Posts Tagged ‘Gratitude’

Living in the past with PTSD

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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.”

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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.

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Meditation is a matter not of theory

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This is a very healing action!

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“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

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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.

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Responding to a follower, how monumental is our task?

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Part of a response from a follower: “Almost all of the traumatic thoughts are hardwired to the nerves that it is almost beyond control.”

Consciously, it is almost beyond our control, our trauma is stored in the Amygdala on the right side of the brain. No access consciously to this side of our mind.

Mindfulness/Meditation reaches our right hemisphere.

This is the reason Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was combined with meditation/mindfulness.

The path to healing does not have to be a monumental struggle.

Those hard wired traumatic thoughts can be integrated, one at a time, using ten, slow, focused breaths.

I have helped people, triggered and ready to avoid, use their focus practice to integrate their trauma.

If we can stay present, focused on the breath intently, for ten breaths, our nervous system will calm.

These ten slow, focused breaths, activate our parasympathetic nervous system. Like applying the brakes at a stop light.

Cortisol dissipates in two ways, aerobic exercise and meditation.

Using this technique, our nervous system calms, our symptoms and fears start to recede.

In time our nervous system will calm and not react to these triggers.

Make friends with your nervous system and half the battle is accomplished.

When I finally had success staying present, focused when triggers exploded, life changed.

I had found something more powerful than my trauma.

With this new found power, I hunted down my triggers.

I would visit places where I was triggered, situation and people.

Now I became the hunter.

Become the hunter, master ten, focused, slow breaths.

Remember we are trying to describe an action with words, an action in a place where no words exist.

You have to sit and experience what I am describing.

It seems mundane and weak on the surface but holds our greatest power.

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We need to help others

Doug Williams: First black quarterback to win a Super bowl.

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As a white guy, a professional athlete who had many black friends, I have no idea what growing up in the black ghetto is like.

For the most part, the black professional baseball player, had escaped the ghetto, while the majority of his friends were dead, crippled or in jail. This did not impact me then, as a young athlete, like now.

The ballpark was always a safer environment than the neighborhood where they grew up. I was glad to be on the field instead of being in the stands in some cities.

I had utmost respect for their toughness, courage and ability to perform. Baseball was the first place to integrate in America.

Stereotypical judgments were so erroneous on the black athlete. It took Doug Williams to win a super bowl to squash the myth, blacks were not smart enough to play quarterback.

That was 1988! Yes 1988.

Playing ball in the south, I have witnessed outright racism towards my friends.

A few times I felt ashamed as a white man for such ignorance, fear and hate being displayed.

Seems many things have not changed since my teens.

If you meditate, empathy grows, compassion expands, suffering is not overlooked or ignored any longer.

The color of our skin causing one to hate another saddens me.

Laws can not fix that hate.

Caring for the wellbeing of the less fortunate is part of the path.

Taking action to help can be a rewarding part of our journey.

For me, being part of others healing as a mentor, overflows my chalice (mug, goblet). It is the giving, taking action, to help others lessen their load, suffering, that makes me feel happy.

Displaying hate, fear or racism is so far from being happy, so far away.

Giving, helping, caring is needed by the majority of us.

Maybe opportunity and resources are needed before more arrests.

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“Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of pleasure and reward.

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Linda Graham: “Bouncing Back”

With the release of dopamine in the brain stem we feel good, we feel alive and energized, and we want more.

Dopamine is actually partly responsible for the way we get into ruts, doing what makes us feel comfortable, getting better at what we’ve always been good at.

The neurochemical reward we get from repeating successful patterns of behavior can hold us back from trying new strategies, from discovering new ways of being and coping.

The release of dopamine can lead to addictive behaviors, too: wanting more of what made us feel good before, even if it’s not good for us.

Maybe shopping makes us feel happier, so we run up charges on our credit card until our debt is out of control, or we try to relieve our stress with too much social drinking.

Mindfulness is the key here — awareness that always involves discernment of the wholesome from the unwholesome and the effect of our choices on our resilience.

Dopamine operates on the basis of expectation.

When the brain experiences what it expects to experience — when we turn on the kitchen faucet and water comes out — dopamine levels stay steady.

If something unexpected happens — we turn on the faucet and no water comes out — the expectation is disrupted.

The disruption switches off the dopamine and generates a slight unease in the body.

A mistake has been detected.

The brain directs us to stop moving forward until we know things are okay.”

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Erasing Shame: Self-Compassion for the Past .

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“The Self Compassion Skills Workbook”:

“We all carry around pain from the past within ourselves.

Some call it emotional baggage or unresolved issues.

My teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, calls it the seeds of suffering that have been planted in the garden of our minds.

In my experience, self-compassion can be a tremendously powerful practice for healing pain from the past so that it will no longer burden us in the present.”

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My two cents: My shame from childhood is called Complex PTSD.

My seeds of suffering have been faced during meditation, integrated to current time.

Now, healed or greatly improved, I do not think about my trauma.

It is like my chronic pain, it gets no energy, no attention, none!

It is a moment to moment awareness of my mind, guarding against ruminating in my past.

After a while practice becomes habit, thoughts fade and only visit with external stimulus.

Pay attention, refuse to grasp trauma thoughts.

Breathe, observe, focus and let the noise go.

We need to learn to be totally present, without thought for short periods of time.

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In America all kids should have Opportunity

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In the so-called greatest country in the world, The United States, all children should have opportunity. My opinion.

Birth is the ultimate lottery of life.

If birth has dealt you abusive parents, maybe no parents, a dark skin tone or abstract poverty, suffering ensues.

In America, every kid should have opportunity.

Opportunity consists of security, shelter, food, support, equal schools and teachers.

Mindfulness (happiness) is not about accumulating wealth and isolating from the undesirables, it is about giving to others in need.

To see kids go hungry, to suffer in abject poverty and crime, tears at my soul now.

If we truly cared, protests would not be needed.

Our energy could be used to help our kids.

Thoughts?

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Imagine no Racism!

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Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”
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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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Does wanting to be Happy take daily work, action?

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Ask anyone, Do you want to be happy. Of course. the overwhelming response will be an enthusiastic yes.

Next ask, What does happiness look like to you? That answer will be incorrect 95% of the time. True happiness is very elusive, hidden to us.

What are the physical and mental actions you take everyday to be happy?

Not many actions taken, the usual response.

Remember, one definition of happiness is being in harmony with our inner nature.

If I want to be in better shape, a plan is developed.

The way I eat changes, daily exercise routines are formulated.

I may research, inform myself better, raising my chances at success.

Matthew Ricard in “Happiness” says our goal in life is to be “Happy”.

I wholeheartedly endorse this view.

Happiness has nothing to do with chasing pleasure, or getting hooked on dopamine.

If happiness is harmony with our inner nature, what actions help me with my inner nature?

Affirmations, meditating, practicing awareness, entering a mundane task, letting negativity go, etc., are a few actions available.

Happiness is surrounded by gratitude, giving and humility!

Just wanting to be happy does not work.

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