Posts Tagged ‘ACCEPTANCE’

“My damage was internal, unseen. I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”

Chanel Miller, left, has written a memoir about dealing with the Brock Turner, right, sexual assault case. 

CBS News/Getty.

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On June 2, 2016, these words were spoken by a 23-year-old woman in a California courtroom.

She was addressing Brock Turner, a Stanford University student who was facing sentencing after being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault. The night of the attack, Turner—then nineteen and a member of Stanford’s swim team—had been chased down and apprehended by two international graduate students.

They’d witnessed Turner accosting a half-naked, unconscious woman outside of a party on campus—the same woman now standing before him in court.

“I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water,” the woman continued, relaying her experience in emergency care, “and decided I don’t want my body anymore.

I was terrified of it . . . I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.”

Unbeknown to Turner, the statement being read to him would be seen over 14 million times online in the following week. It would also be read, live and uninterrupted for 25 minutes, on CNN.

People were shocked and disturbed as the young woman—who remains unidentified to the public—detailed the psychological wreckage she’d endured in the aftermath of the assault: relentless anxiety, overwhelming shame, and chronic nightmares of being assaulted and unable to wake up.

Equally appalling to many was the lenient sentence Turner received: six months in a county jail instead of a potential 14 years in state prison.

The judge presiding over the case, himself a Stanford graduate, feared that a longer jail term would have a “severe impact” on Turner and negatively affect his Olympic aspirations—a topic frequently mentioned at trial.

In a character-witness letter to the court, Turner’s father wrote that Brock was being harshly punished for “20 minutes of action” and “had never been violent to anyone,” including the night of the assault.

The day after the verdict, I found myself at a café watching my closest friend read the victim’s statement.

It was haunting to witness her absorb the words. This was a friend who’d taught me about sexism—who’d raised my awareness about the social norms that objectified her as a woman, and shielded men like Turner in court.

It was also someone I loved.

Watching her eyes fill with tears, I felt a mix of anger and helplessness.

Virtually all the women in my life—my friend included—had been the victim of sexual violence.

She viscerally understood the agitation, flashbacks, and isolation that Turner’s victim had described.

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My Rule for Childhood PTSD

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Never compare, never rank, never feel sorry for yourself.

Dissociation is my Achilles heel. I bargain, deny, and wander into the “What if’s” of my trauma.

If I ruminate suffering ensues.

It is simple, if I stay present life is good, if I ruminate life sucks.

A layman’s response to PTSD.

If you do one thing, stay present.

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Healing the Shame of Childhood Abuse Through Self-Compassion (excerpt). Psychology Today

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If you were a victim of childhood abuse or neglect, you know about shame.

You have likely been plagued by it all your life without identifying it as shame. You may feel shame because you blame yourself for the abuse itself (“My father wouldn’t have hit me if I had minded him”) or because you felt such humiliation at having been abused (“I feel like such a wimp for not defending myself”).

While those who were sexually abused tend to suffer from the most shame, those who suffered from physical, verbal, or emotional abuse blame themselves as well.

In the case of child sexual abuse, no matter how many times you’ve heard the words “It’s not your fault,” the chances are high that you still blame yourself in some way—for being submissive, for not telling someone and having the abuse continue, for “enticing” the abuser with your behavior or dress, or because you felt some physical pleasure.

In the case of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse, you may blame yourself for “not listening” and thus making your parent or caretaker so angry that he or she yelled at you or hit you.

Children tend to blame the neglect and abuse they experience on themselves, in essence saying to themselves, “My mother is treating me like this because I’ve been bad” or “I am being neglected because I am unlovable.”

As an adult, you may have continued this kind of rationalization, putting up with poor treatment by others because you believe you brought it on yourself.

Conversely, when good things happen to you, you may actually become uncomfortable, because you feel so unworthy.

Complete article here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-compassion-chronicles/201501/healing-the-shame-childhood-abuse-through-self-compassion

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My year on Ptsd discussion board

Pixabay geralt
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Early on when PTSD was new, I joined Daily Strength, the biggest mental health discussion board in the U.S.

 

I spent a year on the PTSD discussion board and what I found shocked me.

 

90% of the discussion board were women who had been sexually assaulted by their fathers, brothers or uncles as little girls.

 

Most never got over their rapes, lived a victims existence, reliving their rapes everyday On that board. I witnessed them suffer as they went around in circles of thought causing them constant suffering and victimhood.


I did not see anyone get better. I was attacked for saying we can heal.

 

Victims can not stand someone saying we can heal, it is threatening to their storyline.

 

In truth the discussion board was an open house for Dissociation (leaving this moment to enter the past).

 

Ever hear of a therapist recommending his clients share their symptoms in the waiting room. That’s what the discussion board did everyday, shared symptoms and complained.

 

Our goal is hard to accomplish, do not touch or talk about your trauma with anyone except your therapist.

 

Next, refrain from entertaining these thoughts in your own mind unless you can integrate what you are fueling.

 

Prepare, have a plan when intrusive thoughts enter your consciousness.

 

Success will take many trials with loss before we succeed.

 

People I have witnessed who heal, have an internal fortitude.

 

It took me many, many, many, many, many tries to accomplish my healing goals.

 

Many, many, many failures, do not deter those that press on and heal.

 

Healing from PTSD for me, required daily work without any improvements for long periods of time.


Whatever that trait is, hope, faith, never give up attitude, it is needed for this journey.

 

It is more than courage, courage does not fuel daily work, that comes from deep down.

 

Discussion board: I am shocked so many fathers, brothers and uncles rape little girls.

 

I do not get rape, gangrape as a male.

 

This is such a cowardly and violent act that ruins lives.

 

America does not test rape kits unless it is part of a murder.

 

Does that say we do not value women’s safety?
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Peeling the Onion: A meditative journey

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Think about the traumas in your life, it maybe one horrific accident or a complete childhood, as an onion, each one different than the next in size, taste, color and texture.

Our Onion grew as we aged, more layers added over the years.

Think of some of our awkward or embarrassing moments in life as smaller onions or scallions, much less formidable or detrimental than our big trauma Onion.

PTSD and our onion open up the same way, peeeling back the outer layers, exposing deeper trauma (Layers).

Meditation helped me first become aware of the subtleties of each layer, then helped me peel back the outer layer.

The process like meditation is repetitive.

I meditated everyday, observing my traumas storyline from a distance, becoming familiar with my fight or flight mechanism.

Our trauma Onion is extremely strong, capable of making us cry and suffer if not handled properly.

If we assume healing is the peeling away of all the layers until we hit our core, meditation was the scalpel that made the cuts.

We peel the onion by surrendering to the fear it lays at our doorstep. The deeper layers cause us to stop peeling, the fear is more formidable at these inner layers.

I have healed by sitting prone, focused, while surrendering to my fears, being vulnerable in the face of perceived danger.

Conclusion: That trauma Onion is a mirage, a past traumatic event, stored as an implicit memory with all the fear and emotion of that moment.

No real danger existed in any of my triggers.

The same external triggers exist, however my same mind does not react to them now.

I figured out organically, sitting quietly observing my trauma it was benign.

PTSD is the rerun of a traumatic event that we watch on our personal trauma T.V.

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A closed circuit showing of a past horrific event.

So why did ptsd live after my abuser, my father, died?

The memory does not need him being alive to exist. The onion has grown and now has a life of its own, inside our head unfortunately.

I have never seen an Onion peel itself or PTSD to heal with time.

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Do thoughts sabotage your meditation practice?

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I went to zen center for five years. We would meditate for a half hour, then do a three minute walking meditation, followed by another half hour of meditation.

Most of us fought for an hour for a few seconds of an empty, focused mind. Counting my breaths did not work for me or anyone but the Zen monk.

Being a visual person, I created a breathing model. It resembled an upright infinity symbol with four distinct parts.

Inhale, pause, exhale, pause. The pauses were the weak link, a sort of door for thoughts to proliferate.

First, I performed exercises highlighting my pauses.

I would take a deep inhale, then pause, a long, concerted pause where no exhaust leaks out. As I resisted the pressure in my lungs, I intently scanned my internal organs for agitation or energy.

Feel your whole chest cavity, give these pauses a purpose, an activity to accomplish.

Our pauses are the doors to our inner world. The pauses are as important as the inhales and exhales, treat them that way.

The mind and body work together like our inhales and exhales work with the pauses.

The breath does not flow without pauses, music is noise without pauses between notes.

The second pause is different from the initial pause.

The first pause is like a balloon we just inflated, the air inside creates pressure looking to be released.

It takes force to hold the first pause.

The pause after the exhale has no pressure to resist.

Our body is truly at a suspended animation, an opportunity to know our inner world.

Know where fear manifests in your body, where anger raises its powerful head, where trauma resides, and where contentment and joy spring forth.

The breath is the tool I used to explore my inner world, the tool used to release body trauma and the tool I used to integrate my PTSD.

Until I gave my pauses the attention they needed my meditation practice languished.

I always broke things down to smaller pieces, then worked on those pieces.

I worked on my pauses exclusively for a while, then went back to meditating with increased focus.

Where do thoughts enter your mind when meditating?

Inhales starts bottom right moving upward. The pauses are the short arches.

Inhale, pause, exhale, pause, one breath cycle

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Thoughts can be our Prison: add intent listening and feeling to your meditation practice

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I spent six months isolated in my garage huddled in fear, agorophic from avoiding my trauma.

My crime was trying to think my way out of PTSD, cognitively outsmart it.

Thinking (dissociating) fueled my trauma, symptoms intensified, my nervous system sensed imminent danger constantly.

Solution: I learned a specific way of focusing my mind, using hearing, the breath, somatic feeling (sensing my heart) and a visual model as a useful guide.

The visual guide is a continuum, a sort of upright infinity symbol. We see the breath has four distinct parts each as valuable as the other, it can flow like a sheet of music some days.

Then I am inside my nostrils when inhaling and exhaling. The cool air is the inhale, the exhale the warmer exhaust.

The pauses, for me, were the spaces where thoughts entered my consciousness.

My solution was to prioritize these pauses with present moment sensing. Pauses are like suspended animation, the body is as still is it will ever be.

The body makes noises inhaling and exhaling, expanding the lungs then contracting them.

So I used a somatic present moment sensing and intense hearing for my focus objects.

At my pauses I spend time sensing my chest cavity and heart, getting to know my inner world at this most frozen of times.

I may enter my heart and feel it slowing, then listen for its silent beat.

I use hearing as much as focus on the breath along with feeling my internal

machinations.

Be like a Geiger counter sensing agitation, tightness, pain, anxiety, calm, contentment or unrest during a pause.

Now my pauses had purpose, I would switch from being inside my nostrils for inhales and exhales, to listening and sensing at the pauses.

Thoughts had a much harder time entering my space.

Nothing is full proof and meditating is easier some days then others but even the bad days heal.

Remember, Meditation is not about influencing anything, achieving or overcoming anything, it is not an attack, it is learning to surrender.

Our first goal in meditation is build our focus to the point where thoughts clear and the mind is empty.

The body and mind start repairing and healing around this no thought space.

No cancer will not be cured but optimum mental health can be attained on this journey.

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What is the mind?

Pixabay: Gadini

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From Meditation for the Love of it:

According to the tantras, the phenomenon we experience as “mind” is actually a particularly vibrant and subtle kind of energy.

An ocean of energy, in fact, in which waves of thoughts and emotions arise and subside.

Your thoughts and feelings—the difficult, negative, obsessive ones, as well as the peaceful and clever ones—are all made of the same subtle, invisible, highly dynamic “stuff.”

Mindenergy is so evanescent (passing out of sight quickly) that it can dissolve in a moment, yet so powerful that it can create “stories” that run you for a lifetime.

The secret revealed by the tantric sages is that if you can recognize thoughts for what they are—if you can see that a thought is nothing but mind-energy—your thoughts will stop troubling you.

That doesn’t mean they’ll stop.

But you’ll no longer be at their mercy.

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Looking back, assessing the arduous journey

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For some of us abuse started around five, way before a little mind had developed. I did not have the skills to even discern it was abuse. Criticism replaced encouragement, achievement was expected not rewarded.

I thought everyone was raised like me. Perfection was demanded of all kids and met with harsh physical punishment when it was not attained.

Fear, anxiety and a stomach that ached and was prone to vomiting often followed me. Never figured out, it was my abuse that was the culprit. My nervous system was in survival mode quite often.

Everyday life had real danger, verbal threats, physical harm and suffering.

I was shocked to find other kids had a much different experience.

They could not relate to me and I sure as hell had no idea what love, support and kindness looked like. I did not fit in at home or school.

Looking back, it seemed I needed to suffer a tremendous amount in my life before death would grace my door.

One of the biggest joys of my life was healing (improving) the first time.

For two years life was free of intense anxiety and suffering.

At 68, I see I fought a lifetime to earn two short years. But those two years meant everything to me, a magnificent triumph.

Now another trauma has returned and upset the delicate balance between suffering and being free.

In spite of my plight, I meditate and practice as hard as ever.

For my life, I had to find some peace of mind, some happiness in my ability to endure my suffering and not slack off my effort.

That was happiness for me.

Happiness is much different for me than normal kids.

I have gratitude because I know other kids had it much worse than me.

Self pity is something I loathe and rarely practice.

This recent trauma has clarified why I am like I am.

It was not easy to sit and accept everything about myself.

How about your journey and challenges?

Never give up, never give in.

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The Ego versus Self

 

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From Meditation for the Love of It:

 

“One way you know you are experiencing the ego and not the Self is that the ego (ahamkara in Sanskrit) always experiences itself in comparison to others.

 

The ego never feels fully equal to others: it sees others as higher or lower, as better or worse, as friendly or potentially hostile.

 

The Self, on the other hand, just is. 

 

The Self sees everything and everyone as equal to itself.

 

The ego bears the same relationship to the Self as does a lightbulb to the electrical current coursing through it.

 

The bulb looks as if it gives light independently, but in fact it doesn’t.

 

It is just a container.

 

The true source of illumination is the electrical current that runs through the bulb.”

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