Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

Living in the past with PTSD

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From Coping with Trauma Related dissociation.

” While the part of the personality that copes with daily life is avoidant, at least one other and usually more than one other part remain stuck in traumatic memories and think, feel, and behave as though these events are still happening (at least to a degree) or about to happen again.

These parts are usually stuck in repeating behaviors that are protective during threat, even when they are not appropriate.

For example, some parts fight to protect even when you do not need such protection in the present, others want to avoid or run away even though you are safe, some freeze in fear, and others completely collapse.

These parts are often highly emotional, not very rational, limited in their thinking and perceptions, not oriented to the present time, and are overwhelmed.

They primarily live in trauma time, that is, they continue to experience the traumatic past as the resent, and hold emotions, beliefs, sensations, and so forth that are related to traumatic experiences.”

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My two cents: This was the final piece that explained what was happening to me.

It took many meditative sits to uncover what parts were stuck.

It is like living in a big rowboat with few oars not in sync or rowing the opposite direction.

These stuck parts were sabotaging my recovery.

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I have absorbed the body trauma meditating yesterday

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Yesterday, I meditated five hours total in one hour increments. A past Trauma popped up with all its emotional terror, being trapped inside my body.

Trauma is stored at the time it occurs and with the ability at that age. My 19 year old self is much different than this 68 year old self.

The power, the intensity, the sheer anger and hurt shocked me.

All my skills had not stopped this trauma from taking over for a week.

Yesterday during my meditative sets, I brought the event to the surface, then observed all the fear, shame, anger and confusion without reaction.

I learned this as titration, you bring your trauma up for a couple minutes of thought, then meditate. The goal is to settle the nervous system back to normal.

Yes, I triggered myself, so I could integrate the fear. It is the road less travelled for sure.

That’s how healing happened originally. Triggers always caused me to avoid until I realized healing goes directly through the center of our fear (trauma).

The goal is not to squash the danger, it is to do nothing, accept and surrender from a distance.

This process integrates the stored trauma from the body and amygdala.

It is a very simple process, however it takes a strong ability to focus and courage to face our fears.

As long as our trauma has these strong negative emotions to reinforce its storyline, we lose.

For a couple of days, I was a victim, experiencing the tragedy in its full power.

It takes me a while for the mind to grapple with the demon.

Today, my system has absorbed most of the stored trauma, settled closer to my normal existence. I have separation of my 19 year old ego and my 68 year old ego again.

I forgot the intensity, the confusion and the outright terror PTSD wields when aroused. It’s been five years since anything like this has happened.

What seemed overwhelming last week, has shrunk to very unpleasant.

Settling the nervous system makes PTSD much easier to handle.

Thoughts?

Writing a few post with me suffering with PTSD, was difficult sharing the last couple of days. I knew everyone would be watching to see how I would handle it.

Do I just talk the talk or walk the walk. I have an added responsibility to not feel sorry for myself or be a victim. That actually adds to my motivation to never give in, never give up.

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Hidden trauma resurfaces, opening up the deepest cut of my life

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My healing journey always followed my inner guide. I trusted this guide would bring forth trauma that needed integrated when I was ready.

Access to my inner guide needed meditation as the vehicle to enter into my subconscious world.

At times even following the inner guide PTSD was still overwhelming when it exploded.

I believed total healing was possible. For a two year period, I was free of doubt and worry, triggers never fired and intrusive thoughts had subsided.

This was a euphoric time for me. The cessation of suffering felt miraculous.

Then one day my symptoms reignited from a side effect of a prescribed blood pressure medicine.

No new trauma had surface with this event, it was all nervous system exploding. It took a while but I settled my nervous system down.

Stunned this week, a powerful and shameful trauma exploded into my consciousness.

No way did I think any incident in my life could be stronger that a whole childhood of abuse.

Hidden below my childhood, the event that emotionally killed my trust popped forward.

This event keeps presenting itself in vivid color without any input from me. It runs on its own with an emotionally charged storyline.

I am bombarded with horrible images of public betrayal when I was 19. The imagined scene is so embarrassing and demeaning, it takes my breath away.

It has haunted me this week and stole my sense of value in life.

Without my fight or flight firing, this event brings ridicule and shame in force.

Emotionally it has numbed me, I feel the hurt like I was 19 again.

There is no danger of ptsd gaining power again, however it has brought a great sadness from it’s deep grave.

My “Ego” was emotionally scarred for life from this event. My childhood gave me trust issues and this event extinguished what was left.

I did not know this was the source of my lost trust until this week. This event never entered my consciousness, never had this trauma memory see the light of day until this week.

PTSD has been much more complex, more secretive than I ever thought possible.

Hard to believe anything is below this disaster.

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Urgency, urgency, urgency

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Something I never experienced in a chiropractors or therapist office is urgency.

Many times someone would say, I have been in therapy for 17 years, feeling proud of the effort, I think.

Their mouths drop when I ask, why they never thought 17 years and no improvement was a failure.

Many believe the therapist is responsible for healing, so we keep going, waiting for them to heal us. It will never happen.

Urgency starts with taking responsibility for your healing.

I was a pro athlete, we trained in the off season to improve our weaknesses for next season. If the new season does not bring improvements, we will change our program.

We put in the work and we expect results.

No matter the path you choose, expect results.

Have the courage to change, to adapt, to add urgency.

I expect my therapist to care and want me to heal as quick as possible.

My healing had the highest level of urgency.

If yours is not, better rethink your path.

Have a purpose, feed it urgency with daily work.

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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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Petrifying sensations and emotions. From Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness

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But here are two factors that are immediately relevant to trauma-sensitive mindfulness.

The first is fear.

Trauma can make us terrified of our internal experience.

Traumatic events persist inside survivors in the form of petrifying sensations and emotions.

Understandably, survivors become afraid to feel these again.

Van der Kolk described it this way: Traumatized people . . . do not feel safe inside—their own bodies have become booby-trapped.

As a result, it is not OK to feel what you feel and know what you know, because your body has become the container of dread and horror.

The enemy who started on the outside is transformed into an inner torment. (Emerson & Hopper, 2011, p. xix)

This is one of the most haunting, visceral costs of trauma: being forced to continually cope with gut-wrenching—often terrifying—sensations that live on inside.

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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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Father’s Day not a happy day for some

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I twinge at all the hoopla, all the examples of great father son relationships in the sporting world. Touted as key to many professional athletes success, what about the rest of us.

Maybe that is why fear of failure drives so many to perform above their skill level.

Wonder if your father was your violent abuser?

I wonder what foster kids feel as the media tells you the value, the significance of this most important attachment.

Actually, I have gratitude for having a father, narcissistic and abusive but in his way he loved me.

Took me a long time to have gratitude for having a father, flawed as he was.

As the oldest male child, we become the narcissists project.

Much later in life, some of the skills learned Surviving childhood, willpower, ability to endure pain, and the strength to take action (perform) helped me heal.

My journey to heal turned into a spiritual journey, one where my struggles with PTSD were shared to help others improve.

Unless you believe in reincarnation, where we pick our parents to learn lessons of life, how do we get over childhood abuse.

For me, helping others on this path, being a mentor, has brought great joy. Maybe you would say a purpose later in life.

No matter our challenges, accepting the circumstances, then taking action to live life fully is our reprieve.

Hard not to think about your father on Father’s Day.

Turn the negative into positive action.

Contemplating suicide when I hit bottom, I rationalized my father would win.

No way would I ever let that happen.

Even if I had to suffer each day, life would run its full course.

My childhood had built a kid with great will power and strength.

Maybe feeling unworthy but willing to fight for his existence.

Happiness looks and feels different for each one of us.

Happy Father’s Day!

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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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Quickest way to improve from PTSD!

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My healing lacked direction, wasted precious time everyday. Confusion, fear and intense anxiety placed me in survival mode again and again.

Now I would approach healing entirely different. The sequence of what to address first, would be changed.

I looked for help inside and outside the box. Intuitive, holistic healers were used along with many therapies.

The one constant that I relied on was aerobic exercise. Pushing myself to near exhaustion brought exhilaration to my body and mind. This practice would stay.

Next, all effort would be invested in calming the nervous system. Stop the fight or flight mechanism from firing erroneously.

Our triggers firing give PTSD the mirage of power, potency, the ability to cause harm. That huge jolt in the solar plexus (cortisol) can freeze us, numb our bodies in terrifying fear.

This is survival mode, we need to fix this, our broken nervous system first. Yes, our adrenal stress response is out of whack, spotting danger everywhere, even in mundane situations.

Meditation/Mindfulness can be simplified, the big connotation and complexity dropped.

If I were helping someone improve from PTSD today, all effort would be directed at mastering focus on ten breaths.

Ten slow, focused breaths, where thought has faded, can calm that trigger exploding.

Ten breaths can Escort us out of survival mode, relieve the biggest fear PTSD brings us.

Avoidance, hyoervigilance, flash backs, anxiety and fear lose massive power. Symptoms weaken, PTSD loosens it’s grip when we calm down.

If our triggers fail to ignite the fight or flight mechanism, not much left to fear.

In my opinion this is the fastest way to heal and quickest way of having some peace of mind.

Ten slow, focused breaths can change your life.

Simple, specific, concrete and bulletproof.

I have done this, have helped others sit still and focus when triggered.

It is scary and having a mentor to encourage and reassure your safety are very helpful.

Can you master ten breaths?

You can practice anytime, anywhere.

What stands in your way?

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