Posts Tagged ‘Pain’

Recovering From A Polarized Freeze Response

Pixabay: geralt

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“Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving”

Recovery for freeze types involves three key challenges. First, their positive relational experiences are few if any. They are therefore extremely reluctant to enter into the type of intimate relationship that can be transformative.

They are even less likely to seek the aid of therapy. Moreover, those who manage to overcome this reluctance often spook easily and quickly terminate.

Second, freeze types have two commonalities with fight types. They are less motivated to try to understand the effects of their childhood traumatization. Many are unaware that they have a troublesome inner critic or that they are in emotional pain.

Furthermore, they tend to project the perfectionistic demands of the critic onto others rather than onto themselves. This survival mechanism helped them as children to use the imperfections of others as justification for isolation. In the past, isolation was smart, safety-seeking behavior.

Third, even more than workaholic flight types, freeze types are in denial about the life narrowing consequences of their singular adaptation. Some freeze types that I have worked with seem to have significant periods of contentment with their isolation.

I think they may be able to self-medicate by releasing the internal opioids that the animal brain is programmed to release when danger is so great that death seems imminent.

Internal opioid release is more accessible to freeze types because the freeze response has its own continuum that culminates with the collapse response. The collapse response is an extreme abandonment of consciousness.

It appears to be an out-of-body experience that is the ultimate dissociation. It can sometimes be seen in prey animals that are about to be killed. I have seen nature films of small animals in the jaws of a predator that show it letting go so thoroughly that its death appears to be painless.

However, the opioid production that some freeze types have access to, only takes the survivor so far before its analgesic properties no longer function. Numbed out contentment then morphs into serious depression. This in turn can lead to addictive self-medicating with substances like alcohol, marijuana and narcotics.

Alternatively, the freeze type can gravitate toward ever escalating regimens of anti-depressants and anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs). I also suspect that some schizophrenics are extremely traumatized freeze types who dissociate so thoroughly that they cannot find their way back to reality.

Several of my freeze type respondents highly recommend a self-help book by Suzette Boon, entitled Coping with Trauma-related Dissociation. This book is filled with very helpful work sheets that are powerful tools for recovering. More than any other type, the freeze type usually requires a therapeutic relationship, because their isolation prevents them from discovering relational healing through a friendship.

That said, I know of some instances where good enough relational healing has come through pets and the safer distant type of human healing that can be found in books and online internet groups.

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A frightened little boy faces adulthood

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Being a narcissist, my father demanded total control, I do not think he meant to shame me. Shame was a by product of the constant criticism, his way of making me a great baseball player.

My father had a dream, having to get married because of a pregnancy at 17; my mom was 16, robbed him of his dream.

He would live his dream through me, he would take all the credit and I would be criticized with every imperfect move he deemed unacceptable.

Even healed, life is much different for a severely abused little boy.

I live a quiet life, I try to give and have plenty of gratitude for myself and others.

Being happy go lucky, knowing everything will turn out all right, I will never know the feeling.

Life is a struggle. This is my challenge, I accept and do my best.

Surviving my father, then healing, uncovered incredible skills along with the damage.

My willpower was a monster. Athletically I could push my body through pain and barriers others could not.

In sports I could defeat stronger, quicker, more athletic guys with willpower and smarts.

Psychologically, I could wear down an opponent, exploit their weaknesses and defeat them.

Unfortunately none of these conquests elevated my unworthy “Ego” or soothed my damaged inner child.

Some of us desire power, money, or status, my father gave me a goal of baseball stardom. He wanted his son to be the best baseball player ever to live. I was more unnatural than natural.

My physical traits were average at best, speed, oh I was slow of foot. I was average size and strength, a middle of the pack kid with a violent possessed narcissistic father.

I felt like a failure at 35. I had graduated college with a BS in chemistry, played seven years professional baseball and now enjoyed success in private life.

None of that dinted my unworthy soul.

Trophies, hall of fame awards were but momentary distractions, trauma ruled my world.

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Does your life with Chronic Pain feel like this?

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My chronic pain was like the wind, invisible, powerful and relentless at times.

How was I going to battle such a ghost. I named my pain Mr P. after the old Happy Days show, Mr. C.

Mr. P. Was my nemesis when I hiked. Mr. P. wanted to stop my legs from moving, from confronting my fear, from taking control of my mind back.

My mindset was centered around my greatest strength, my willpower, determination. Always incorporate your strengths as part of your solutions.

My mindset as usual, a jock accepts the challenge before him/her. No way was Pain going stop my legs from moving!

My exercise routine became an emotional battle between pain and my will.

In a way it was exhilarating. I convinced myself not many humans could hike in such pain day after day.

We jocks always imagined being at bat with the bases loaded, two outs bottom of ninth, game seven of World Series. This was my chronic pain version.

Visualization is powerful. I would imagine myself in “The Last of the Mohicans” running with Hawkeye, running for our life.

Music gave me a beat that I could synchronize my legs with. My legs would move to a beat when they were exhausted, ready to quit.

Chronic pain became a friend. Adversity makes us stronger.

Chronic pain strengthened my meditation practice. I truly learned how to focus and dissipate my pain level.

Pain constricted, became much more bearable, then faded as months passed. Aerobic exercise and meditation were my tools.

I would set in the middle of my pain with my breath, no judgments just observing.

My breath could dissipate my pain. My familiarity allowed me to sit calmly inside my pain. My pain received no energy from fear, attention or thought.

After a few years I had compartmentalzed my chronic pain.

Acute pain is a different animal.

Pain eats energy but does not touch my soul, or my enthusiasm for life.

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Limiting Pains impact

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This came up in the mindfulness group. A painful knee injury was disrupting a life.

First thing we do is use our breath to focus. We take our breath into the center of our pain. In this instance, take your breath inside that knee and hang out for twenty slow breaths.

Without judgment or bias we feel all the pain. We notice it’s strength, it’s qualities, sharp, deep, intense, burning, etc. Does the pain have a color, a shape, a temperament, or an emotional content.

Next, we concentrate on our strongest focus object. For me it is my breath using my model.

Build your intensity, follow your breath, notice how this focus has diminished the quality of the pain. Bringing intense focus elsewhere robs pain of attention, thus lessening its strength.

How we react or refuse to react to our pain impacts its power!

Ask yourself these questions.

Is my pain constant in intensity during the day or does it fluctuates?

Are there things that influence your pain, behaviors, thoughts or emotions?

Am I afraid of my pain? Do I avoid all activities because of pain.

Does pain damage me?

Does pain have emotion. Is it angry at us, punishing us, Mad at us, or is it a neurological reaction.

Pain can be a warning of future damage, if we keep up certain activities. Pain may alert me, my hamstring will suffer damage unless it is rested or given therapy.

Chronic Pain exists but does no damage until it reaches a severe intensity.

My chronic pain does no permanent damage to my being. Chronic Pain does deplete some of my energy daily but that is the extent of it.

I do not fear it or give it any attention. This post has given it more energy than it has received in days.

If you have chronic pain, your ability to limit its impact, directly relates to the quality of life.

Find a way to exercise aerobically to bring out our endorphins.

We can increase or diminish our pain with our attitude and behavior.

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Doctors eye deep brain stimulation to treat opioid addiction

 


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Associated Press:

Patient Number One is a thin man, with a scabby face and bouncy knees. His head, shaved in preparation for surgery, is wrapped in a clean, white cloth.

 

Years of drug use cost him his wife, his money and his self-respect, before landing him in this drab yellow room at a Shanghai hospital, facing the surgeon who in 72 hours will drill two small holes in his skull and feed electrodes deep into his brain.

 

The hope is that technology will extinguish his addiction, quite literally, with the flip of a switch.

 

The treatment — deep brain stimulation — has long been used for movement disorders like Parkinson’s. Now, the first clinical trial of DBS for methamphetamine addiction is being conducted at Shanghai’s Ruijin Hospital, along with parallel trials for opioid addiction. And this troubled man is the very first patient.

 


The surgery involves implanting a device that acts as a kind of pacemaker for the brain, electrically stimulating targeted areas. While Western attempts to push forward with human trials of DBS for addiction have foundered, China is emerging as a hub for this research.

 

Scientists in Europe have struggled to recruit patients for their DBS addiction studies, and complex ethical, social and scientific questions have made it hard to push forward with this kind of work in the United States, where the devices can cost $100,000 to implant.

 

China has a long, if troubled, history of brain surgery for drug addiction. Even today, China’s punitive anti-drug laws can force people into years of compulsory treatment, including “rehabilitation” through labor. It has a large patient population, government funding and ambitious medical device companies ready to pay for DBS research.

 

There are eight registered DBS clinical trials for drug addiction being conducted in the world, according to a U.S. National Institutes of Health database. Six are in China.

 

But the suffering wrought by the opioid epidemic may be changing the risk-reward calculus for doctors and regulators in the United States. Now, the experimental surgery Patient Number One is about to undergo is coming to America. In February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration greenlighted a clinical trial in West Virginia of DBS for opioid addiction.

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HUMAN EXPERIMENTS

 

Patient Number One insisted that only his surname, Yan, be published; he fears losing his job if he is identified.

 

He said doctors told him the surgery wasn’t risky. “But I still get nervous,” he said. “It’s my first time to go on the operating table.”

 

Three of Yan’s friends introduced him to meth in a hotel room shortly after the birth of his son in 2011. They told him: Just do it once, you’ve had your kid, you won’t have problems.

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PTSD picks the very, very brave soldiers, also

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“Hacksaw Ridge”

“The true story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor despite refusing to bear arms during WWII on religious grounds. Doss was drafted and ostracized by fellow soldiers for his pacifist stance but went on to earn respect and adoration for his bravery, selflessness and compassion after he risked his life — without firing a shot — in the Battle of Okinawa.”

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Over a 12 hour period, demonstrating superhuman strength and courage, he lowered 75 wounded comrades to safety. Two days later he returned to that Ridge and was wounded.

 


The movie ends with this euphoric life of grandeur, Desmond lauded and decorated with fame and glory. The real story was he suffered from crippling PTSD the rest of his life. He lived as an invalid for years, depending on his wife to take care of him. Nightmares haunted him until death.

 

 

The idea that weak soldiers get PTSD and strong ones do not, is almost abusive in nature.

 

 

This statement pisses me off and violates everything my blog and volunteering stands for.

 

There is a small percentage of people who are resistant to PTSD but that is under 5%. The rest of us are vulnerable. In battle placing a soldier at the front for extended periods increases PTSD significantly. Redeployments have also added to this epidemic of not only PTSD but suicides.

 


Soldiers with PTSD will not seek help if you strengthen that stigma of being weak causes PTSD.   This statement could not be more ignorant or uninformed.

 

Being vulnerable, accepting our weakness are part of the healing journey.
22 suicides a day is the opposite.
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Name your Chronic Pain, give him/her physical traits, then go to war

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“For many patients, what’s worse is the invisible nature of their condition.” ‘You can’t see pain, and this is a very big thing for these people,’ says Gustin.
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My two cents: I spent a year in a 15 person chronic pain group. Mostly serious spinal injury people taking on average 30 plus pills a day. Collectively, we feared our pain, we suffered without hope of a cure.

 

Opioids worked at first then faded with daily use. As time went on, it took more opioids to accomplish the same relief. Chronic Pain was winning this battle with the group.

 

I thought my pain levels placed me somewhere in the middle of the group. The only solace was being thankful I was not as bad as many in the group.

 

Eventually, I threw my pills away and named my pain. My goal was to battle my pain as the enemy. I found it near impossible to fight an invisible enemy.

 


It was like air, no form, invisible but very powerful. I named my pain Mister ”P”, like Mister Cunningham (Mister “C”) on Happy Days.

 


Most people in the pain group feared their pain, described it as powerful. We were all victims I concluded after a couple of months. I refused to be a victim and rebelled against the group.

 


I did the opposite, I cussed Mr “P” and belittled him during my workouts. Being a former professional baseball player, I used my strengths to fight this demon.

 

 

I walked, bringing Mr “P” out to play. Mr “P” would get aggravated, fire off violently, trying to get me to stop. The battle had commenced.

 

 

My body would rage with my chronic pain as I continued to walk, focused on my pain and my legs. Mr. “P” wanted to stop my legs from moving.


My whole being resisted these impulses.


With the help of some music with a steady beat, heard through small headphones, my legs would not give in. I walked another 15 minutes everyday.

 

After a couple of weeks of this my pain started to compress. Later, I would find out that pain is read two places in the brain. The pain itself and another area which is a coloring agent.


In this part of the brain,  pain can grow or compress and diminish.

 

As my pain diminished, my relationship with pain changed. I did not fear it or think about it anymore.

 

What once controlled my life, became more of an inconvenience, a body function to be managed.

 

Chronic pain is different and can be diminished with work and attitude.
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