#Recovery In Real Time: Triggers Are Everywhere

Publishing for a Change, LLC presents Gail Dickert, author of #RecoveryInRealTime as shares more about the writing process behind her "Anti-workbook" for surviving multiple traumas.

#RecoveryInRealTime was born out of multiple traumas and sparked to life by the untimely death of a friend… but what do I know about trauma? Like literally… who am I to write a book about trauma?

I could discuss my awareness of human behavior and the relevant pieces of academic knowledge that I’ve acquired over my college and graduate school life, but that’s not why I wrote the book – I didn’t write it directly for professors, therapists, and social workers who TALK about trauma... 

I wrote it for us - Trauma survivors and our loved ones – who get up every day and because of our commitment to healing, we get our shit together and get through a day without giving up.

We put labels on the hard days - maybe we call it PTSD, technically, but it’s also called “Being a Survivor.” It’s not that we are destined to have lifelong triggers, but this book was designed to give us all a break when it comes to diagnoses and treatments. We need those too, but we also need real talk.

We need a break.

We need a companion.

We need recovery in real time.

There’s no forgetting our traumas and no matter what we do to desensitize ourselves too it, life will find a way to re-sensitize us to it.

So there are 125 hashtags in this book, yet I’m starting this blog series with Hashtag #83. Why?

Why start in the middle… with #TriggersAreEverywhere?

Because that is the way recovery in real time works... we don't start at the beginning of a grief cycle and we don't start neatly at page one of any workbook.

We start when we are triggered.

And the triggers? They are everywhere! 

I know because as a survivor of multiple traumas, there's no escaping my triggers. 

And every time I was triggered, I would hear the same message: 

My sensitivity to triggers implied that something wasn’t whole or healed.

What kind of unrealistic expectation is that?

I’m supposed to be so perfectly removed from the fact that my primary caregiver was emotionally abusive… so if someone I trust takes advantage of me, it doesn’t affect me?

I'm supposed to be so perfectly removed from the memories of being touched by my older neighbor for 5 years… so if I see a Facebook thread about sexual assault, it doesn’t affect me?

I’m supposed to be so perfectly removed from the fact that I watched a man die in a suicide… so if there’s a loved one struggling with depression, it doesn’t affect me? 

Am I to be perfectly removed from my own life and experiences?

Is that how we define healing?

I wrote this book because the answer to our healing isn't to be desensitized but to be recognized... 125 times, 125 different ways, for as many cycles as it takes to know how brave we really are for recovering at all! (125 at least!)

With 125 different hashtags, you can carry a book that exists as a mirror - a book that says, "I see you healing," rather than a workbook that says, "Work harder and you will be healed."

Every day you said yes to being alive is a day you have continued your healing.

Every day you knew that #TriggersAreEverywhere, but you kept going, you have continued your healing.

It's not always a hard day... but this is what I know about trauma and why I could write a book about it:

I know how to live with it and keep my shit aptly together so I can be present with the process of recovery.

So, I say… congratulations, survivor.

Congratulations, loved one of a survivor.

Today is another day that despite our reality - #TriggersAreEverywhere - we are making it.

Brave readers, keep sharing. I’m here with you. #RecoveryInRealTime happens today.

#Recovery In Real Time - The Stories Behind the Hashtags

Publishing for a Change, LLC presents Gail Dickert, author of #RecoveryInRealTime as shares more about the writing process behind her "Anti-workbook" for surviving multiple traumas.


"Did I really write a book about trauma?"

I've asked myself this for almost a year. Releasing #RecoveryInRealTime was one of the bravest things I've ever done, but failing to put a marketing plan behind it until now was not simply out of lack of resources. It costs a lot to let people know you created something...

But the resources I needed weren't financial or creative.

This was purely a lack of emotional and psychological resources - if you're going to publish a resource for survivor of trauma, you must make sure you are ready for the attention that comes with it.

I was not ready to tell more of my story. After participating in the Our America segment in 2013 for survivors of conversion therapy, I thought I would never do another interview about that trauma. After participating in some advocacy work for conversion therapy survivors in January 2014, I did a few interviews and testified in the Virginia Assembly and once again, walked away from the attention that comes with being a survivor.

Why have I continued to have a false start every time I decide to participate in an open conversation about being a survivor?

Even after publishing #RecoveryInRealTime, I stepped back from interviews or public discussions about the book.

I hoped that the book itself would break silence...

I hoped that it would quietly catch fire and I could know I was helping survivors without actually speaking more about my experiences. 

I hoped that I wouldn't need to put myself out there directly...

But that's not how activism works. 

I need to talk about what it's like to grow up with an addict.

I need to talk about what it's like to grow up with a neighbor who can't keep his hands off of you.

I need to talk about what it's like to have trusted pastors, youth ministers, and teachers preying upon your innocence in the name of god.

I need to talk about what it's like to be trapped in a young man's car, terrified of what he might do to you next.

I need to talk about what it's like to stand at a burning car as a man dies from his own decision to end his chances of hope.

I can't hide the stories behind the skills that the book represents.

I'm ready. 

It has taken me almost a year since publishing the book, but I'm ready...

To explain why I'm an expert when it comes to surviving trauma.

So get your print or e-book copy of #RecoveryInRealTime and be prepared to follow along as I post some specifics behind each of the hashtags. 

It's going to be an intense process...

But I'm ready. 

And so are you!