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No Comfort Zone: Notes on Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

4.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  109 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
No Comfort Zone exposes a jagged slice of humanity that is all too present, but often shielded from our view. The author challenges us to see life as she does, so we can understand a bit of what it's like to live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With insight and humor, she describes the fear and unpredictability of growing up in an unstable household, the terror ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published December 6th 2010 by Mocassa Press
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Louise McOrmond-Plummer
Jan 28, 2012 Louise McOrmond-Plummer rated it it was amazing
This remarkable book, by a woman who has lived with chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for much of her life owing to child sexual and other abuse, and a life-threatening stranger rape in her twenties, is not a self-help guide. Instructive guides, excellent in their place, are of course advantageous to many people struggling with PTSD. However, there is definitely also a place for works like Marla Handy's. I have had PTSD since childhood (diagnosed at 27) and am now in my forties. I have read ...more
Christine Cunningham
May 01, 2012 Christine Cunningham rated it it was amazing
I spent the afternoon with tears streaking down my face with this book. Never have I heard someone explain the life of a survivor of abuse with such rawness and power. Marla takes us through a few horrific experiences of her past and explains how she deals with life like a soldier with PSTD. The resemblances are striking and hit home more than once.

I loved this book despite feeling like I rubbed a sunburn with sandpaper. It’s not a how-to-get-over-your-tragedy-and-get-on-with-life book. Marla he
Debbie "DJ"
May 04, 2014 Debbie "DJ" rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mental-health

I have a friend who suffers from PTSD due to early childhood trauma and wanted to learn more about this subject. This book did not disappoint. Marla Handy opened the door to her world and I highly commend her for the amount of courage this took. I cannot pretend to fully understand living with this disorder, as it is beyond my experience. She speaks to the "messiness" of this disorder, explaining the difference between regular PTSD defined by a single traumatizing event such as soldiers experie
Aug 29, 2012 Skyweaver rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. I have more self-help books on my bookshelf - all bought as an attempt to figure out why I feel so weird and so disconnected so often. But I can never get very far because I would always crumble inside.

But this book could have been written by me, and the relief I felt while reading it was profound.

For the reviewer who said Dr. Handy was "giving in to" her triggers, you have no idea what you are talking about. If you had any experience with what this is like it would never
Jan 28, 2012 Ybrevic rated it it was amazing
This book will change your perspective. Those of us who have had a fairly "normal" childhood usually do not think about, or recognize, that many of the adults we encounter in our daily life may not have been as fortunate. As a casual observer of family interactions in restaurants, stores, or on the street, I now am much more aware of negative interactions between parents and children, I contemplate what happens in their home, and consider how this may effect the children as adults. I knew that a ...more
Feb 08, 2012 Jeannie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in a GoodRead's giveaway. This is by far the best book on the subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that I have come across. I too suffer from Chronic PTSD. Although I could feel twinges of anxiety as I read sections of Marla's life, the overall story of her life and struggles gave me great comfort. I realized that I was not the only one with "quirks" and that this disorder is a life long journey. Thank you Marla for sharing your personal narrative. You continue to be ...more
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trauma
Reading this book was incredibly liberating for me. For years I struggled to understand and could certainly never articulate the way in which I experienced the world. Marly Handy does this in an incredibly simple and straight foward manner. Anyone that is struggling with PTSD or wishes to better understand someone that is - must read this book. There are more of us out there than you can imagine.
Sep 24, 2013 Jami rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I've read about PTSD, and so much of it resonates with me. She writes simply, authentically and richly. Her expert use of metaphors gives the reader a chance to imagine, just a little, how PTSD affects a person's day-to-day experiences. Though, I don't have to work too hard to imagine it, since I'm living my own version of it.

Her story is quite awful, yet she still writes humbly about her own traumatic experiences, which I think is helpful to the reader. It frees the reade
Allizabeth Collins
Sep 04, 2012 Allizabeth Collins rated it really liked it

I am not really sure what to call this book genre-wise - it seems like a mix between a memoir and a PTSD self-help guide; even though the author does not consider it biographical. The format is unique, the subtitle - "Notes on Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" - is a good description of how the book is laid out overall - "Notes". Included are short stories about Marla Handy's condition/experiences with tips on how to live with PTSD discussed throughout, but most of No Comfort Z
Steve Woods
Jan 26, 2012 Steve Woods rated it it was amazing
This is a book by a woman who suffered an extreme childhood that resulted in what she calls complex ptsd. The kind of moulding of the human experience by long term, constant trauma of the kind suffered by people who are held hostage or imprisoned for long period by a tormentor, long term POWs who have been tortured. On top of that she was unfortunate to experience rape which overlaid an incident specific ptsd that is more frequently seen in people who are combat veterans, victims or first respon ...more
Feb 27, 2011 Caitlin rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
This isn't really a memoir, but it isn't really a self-help book on PTSD, its symptoms, and treatments for it. It's a bit of both, but mostly it is a sparely written account of how living with PTSD has affected one woman's life.

Ms. Handy presents the facts of her life that contributed to her chronic PTSD in a flat, almost monotone, matter-of-face way. These things happened. They affected me these ways at the time, and these other ways at later times.

PTSD is a disease that affects many Americans
Gina's Library
May 08, 2012 Gina's Library rated it liked it
I read this book for World Literary Cafe.

I will be honest, I had a hard time with this book. It's not because I don't feel for the author and what she has gone through in her life with the child abuse and rape. It's just that I feel she is giving into her abusers still.

There is a person in my life that was abused as a child at the hand of a parent. I also have a person in my life that has PTSD. Neither respond in the way the author does.

I guess it's true that everyone responses to things differe
Jun 09, 2015 Genna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never felt less alone

If you are in the midst of a PTSD diagnosis, this book is wonderful. if you aren't sure of your triggers, or are just completely confused on your actions and reactions, this book reflects on what it's like to live with PTSD and what to look for for warning signs
Apr 18, 2014 Magdalen rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for anyone who is living with complex PTSD. She doesn't tell you what you need to do with your life. She only shares her story so you know you're not alone. It's a beautiful book that I'll treasure forever. Thank you, Marla.
Mar 19, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, trauma
A powerful memoir by a woman suffering from PTSD that is a great help to those suffering with it and for those who love someone who is. Thank you so much, Marla, for being willing to share your story.
Ashlee Foster (Tidwell)
Apr 13, 2013 Ashlee Foster (Tidwell) rated it it was amazing
Holy Cow...Umm...Yeah. If you or someone you love is impacted by PTSD, this is a wonderful resource. I can't even put to words how spot-on everything is. The chaos, the fear, the anxiety, the emotions that come with those things, and everything else. I feel like at the end of the book the entire thing was highlighted. PTSD isn't an easy thing to live with by any means, I can attest to that, but the way she explains things makes it so much easier to conceptualize for those who don't understand, b ...more
Kate Hickling
Apr 04, 2016 Kate Hickling rated it really liked it
"But coming to understand the biology of longstanding PTSD also meant giving up hope that I would ever be completely free of it" p110
Not sure if that is depressing bleak or freeing.
Jan 27, 2012 Vandy rated it it was amazing
I served 20+ years in the military and afterward worked at a VA hospital. I've attended many lectures and presentations on PTSD, worked with individuals with the diagnosis. I have seen it up close and personal, experienced the same things in my military career as people with the diagnosis have, but Ms Handy has brought the day to day reality of someone with PTSD into a new and enlightening focus. I highly recommend this book for not only individuals who are living with it, or have a loved one wh ...more
Jul 25, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This book helped me understand and see that what I am going through and have been through is normal. Marla talks about her PTSD in a way that I as a fellow sexual abuse sufferer could relate to. It helped me view my memories and after telling my psychologist about it also has helped her treatment of me because now she understands how fluid the memories or postcards are and how it is so hard to pinpoint the cause of a reaction. It has been an absolutely amazing book that is helping me with my rec ...more
Melissa Kane
Oct 14, 2014 Melissa Kane rated it really liked it
If you struggle with PTSD, check out "No Comfort Zone: Notes on Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" by Marla Handy.

I'm only 1/3 of the way through and I could highlight 50% of the words on each page. That's how closely I identify with her experiences. It's comforting and inspiring to read that others have the same random bouts with panic and stress that plague me daily.
Jennifer Ann Fox
Oct 17, 2011 Jennifer Ann Fox rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for anyone that has or in a relationship with someone who has PTSD. It's an excellent book that explains the issues with PTSD from someone with experience. PTSD is mislabeled so much in our society but this book helped me in many ways understand and validate whate PTSD is and the hope it can bring. EXCELLENT book.
Apr 04, 2015 Francesca rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It was a great perspective on growing with multiple traumas. Thank you for writing it Marla Handy!
Kate Phoenix
Aug 10, 2014 Kate Phoenix rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I can't really sum up in words how emotional this book is and what it made me feel. For those who don't have PTSD read the book and see through the looking glas. For those who do have PTSD it will make things a lot clearer and give you a lot of support.
Erica Monzingo
Feb 14, 2012 Erica Monzingo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
Marla made me feel like I was no longer alone in the world and that it was ok to have a voice. I sat down one night to read a chapter when the book first arrived in the mail and didn't put it down until I was completely done.
Jun 06, 2013 Melissa rated it it was amazing
I could relate in many ways. Glad I read this book. I hope others with PTSD will read it and share with loved ones who might want a better understanding than just clinical symptoms from a pamphlet or website.
Feb 13, 2013 Krystal rated it it was amazing
this book helped me more than all the therapy, drugs, and well widgets over the years.
Doreen Janz
Oct 04, 2012 Doreen Janz rated it it was amazing
Incredible story. Very helpful!! Will definitaly reread and recommend.
Jan 16, 2015 Lorraine rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Very brave personal account of living with PTSD.
Sarah marked it as to-read
Jul 27, 2016
Aria marked it as to-read
Jul 24, 2016
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Marla Handy, Ph.D., has over 25 years of experience consulting with nonprofit and community organizations in the areas of strategic planning, governance and managerial development, and has worked domestically and in South America, Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. She has retired from teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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“Those who have accepted the facts of my life often find me admirable for surviving, even thriving, in spite of it all. You might think I would find that comforting, but I never have. It creates, or emphasizes, the distance between us. They see triumph over past obstacles, whereas I experience the continuing vulnerability of walking a tightrope. There is no point of completion, no sigh of relief, no victory dance in the end zone.” 1 likes
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