Posts Tagged ‘Emotions’

Childhood trauma alters our brain, our behavior, our relationship with trust

https://pixabay.com/users/Free-Photos-242387/

.

.

Childhood abuse changes the development of the young mind.

Instead of normal caregiver attachments and supportive growth, an abused child has to focus on survival.

My adolescent brain feared my father, dominated my thoughts exclusively. Every action or situation throughout my childhood, I tried to not piss off my father.

While regular life was a blur, my mind focused entirely on the lethal threat my dad posed for my young, damaged ego.

When PTSD erupted at 55, my mind gave all focus to these intrusive thoughts. PTSD was more 24/7 than a trigger here and another tomorrow.

I guess it became a habit from my earliest memories.

Life seems to stop for me, trauma takes over, having only trauma thoughts in my consciousness, minute by minute.

How does PTSD enter your consciousness?

Is it there in the background, is it dormant then explodes or does it dominate your existence? Please share.

I know my friends think my total absorption into trauma is not normal.

People who have not suffered serious PTSD have no clue what terror this mental disorder causes.

How does PTSD impact your thoughts and minute by minute existence?

My childhood trauma dominated thought before it was integrated.

I knew my father well, had a whole childhood to understand his methods.

After my childhood was integrated, I thought healing was complete.

Last week a new trauma appeared hidden by my childhood trauma.

This new trauma did not involve my father and happened when I was 19.

This trauma is different than my dads abuse, involves a woman, betrayal and public humiliation in front of my peers.

Our childhood abuse renders us vulnerable to others abuse.

We have a difficult time with trust, relationships and have no idea how to pick a mate we can trust.

Love is a word we have no concept what it is.

When we are betrayed, it reinforces our childhood abuse, our perceived unworthiness. Betrayal arrives like emotional death, it destroys what little trust we could muster.

Our mates have no idea the extreme damage their behavior can cause us. Some do not care and for us a tragic selection we will pay a heavy toll.

My friends see my life and behavior through their normal childhood eyes.

They have no clue the atrocities I have endured and the fear that I live with or they would never talk or act like they do.

I have lost friends because of the harshness and insensitivity of their words. That is not past tense, I lost a dear friend this week because of their actions towards me.

They will never know how deeply they harm us.

At 68 my abuse still takes a toll.

They do damage as they condescend and belittle my PTSD.

Have you ever caused someone to get PTSD, or traumatized a mate.

Better check your behavior to your PTSD friends if you care for them.

.

.

Traumatic Stress Disorder Fact Sheet

https://pixabay.com/users/ArtisticOperations-4161274/

.

.

From Sidran Institute: Traumatic Stress Education and Advocacy

Facts at a Glance

▪ An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

▪ An estimated 5 percent of Americans—more than 13 million people—have PTSD at any given time.

▪ Approximately 8.7 percent of all adults—1 of 13 people in this country—will develop PTSD during their lifetime.

▪ About 3.6% of adults in the United States suffer from PTSD during the course of a year.

▪ An estimated 1 out of 9 women will get PTSD at some time in their lives. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.

Extreme Trauma and PTSD

▪ PTSD may develop following exposure to extreme trauma.

▪ Extreme trauma is a terrifying event or ordeal that includes actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence

▪ Exposure includes directly experienced or witnessing the trauma, learning about a close family or friend experiencing a violent or accidental event, or has experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of a traumatic event

The stress caused by trauma can affect all aspects of a person’s life including mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

My two cents: The other kind of PTSD not listed, is Complex PTSD.

Complex PTSD develops because of repeated traumas over a long period of time.

An entire childhood of abuse is more complex then a simple event.

For added harm, the mind is not develop when the abuse takes place.

.

.

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)

.

.

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.

.

.

Personal stuff about my abuse and the impact

https://pixabay.com/users/Wokandapix-614097/

.

.

Throughout our childhood we had to deal with abuse along with being crammed into dense crowds called schools for years.

Life always seemed to be going so fast, everything I did, was calculated on how my dad would react. No matter if it was unpopular with my peers, pleasing my father was the most important thing in the world.

My life depended on it. He would beat me until he got to tired wielding that specially made paddle. I feared he would kill me one day.

My childhood is a blur to me, but one image explains the situation. Once a week we would have Lima beans for dinner. I could not eat them, every Thursday I puked those Lima beans, then my dad beat me.

I think this was to let me know, he did not need a reason to hurt me.

My dad’s desires became my desires as a survival strategy. Both my parents told me what I was going to be, a professional baseball player.

Being the first born, that violent, alcohic narcissist could concentrate all his focus on me. He was 17 when I was born, ending his high school career. My mom was younger.

You could ask me at 68, what I wanted to be and no answer arrives.

My father occupied my life, took over as much as he could control.

My attachments to caregivers was abusive and dysfunctional.

Next, College was overwhelming, I did not know how to live without that tyrant in the house. Unfortunately, his abused lived inside me for decades.

I was like an animal held in a cage for years, then liberated from the physical containment but haunted by the emotional prison.

My first attachment to a girl, ended with her drunk one night, used by a group at a fraternity house.

At 19, naive, confused and vulnerable, this event changed my life. It became a public event when the guys were bragging about this on that tiny campus.

Trust never again would be unconditional.

The rest of my life, when a girlfriend or a wife would go out at night, my nervous system would fire and that hopeless, helpless feeling would bring suffering.

The need to protect myself prevented me from trust at a certain level.

Love is something I felt once, in college until it was destroyed in a humiliating way.

.

.

Living in the past with PTSD

https://pixabay.com/users/geralt-9301/

.

From Coping with Trauma Related dissociation.

” While the part of the personality that copes with daily life is avoidant, at least one other and usually more than one other part remain stuck in traumatic memories and think, feel, and behave as though these events are still happening (at least to a degree) or about to happen again.

These parts are usually stuck in repeating behaviors that are protective during threat, even when they are not appropriate.

For example, some parts fight to protect even when you do not need such protection in the present, others want to avoid or run away even though you are safe, some freeze in fear, and others completely collapse.

These parts are often highly emotional, not very rational, limited in their thinking and perceptions, not oriented to the present time, and are overwhelmed.

They primarily live in trauma time, that is, they continue to experience the traumatic past as the resent, and hold emotions, beliefs, sensations, and so forth that are related to traumatic experiences.”

.

My two cents: This was the final piece that explained what was happening to me.

It took many meditative sits to uncover what parts were stuck.

It is like living in a big rowboat with few oars not in sync or rowing the opposite direction.

These stuck parts were sabotaging my recovery.

..

5 Vagus Nerve Stimulation Exercises

vagus nerve stimulation Dr. Arielle Schwartz

.

From https://drarielleschwartz.com/natural-vagus-nerve-stimulation-dr-arielle-schwartz/#.XvjaxSUiclQ

Unless you have a surgically implanted device you actually cannot directly stimulate your vagus nerve; however, you can indirectly stimulate your vagus nerve to relieve keyed up or shut down nervous system states.

Remember, your vagus nerve passes through your belly, diaphragm, lungs, throat, inner ear, and facial muscles.

Therefore, practices that change or control the actions of these areas of the body can influence the functioning of the vagus nerve through the mind-body feedback loop. You can try these from the comfort of your living room:

  • Humming: The vagus nerve passes through by the vocal cords and the inner ear and the vibrations of humming is a free and easy way to influence your nervous system states. Simply pick your favorite tune and you’re ready to go. Or if yoga fits your lifestyle you can “OM” your way to wellbeing. Notice and enjoy the sensations in your chest, throat, and head. (Learn about Vagus Nerve Stimulation with Yoga here).

  • Conscious Breathing: The breath is one of the fastest ways to influence our nervous system states. The aim is to move the belly and diaphragm with the breath and to slow down your breathing. Vagus nerve stimulation occurs when the breath is slowed from our typical 10-14 breaths per minute to 5-7 breaths per minute. You can achieve this by counting the inhalation to 5, hold briefly, and exhale to a count of 10. You can further stimulate the vagus nerve by creating a slight constriction at the back of the throat and creating an “hhh”. Breathe like you are trying to fog a mirror to create the feeling in the throat but inhale and exhale out of the nose sound (in yoga this is called Ujjayi pranayam).

  • Valsalva Maneuver: This complicated name refers to a process of attempting to exhale against a closed airway. You can do this by keeping your mouth closed and pinching your nose while trying to breathe out. This increases the pressure inside of your chest cavity increasing vagal tone.

  • Diving Reflex: Considered a first rate vagus nerve stimulation technique, splashing cold water on your face from your lips to your scalp line stimulates the diving reflex. You can also achieve the nervous system cooling effects by placing ice cubes in a ziplock and holding the ice against your face and a brief hold of your breath. The diving reflex slows your heart rate, increases blood flow to your brain, reduces anger and relaxes your body. An additional technique that stimulates the diving reflex is to submerge your tongue in liquid. Drink and hold lukewarm water in your mouth sensing the water with your tongue.

  • Connection: Reach out for relationship. Healthy connections to others, whether this occurs in person, over the phone, or even via texts or social media in our modern world, can initiate regulation of our body and mind. Relationships can evoke the spirit of playfulness and creativity or can relax us into a trusting bond into another. Perhaps you engage in a lighthearted texting exchange with a friend. If you are in proximity with another you can try relationship expert, David Snarch’s simple, yet powerful exercise called “hugging until relaxed.” The instructions are to simply “stand on your own two feet, place your arms around your partner, focus on yourself, and to quiet yourself down, way down.”

Meditation is a matter not of theory

Pixabay:Pexel

This is a very healing action!

.

.

“Meditation is a matter not of theory but of practice, just as it does not satisfy your hunger to read a restaurant menu if you are not going to eat something from it.“

Matthew Richard

.

.

My two cents: Meditation is not an intellectual property, reading a book or taking a class helps little.

Our healing will happen internally by our own action.

This action for me was meditating and integrating.

If this does not work for you, then find an action.

As one therapist told me, if you have to limp, get out on the dance floor.

The conditions for those of us with ptsd are never going to be perfect.

Each trigger, I forced myself to stay present for one breath before I avoided, denied or froze. In time that one breath grew to two, then five and eventually ten.

By that time panic had calmed and I guess I ate the elephant a bite at a time. Small actions work.

I could of labeled those stepping stones failures instead they were valued as successes.

We need Little Successes and that happens with daily activity and direction.

.

.

Trauma Victims deal with sensations in the body

https://pixabay.com/users/jplenio-7645255/

.

.

“Trauma victims cannot recover until they become familiar with and befriend the sensations in their bodies. . . . Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.”

Bessel van der Kolk

.

.

My two cents: Trauma is stored in the mind and body, we have certain areas where our trauma manifests.

Mine is around my solar plexus.

The secret is learning to observe these sensations without judgment or reaction.

If we do not sit still with our awareness intently focused, how will we ever know our internal world (reality).

The more familiar I became with my trauma, the more I understood its mechanism.

Trauma needs fear to exist.

When my fight or flight mechanism lost power, life took a giant step towards healing.

Takes practice and courage to face our adrenal stress response, calmly.

If you are like me, looking to the past brings agony, making any comparison to others can drive us nuts and predicting the future has to much worry.

The only place that is free for me is this moment, empty of thought, empty of loss and most of traumas impact.

.

.

Petrifying sensations and emotions. From Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness

https://pixabay.com/users/geralt-9301/

.

.

But here are two factors that are immediately relevant to trauma-sensitive mindfulness.

The first is fear.

Trauma can make us terrified of our internal experience.

Traumatic events persist inside survivors in the form of petrifying sensations and emotions.

Understandably, survivors become afraid to feel these again.

Van der Kolk described it this way: Traumatized people . . . do not feel safe inside—their own bodies have become booby-trapped.

As a result, it is not OK to feel what you feel and know what you know, because your body has become the container of dread and horror.

The enemy who started on the outside is transformed into an inner torment. (Emerson & Hopper, 2011, p. xix)

This is one of the most haunting, visceral costs of trauma: being forced to continually cope with gut-wrenching—often terrifying—sensations that live on inside.

.

.

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

https://pixabay.com/users/Fotorech-5554393/

.

.

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.”

.

.

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.

.

.

%d bloggers like this: