Who Is She?

Just reading a little about how to give readers something to enjoy when they land on your blog. Introducing yourself is the number one listed way to engage people by letting them know who you are as a person rather than just a name on a blog. So, for those of you who don’t already know me, here goes:

When I announced to my first grade teacher, “I know what I want to do when I grow up – I want to make books!” – I had no idea what lay ahead. Until you “make it” in the eyes of many, writing is nothing but a nice little hobby. Writing from as far back as I can remember, I recall my bedroom as a teenager, a small room used as an office in a former school house converted to a home, with the walls of my room covered in my poetry. Mom never gave me heck for that but I think she liked it, I did it artfully and with tidy penmanship. (Now we pay good money at stores to get writing for our walls!)

Writing is breathing and breathing is writing…

 Still more? 

BLOG

Blogging here at https://www.jannistyles1.wordpress.com is all I really have time or energy for any more and some days now, thanks to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Fibroymyalgia and other chronic health conditions, even that is in question so I often share old works, previous works or short poems. Told by a writing instructor that we need to write a million words, I believe it was from this quote:

“Start early and work hard. A writer’s apprenticeship usually involves writing a million words (which are then discarded) before he’s almost ready to begin. That takes a while.” ~David Eddings

Well, I’ve done my million… I think… here’s the short version:

BOOKS

One More Chance, a collection of short stories https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/475450

Spiritshine, a collection of poetry https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/475640

(have written four other novels, all of which need revising or polishing but hope to one day get them out there even if I have to publish them as free ebooks as I did above two works.) 

SHORT STORIES

First Place 2015: http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2015/06/20/janni-styles-wins-flash-fiction-challenge/

First Place 2001: Non-fiction (creative non-fiction) :http://www.siwc.ca/

Honourable Mention: Fiction 2000 http://www.siwc.ca/

First Place 2003: Christmas theme story local newspaper contest (Vancouver BC)

Writer’s Union of Canada: Shortlisted 2002 (for short short)

Third Place 1998: Copper Beech short fiction contest

Canada wide Essay Contest: First Place

Honorable Mention for short fiction work 1997 (1500 words): Tickled by Thunder Magazine  

POETRY

– Second place: Tickled by Thunder Fiction & Poetry Magazine
– Quarter Moon Quarterly, two poems published
– The Year’s Best Anthology: No Knight So White  

PUBLISHED 1990-2015

Short Stories/Flash Fiction:  “Curtains” published in 2014  here http://www.amazon.ca/Spooky-Halloween-Drabbles-Jorge-Salgado-Reyes-ebook/dp/B00O2A0G9O  and “Cheapskate” published in Spooky Halloween Drabbles 2015 here: http://www.amazon.ca/Spooky-Halloween-Drabbles-Druscilla-Morgan-ebook/dp/B0171WXDMQ

-Reviews: Live performance, movie and restaurant reviews (Man of Steel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Bonnie Kilroe, Susan Jacks, The Vagina Monologues, The Good Lovelies, restaurants…etc)

– Various: Public relations material from brochure and web site content for Holiday Resorts, Interior Design College Instructor to poetry in Quarter Moon Quarterly and 5000 word piece on Domestic Violence for Attorney General publication, Our Canada Magazine 2006, Newspaper pieces 2003 -2006

 OTHER WORK

PROGRAM MANAGER civic government Heritage programs, Museum and Archives

VICTIM SUPPORT WORKER, also wrote articles & media for Attorney General, Justice Branch

PROGRAM OFFICER approving childcare facilities, writing newsletters & media

BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION ASSISTANT 20 years P/T (while working F/T in other positions as well)

CHILD DAYCARE for preschool aged children

RETAIL & HOSPITALITY

EDUCATION

 Anxiety Management; Coping Skills for Survivors of Physical, Mental and Emotional Trauma 

–  PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (identifying, coping/living with)        

–  Boundaries and Healthy Communication;  Dynamics of Healthy Relationships

–   Interior Design Consultant Diploma 

–   Creative Writing Diploma

–   Cross Cultural Awareness

–   Victim’s Services Certificate,  Attorney General

–   Victim’s Assistance Volunteer Trainer’s Certificate, Attorney General

–   Lay Counselor Training,  Victim’s Assistance & Sexual Assault Center

–   Stopping the Violence Conference(s) and Specialized Training

–   Conflict Resolution & Mediation,  Levels I-IV

–   University English Literature 

–    Business Communications, Supervision and Management Credits

–    High School Honors Graduate , Dogwood Diploma             

 VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE

 Branch Representative – Community Coordinated Justice Committee  
 Board of Directors – Women’s Rape and Sexual Assault Center 
 Coordinator – Neighborhood Blockwatch Program 
 Board of Directors – Communities Against Substance Abuse Society  
 Public Relations Committee – Richmond Information & Volunteer Center     
 Assistant/Intern –  Richmond Publishing  House
 Animal Rescue  – Saving dogs from vivisection  

 REFERENCES 

Plenty …

Impeccable are both personal and professional references yet all completely useless because she is not who she once was.

She can no longer do what she once did.

She feels it is a good day now when her shoes match.

This is the realm of living with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Fibromyalgia and other chronic health conditions.

When shell-shocked, you do not lose your intelligence. Merely your coping skills, your ability to focus and comprehend are all impaired as though you are drunk or have the flu. But you are not and you do not. You battle the fog daily and wonder if it will ever get any better. You wonder if this is as good as it gets.

When you realize that this may be so, you grieve another loss. The loss of yourself as you knew you. You come to terms with where you are and realize “I survived it,” “I AM a survivor,” I am ‘surviving’…

Writing is breathing… breathing is writing…    

(c) March 2011 : “There is no player so bold as the one who chooses not to engage in the game.” ~ Janni Styles

 

 

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Wings of Time

weather changes, leaves fall

birds leave, south calls

time rolls

life tolls

not enough time for it all

 

minds change, pages turn

books open, the open learn

love matters

hate shatters

all lines are earned

 

cold enfolds, wisdoms recline

poles held fast, resistance defines

peace eludes

brash denudes

there just isn’t time

 

spring will warm, sun arrive

for the seekers, those alive

leaving behind

unkind minds

those too frozen to revive

 

skies move, birds return

mankind repeats, some learn

life blinks

death winks

humans only get one turn

 

(c) Janni Styles

PTSD: What does being triggered look like?

Trigger Warning!

Triggers for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are as individual as we are. There are a few commonalities from a high startle response to loud, sudden noises  or not recognizing your surroundings even though you are in a familiar place you have known for decades.  What I have learned is that anything at all can be a potential trigger.

Here are a few triggers from various sources as well as some of my own:

  • Hearing a baby cry can trigger tears in me as I panic and think, someone please help that baby right now…
  • Loud voices, yelling and arguing of any sort online or otherwise trigger me severely
  • A childhood sexual abuse survivor cannot stand the sound of loud eating, smacking or slurping
  • A survivor of an abusive marriage cannot take any criticism of any sort from any source without violently shaking
  • People with one track minds who yell me “shut,” cannot or will not hear a word I say set me to stuttering and shaking
  • A man who once led troops cannot step off of his front porch without a reaction that sends him back inside for weeks

What being “triggered” looks like:

  • You may not “see” anything at all, the person may “appear” just fine, most of us do unless the “trigger” does not cease
  • For me, I start shaking and this can grow to full body convulsive tremors if the trigger does not stop or I cannot get away from the trigger
  • If badly triggered, I will start stammering, stuttering like nobody’s business despite being a public speaker and team leader for years
  • I internalize most triggers which means choppy sleep, if any, a return of the relentless terrifying nightmares and extremely high anxiety
  • Fleeing the person, place or thing that caused the trigger is not uncommon for me, getting away is often my own source of relief
  • Profuse sweating happens with me yet I am cold and clammy and I also have difficulty breathing, feel as though I cannot get enough air

These are just a few triggers and a few examples of what being triggered can look like. There are thousands more triggers and, I am sure, just as many responses. For years after the physical assault, I would rock hours away. Anywhere. Doctor’s office, trauma survivor workshop, restaurant, wherever I was I would just start rocking often without even realizing I was doing it at all. Hard to imagine I know. Recently I have started rocking again. This makes sense because I was ill almost the entire month of July, the heat flared my asthma daily and I was ill with heat exhaustion for over two weeks. I am now fighting what I believe to be a misdiagnosed bladder infection which is wearying me severely. When I am not well physically, I “trigger” more easily. Yesterday (August 14, 2017) I was triggered. I hardly slept last night from the abdominal and back pain I’ve had for nearly three weeks now and because I was so anxious from being triggered, no amount of pain killers eased my physical state. PTSD makes us vulnerable to a host of triggers both known and unknown. What I have found is there is an acute lack of understanding from friends and loved ones who do not grasp the disorder and can even trigger us because they don’t want to learn or even try to understand. This is why you will find me writing about PTSD every so often. Educate, educate, educate is all I know to do.

If you or someone you love has PTSD please feel free to share your or their experiences in the hope that, one day, we will not have to explain ourselves any longer but may simply live our lives in peace.

(c) Janni Styles