Posts Tagged ‘Anxiety’

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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A member of my mindfulness group schools me on my male Ego

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One of the female members of my mindfulness group, schooled me on my male Ego’s bias.

A pointed text, asks me why I was reacting so deeply, feeling betrayed, because of something that happened to another person (girlfriend). Never thought of this event in that way.

She said I was only going to heal by taking ownership over my own reactions, taking responsibility for letting the past impact today. Wow, that should of been my line.

As a male at 20, I did not realize how my judgments probably damaged my girlfriend more.

I partially blamed her for being gangraped. My hurt blinded me, seems a lame excuse for a seasoned meditator looking back, now.

We as males were indoctrinated that our significant others behavior is a reflection on ourselves, something we need to control.

I grew up without a functional attachment to either parent, this void placed enormous weight on my first girlfriends role, unbelievable unfair, I see now.

It is the opposite of everything meditation/mindfulness taught me.

The external can not touch or harm our core. Who am I can not be deminished by anything external. I lost sight of this.

We all have blind spots, this was mine.

Feeling betrayed was my mistake. I teach non judgment, feeling betrayed is a huge, inaccurate judgment.

I paid a heavy price for adopting this victim role.

For me, a students wisdom has shined a light forward.

I have always found, healing happens in a state of humility and vulnerability.

Thank you Marisia.

Please share your insight on the male Ego and women?

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The emotional Brain has first dibs on incoming information

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From The Body Keeps the Score:

The emotional brain has first dibs on interpreting incoming information.

Sensory Information about the environment and body state received by the eyes, ears, touch, kinesthetic sense, etc., converges on the thalamus, where it is processed, and then passed on to the amygdala to interpret its emotional significance.

This occurs with lightning speed.

If a threat is detected the amygdala sends messages to the hypothalamus to secrete stress hormones to defend against that threat.

The neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux calls this “the low road.

The second neural pathway, the high road, runs from the thalamus, via the hippocampus and anterior cingulate, to the prefrontal cortex, the rational brain, for a conscious and much more refined interpretation.

This takes several microseconds longer.

If the interpretation of threat by the amygdala is too intense, and/or the filtering system from the higher areas of the brain are too weak, as often happens in PTSD, people lose control over automatic emergency responses, like prolonged startle or aggressive outbursts.

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How do we handle Trauma stored in the body.

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I found trauma stored in my body and nervous system, running up and down my spinal cord.

These stored energies carry anxiety, fear and confusion.

They feel awkward, unsettling and scary when we deny or avoid them.

How do we handle this part of PTSD?

When I meditated, I was a focused detective, feeling every small sensation intently.

I would take my breath to any agitation, unrest or full blown adrenal stress response.

Learning to let the storyline go, helped me observe the physical manifestation of my PTSD.

Exploring my inner world calmed my fear.

In the end, we seem to be afraid of our own body functions.

Our bodies reaction does not carry the scary message, it is the storyline we buy into that causes the fear and panic.

Without the storyline involved, we stand a good chance of absorbing all that unrest.

Surrendering to the fear, the body sensations, settled my nervous system.

It took practice to trust, to build the courage to surrender to my fears.

It took a curious attitude to explore my body sensations thoroughly.

Even my fight or flight mechanism became a friend.

Later I learned to fire my fight or flight and then use the energy to hike.

My fight or flight mechanism held no real danger for me after surrending to its power.

Once my fight or flight mechanism settled down and the rest of the body sensations were absorbed, PTSD had lost over half its power.

Every time I felt a body sensation during the day, I would surrender to it.

I did not heal all at once, or quickly, it was a daily chipping away at the boulder of trauma.

I healed in small daily increments.

Everyday I looked to minimize PTSD’s hold on me.

It is a process, an accumulation of daily work.

I left goals alone and placed all energy into action.

Healing will take care of itself if we do the work.

Good hunting.

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PTSD Distorts time

Harrison Ford may have gotten on the marquee ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ but the snake wranglers helped get him in and out of the Well of Souls safely. (Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM)

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People do not understand the mechanism of trauma, it’s abilty to bring a PTSD implicit memory back to life.

Sometimes a decades old memory can explode.

It feels like it just happened, strong emotions flow from our bodies.

Our fight or flight mechanism is likely activated.

Cortisol and adrenaline are secreted, bp, respiration and heart rate spike. Blood coagulants and opioids enter our system, preparing us for a lethal threat.

Tunnel vision, loss of fine motor skills and the inability to think clearly increase our fear and anxiety.

Fight, flight or freeze are the usual choices we face in the present moment. The cortisol and adrenaline are secreted and felt in present time.

For our adrenal stress mechanism to fire, we sense imminent danger.

I have had friends laugh at me when a trigger exploded. We do not control what our PTSD erupts over.

It happens without our permission, when it decides and where.

If they only knew, how pissed off that made me.

I digress.

Cognitively, I understood my triggers were not dangerous however my nervous system thought it spotted a lethal threat.

I thought the threat was about my ego being extinguished.

Our PTSD fear resembles the scariest thing we dread. “In Raiders of the Lost Ark” it was a floor full of snakes.

Expect people to say ignorant, hurtful things at times to you. They can not fathom the degree of suffering and terror that is involved.

My sister told me to just get over it. My other brothers and sisters deny my reality entirely. Lots of dysfunctional things happening within an abusive family.

The healing path can be lonely at times with us being criticized by family and friends.

These are challenges that few realize or talk about.

On my path, I had to ignore the noise of others on top of dealing with the constant intrusive thoughts.

No way I could explain the fear and anxiety, PTSD brings to our being.

Words are useless, experiencing a nervous system turned upside down, erupting 15 times a day, can not be known with a description.

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I have absorbed the body trauma meditating yesterday

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Yesterday, I meditated five hours total in one hour increments. A past Trauma popped up with all its emotional terror, being trapped inside my body.

Trauma is stored at the time it occurs and with the ability at that age. My 19 year old self is much different than this 68 year old self.

The power, the intensity, the sheer anger and hurt shocked me.

All my skills had not stopped this trauma from taking over for a week.

Yesterday during my meditative sets, I brought the event to the surface, then observed all the fear, shame, anger and confusion without reaction.

I learned this as titration, you bring your trauma up for a couple minutes of thought, then meditate. The goal is to settle the nervous system back to normal.

Yes, I triggered myself, so I could integrate the fear. It is the road less travelled for sure.

That’s how healing happened originally. Triggers always caused me to avoid until I realized healing goes directly through the center of our fear (trauma).

The goal is not to squash the danger, it is to do nothing, accept and surrender from a distance.

This process integrates the stored trauma from the body and amygdala.

It is a very simple process, however it takes a strong ability to focus and courage to face our fears.

As long as our trauma has these strong negative emotions to reinforce its storyline, we lose.

For a couple of days, I was a victim, experiencing the tragedy in its full power.

It takes me a while for the mind to grapple with the demon.

Today, my system has absorbed most of the stored trauma, settled closer to my normal existence. I have separation of my 19 year old ego and my 68 year old ego again.

I forgot the intensity, the confusion and the outright terror PTSD wields when aroused. It’s been five years since anything like this has happened.

What seemed overwhelming last week, has shrunk to very unpleasant.

Settling the nervous system makes PTSD much easier to handle.

Thoughts?

Writing a few post with me suffering with PTSD, was difficult sharing the last couple of days. I knew everyone would be watching to see how I would handle it.

Do I just talk the talk or walk the walk. I have an added responsibility to not feel sorry for myself or be a victim. That actually adds to my motivation to never give in, never give up.

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A. Viewers response: “Perserverence so they do not win”

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A response from Tuckle:

“Thank you for your perspective and this wonderful post. I had never thought about perseverance so they do not win. I will have to write about that one in my journal.”

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My two cents: “Perseverance so they do not win”

My challenge from birth was to survive my father.

In childhood it was alive and real, in adulthood it became Complex PTSD, a mental disorder that threatened not only to take my peace of mind, but my life.

At my lowest, fight or flight firing all throughout the day, suffering making a day seem like a week, the critical moment had arrived.

I can not describe serious PTSD or how awful an upside down nervous system impacts the body and mind.

Life was completely full of suffering, intense anxiety, hyoervigilance, terror, worry.

Life did not have little light moments or happy events. No joy in Mudville!

I have never experienced a more devastating period, death seemed easier, life took real courage.

Somewhere deep inside, a part of me refused to give up, to let my father win.

That day I promised to endure whatever came next, to live in spite of my father’s cruelty.

I think we all have that moment, when we either take responsibility or become a victim for life or death.

This battle is an internal struggle.

On the surface, all the trauma symptoms occupy our consciousness, however below the surface an internal battle wages for control.

When my “Ego” was in control, I felt hurt, injustice, anger and a little sorry for myself. These injustices and anger thoughts made PTSD grow stronger.

When I could stay present, focused, below traumas influence, life had opportunity.

These glimpses gave me hope.

We do not pick the challenges that arrive, self inflicted or without a clue.

It is always our reaction that determines life.

Do not let your abuser win.

Fight for your happiness.

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Value and loss or lost in thought.

Thank you Dar for this pic

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Scarcity seems to give value to things. Gold, gems and jewels are rare, valued with exorbitant price tags.

Emotionally, approval, status, power and control are highly prized possessions.

Not really possessions, however coveted on equal terms.

After basic needs, shelter, safety, sustenance and a little attachment, what is most valuable to you?

Kids, family, a mate, or BFF would be many first choices.

After those, what brings us closer to being happy, content or equanimous?

The space between my ears is the most important, most valuable possession for me.

Whatever I let percolate in this space decides my attitude, my personality, my life.

My mind has been filled with intrusive thoughts from PTSD, which brought enormous suffering.

Confusion, worry, doubt and fear link up with thought to make a misery soup for dinner.

During this pandemic, thoughts of being bored, unthinkable to imagine a meditator to be depressed, entered my head.

My next decision decides whether suffering or freedom rules. We do not decide which thoughts arrive but we do choose to engage or stay present.

My mind focused, empty of thought, observing life without judgment, experiences joy, freedom.

That is a calm, content, deep feeling of wonderment some days, mundane joy on other days.

My bad memories, childhood abuse and all the loss disappears when I let my mind empty out all its thoughts.

Life has opportunity if I let these distractions go.

Worry and doubt are judgments, negative future erroneous predictions.

Living in the moment eliminates many, many, many issues.

Remember our attention, that is where we aim it, is the most power we possess.

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We have come to call these shattering experiences trauma.

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“Sometimes we encounter experiences that so violate our sense of safety, order, predictability, and right, that we feel utterly overwhelmed—unable to integrate, and simply unable to go on as before.

Unable to bear reality.

We have come to call these shattering experiences trauma.

None of us is immune to them.”

—Stephen Cope

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My two cents: Trauma does need our approval to take over daily life.

PTSD does not improve over time, it grows stronger as it ages.

The more we think about it, the stronger our symptoms become.

Our goal is to starve trauma.

I learned to deal with chronic pain by giving it no attention.

PTSD needs the same attention to survive.

Attention is the fuel.

Starve it.

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Intrusive Thoughts and PTSD

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Intrusive thoughts were unknown to me until my trauma exploded one day during a family crisis.

It is like thoughts, emotionally terrifying thoughts, triggering thoughts, arriving at a rate similar to a gatlin gun firing.

My fight or flight mechanism would fire violently 15 times a day, because of these nasty thoughts, paralyzing me.

That cortisol dumped would light my solar plexus up enough to scare the hell out of me. That jolt was terrifying and intense, powerful in fact.

It sure felt like I was facing an imminent threat.

Now, healed, or much improved, the intrusive thoughts are still alive.

My nervous system is my friend now and does not fire unless a real threat appears.

This has given me the ability to discount, not letting these intrusive thoughts get an audience.

Without an audience thoughts wither and fade.

I use other focus tools when these thoughts arrive.

I touch my thumb with each finger, saying release, release, release, release, release.

My senses take over, sight gets total awareness first, then I listen intently, searching out sounds in an order of loudest first. Finding the lowest decibel sound in the room gives me a goal to focus on.

I feel my skin, register the temperature, then smell for any aromas.

Another tool is reciting my affirmation out loud, In this moment, right now, I feel my body overflowing with Kindness, Aprroval, and Safety.

When negative thoughts arrive, replace them with our focus tools, be prepared, practice when things are calm.

Thoughts needs attention to live.

Thinking is the opposite of what we should do when negativity or trauma arrives.

Extra credit: https://ptsdawayout.com/2018/05/24/this-is-known-as-dysregulated-arousal/

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