Posts Tagged ‘Dissociation’

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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Just diagnosed with PTSD….what to do?

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First things to do: Research! Understand the mechanism of trauma, how the fight or flight system fires.

Start repeating a short affirmation multiple times a day. In this moment, right now, I feel my body overflowing with approval, safety and kindness. Record it, play it back constantly.

Next, find a way to calm the fight or flight mechanism from firing. We need to be in a safer zone called our window of tolerance.

When our fight or flight mechanism is fueling ptsd, we our way beyond our window of tolerance.

I picked meditation, practiced everyday, built my focus to face my nervous system exploding.

The journey had many failures, setbacks and trials.

You must find an action to help you calm your nervous system.

Aerobic exercise is an alternative, it dissipates cortisol and adrenaline mechanically.

A good tool but hard to exercise at your desk or work. We would be exhausted trying to exercise our way to healing after every trigger.

The breath can impact the nervous system far more easily and much quicker.

I found enormous power using my breath to access my right hemisphere.

PTSD is an invisible prison while meditation was a ticket to my creative, expansive, free side of my mind.

The left hemisphere (cognitive side), is the size of a beach ball. The right hemisphere is expansive, creative and big as the Pacific Ocean.

Meditation is like space travel for me, journeying to that creative side. No words, good or bad, right or wrong exists to limit our experience.

It seems like heaven but disappears quickly.

You have found a space where the past and future do not exist, where ptsd can not visit.

First time I entered this space, I knew ptsd would lose.

Takes a lot of work to enter this space.

That’s the ante to improve.

I believe, I can help anyone to meditate if they will practice with all their effort.

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Who am I?……Who are You?

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A month ago an old trauma entered my consciousness stealthily, quietly, but once detected it had enormous power and fear.

I went from believing I was an expert on handling PTSD, to acting like a novice without direction or skills.

Knowing better than to handle my trauma, I dissociated for hours trying to change the outcome, save my Ego from being humiliated.

For a month, all my skills bounced off this new trauma.

Hard lesson: No matter how powerful I develop my skills, identifying with my Ego and entertaining trauma thoughts always wins easily.

My skills were worthless when I refused to let go.

We need to carve out a small space where we are present, empty of thought.

I had to change the narrative that was stored with this last trauma. It was distorted by my Ego.

Once my Ego let go of betrayal, the movie playing in my head over and over stopped.

My male ego felt invisible, I surmised my Egos desire were those belonging to my core, my soul.

In fact it was an image created for identity (Ego), that took control of my being through PTSD’s mechanisms.

When I dropped the concept of betrayal, my male Ego emerged as the main culprit in my suffering.

Awareness has uncovered others ways my male Ego deals with life.

He has become more rigid and stealthy as he has aged.

Remember our Ego feels like the real Marty, Sandy, Mike etc.

Ask someone who they are?

Watch how the Ego describes itself, what does it value most?

I need to explore the influence my Ego has in my life after this last episode.

Who are you?

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Updated: PTSD: Can we ever be happy?

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Being abused in childhood, impacted my mind permanently. I am not saying this abuse rules my mind but it will at least lay dormant until I die.

 

Happiness was impossible, imminent danger lived inside my home and I was his only target.

 

Survival and shame dominated my thoughts, helped formulate my unworthy self image and destroyed my nervous system.

 

I always knew something was wrong, like I was flawed, unworthy, not like other people.

 

Then one day in my 50’s a family crisis ignited my childhood trauma. It was alive, bringing that terrifying jolt to my solar plexus, cortisol and adrenaline, PTSD’s scare drugs.

 

Took me 6 years to heal or improve, for the suffering to curtail and life to have a little lightness, some contentment.

 

When I improved or healed, the suffering dissipated, the intrusive thoughts lost power without attention.

 

For 60 years I enjoyed momentary joy from accomplishments, however happiness was a stranger.

 

To heal or improve, I had dedicated five hours a day to meditating and healing.

 

On this journey, while entering into mundane tasks, (a mindful practice) I found happy moments.

 

Moments free of any deadline or time apparatus, where thought had curtailed, where things unfolded naturally.

 

These moments calmed my being beyond any prior feeling.

 

Looking at nature one day, I saw perfection, was it out of body or was I just one with it?

 

I believe if I can find some happiness, then you can also.

 

It is not easy, it takes courage and daily action.

 

Thoughts?

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Is PTSD our Mount Everest?

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A big emotional trauma buried immediately when it happened, enetered my consciousness 3 weeks ago. The power and intensity of ptsd had faded when I healed the first time 6 years ago.

 

My life had returned to a new normal, better than anytime in my life.

 

Three weeks ago that changed abruptly.

 

The skills I share as a mentor, did not deter the flooding of emotional terror and intrusive thoughts.

 

What I tell others, to let the storyline go, was near impossible as the images and storyline never stopped coming. PTSD wears us out emotionally and physically at first.

 

This is how overwhelming ptsd is in the beginning, and how all our effort seems to be worthless.

 

It feels like trauma has an infinite amount of power, maybe it will never end.

 

This is the critical time, when many give up.

 

Therapists have a term called the Window of Tolerance. It means our nervous system, our trauma is at an acceptable level for us to start healing.

 

It has taken me 3 weeks of intensive meditating, integrating and surrendering to these fears to attain my Window of Tolerance.

 

I may regress from time to time however enough of this trauma has been brought to present time, weakening my intrusive thoughts and body trauma.

 

This initial period is when most ptsd sufferers who take action, give up to soon.

 

My intrusive thoughts, my ego identifying with this trauma, made me a victim in this scenario.

 

Thinking was my downfall.

 

I powered my new PTSD for a couple weeks.

 

Never thought that could ever happen to me again with my skill set and experience.

 

My Ego feels humbled by its power and ability to bring suffering.

 

I felt permanent damage, a mirage created by traumatic fear.

 

We need to survive the initial barrage of overwhelming emotions and anxieties. We must endure to heal.

 

It is the road less traveled, the first mountain is arduous and seems it has no end.

 

 

It is a butte not Mount Everest. 

 

Our perception inside our head is flawed, unbearable fear grants ptsd unlimited power.

 

In reality, ptsd has a finite amount of stored trauma, we never know how much is there.

 

Having a mentor or a therapist in the beginning makes the journey much easier.

 

That is what this blog was created for.

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Anything that fluctuates can be influenced

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Both Chronic pain and PTSD entered my life with me being clueless about their power, intensity and mechanism.

It took me 6 months with each to understand the challenge and form a plan to cope.

One of the first patterns I witnessed was how PTSD and chronic pain fluctuated during the day and night.

So my pain or PTSD did not have a constant intensity or duration.

PTSD rotated from calm to extremely triggered in seconds. Some times were calm and easier, others pure terror.

Chronic pain has an ebb and flow, intense times along with easier times.

My relationship with chronic pain was different than the other 14 in our chronic pain group. I took action, lost the fear of my pain and improved.

They lived a sedentary life filled with 30 pills a day, they suffered.

I hiked uphill causing my pain to spike, then the music was cranked, my goal was to never let pain stop my legs from moving.

Hiking another 15 minutes with my pain as a companion, in a month my chronic pain started to compress. I did not fear my pain after that month.

PTSD was a roller coaster ride of terror, followed by mental anguish and then worry about future anxiety.

The only breaks happened during times getting lost in a chore, nature or a hobby.

I found meditation provided the focus and platform to observe my fears without being part of them.

It takes time, courage and willpower.

My recent eruption of a buried trauma has challenged my skills.

I forgot how intense a serious trauma can be.

Taking action, even the slightest action moves us out of victimhood.

Better to resist, to take action.

Being sedentary powers chronic pain and PTSD.

Thoughts proliferate in a sedentary environment of Pain or Trauma.

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I learned Triggers were an Opportunity to heal!……. The door to the other side

Color Inspiration – 25 Magical Doors

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When my trauma exploded later in life, my fight or flight mechanism erupted, brought enormous fear and anxiety.

A lethal threat seemed to follow me, my adrenal stress response firing throughout the day filling me up with cortisol and adrenaline.

Fight, flight or freeze always ends with freeze for PTSD sufferers.

Fight or flight may happen the first couple of triggers, however repeated triggers firing causes us to freeze.

We try to avoid our triggers firing as a coping mechanism.

One day an epiphany hit me, I was terrified of my fight or flight going off.

I feared a body mechanism because it was linked to a traumatic childhood memory.

It took many hours of meditating and practice to realize a trigger was an opportunity to heal.

Instead of fearing my adrenal stress response I welcomed the opportunity to integrate the traumatic memory.

My triggers were the door to the other side.

When a trigger erupted, my PTSD was at its apex of power, PTSD was also at its most vulnerable.

I found out if you stayed present, focused on the breath and body sensations Ptsd lost power.

Ptsd has a glaring weakness, it was a bully bluffing of real harm.

I analyzed a trigger erupting.

Cortisol and adrenaline are secreted, bp, respiration and heart rate climb, opioids and coagulants are added into the blood stream, tunnel vision and loss of fine motor skills lead to mental confusion.

In ten or maybe twenty long minutes, all the chemicals dissipate and the nervous system calm back down.

In the aftermath no harm is permanently done but we feel great emotional loss.

I had to know there was no danger, PTSD just had access to my fight or flight mechanism.

Our fight or flight firing gives PTSD it’s powerful aversion.

That imminent danger does not exist, adrenaline and especially cortisol strengthen traumas bluff.

I did not heal by avoiding triggers.

I healed by confronting the bully and his bluff.

Ask yourself, after a trigger erupts, and things calm back down. where is the permanent danger?

There is none.

Ptsd is a mirage of fear.

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Feel the Body Sensations, let the storyline die from lack of attention

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“The challenge is not so much learning to accept the terrible things that have happened but learning how to gain mastery over one’s internal sensations and emotions.”

The Body Keeps the Score

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My two cents: A recent trauma has resurfaced after decades being buried. PTSD appears as a short, horrifying movie playing inside my mind, while my body feels the fear and panic experienced at that traumatic moment.

We want to escape a serious trauma at all costs as our body stores those sensations of heightened terror.

While sitting, meditating or during flashbacks during the day, anytime the storyline plays that movie, I focus entirely on my body sensations.

Resisting the urge to silence these feelings, I take my breath into the middle of the unrest, then surrender to the fear.

I have found a curious mindset, a desire to understamd our inner world helps.

First step is having the focus skills to let the storyline go.

It is the storyline we identify with, that makes PTSD so confusing and frightening.

Learn to focus on the breath and body sensations and the storyline will fade for short periods of time.

I healed because I did not think about the storyline.

When I gave the storyline attention it grew more powerful and my symptoms increased in duration and intensity.

If you want to heal quickly, place all effort on this task.

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Intense and barely controllable urges and emotions make people feel crazy

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The Body Keeps the Score:

Still others may shut down emotionally and not feel any obvious changes.

 

However, in the lab we have no problem detecting their racing hearts and the stress hormones churning through their bodies.

These reactions are irrational and largely outside people’s control.

Intense and barely controllable urges and emotions make people feel crazy—and makes them feel they don’t belong to the human race.

Feeling numb during birthday parties for your kids or in response to the death of loved ones makes people feel like monsters.

As a result, shame becomes the dominant emotion and hiding the truth the central preoccupation.

They are rarely in touch with the origins of their alienation.

That is where therapy comes in—is the beginning of bringing the emotions that were generated by trauma being able to feel, the capacity to observe oneself online.

However, the bottom line is that the threat-perception system of the brain has changed, and people’s physical reactions are dictated by the imprint of the past.

The trauma that started “out there” is now played out on the battlefield of their own bodies, usually without a conscious connection between what happened back then and what is going on right now inside.

The challenge is not so much learning to accept the terrible things that have happened but learning how to gain mastery over one’s internal sensations and emotions.

Sensing, naming, and identifying what is going on inside is the first step to recovery.

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My two cents: Sensing, naming, and identifying sounds like being aware.

Being aware of our inner world as we let the storyline fade is our goal.

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Dissociation is the essence of trauma.

Pixabay; geralt

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The Body Keeps the Score;

The overwhelming experience is split off and fragmented, so that the emotions, sounds, images, thoughts, and physical sensations related to the trauma take on a life of their own.

The sensory fragments of memory intrude into the present, where they are literally relived.

As long as the trauma is not resolved, the stress hormones that the body secretes to protect itself keep circulating, and the defensive movements and emotional responses keep getting replayed.

Unlike Stan, however, many people may not be aware of the connection between their “crazy” feelings and reactions and the traumatic events that are being replayed.

They have no idea why they respond to some minor irritation as if they were about to be annihilated.

Flashbacks and reliving are in some ways worse that the trauma itself.

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