Posts Tagged ‘Happy’

Focus has helped me heal the most

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Think of things in your life that demand focus.

How would you describe your ability to focus?

For me, hitting a baseball at a professional level with 25,000 screaming fans tops my list.

This skill lay dormant for decades until PTSD erupted.

When therapy after therapy had little impact, a hybrid therapy, Acceptance and Commitment using meditation entered my life.

Now that external focus I had built, the ability to hit a round object with a round bat in milliseconds, needed to be turned inward.

All my friends laughed, a Type a driver, an anxious, hyped up jock was going to sit quiet and meditate.

Yes, it was awkward for a while, then my focus got stronger, thoughts faded and life changed.

Our ability to focus when our trauma thoughts and emotions visit us is key to surviving.

I could not let go, release my fears and abuse without the ability to focus and stay present.

It is the core of integrating trauma, healing for me.

It is the safe haven I can visit anytime, anywhere.

It seems mundane and powerless.

I have found the opposite.

When I can focus, nature comes alive, I see beauty and perfection and opportunity.

We know all to well how to feel abuse, anxiety, fear and panic.

How do you handle your intrusive thoughts and emotions?

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Hyperarousal Signs of PTSD

From https://blackbearrehab.com/mental-health/ptsd/signs-and-symptoms-of-ptsd/

“Some signs of post-traumatic stress disorder have to do with the brain and body’s hyperarousal in the wake of a traumatic threat.

Because the brain interprets the traumatic event as a present danger, natural fight-or-flight reactions become engaged – and sometimes prolonged during re-experiencing of the event.

In combination with general hypervigilance that so often accompanies PTSD, these signs of hyperarousal can amount to an exhausting and stressful experience for the survivor.

Insomnia is one PTSD symptom that is associated with hyperarousal. Many survivors with PTSD have significant difficulty falling asleep and staying in a deep sleep throughout the night.

Due to persistent fears, some individuals with PTSD also sleep with the lights on, making it difficult to obtain a restful, REM-level of sleep.

Irritability is another symptom of hyperarousal, where survivors become prone to angry outbursts over slight issues.

This may impact relationships and job performance. Many survivors also experience short-term memory difficulties, making focus, expression, and cognition a struggle.

Others experience constant hypervigilance, seeking to interpret virtually any slight physical or psychological cue and assess the possibilities of further danger.

Finally, many survivors experience a strong “startle response,” which causes the person to suddenly panic and even run, shake, or scream when unexpected sensory input occurs, such as unwelcomed touch, loud noises, or unexpected visual events.”

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PTSD stats

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From Recovery Village

PTSD treatment statistics

Psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two can treat PTSD. There are multiple types of psychotherapies used to treat PTSD; however, trauma-focused psychotherapies with a mental healthcare professional are the most recommended. This type of treatment helps people process their experiences by focusing on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning. 

Studies have demonstrated that up to 46% of people with PTSD show improvement within the first six weeks of psychotherapy. Antidepressants are also a treatment option to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, including anxiety, with studies showing up to 62% of people receiving medication for PTSD show improvement. (American Family Physician, 2003)

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My two cents: 46% improve? What kind of stat is that. Hell I improved and suffered for decades.

I improved over a five year period of daily work. This stat was taken after six weeks of therapy.

This study is worthless, no one with serious PTSD heals in six weeks.

Our Psychological cabal does not have stats about healing, the duration it takes to heal or what therapy works best.

Each therapist you visit is a special fiefdom of their schooling and beliefs.

Each therapist will have different skills and different philosophies on healing.

Took me six months to understand PTSD and its symptoms.

In my experience a combination of therapy, medication and our own daily work heals the best, fastest.

Depends on the therapy and therapist you choose plus how hard you work and what skills you develop.

Healing is possible but not easy or quick.

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“My damage was internal, unseen. I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”

Chanel Miller, left, has written a memoir about dealing with the Brock Turner, right, sexual assault case. 

CBS News/Getty.

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On June 2, 2016, these words were spoken by a 23-year-old woman in a California courtroom.

She was addressing Brock Turner, a Stanford University student who was facing sentencing after being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault. The night of the attack, Turner—then nineteen and a member of Stanford’s swim team—had been chased down and apprehended by two international graduate students.

They’d witnessed Turner accosting a half-naked, unconscious woman outside of a party on campus—the same woman now standing before him in court.

“I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water,” the woman continued, relaying her experience in emergency care, “and decided I don’t want my body anymore.

I was terrified of it . . . I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.”

Unbeknown to Turner, the statement being read to him would be seen over 14 million times online in the following week. It would also be read, live and uninterrupted for 25 minutes, on CNN.

People were shocked and disturbed as the young woman—who remains unidentified to the public—detailed the psychological wreckage she’d endured in the aftermath of the assault: relentless anxiety, overwhelming shame, and chronic nightmares of being assaulted and unable to wake up.

Equally appalling to many was the lenient sentence Turner received: six months in a county jail instead of a potential 14 years in state prison.

The judge presiding over the case, himself a Stanford graduate, feared that a longer jail term would have a “severe impact” on Turner and negatively affect his Olympic aspirations—a topic frequently mentioned at trial.

In a character-witness letter to the court, Turner’s father wrote that Brock was being harshly punished for “20 minutes of action” and “had never been violent to anyone,” including the night of the assault.

The day after the verdict, I found myself at a café watching my closest friend read the victim’s statement.

It was haunting to witness her absorb the words. This was a friend who’d taught me about sexism—who’d raised my awareness about the social norms that objectified her as a woman, and shielded men like Turner in court.

It was also someone I loved.

Watching her eyes fill with tears, I felt a mix of anger and helplessness.

Virtually all the women in my life—my friend included—had been the victim of sexual violence.

She viscerally understood the agitation, flashbacks, and isolation that Turner’s victim had described.

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Meditation is an Auger, headed directly for our trauma

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Therapists use the word integration to describe bringing a past trauma into the present moment.

How do we accomplish this task?

Meditation helped me stay present when my triggers exploded, avoidance and hypervigilance lost power.

PTSD causes many to avoid their triggers, Isolate from the perception of imminent danger.

Meditation takes a different direction.

Meditation is an auger, whatever we have stored containing fear, anxiety, abuse or betrayal is coming up.

Instead of avoiding, we sit alone, quietly focusing on the breath, observing every small sensation intently.

Meditation is an inner exploration, an auger headed directly at our PTSD, those deep dark areas in the mind we fear.

If you do not want to face your fears, give up meditating or do not start.

For me, Meditation was extremely violent at times.

Trauma left in a rage, emotional unrest and anger jolted my being.

Then it was over the next day.

After the first couple of times I relaxed and enjoyed Traumas drama leaving.

Celebrate when you kick traumas ass.

It is a good day.

People I have mentored have some common traits.

They are sincere, able to take action, resilient and even the gals, remind me of warriors. If they ever feel sorry for themselves, it is a brief moment that fades quickly.

I have witnessed people facing enormous suffering and still take action.

Takes courage and daily action.

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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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If elements of the trauma are replayed again and again,

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The Body Keeps the Score:

 

If elements of the trauma are replayed again and again, the accompanying stress hormones engrave those memories ever more deeply in the mind.

 

Ordinary, day-to-day events become less and less compelling.

 

Not being able to deeply take in what is going on around them makes it impossible to feel fully alive.

 

It becomes harder to feel the joys and aggravations of ordinary life, harder to concentrate on the tasks at hand.

 

Not being fully alive in the present keeps them more firmly imprisoned in the past.

 

Triggered responses manifest in various ways. Veterans may react to the slightest cue—like hitting a bump in the road or seeing a kid playing in the street—as if they were in a war zone.

 

They startle easily and become enraged or numb.

 

Victims of childhood sexual abuse may anesthetize their sexuality and then feel intensely ashamed if they become excited by sensations or images that recall their molestation, even when those sensations are the natural pleasures associated with particular body parts.

 

If trauma survivors are forced to discuss their experiences, one person’s blood pressure may increase while another responds with the beginnings of a migraine headache.

 

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

 

Continued

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How do we impact our Window of Tolerance

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From Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness:

“This brings us to the window of tolerance—a zone that lies between the two extremes of hyper-and hypoarousal.

The window of tolerance is tied to cognitive processing.

With hyperarousal, our cognitive processing tends to be disorganized and in disarray. There’s too much stimulation, and it often becomes difficult to pay attention.

  

With hypoarousal, our cognitive processing becomes disabled. It’s hard to think clearly, and people often report feeling spacey, removed, and unable to concentrate.

This is one reason trauma survivors can have difficulty functioning in their daily lives: disorganized and disabled cognitive processing makes everyday tasks difficult, especially those that involve executive skills such as planning, decision making, and organizing daily activities.

I’ve worked with clients who, in the aftermath of a traumatic experience, felt like they’d lost their ability to manage and control their minds and lives.”

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My two cents: How can we impact our window of tolerance?

One full proof way is to engage in vigorous aerobic exercise, pushing yourself.

Go swim, hike, run, etc. The achievement and exhilaration are shared with the mind. For hyperarousal, it calms us down, for hypoarousal, it gets a stationary body moving.

The endorphins are icing on the cake for our effort.

Meditation was my main weapon. Slowing my breath, focused and empty of thought, dissipated the cortisol and adrenaline.

It is a process, a subtle daily progression away from suffering.

I practiced when I was calm, to be ready when all hell broke loose.

You can build confidence and become friends with your nervous system.

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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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Healing Pain from the Past: “The Self Compassion Skills Workbook”:

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If we imagine a 100-year-old tree, we can see that the 50-year-old tree is contained within it. We could count the rings and point to the exact place where the 50-year-old tree is present in the 100-year-old tree.

We can see that the 20-year-old tree and the 10-year-old tree are all concretely present in the 100-year-old tree. It is the same with us.

Every experience we have is recorded in the shapes of connections in the neural networks in our brains.

If a past experience is still impacting us in any way, it’s because the connections that were made during that experience are still concretely present in our brains.

Someday brain imaging technology may become so accurate that we will be able to identify the exact place where our brain stores the experience of our 5-year-old self being humiliated by an older sibling, or our 10-year-old self being bitten by a neighborhood dog.

This is why healing the past is possible. We cannot change what happened in the past, but we can change how it impacts us.

The metaphor of the rings in a tree illustrates how the past can be accessed in the present because its marks remain within us.

We can access how those experiences are stored in our brains and change them.

In fact, neuroscientists have demonstrated that the key to transforming pain from the past is to get in touch with that pain while experiencing compassion at the same time.

This triggers a process in your brain called memory reconsolidation that literally rewrites your emotional response to a past experience.

The memory isn’t erased; it is simply changed so that it doesn’t cause distress anymore.

For this type of deep transformation to occur, all we need to do is to get in touch with pain from our past as well as our compassion for ourselves—both at the same time.

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