Posts Tagged ‘MINDFULNESS’

How do we handle Trauma stored in the body.

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I found trauma stored in my body and nervous system, running up and down my spinal cord.

These stored energies carry anxiety, fear and confusion.

They feel awkward, unsettling and scary when we deny or avoid them.

How do we handle this part of PTSD?

When I meditated, I was a focused detective, feeling every small sensation intently.

I would take my breath to any agitation, unrest or full blown adrenal stress response.

Learning to let the storyline go, helped me observe the physical manifestation of my PTSD.

Exploring my inner world calmed my fear.

In the end, we seem to be afraid of our own body functions.

Our bodies reaction does not carry the scary message, it is the storyline we buy into that causes the fear and panic.

Without the storyline involved, we stand a good chance of absorbing all that unrest.

Surrendering to the fear, the body sensations, settled my nervous system.

It took practice to trust, to build the courage to surrender to my fears.

It took a curious attitude to explore my body sensations thoroughly.

Even my fight or flight mechanism became a friend.

Later I learned to fire my fight or flight and then use the energy to hike.

My fight or flight mechanism held no real danger for me after surrending to its power.

Once my fight or flight mechanism settled down and the rest of the body sensations were absorbed, PTSD had lost over half its power.

Every time I felt a body sensation during the day, I would surrender to it.

I did not heal all at once, or quickly, it was a daily chipping away at the boulder of trauma.

I healed in small daily increments.

Everyday I looked to minimize PTSD’s hold on me.

It is a process, an accumulation of daily work.

I left goals alone and placed all energy into action.

Healing will take care of itself if we do the work.

Good hunting.

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How Childhood Trauma Causes Imbalanced Growth By W. R. Cummings 4 Jul 2020

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When most of us think of childhood development, we think of babies learning to roll over, toddlers saying their first words, or kids learning to ride their bikes without training wheels. Most of us think about the big milestones but forget about the spectrum of growth that had to happen before those milestones could be reached.

Kids grow in so many different areas, the most commonly evaluated ones being physical growth, mental cognition, emotional development, social interaction, language acquisition, and motor skills. For a child to be able to speak their first word–“mama,” for example–they had to have developed up to a certain stage in several different areas. They would need physical growth for their muscles to function well enough to form a word, mental cognition to reasonably determine who “mama” is, social interaction in order to direct the word “mama” at her, and language acquisition (for obvious reasons).

There’s so much more that goes into a milestone than what we realize.

When a child goes through trauma, the various areas of growth become skewed, or unbalanced. Certain areas become overdeveloped while other areas remain underdeveloped because the trauma has stunted those areas.

One child I know personally completed a brain-mapping study last year, which let him and his family know exactly which areas of his brain are underdeveloped for his age. It also showed them about how old he was when that area of his brain stopped maturing. This young man endured a lot of trauma at the hands of his biological parents, and, as a result, has Reactive Attachment Disorder.

Just as his adoptive parents suspected, the area of his brain that controls social interactions. This means that he interacts with his peers at school, he interacts in a way that’s similar to a preschooler. This aligns with the behavior they’ve witnessed in him, but it was comforting for them to see scientifically how it all shook out. They don’t feel crazy now because they can see the facts behind why he behaves the way he does.

A foster daughter we once had experienced underdeveloped language acquisition and mental cognition (she was two years behind her peers academically, even though her IQ was typical), but she had extremely overdeveloped motor skills and social abilities. She’d spent the first ten years of her life completely unattended–walked all over the city alone at night, ate cat food from a can because she couldn’t find food, stayed at a friend’s house for weeks at a time–which had forced her to develop really quickly in certain areas.

She could climb LITERALLY anything. She could figure out a way to do almost anything she wanted to do, even if it was a bit unconventional. She could cook on the stove, knew how to hotwire a car, could babysit a newborn without assistance, and understood how to manipulate adults into giving her free stuff. She was as capable as an adult in so many ways.

However, her emotional growth had been seriously stunted early in life, and I don’t know if she’ll ever catch up. She had almost no coping skills when she felt angry, sad, or embarrassed. And her fight or flight instincts? They were ALWAYS on. She was in survival mode 100% of the time, and when that happens, your brain is unable to focus on more menial tasks like staying calm, being kind, learning to share, or asking for help. All she knew how to do was fight, run, and figure things out.

She was also so used to not being comforted by adults that it was strange for her when she did get it. For the most part, she pretended to enjoy the comforting of adults so that she could get what she wanted out of them. Her relational skills were horribly lacking because she’d never been given the foundational building blocks.

Many children who’ve experienced sexual types of trauma go through puberty at an earlier age than what they would have otherwise. That’s an OVER-development of a growth area.

The number of ways childhood trauma fractures the brain and skews growth are probably innumerable, but the more time we spend with kids who’ve been in tough places, the more we can help them sort through the challenges and gifts they’ve been left with.

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It’s not about you..

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We abused kids grow up to be abused adults. We assume responsibility for things we are not responsible for.

We lacked healthy attachments growing up, leading to codependent tendencies.

We fear and crave meaningful attachment however have no idea who to choose or why.

Approval is valued above all else.

When we attach, it is an experiment, how deeply and how intense we have no idea.

I felt the more attachments, the better chance of feeling normal.

When my latest trauma surfaced a week ago, I felt connected, responsible for another’s action.

Hearing the phrase, “it’s not about you” fell on deaf ears for a week. I am damn stubborn at times.

I suffered because I somehow took responsibility for an external act by another.

Yesterday I finally was able to detach, extricate Marty from another’s actions.

The intrusive thoughts stopped, my system calmed, immediately.

Our mind is our biggest enemy or our greatest asset.

Like a novice, I dissociated with friends the gory details.

What fires together, wires together. Where we place our attention prospers and grows, where we withhold withers and dies.

Thinking it was about me, brought suffering and increased trauma symptoms.

Detaching and letting it go, changed things immediately.

I have excellent tools, healed from childhood abuse but was blinded for a week with a new trauma exploding.

PTSD is confusing and powerful when it first explodes.

My last experience and confidence of healing again, helped me finally get a handle on it.

I felt that panic and imminent danger surrounding me again.

It feels so strong, so real, for a mirage.

Now, I have learned not to judge how I handled this situation.

Being present, in the moment is where I place my attention, again.

It’s not about you or me!

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Childhood trauma alters our brain, our behavior, our relationship with trust

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Childhood abuse changes the development of the young mind.

Instead of normal caregiver attachments and supportive growth, an abused child has to focus on survival.

My adolescent brain feared my father, dominated my thoughts exclusively. Every action or situation throughout my childhood, I tried to not piss off my father.

While regular life was a blur, my mind focused entirely on the lethal threat my dad posed for my young, damaged ego.

When PTSD erupted at 55, my mind gave all focus to these intrusive thoughts. PTSD was more 24/7 than a trigger here and another tomorrow.

I guess it became a habit from my earliest memories.

Life seems to stop for me, trauma takes over, having only trauma thoughts in my consciousness, minute by minute.

How does PTSD enter your consciousness?

Is it there in the background, is it dormant then explodes or does it dominate your existence? Please share.

I know my friends think my total absorption into trauma is not normal.

People who have not suffered serious PTSD have no clue what terror this mental disorder causes.

How does PTSD impact your thoughts and minute by minute existence?

My childhood trauma dominated thought before it was integrated.

I knew my father well, had a whole childhood to understand his methods.

After my childhood was integrated, I thought healing was complete.

Last week a new trauma appeared hidden by my childhood trauma.

This new trauma did not involve my father and happened when I was 19.

This trauma is different than my dads abuse, involves a woman, betrayal and public humiliation in front of my peers.

Our childhood abuse renders us vulnerable to others abuse.

We have a difficult time with trust, relationships and have no idea how to pick a mate we can trust.

Love is a word we have no concept what it is.

When we are betrayed, it reinforces our childhood abuse, our perceived unworthiness. Betrayal arrives like emotional death, it destroys what little trust we could muster.

Our mates have no idea the extreme damage their behavior can cause us. Some do not care and for us a tragic selection we will pay a heavy toll.

My friends see my life and behavior through their normal childhood eyes.

They have no clue the atrocities I have endured and the fear that I live with or they would never talk or act like they do.

I have lost friends because of the harshness and insensitivity of their words. That is not past tense, I lost a dear friend this week because of their actions towards me.

They will never know how deeply they harm us.

At 68 my abuse still takes a toll.

They do damage as they condescend and belittle my PTSD.

Have you ever caused someone to get PTSD, or traumatized a mate.

Better check your behavior to your PTSD friends if you care for them.

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Risk factors for PTSD

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▪ Estimated risk for developing PTSD for those who have experienced the following traumatic events:

Rape (49 percent)

▪ Severe beating or physical assault (31.9 percent)

▪ Other sexual assault (23.7 percent)

▪ Serious accident or injury, for example, car or train accident (16.8 percent)

▪ Shooting or stabbing (15.4 percent)

▪ Sudden, unexpected death of family member or friend (14.3 percent)

▪ Child’s life-threatening illness (10.4 percent)

▪ Witness to killing or serious injury (7.3 percent)

▪ Natural disaster (3.8 percent)

My two cents: Again Complex PTSD and childhood abuse are not listed.

Growing up with an abusive parent has to have a high rate of PTSD.

We have the least amount of skills to survive a first caregiver.

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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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PTSD Distorts time

Harrison Ford may have gotten on the marquee ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ but the snake wranglers helped get him in and out of the Well of Souls safely. (Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM)

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People do not understand the mechanism of trauma, it’s abilty to bring a PTSD implicit memory back to life.

Sometimes a decades old memory can explode.

It feels like it just happened, strong emotions flow from our bodies.

Our fight or flight mechanism is likely activated.

Cortisol and adrenaline are secreted, bp, respiration and heart rate spike. Blood coagulants and opioids enter our system, preparing us for a lethal threat.

Tunnel vision, loss of fine motor skills and the inability to think clearly increase our fear and anxiety.

Fight, flight or freeze are the usual choices we face in the present moment. The cortisol and adrenaline are secreted and felt in present time.

For our adrenal stress mechanism to fire, we sense imminent danger.

I have had friends laugh at me when a trigger exploded. We do not control what our PTSD erupts over.

It happens without our permission, when it decides and where.

If they only knew, how pissed off that made me.

I digress.

Cognitively, I understood my triggers were not dangerous however my nervous system thought it spotted a lethal threat.

I thought the threat was about my ego being extinguished.

Our PTSD fear resembles the scariest thing we dread. “In Raiders of the Lost Ark” it was a floor full of snakes.

Expect people to say ignorant, hurtful things at times to you. They can not fathom the degree of suffering and terror that is involved.

My sister told me to just get over it. My other brothers and sisters deny my reality entirely. Lots of dysfunctional things happening within an abusive family.

The healing path can be lonely at times with us being criticized by family and friends.

These are challenges that few realize or talk about.

On my path, I had to ignore the noise of others on top of dealing with the constant intrusive thoughts.

No way I could explain the fear and anxiety, PTSD brings to our being.

Words are useless, experiencing a nervous system turned upside down, erupting 15 times a day, can not be known with a description.

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Personal stuff about my abuse and the impact

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Throughout our childhood we had to deal with abuse along with being crammed into dense crowds called schools for years.

Life always seemed to be going so fast, everything I did, was calculated on how my dad would react. No matter if it was unpopular with my peers, pleasing my father was the most important thing in the world.

My life depended on it. He would beat me until he got to tired wielding that specially made paddle. I feared he would kill me one day.

My childhood is a blur to me, but one image explains the situation. Once a week we would have Lima beans for dinner. I could not eat them, every Thursday I puked those Lima beans, then my dad beat me.

I think this was to let me know, he did not need a reason to hurt me.

My dad’s desires became my desires as a survival strategy. Both my parents told me what I was going to be, a professional baseball player.

Being the first born, that violent, alcohic narcissist could concentrate all his focus on me. He was 17 when I was born, ending his high school career. My mom was younger.

You could ask me at 68, what I wanted to be and no answer arrives.

My father occupied my life, took over as much as he could control.

My attachments to caregivers was abusive and dysfunctional.

Next, College was overwhelming, I did not know how to live without that tyrant in the house. Unfortunately, his abused lived inside me for decades.

I was like an animal held in a cage for years, then liberated from the physical containment but haunted by the emotional prison.

My first attachment to a girl, ended with her drunk one night, used by a group at a fraternity house.

At 19, naive, confused and vulnerable, this event changed my life. It became a public event when the guys were bragging about this on that tiny campus.

Trust never again would be unconditional.

The rest of my life, when a girlfriend or a wife would go out at night, my nervous system would fire and that hopeless, helpless feeling would bring suffering.

The need to protect myself prevented me from trust at a certain level.

Love is something I felt once, in college until it was destroyed in a humiliating way.

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Adrenaline and ptsd: The body keeps The score

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Adrenaline is one of the hormones that are critical to help us fight back or flee in the face of danger.

Increased adrenaline was responsible for our participants’ dramatic rise in heart rate and blood pressure while listening to their trauma narrative.

Under normal conditions people react to a threat with a temporary increase in their stress hormones.

As soon as the threat is over, the hormones dissipate and the body returns to normal.

The stress hormones of traumatized people, in contrast, take much longer to return to baseline and spike quickly and disproportionately in response to mildly stressful stimuli.

The insidious effects of constantly elevated stress hormones include memory and attention problems, irritability, and sleep disorders.

They also contribute to many long-term health issues, depending on which body system is most vulnerable in a particular individual.

We now know that there is another possible response to threat, which our scans aren’t yet capable of measuring.

Some people simply go into denial:

Their bodies register the threat, but their conscious minds go on as if nothing has happened.

However, even though the mind may learn to ignore the messages from the emotional brain, the alarm signals don’t stop.

The emotional brain keeps working, and stress hormones keep sending signals to the muscles to tense for action or immobilize in collapse.

The physical effects on the organs go unabated until they demand notice when they are expressed as illness.

Medications, drugs and alcohol can temporarily dull or obliterate unbearable sensations and feelings.

But the body keeps score.

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Stuck Parts: Parts that Imitate who hurt you

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From Coping with Trauma Related Dissociation:

Usually their are parts of the personality that hold anger and rage that are unacceptable or very frightening to other parts.

Some may resemble people from the past who were abusing.

These parts shame, threaten, or punish other parts inside, or they may direct their anger to other people in the outside world.

Although the behavior of these parts can be quite frightening or shameful, as well as unacceptable, it is important for you to understand that these parts have good reason to exist and are representations, and thus not the same as the people who hurt you.

They originally developed to protect you by containing many distressful experiences of anger, helplessness, and sometimes guilt or shame.

Furthermore, their function often is to prevent other parts behaving in a way that, in the past, evoked fear or shame.

Over time it is important to appreciate why they exist, even though their “methods: that is, their behavior and attitudes, may not be acceptable.

Your fear and shame about me parts must be overcome in order for you to heal.

These parts like all parts of yourself, need to become part of an internal “team” that collaborate and represent you as the whole person and your own history.

And once they do so, you will be surprised at what tremendous help they will be to you.

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