Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Traumatic Stress Disorder Fact Sheet

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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.

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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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Trauma Victims deal with sensations in the body

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“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

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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.

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A trauma memory, my worst, surfaces after 50 years!

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Trauma feels dangerous when it explodes.

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The last two posts have detailed how fear and shame add strength and confusion to our symptoms.

To heal, we must face these past traumas that have ruined our life.

For me, it was an entire childhood raised in violence and criticism.

My abuse occurred before my brain developed.

My abuse was intertwined with the development of the mind.

We heal by observing our trauma when it explodes or the intrusive thoughts start rolling.

Integration happens when we stay present, accepting and then surrendering to what terrifies us.

I thought mine was over but an incident burning beneath my childhood resurfaced.

When trauma surfaces, it arrives at the age it occurred.

This happened when I was 19, in college.

The intensity and rage connected to this memory depresses me.

This is unresolved and stronger than my childhood trauma.

My traumatized 19 year old needs comforted and the ability to feel self worth return.

He needs to know it is long over and it is safe now.

The shame connected to this trauma destroyed my ability to trust for 50 years.

I have found the source of the betrayal, always running well hidden below what I thought was the worst culprit, my childhood.

Hard to separate my 19 year old ego from present day 68 year old Marty.

Our trauma fears resemble our greatest terror we can imagine.

Now, my fight or flight mechanism stays calm, saving me untold suffering.

What is left are the intense shameful emotions, thoughts, judgments and the desire for revenge.

That is the 19 year old who is stuck, suffering all this time.

It is a burden I hid so deep, it has stayed buried 50 years.

Our work is never done.

This is not an easy life.

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

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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.”

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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.

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Value and loss or lost in thought.

Thank you Dar for this pic

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Scarcity seems to give value to things. Gold, gems and jewels are rare, valued with exorbitant price tags.

Emotionally, approval, status, power and control are highly prized possessions.

Not really possessions, however coveted on equal terms.

After basic needs, shelter, safety, sustenance and a little attachment, what is most valuable to you?

Kids, family, a mate, or BFF would be many first choices.

After those, what brings us closer to being happy, content or equanimous?

The space between my ears is the most important, most valuable possession for me.

Whatever I let percolate in this space decides my attitude, my personality, my life.

My mind has been filled with intrusive thoughts from PTSD, which brought enormous suffering.

Confusion, worry, doubt and fear link up with thought to make a misery soup for dinner.

During this pandemic, thoughts of being bored, unthinkable to imagine a meditator to be depressed, entered my head.

My next decision decides whether suffering or freedom rules. We do not decide which thoughts arrive but we do choose to engage or stay present.

My mind focused, empty of thought, observing life without judgment, experiences joy, freedom.

That is a calm, content, deep feeling of wonderment some days, mundane joy on other days.

My bad memories, childhood abuse and all the loss disappears when I let my mind empty out all its thoughts.

Life has opportunity if I let these distractions go.

Worry and doubt are judgments, negative future erroneous predictions.

Living in the moment eliminates many, many, many issues.

Remember our attention, that is where we aim it, is the most power we possess.

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Attention is the ⛽️ fuel!

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With all the humility I can muster, I am an expert on PTSD. This was never my intent, a byproduct acquired fighting for my life, a cure, a way out.

To lend more credibility to this claim, my experience is not limited to books or knowledge, I climbed out of that dark whole in real life.

First, we have to face our trauma, stay present when our triggers erupt. Avoidance and denial cloak our trauma as a Darth Vader like character.

It takes an inner strength to stay present, focused, when trauma explodes, when imminent danger appears. Know this fear is a mirage, a bluff , however the cortisol and adrenaline are real.

Second, we starve trauma. No attention, no thought. A Simple, specific, concrete goal, that is important.

Action is needed. Practice with passion, intensity, brings results so much faster. Blend in the courage this takes and improving is on the fast track.

If you do the work, expect to improve.

We have numerous tools to assist us. Substitute our affirmation (repeat out loud), a physical action, tapping each finger to your thumb while saying release, release, release, release.

I also bring intense awareness to what I see, hear, smell, feel and sense around me.

For me, intense focus on my breath has become habit. Easy to let thoughts fade when I focus on my breath, slowing the pace, elongating my exhales.

Thoughts rarely survive ten breaths.

This tool is available anytime, anywhere.

We have to make starving trauma (thoughts) a well practiced habit.

Simplify your plan for healing, improving.

Make starving your PTSD the goal.

Practice when things are calm.

When all hell breaks lose, you will be ready.

How many ways will you develop to starve PTSD?

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My relationship with my mind

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For sufferers of PTSD, the mind becomes an adversary. Its behavior drastically changes.

Out of my conscious influence, imminent danger proliferates, igniting my defense system, the fight or flight mechanism.

Fear dominated my life.

Symptoms complicate and confuse us. We avoid, deal with flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and memories. We are hyper vigilant, on the look out for emotional triggers.

Now, my relationship with my mind has changed.

I made friends with my nervous system. Staying focused and present when my fight or flight mechanism fired, exposed the mirage of trauma.

My nervous system calmed.

Next the thoughts and patterns were an issue.

The solution was quite simple.

I watch my thoughts now.

Unworthy or negative thoughts fade.

If I choose to give attention to any thought, it will be constructive or at least interesting.

My mind has changed its habits.

I have learned to keep my mind focused in this moment.

I have found that, this moment is all that exists, whether it is mundane, exhilarating or scary.

I have only experienced happiness in the present moment.

I have worried and doubted in the present moment, but it was about the past or a prediction.

You improve by not thinking, not ruminating!

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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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Where are the peacemakers in our midst?

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We are on this journey together, in harmony, granted a short period of time on this planet.

We all die, you can be pharaoh, build a pyramid for the afterlife, but these possessions stay on earth.

All those possessions we have attained have no impact after we die. You may have a giant headstone, but that is to impress the living, who will be dead soon enough.

Our goal of being happy, is not a life of chasing pleasure or avoiding the unpleasant.

Happy people are givers with a highly developed gratitude practice, people who are kind and caring of others.

In this time of turmoil, where violence, hate and fear dominate our country, how do we heal and live a worthwhile life?

Politics are so divisive, journalists have taken sides as media becomes as biased as democrats and republicans.

One side hates the other side, believing they are evil.

No one wins in a society like this, especially the needy.

Where are the peacemakers in our midst?

Do no harm has changed to, do the most harm possible, eviscerate your enemy.

Disrespect and intolerance are the norm these days.

How do we change our present condition?

Thoughts?

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