Posts Tagged ‘healing’

My journeys (PTSD) current state of mind (Healing)

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Awkward and uncomfortable is how I would describe my PTSD now.

It took all my effort and determination to heal the first time. My childhood trauma resisted many different therapies and holistic cures.

Our path is not very well illuminated, hard to tell the proper avenue to choose or the right direction to proceed. PTSD has a confusing impact, a time distorting component and horrifying panic attacks.

When I finally healed, my life was trigger free, finally flowing with an ease. I thought healing was permanent but a new blood pressure medicine drained my energy and fired my nervous system up.

My PTSD symptoms returned. Things had changed, the intense fear and firing of my flight or fight mechanism did not happen. Meditation had enabled me to become friends with my fight or flight mechanism, I did not fear it going off.

In fact I learned to use the energy that surrounds our defense mechanism firing, while hiking.

Instead of terror and fear, I experienced uncomfortable and awkward.

Now, my symptoms will appear every so often, I am not afraid of them anymore. They do impact my life but I accept this as my cross to bear.

What has changed is my ability to focus and let go, the wisdom to discount traumas erroneous barrage of thoughts and judgments.

I can exist in a defense mode, letting the noise be released, making no decisions, having no opion that is reinforced until things settle down.

I have learned to let go of thought and read my senses, see and hear what is in front of me. It is soothing to step back and realize this PTSD is a mirage.

My triggers are still an issue at times but the issue has a much less intimidating consequence.

Trusting that being empty of thought and aware of this immediate moment, is my default position.

My tools are simple, concrete and immediate.

My tools are not complex or voluminous but gain power through repetition and application.

PTSD is not as scary when the fight or flight mechanism has become your friend.

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Looking back at my journey, some thoughts!

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Years ago “Exposure Therapy” as it was called, brought extreme anxiety to my being. Say your PTSD triggers manifested in fear of being in closed spaces, or in crowded public areas.

Exposure Therapy takes you into these trigger situations. We would go into an enclosed space or enter a crowded gathering. I languished when this therapy was tried on me.

It made me worse, my fear and anxiety levels spiked, my fight or flight mechanism fired 10 times a day.

In due time, a solution appeared, a safe, secure place for exposure therapy.

Meditation provided this safe space to use “Exposure Therapy”.

I could face my fear and anxiety with intense focus and letting go. It was not easy.

I did not walk into a trigger solution as a cocky, bring it on individual, it was more a tip toeing through my mind field. It still felt like danger was there.

Confidence grew with more and more exposure. Becoming intimately familiar with my fears and anxiety made them less fearful, less powerful over time.

My fears lost power gradually. As time passed I was able to physically face my triggers better and better.

What I realized was, to heal it took being humble, accepting, and vulnerable.

It is not a chest pumping experience, rather a humbling journey of exploration and healing.

If you heal you will know more about the real you.

The path to healing and happiness are the same road.

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“Ego” and Awareness


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Awareness does not involve our “Ego”.


Our “Ego” is never equal to another “Ego” and craves approval. That means criticism is avoided, denied or excused away.

 

Awareness through the “Ego’s” vision is very biased and highly inaccurate.

 

Awareness arrives when we go below the “Ego”, below all thought and emotion.
It happens when we get quiet, focus, and observe.

 

Awareness enables observation, seeing without judging.

 

This is our first step towards healing or happiness.


Our memories can be described as incomplete and inaccurate.


Memory, well trauma memory is stored in brief packets. We fill  the spaces in between.  These memories are collected when our fight or flight mechanism has hampered judgment.  

 

Survival from an imminent threat shuts down parts of the mind and stores this memory in a different part of the brain, the right amygdala.

 

In criminal trials eye witness has proved to be inaccurate unless you know the person.  Watch an old movie you viewed five years ago. See how memory is different from that movie.


Be aware of the prejudice, the childish “Ego” holds tightly.

 

 

Free yourself from the bias, see life clearly, become aware.
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Choosing our Purpose


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Life seems easier when we have a purpose, a direction.


I lost sight of my purpose when PTSD exploded. Purpose was replaced with survival, a desire to withstand my suffering.


To have a chance at happiness (wellbeing), doubt, worry, fear, anxiety, depression, etc. can not dominant our existence.

 

Next our purpose decides direction. If our purpose is to be wealthy and powerful, happiness may not be attainable.

 

Acceptance, giving and gratitude seem to be in the midst of wellbeing.

 

How could Mother Teresa’s life been that rewarding?

 

It looks like total sacrifice for the throw aways of society.


She lacks the pleasures we Americans think make us happy. She surrounds herself with lepers in need. Looks like back-breaking service without financial reward or power.

 

How could a life surrounded by disease, suffering and death been so rewarding.

 

If I were to guess, I would say she is happier than me or you.
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Surrender: a great tool for healing, wellbeing (Happiness)

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Healing was incremental for me, each plateau reached through concerted action over months. Nothing came easy or quick.


Complex PTSD from a childhood does not heal miraculously, quickly or easily. The mind was not fully developed when trauma entered its world. Hard to tell what is normal and what is the aftermath of abuse.


Aerobic exercise, therapy, reading, meditating, practicing acceptance, applying mindfulness and persistence each brought benefits for me. Sometimes all hope seemed lost but something inside refused to give up.


This trait is very important. Lots of setbacks, even perceived losses on this journey. That inner guide can be our savior in our low moments.


Meditating and mindfulness carved out a small secure space for me to survive. This space grew incrementally as I healed.


It was like climbing a ladder, each successive rung revealed more of the horizon, more of the path.


Acceptance was difficult, releasing the shame and guilt reached a sticking point. My fear, worry and confusion kept me paralyzed for months.


I still had resistance, actually I was terrified, enforced with cortisol by my fight or flight mechanism exploding. The drugs are real, the storyline is the mirage.


Being vulnerable, that is surrendering completely in the face of my trauma, broke the traffic jam. It was scary not to resist, to be so vulnerable, so defenseless.


With arms outstretched, totally open, I pictured my heart as a butterfly net.


I had found the next step, being vulnerable, surrendering to my fears.

 

This exposed my fears so I could observe them.


Try surrendering the next time you meditate.
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PTSD is not an all-powerful disorder, something to fear and avoid.

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PTSD is finite and has weaknesses. Glaring weaknesses that I found while sitting quietly observing trauma with intense focus.

 

PTSD has a fatal flaw, it can not play defense!

 


When PTSD is at its apex of power, our fight or flight mechanism firing violently, cortisol and adrenaline dumped into our bloodstream, it is also at its weakest!

 


I explored my trauma while meditating and found no damage after a trigger exploded. When my nervous system slowly calmed down, I was fine. Yes the chemicals were real, the feeling of real fear was intense but their was no damage to my being.

 

 


This built my confidence each time, finally having the courage to stay present with the body sensations, intently focused on my breath.

 


PTSD was a past tense bluff, a mirage of real danger. My father, my abuser was long deceased, so he was not going to appear and damage me.

 


Take away the chemicals being dumped along with all the physical changes preparing us for a lethal threat and all that exists are our stored thoughts and fears, nothing real.

 

 

We fear our own defense mechanism firing along with our trauma memory.

 

We need to react, avoid or dissociate when our fight or flight mechanism fires or it loses power.

 

Trust me, I have lived this and repeatedly stayed present as my C-PTSD erupted violently. Each time we stay present PTSD loses power.

 

Examine your triggers, follow them back to the source, memories of past terror, thoughts are all that exists, nothing more.

 

Takes practice while things are calm to be able to stay present when PTSD fires violently.

 

Start today with 15 minutes of mindfulness practice.
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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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