up, and galloping forwards and backwards to poke his opponent.

But now, I, because the God-of- certainly-not-my-own-making, has brought me to this hard place in life to compete in fencing fights, Ic compete.

I don’t want to be here. It’s stupid. And it is so much harder than I imagined.

I fence. Seriously. The thought is humanly embarrassing. And sincerely, sorry to all you fans of the… ah-hem.. throat cleared… sport.

In my head, I fence another idiot dressed like me in white but he is insane. He’s like completely serious, like life and death are on the line. And he’s actually out to kill me while dressed in white.

(Oh how my analogy has coming full circle and I didn’t even mean it when I started writing about this). Satan clothes himself in white often. The deceiver shape shifts into whatever I think is stupid and harmless like a fencing opponent in a dumb looking dance off. But the devil sees my eye roll, that I am not ALL IN during the match, and wins.


On the other hand, PTSD WISE is the discernment that the fight WE ARE IN is against Satan. He is the one we fight against now. The trauma happened. And we don’t clearly see what is going on in the here and now. He wants us in the arena, half serious, half prepared, to take us out – completely.

So fight. Fence for Christ’s sake (I do! Because I never want to give Satan a victory).


You can watch Netflix to disappear from the mess of life – your current sucky circumstances – and claim victory because you chose to take a trip to Downton Abbey, pick up cool history facts in your travels, and not actually run away. A mental Netflix trip – Can be very good.

But complete avoidance of life in a Netflix coma = bad.

A drink can be okay for many of us over 21ers. But using alcohol to constantly numb your senses is rather bad. PRO TIP- Drink water.

Feeling rebellious? Drink caffeinated soda- a pretty mild drug.

Drink tea.

Drink coffee.. With all the good stuff added. Or black.. So “bad” yet oh so good.

Or eat something yummy like candy corn. Not the whole bag and not if that’s a trigger for compulsive over-eating disorder.

(Again soda or candy corn is pretty non-controversial, unless talking with Brant Hansen on Way-FM.)

But better than say – divorcing the husband who struggles with anger and being a terrified PTSD girl.. Bad combo sometimes and bad idea,

….Better than drinking and blacking out,

…Better than hurting self just to prove no one cares at all about you,

…Better than thinking about “How many would actually come to my funeral? I don’t guess I would pack out even a small church.” I know by PTSD WISE practices that going to this thought space is not a great place to camp out mentally… Like thinking, ” “my family would probably be more annoyed to interrupt their lives again by arranging my funeral versus them celebrating at my home going that my hard-fought life was spent in growing His kingdom and serving hurting people inside and outside of the church, specifically those with PTSD.

…Better than all the knowingly stupid choices made to eleviate pain

Is to FIGHT. Fight the lies and arm yourself with the TRUTH (not a skewer)! Fight FROM victory not for victory. Jesus has already defeated the evil one.

Fight against taking the easy route and lashing out.

Fight against letting unkind words fly even in the face of being attacked with abusive verbal hand grenades rolled precisely to where you stand.

Fight the penchant to crumble into utter depression and even suicidal thoughts. We all want the pain to end. Agreed. But taking that decision of when and where you breathe your last is wrong. That’s God’s business- the giving and taking of life.

Fight PTSD WISE. Know your tendacies. Trace the patterns of the past that had negative outcomes and create a new better result. Create beauty if only for a second.

It’s beautiful when you self-regulate your choices. It’s beautiful when you mentally dodge the flaming arrows and dance with God.

It’s beautiful when you remember your name is CHOSEN and you don’t answer or agree to be called “pathetic”.

It’s beautiful when you care for the shell he has deposited your soul in. Nap. Get a massage. Walk in the shallow waters of the ocean.

It’s beautiful when, in humility, you open His love letter to you, read and pray: Lord, change me in a way that I more clearly and more fully reflect You.

It’s beautiful when you




Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD or Continuous Stress Disorder or C-TSD, C-PTSD Complex Traumatic Stress Disorder

What? Why? Who?

Soldiers? Weak? Symptoms?

These are the same questions that I had once asked about our nation’s heroes returning from Afghanistan. And now I find myself trying to give an answer to those around me about my own current mental health – My PTSD.

Ya know when you open your Netflix app? You often see a message on your screen:


or if a storm completely knocks out your internet?

Connection Lost

These onscreen notifications tell the viewer what is happening internally – in the wiring. PTSD sufferers have a damaged (a wounded) wiring system of sorts, internally. When I personally come undone, I stammer, I stutter, I have to ask “What are we talking about?” mid-conversation, I use the wrong word or can’t think of a desired word. My CONNECTION IS LOST.

I’ve gotten lost driving around in the town I have lived in for over ten years. I’ve been asked my phone number and nothing CONNECTION LOST.. That’s a terrible experience: knowing you are an intelligent adult, have a college degree, and you can’t access the part of the brain storing your phone number…

(not good) SELF-TALK BEGINS: “I mean come on… You’re in your 40’s and you can’t offer the most basic of information… Seriously- you are such an idiot..” [and the vicious cycle of being so flippin’ stressed out that your brain shuts down and you are screaming at yourself in frustration because] – “Come on Suzanne, you are frickin’ smart enough to remember your phone number!”

I am trying to come back online… BUFFERING THROUGH LIFE.

After suffering through another unimaginable set of circumstances with one of my two adopted children, I opted to stay overnight with a friend rather that go home yesterday night. Mi amiga listened kindly to me try to explain how my brain was operating at that moment. While lavishing food love on me – homemade French toast, blueberries, bacon, and O.J. for dinner, she tried to understand the fears, the shaking, the stuttering, … and the danger I faced that she couldn’t see. [Side note: Are there many things better to comfort a person with than breakfast for dinner? I think not. She is the best!].

When attempting to explain to her how I was currently engaging in our conversation … about returning home after drinking the bleach my son had maliciously put in my cup,… I was SIMULTANEOUSLY being bombarded with countless intrusive thoughts and concerns racing through my mind.

[The background or intrusive thoughts clamouring about my head included escaping, safety, scanning my body for physical manifestations of trauma, a voice of someone terrified screamimg a litany of cuss words, noises and the no noticing of noise, self-talk of “pay attention, focus, focus,” I AM GOING TO DIE on repeat, et cetrera- as in there is more]

In seeking to understand what I was going through, my dear friend, Courtney came up with a brilliant analogy.

When you encounter someone triggered by what likely is an innocuous sound or image to most, to the one wounded by trauma, it sets off a MAINFRAME OVERRIDE MESSAGE.

Personally, I have been triggered by a beach ball thrown at my back, logs for sale at Publix to put on camp fire, an unexpected person coming around a corner, ice in a cup, and a Tae Kwon Do demonstration just to name a few.

These triggers either startle my auditory system or visually remind me of something related to the traumas. Oh, and then there’s the triggered state for no apparent reason.

Aaaaaaand the fun begins.

HYPERVIGILANCE kicks in. Every sound is amplified. PTSD sufferers even have better hearing when triggered. The blood flow in the body is rerouted during fight, flight, freeze or fawn. There is increased blood flow to the ears! (I know, pretty cool design by our Creator don’t ya think?!) An overactive startle reflex is in place. Peripheral vision is sharpened. All systems are a go for launch!

My husband can’t even figure out how to enter the room post trauma. If he walks into the space I am in and my back is facing the entrance, when I turn around, his presence makes me catch my breath, heart rate speed up, and fear grip my chest. I just wasn’t expecting anyone.

If he tries to signal me with a noise, that makes me jump as well. And jumping may be a slight underestimation of the response and reality. I am TERRIFIED. Being afraid in your own home is the absolute worst.

I am always planning for an attack with a minimum of two escape routes…

but all this is not evidenced on the homescreen. The home screen, what you see, is the same prior to the injury, the seeing, the experiencing, the trauma(s).

When you walk up to a computer you don’t always know how many other operations are running.

With the bandwidth of a computer maxed out, the front open program is sluggish and everything takes forever!

Completely me! Trying to lock the car door eludes me. I look at the two icons on the electric button- one has a lock in which the curved metal steel touches the squarish bottom part, the other icon has the curved part in an unlatched position. I see this visually, but I got nothing. I question myself, “so if the metal is touching, that means what? And the open latch.. Does that mean the door is open or will open? Do I want to unlock, lock, so frickin’ confusing!

But it literally isn’t.

Then the stress of not thinking straight hounds me, hisses at me, “Stupid, deficient, broken, helpless”. Biblical side note: That hissing is from a serpent, on his belly, lying, hoping I believe all of these labels. In my current state, I believe and beat myself up.

This mostly inactive, lethargic and listless presence of mind responds to commands internally or imputed by others- Unresponsive. Like when you can’t remember the right combination of username and password and the message in red reads Our system doesn’t recognize this information.

Thats exactly it!

I bet you can’t pat your belly and rub your head. Or is it pat your head and rub your belly. I am going with guess #2. Anyways, it is hard to do two tasks that use different systems in the body. Want to run for your life? You will need use of the parasympathetic nervous system. Would you like to find something gluten-free, reasonably priced and not made from cornstarch and sugar my just to get around the whole gluten thing? Believe me, you will need full executive functioning of the frontal lobes in your brain to make it out if the grocery store in under 3 hours.

Without being mentally “online”, actions take tremendous time and effort to accomplish. Actions like ordering your words coherently, deciding what to wear, retelling a story without you listener falling asleep because you have told every contingency and fully disclosed every backstory to “where did you go for lunch yesterday?”

The details seem so important to get your message out. From my research, I think it involves a complicated web of physiological, mental, spiritual, and social motivations. One thing I haven’t read put together by PTSD experts is the wounding messages of

1. I CAN’T TRUST MYSELF BECAUSE I OVERPLAY THE TRAUMAS I EXPERIENCED OR I AM TOO SENSITIVE. Therefore a full fleshed out explanation of a midday meal is warranted.

2. IF OTHERS HAD MORE INFORMATIOM (LIKE I NEEDED TO BE ABLE AVOID MY HURT), THEN LIFE WOULD BE BETTER. So I go on and on about the decision making process between Panera and Outback.

3. I’VE BEEN TOLD I AM MAKING NO SENSE REPEATEDLY AND OFTEN. I think “that aspect may be a little muddled. Let me explain in greater detail.”

Surprisingly, this syrupy roundabout thinking and then responding or reacting may occur years after trauma. It may generate hurt feelings as the murky thought processes are often hog-tied together with self-esteem.

So to you, my sweet friend who has stuck around quite a while in this lengthy blog post, picture the circular arrow you impatiently stare at on your computer screen after trying to pull up a task or operation. You expect a prompt output from said computer. But then you get nothing, nada, zero. (The “beach ball of death” as one of my friends calls it.)

The arrow circles around and around like a dog after its’ own tail – but not near as amusing. In fact, it can be quite irritating or exasperating. I can see that look in your face. I start to understand the social cues but for the flippin’ life of me, I can’t connect.

There are other issues going on in the background that you can’t see.

I could go on and on.

Bahaha.. Laughing at myself. My injuried brain wants to clarify still more.

Pretty sure this behavior came up yesterday telling something to my oldest daughter.

And to you my sweet friend struggling with PTSD, I will keep clarifying until mental health isn’t perceived as a weakness. It’s the most natural response to the things we’ve seen. So go reBoot. Find your equilibrium.

Crazy Practical Helps

For journaling…

When things I HOPED for DIDN’T

happen: (1-2 sentences)

Review the specific trigger. “He”


Reveal the wrong thinking. And what

I read into that was… And what I

heard as a lie was…

Regroup by focusing on the type of

connection I need: affirmation,

clarification, a hug…

Rewrite the situation by applying a

scripture that speaks to the


Crashing Waves May 26, 2019

In my experience

Here where I live

The waves are big today.

It’s usually pretty flat.

But today there are more white caps than normal.

I shuffle down to the water’s edge to wet my toes.

Immediately, I am surprisingly knocked back.

The ocean doesn’t just wet my toes, it pushes me back with water waist deep.

And then a second later,


And again.

And again.

Well okay ocean, I am clearly standing in the wrong location.

I take a few steps to avoid the buckling of my knees.

But I am still in the wrong place.

A careful look around seems to tell me to move beyond the shore break.

I am searching for the spot among the waves,

between the waves.

It is almost always there.

Another step and the shelf of shells drops me a foot lower and I am chest deep in the ocean.

There is where I can usually camp out and jump with and over the rolling ocean.


Jump! Okay, that is unexpected. White water just slapped me.

I thought I was safe.


Oh jump, jump, and … Again?

What is with this water today?

Local surfers are loving it, I am sure, but…

Floating peacefully won’t happen today.

I’m jumping with quite a bit of spring to make it over the high seas.

And I am not too successful.

Just when I clear one, another is right behind it.

I don’t have time to find sure footing.

I can’t push off the ocean floor.

I have to paddle using my arms and my legs to keep from going under.

I am exhausted from the aerobic exercise out here in the water quite quickly.

Turning back to the beach, I realize I can’t make a gradual ascent back up out of the water.

The waves aren’t giving me time.

I jump, float a ways, let her carry me gently,


I landed with the sensitive arch of my foot on a scratchy rock.

Owwww. That didn’t feel so good.

I take another step hoping for the hard packed sand.



My toe

On a rock.

Okay, plan C is being implementing – bodysurfing this next wave in.

Over top the rocks.

Going, going, stand up and

SLAM.. didn’t see that or expect that.

Hit right across the shoulder blades.

At the shelf and trying to step up,

But as the ankle deep water recedes back into the ocean, the waist to chest deep waves push me in the opposite direction.

Just trying to get ten feet is way more difficult that I assumed.

Big strong steps.

Quickly made.

Or get hit again.

Out now.

Turning to face what had just knocked me front, back, and every which way, I have dead things wrapped around my ankle.

Flinging the dried up seaweed back out to sea, I notice lots of others struggling in the sea too.

This is my life

Yesterday’s waves.

My son spoke way to despondently to ignore.

He spoke of killing himself.

Having walked through similar situations many times,

Not my first Baker Act rodeo,

We contacted his twice-a-week therapist and headed for the ER.

He was admitted.

Upon returning home, found alcohol in his room.

A lot like today out in the ocean

being hit unexpectedly over and over and not having a chance to find the firm bottom.

These last few days have been a snippet of our last four years.





In the dark …

May 25th, 2019

The sun is setting
And I am sitting in the beach alone.
The whole world is lit up by the falling ball over there
melting behind the trees.
Half at a time at least.
Night is coming.
It’ll be dark.
If the moon doesn’t reflect the light…
It’ll be dark.

The pink and blue clouds
I see will disappear.
Not really.
They will be there.
Suspended above my head.
But it’ll be dark.

The waves will roll in all through the night.
All night, they will proclaim power as the pound the sand and shells.
I might hear them.
Just not see them.
It’ll be dark.

The couple looking out across the sea, casting dreams upon the deep,
Will head for their car.
They will close their eyes after crawling into bed.
It’ll be dark.

In the dark,
People won’t toss a Nerf football or go for a swim at the beach,
But there ocean will ebb and flow regardless.

In the dark,
Dreams spoken of during a walk in the hot sand
Turn into dreams of a time yet to come.

In the dark,
Clouds hang heavy over hearts not realizing the sweet dreams once skipped across the salty, silvery surface.

In the dark,
Life is difficult.

We stumble
over what would have been apparent in the light.

The warmth
of the yellow blanket
that lay over us that day
is snatched back.

The security
of seeing
our surroundings
is traded for
constant shoulder-checking.

The sunshine sadly ceases.
Night falls.
I’m scared.
In the dark.