Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

PTSD picks the very, very brave soldiers, also

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“Hacksaw Ridge”

“The true story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor despite refusing to bear arms during WWII on religious grounds. Doss was drafted and ostracized by fellow soldiers for his pacifist stance but went on to earn respect and adoration for his bravery, selflessness and compassion after he risked his life — without firing a shot — in the Battle of Okinawa.”

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Over a 12 hour period, demonstrating superhuman strength and courage, he lowered 75 wounded comrades to safety. Two days later he returned to that Ridge and was wounded.

 


The movie ends with this euphoric life of grandeur, Desmond lauded and decorated with fame and glory. The real story was he suffered from crippling PTSD the rest of his life. He lived as an invalid for years, depending on his wife to take care of him. Nightmares haunted him until death.

 

 

The idea that weak soldiers get PTSD and strong ones do not, is almost abusive in nature.

 

 

This statement pisses me off and violates everything my blog and volunteering stands for.

 

There is a small percentage of people who are resistant to PTSD but that is under 5%. The rest of us are vulnerable. In battle placing a soldier at the front for extended periods increases PTSD significantly. Redeployments have also added to this epidemic of not only PTSD but suicides.

 


Soldiers with PTSD will not seek help if you strengthen that stigma of being weak causes PTSD.   This statement could not be more ignorant or uninformed.

 

Being vulnerable, accepting our weakness are part of the healing journey.
22 suicides a day is the opposite.
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Triggers part two,,2,,

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Let’s be realistic about our expectations. Our healing path will have set backs, frustrating results, intense anxiety mixed with fear.

 

Our trauma (PTSD) has access to our fight or flight mechanism. A trigger thought, a sound or smell ignites our fight or flight mechanism. We are preparing for a lethal threat from the past, but none currently exists.

 

PTSD is a mirage, a stored implicit memory of trauma. The physical changes and drugs our body secretes are real.

 

There is no real danger, just our own defense mechanism. Hopefully, this wisdom helps us resist avoiding, ruminating or freezing (shutting down).

 

In my mindfulness group, if someone is triggered, I trace five slow, intense breaths with them. Eyes open, I sit across from them, tracing the breathing track together.

 

I reassure them of their safety, using slow breaths to dissipate the cortisol and adrenaline. They are instructed to let go of the storyline and absorb the cortisol with their slow exhales.

 

It may take five or more breaths. They realize you can impact PTSD fear and anxiety.

 

It surprises them when things calm a bit. The intense fear and anxiety can be influenced.

 

PTSD loses some power each time we focus, let go and breathe deeply.

 

Our fearful thoughts and judgments soften and fade.


Each time we let the storyline go, we inch closer to wellbeing.

 


This is when PTSD is at its strongest, triggering the fight or flight mechanism. We fear triggers so much we avoid people and situations that ignite our trauma.

 


This is also the time when PTSD is at its most vulnerable.

 

If you can entertain the thought that PTSD is a bluff, that no real power or danger is present, healing is possible.

 


If we can stay present, focused, PTSD loses power.

 

 

You will discover no real danger exists inside our defense mechanism.

 

 

With practice we can learn to accept the anxious, scary mechanism as normal.

 

 

My fight or flight mechanism does not fire around my triggers anymore.

 


You can also integrate your trauma and calm your nervous system!

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My “Ego” is UPSET WITH YOU !!!!!!!

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This is part of the journey, exploring our inner world. We sit quietly, focusing on the breath, letting thoughts fade.

 

 

The “Ego” fades as our cognitive hemisphere (left side) quiets, then we enter our creative (egoless) right hemisphere.

 

 

We can observe our “Ego” from a distance, see it’s desire for approval, feel its anxiety dealing with criticism from another “Ego”.

 

 


After a while we can separate our “Ego” while we are cognitively engaged. We observe the one who thinks and judges.

 


The other day someone criticized a comment I made online about trauma. How dare them, this voice shouted from inside.

 

 

My “Ego” was insulted, angry, pissed as hell, fuming.

 

 


I took a few breaths and let go.

 


Observing from a distance, I discovered my “Ego” felt wounded and wanted revenge.

 

 

A choice had arrived. Do I follow my “Ego” and attack or do I go below the “Ego” and observe.

 

 


I smiled then laughed out loud, my “Ego” was more an appendage, like an arm or leg, not a vital organ.

 

 

Who cares if my “Ego” is pissed, not me.

 

 


I was not angry but amused, clear-headed and relaxed.

 

 


I had become familiar with my “Ego’s” patterns, desires and needs.

 

 

This male “Ego” was highly competitive, prone to action when criticized. He acted like an adolescent boy when perturbed.

 

 

Know your “Ego’s” desires, ambitions, weaknesses, and manipulative ways
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Emotions part 2, two!

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Neuroscience with the help of functional MRI’s tell us our positive, joyful emotions are located in the left prefrontal cortex.

 

 

This region lights up brightest during deep focus, as in meditation. We let thoughts fade and enter our creative, thoughtless, right hemisphere.

 

 

That means our emotions are most positive when we are not thinking.

 

 

How can that be. I always thought, the mind’s ability to think, solve problems, was the greatest, largest function of the mind. Not even close.

 

 

The mind’s creative side is enormous, maybe toward infinity. This side is the Pacific Ocean, the cognitive side, a beach ball floating in that vast ocean.

 

 


Explore your emotions today. Bring awareness to the next emotion.

 

 


What thought is connected to it. Can you think of a joyful thought. Does an emotion come attached.

 

 

Now think of someone who has wronged you. Any emotion attached to it?

 

 

Happy hunting.
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Opening up to what scares us!

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Thoughts linked to negative emotions or past traumatizing events, arouse our fear, and our fight or flight mechanism (adrenal stress response).

 

 

We have great resistance facing these fears. In fact human nature chases pleasure and avoids the awkward.

 

 

These fears bring anxiety, triggers, flashbacks, hypervigilance, nightmares, memory loss, mental confusion, and panic.

 

 

What is the solution?

 

 

Surrender.

 

 

We visualize our heart as a butterfly net, catching that scary thought, feeling only the body sensation. Absorb what our body has to teach us without thought. We observe our inner worlds reaction.

 

 

Our inner world can be a friend, our nervous system a calming companion.

 


Surrendering like this is safe. We are focused on the breath until thoughts fade.

 

 

As the scary memory enters our focus, we catch this fear, surrender to it, expose our open heart to understand it.

 

 

What we resist, persists. Surrender to your fears with an open heart not a confused mind.
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Buddhism and Western medicine: a good read

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Author:

Alex Lickerman, MD, is a physician and former director of primary care at one of the world’s most prestigious universities, the University of Chicago. He is also a practicing Nichiren Buddhist and leader in the Nichiren Buddhist lay organization, the Soka Gakkai International, USA (SGI-USA).

 

Buddhism and Western medicine would seem an incongruous mixture, but in the hands of Alex Lickerman they meld seamlessly into a recipe for overcoming life’s hardships—indeed, for turning them into advantages. An accomplished physician, Lickerman has no truck for the supernatural, but recognizes that the tenets of Nichiren Buddhism have been honed over centuries to help alleviate life’s inevitable sufferings. The Undefeated Mind is a deeply engaging story of how Lickerman has fused modern medicine with ancient wisdom to heal his patients both physically and psychologically—lessons that apply to all of us.”
–Jerry Coyne, professor of Ecology and Evolution at University of Chicago

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Visualize your “Ego” as a ventriloquist Dummy

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Think of how our mind is constructed. One of the most complex organs ever found, capable of tremendous achievement or extreme suffering.

 

One of the parts we invent has no origin or real existence. Yes, it is the “Ego”. Search every part of your mind and an ego can not be found.

 

Yes, we invent this “Ego” for identity, I, me, mine! Identity is its purpose. Nothing more.

 

Think of your “Ego” as a ventriloquist dummy. We give that damn puppet power and life, not command of our being.

 

That dummy runs a good part of our life unfortunately.

 

The Dummy is the one who feels resentment, judges constantly, and feels unworthy. The “Ego” is never equal to another “Ego”. He/She judges itself superior or inferior to all “Ego’s” it encounters.

 

Here in lies the rub, we never feel complete when the “Ego” is in control.

 

That means happiness is impossible.

 

One day I was having a conversation with a friend and he said something upsetting. My response to him was, my “Ego” is pissed at you.

 

Finally I had isolated my “Ego’s” needs and emotion in a real encounter. I could see “I” disagreed with my “Ego”. I had a choice for the first time.

 

Just because my “Ego” was pissed meant nothing unless I agreed.

 

Our “Ego” covets total control. This leads to suffering and loss.

 

Is your dummy controlling your life?

 

The “Ego” is dormant during meditation, also the time when our happy emotions, contained in the left prefrontal cortex light up.
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