Posts Tagged ‘Complex ptsd’

The Inner Drugstore: Adult Children of Alcoholics or Dysfunctional Households

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2. Inner Drug Store:

“For every emotion we feel, a corresponding biochemical substance is automatically released in our bodies. Think about how the felt sense of anger is different from the felt sense of calm or amusement. Especially for those of us who have trouble connecting with our bodies or our emotions, these chemical changes may happen below our level of awareness. But they still happen.

The inner drug store is not all bad. There are bottles of joy, peacefulness, and spirituality to name a few. But we Adult Children often gravitate toward the drugs of negative excitement.

Growing up in dysfunctional households, our everyday state can become one of hypervigilance. Am I safe? What mood is Mom in? We walk on eggshells trying to be invisible. Dad’s car just pulled in the driveway, is he drunk? We scan the house for things that might anger him and quickly try to neutralize them.

Or perhaps we were ignored or emotionally abandoned by our parents, creating anxiety and the general feeling of being alone and unsafe. Our normal can become anxiety and fear. And since it is perhaps all we have ever known, and since we may already have learned to shut down access to our feelings and our bodies, we may not even be aware of our anxiety.

Hypervigilance creates a stress response in the body, it even releases dopamine in our brains. As children, our small bodies are marinated in those chemicals. Even if we have never taken a drink of alcohol nor any drugs, we are all addicts. We, as Adult Children, learn to be addicted to our own inner drug stores. We can subconsciously seek out situations which recreate these feelings.

Emotional Intoxication is getting high on our inner drug store.

The more I understand it, the less it controls me. – (Jarvis)

“Subconsciously” is an important concept here. Generally, we don’t consciously choose to take these actions. It may be like breathing. Our minds are in control of that process, but normally we aren’t consciously aware of taking each breath. If we were we might have trouble thinking about anything else.

The subconscious mind takes over certain processes. I think maintaining our “normal” level of emotional intoxication or sobriety may be one of those. If we were raised in a dysfunctional home, our normal can be anxiety and fear. And we seek to re-create what is normal for each of us.”

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We do not want to suffer!

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We do not want to suffer. For much of life this desire steers us away from danger.

If we have a mental disorder, (PTSD, depression, etc) avoiding brings more suffering.

I started out avoiding a few things to control my fight or flight firing. The adrenal stress response is preparing us for a lethal threat.

This state is filled with fear, anxiety and unrest.

It scares us because we seem to have no influence over it.

Mine fired when it wanted, my effort did nothing to stop it.

This behavior made things much worse. At bottom I spent six months in my dark garage, agoraphobic.

My fight or flight still fired ten plus times a day.

Escaping my mind was impossible.

My nervous system was upside down. Cortisol and adrenaline were at extreme levels, a day felt like a week.

Healing came when I faced my triggers, sitting still, focused on my breath.

I learned to sit quietly in the midst of my suffering.

My fight or flight mechanism became a friend not the enemy.

I learned to feel all the emotions fully, then release them.

The volume decreases as we face them, integrate them.

I discovered my fight or flight could fire on its own, but my breath could calm the upset, dissipating the cortisol and adrenaline.

How do you react to a trigger firing?

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4 Possible Subtypes of PTSD Powerful statistical tools advance our understanding of critical issues. Grant Hilary Brenner MD, FAPA Posted Jan 30, 2020

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Except: Full article here: https://www-psychologytoday-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/experimentations/202001/4-possible-subtypes-ptsd?amp

Precision medicine” leverages technology and mathematical tools to individualize care. Precision-medicine approaches are on the cutting edge of medicine, and as such are not always ready for primetime. They are often the subject of controversy. Some clinicians and patients are eager to try new things right away, while others prefer to wait to see if they work and if they cause unexpected adverse reactions, also known as “side effects.”

The current study used “latent class analysis” with the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC III). This survey collected data from a representative sample to reflect the general U.S. population. Of the over 36,000 participants, almost 2,400 met criteria for PTSD at some point in their lives.

1. Dysphoric (23.8 percent): Intrusive thoughts; avoidance of situations and thoughts related to the trauma; negative thoughts and feelings; isolation, numbing and irritability; and difficulty with sleep and concentration.

They were more likely to be younger, and male. They were less likely to have experienced combat. They were less likely to receive medication for PTSD. They were more likely to be diagnosed with depression, and less likely to be diagnosed with anxiety. They were more likely to use nicotine.

2. Threat (26.1 percent): Increased re-experiencing symptoms; high self-blame and negative emotion; lower levels of loss of interest, numbing, isolation and irritability; and high levels of physiologic arousal (“hyperarousal”). They were more likely to be older, and less likely to have recent homelessness or unemployment.

They were more likely to have personally experienced natural disasters, and had illnesses or injury to people close to them. They were less likely to report childhood sexual abuse as their worst trauma, and reported better mental health. They tended to have fewer additional psychiatric diagnoses.

3. High Symptom (33.7 percent): Elevated levels of all symptoms except trauma-related amnesia and high-risk behaviors. They were more likely to be female, less likely to be White, reported lower education and income levels, and were more likely to have recent public assistance, homelessness, and unemployment. They were more likely to report combat and childhood sexual abuse as their worst trauma, were younger when they developed PTSD and had it longer, and reported worse mental and physical health.

They were more likely to have received therapy and/or medication treatment for PTSD. They had higher rates of other psychiatric conditions, including anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, chronic depression, marijuana and alcohol use disorders, and personality disorders including Borderline, Schizotypal and Antisocial. This group most closely resembles cPTSD.

4. Low Symptom (16.3 percent): Lower levels of all symptoms, except for intrusive thoughts, negative emotions, and hypervigilance. People in this group were more likely to have higher income levels. They were more likely to report the worst trauma to someone close to them, rather than to themselves personally, and were less likely to report personal war trauma.

They tended to be older and have PTSD for a shorter time, and to have better mental and physical health. They were less likely to have received treatment with therapy and/or medications. They were less likely to have other psychiatric diagnoses, and less likely to have personality disorders.

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Healing and Happiness are an internal journey,

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Healing and Happiness are an internal journey, an exploration of our inner world.

Thoughts, judgments and emotions are let go, as we feel all of our body sensations.

Somatic wisdom helps us integrate our trauma, if we have the courage to face it.

Thoughts are endless, so is the suffering that accompanies them

Directed thought is fine, negative thought, unworthy ideas, and self hate are not.

Find peace inside yourself and the world will be much easier to navigate.

It is simple: Never entertain a negative thought or idea, ever!

This simple, immediate, concrete and repetive action changes Our perspective.

Stop reading, talking, thinking, and debating, action is needed at some point.

Why not NOW!!!!!!!!!

If you really want to heal, you will take daily action.

This is a harsh reality that keeps over 90% of PTSD sufferers from healing.

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Unworthiness turns into Self -Hate .

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Meditation for me was not about a spiritual journey, searching for enlightenment or an awakening. Whatever the hell enlightenment is, out there, achieved after two to three decades of daily practice.

Meditation was my last hope finding relief from childhood PTSD. My dads constant criticism and abuse created a big unworthy hole in me.

A parent demanding perfection from a child, damages that child beyond belief. Life becomes a struggle, unworthiness manifests as self hate.

We abandon reading what our bodies need and start trying to fulfill the needs of the parent. We become strangers to ourselves.

I had a therapist say, if your dad wrote your epitaph on a grave stone, it would be, never good enough.

That is damage at my core, not a flaw.

Enter meditation: It took enormous daily practice to see unworthiness as a mirage. It took ten times that effort to accept and be vulnerable in the face of an unworthy trigger erupting.

Unworthy started before my mind developed. It becomes stealthy, sabotaging everything we try to do.

Unworthiness seeks solitude, desires approval over all else, then runs from negativity or criticism.

Unworthiness brings so much self hate that some external approval is needed to survive. It consumes our existence.

I have seen self hate manifest in an outwardly happy go lucky man. The desire to appear normal or the need to gain approval at all costs springs from self hate.

My unworthiness fueled my professional baseball career. I could outwork everyone else without that much difficulty.

The need for approval was far greater than any amount physical exercise.

Life was dedicated to working out, the goal was to enjoy success, which brought approval.

I accomplished my goal, even enjoyed some adulation, sports fans are passionate.

Only one problem, approval has nothing to do with healing or happiness.

I had to change my goal.

The need for approval dissiapated the more I meditated.

It is always a battle, healing is not a point of time but a daily, moment by moment awareness.

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After basic needs are fulfilled, what is your strongest desire (need)?

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After basic needs are fulfilled, what is your strongest desire (need)?

 

After inventory, how do you rank your resources?

 

These two answers probably determine your life’s path.

 

How do I convey the idea that the mind is more valuable than all other resources combined, multiplied by a 1,000,000.

 

The mind controls all resources, grants power and life or withholds power to extinguish unwanted things.

 

The mind is far more powerful focused, empty of thought, than when it is thinking.

 

Thought is transparent, our Aware Presence is the only real thing we can experience.

 

How would life change if all worry, doubt and fear subsided?

 

Much of my self talk and rumination has died a slow death of neglect.

 

My strengths are willpower and persistence.

 

I show up and take action everyday, that has transformed my thought process.

 

It has changed nothing external, life’s challenges remain, my mind plays a different game now.

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What is implicit memory? It is where PTSD is stored!!!!!!!

Pixabay: geralt

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“Mindfulness Skills workbook for clients and clinicians”. Debra Burdick,

 
What is implicit memory?

•  Encoded throughout our lives. •  Probably the only type of memory infants have. •  Allows us to remember how to do something without being conscious of how to do it, such as riding a bicycle, walking—anything procedural.

•  Gets stored without our conscious awareness.

•  Gets retrieved without our awareness—“I don’t know I’m having a memory.”

•  Past memories come flooding in without knowing they’re from the past; it feels like it is all coming from the present.

•  Drives behavior without our awareness—often negatively.

•  Primes us to respond in a certain fashion.

•  Readies us for the future.

•  Designed to protect us.

•  Can create here and now perceptions and beliefs that are actually from the past.

•  Can show up as a physical feeling in our body, an emotional reaction, a behavioral pattern, or a bias.

•  The amygdala is responsible for implicit memory as it scans earlier memories of danger.

•  Procedural memory is a subset (how to do things).

 

 

Why do we care?

 

 

•  Implicit memories can emotionally hijack our prefrontal cortex and drive behavior without our awareness.

•  Can often create a total misinterpretation of a current situation.

 

•  Implicit memory is like the child that lives within us.

•  Implicit memories may show up in body sensations.

•  Mindfulness allows us to integrate implicit with explicit memory to improve emotional response and behavioral patterns.
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Sunday morning Insights

Pixabay: Larisa-K

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Sufferers of PTSD, depression or other disorders are generally confused and anxious.

Fear mixed with intense anxiety stops the mind from functioning properly.

We sense danger from a perceived lethal threat. We want to escape as quickly as possible, our defense mechanism has complete control.

Unfortunately, going out in public, say to a restaurant, would fire my fight or flight mechanism without my consent.

Somehow these situations linked to my abusive childhood. Our triggers seem to pick their own scenario.

Cognitively I understood no real danger existed, my defense mechanism did not agree.

Healing for me, consisted of sitting calmly, focused on my breath, as my nervous system fired violently.

My focus released the scary thoughts, then concentrated on the connected body sensations. For me, my solar plexus is where my trauma manifested inside the body.

Making friends with the bodies nervous system, intimately knowing (being with) the sensations, integrated my trauma.

Being able to build focus on the breath is body armor for the anxiety disorders.

The breath controls our nervous system and heavily influences our defense mechanism.

Navy Seals are taught to dissipate fear by extending their exhales.

Cortisol and adrenaline can be used for fuel instead of being afraid or triggered.

PTSD has access to the switch firing our fight or flight mechanism, we have final control of our nervous system.

Remember trauma is stored in the right hemisphere, inside our amygdala.

We can not access stored trauma consciously.

Meditation grants us direct access to our stored trauma.

No miracle just current neuroscience.

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Thoughts again bring so many issues!

Bowie my grandson

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Hooking up to our Aware Presence? What is it?

You can observe your Aware Presence when thought fades, when focus sharpens, when clarity arrives.

What is it, though? It does not have any memory, any idea of a past or future, and lacks ability to judge.

I am happier in a place where judgment fades. Lost in thought is a recipe for suffering.

If you believe happiness is connected to our Aware Presence, meditation is the train we ride, together.

Are you happier lost in thought or connected to your Aware Presence?

If we looked at the big picture, we would change the way we live.

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Judging and Comparing

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Judging consumed many, many hours throughout my life. Another form of judging, comparing myself with others took another chunk.

Judging brought worry, comparing gathered that sense of lack.

Judging and Comparing are never extinguished.

Meditation, focuses on the breath, slowing, calming, sensing, observing. No effort is given to changing or destroying any thought.

Judgements and Comparisons are transparent, fading on their own without attention or emotion.

Imagine a thought right now. Hold that thought, sarcasm intended.

If you do not express that thought to anyone, does anyone else know of its existence?

Is that thought real if no one hears or reads it.

Thoughts can be irrational, incorrect and incomplete.

Some thinking and thoughts are harmful to our wellbeing.

No thought exists when we travel to the right hemisphere.

That must have some significance.

Some designer created a wordless, thoughtless side of the brain to balance the literal cognitive side.

Spend some time on your expansive side of your brain/mind.

It is brilliant, has no worry, doubt, judging or comparing.

It is always available through the cloud of thought and emotion.

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