Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’


In this moment, right now, I surround myself with kindness.


If we must have our minds filled with thoughts, make them kindness thoughts.


Substitute kindness  today for all negative thoughts.


Be present, aware, free and alive.

How Trauma Makes It Harder to Suppress Unwanted Emotional Memories: Dr. Rick Nauert



New research suggests exposure to trauma makes it more difficult for the brain to suppress unwanted emotional memories. The experience of trauma appears to lead to neural and behavioral disruptions in the brain that may contribute to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


PTSD is characterized by intense reliving of the trauma that is repetitive, intrusive and incapacitating. The inability to suppress unwanted memories may be a strong contributor to the behavioral manifestation of PTSD.


Prior studies have shown that healthy individuals can actively suppress emotional memories while individuals with PTSD frequently experience unwanted memories of their traumatic experiences, even when making concentrated efforts to avoid them.


In the new study, researchers addressed the behavioral and neural effects of memory suppression among individuals with PTSD – a perspective that has been underreported in the past. Investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine memory suppression in three groups: those with PTSD; those who experienced trauma without PTSD and controls with no trauma exposure or PTSD.


Their findings, which appear in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, are meaningful as trauma-exposed participants (regardless of PTSD status) were less likely to successfully suppress memory than non-trauma-exposed controls.


“Neuroimaging data revealed that trauma-exposed individuals showed reduced activation in the right middle frontal gyrus, a critical region for memory suppression, during a memory suppression task and were less likely to successfully suppress memory compared to non-trauma exposed individuals.


These results suggest that trauma exposure is associated with neural and behavioral disruptions in memory suppression and point to the possibility that difficulty in active suppression of memories may be just one of several likely factors contributing to the development of PTSD,” explained lead author Danielle R. Sullivan, PhD, Boston University School of Medicine.


Sullivan is also affiliated with the National Center for PTSD, and VA Boston Healthcare System.

Source: Boston University School of Medicine/EurekAlert

The Ace Study: my childhood abuse places me inside this study

The psychological and medical fields are now recognizing that children exposed to trauma are significantly more likely to have physical health risk factors later in life.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, conducted through Kaiser Permanente, assessed 17,000 patients’ experiences of childhood trauma, including:

• Physical abuse

• Verbal abuse

• Sexual abuse

• Physical or emotional neglect

• Exposure to domestic violence

• Exposure to household members who were substance abusers

• Exposure to household members who were mentally ill, suicidal, or imprisoned

The study applied a score to participants for each ACE factor they had experienced.

The results of the study indicate that having one ACE factor was highly predictive of having other ACE factors.

Experiencing any one of these categories places a child at risk, but having lived through four or more ACE factors appears to be a critical mass of stress.

Felitti et al. (1998) collaborated with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to understand the degree of risk.

They concluded that adults who had been exposed to four ACE factors as children are


4 times more likely to become depressed,

7 times more likely to use substances,


and 12 times more likely to attempt suicide than adults with an ACE score of zero.

These individuals are more likely to experience social, emotional, and cognitive impairments, and are at greater risk for physical illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, and liver disease.

Essential Secrets of Psychotherapy : The Inner Child Has your adult self spent time with your inner child today?

Destructive behavior takes various forms: from subtle self-sabotage and self-defeating patterns to passive hostility to severe self-destructive symptoms, violent aggression and, sometimes, evil deeds.


Commonly, destructive behavior in adults bears the impetuous, impulsive quality of childish petulance or narcissistic temper tantrums. Or an infantile neediness, dependency, and dread of abandonment. Or an irresponsibility and angry refusal to be an adult: the “Peter Pan syndrome,” or what Jungians refer to as a puer or puella complex.


The archetypal Jungian notion of the puer aeternus (male) or (female) puella aeterna–the eternal child–provides the basis for what has come in pop psychology and self-help movements (see, for example, the writings of Dr. Eric Berne, Dr. Alice Miller, or John Bradshaw) to be known as the “inner child.” What exactly is this so-called inner child? Does it truly exist? And why should we care?


To begin with, the inner child is real. Not literally. Nor physically. But figuratively, metaphorically real. It is–like complexes in general–a psychological or phenomenological reality, and an extraordinarily powerful one at that.


Indeed, most mental disorders and destructive behavior patterns are, as Freud first intimated, more or less related to this unconscious part of ourselves. We were all once children, and still have that child dwelling within us.


But most adults are quite unaware of this. And this lack of conscious relatedness to our own inner child is precisely where so many behavioral, emotional and relationship difficulties stem from.

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Small specific things reap big benefits

In my mindfulness group, we are observing emotions, feelings and body sensations

Thoughts, anxiety, pain and fear, are the issues that face all of us in group, in one form or another.

The challenge for the week was to observe emotions each day.

They were instructed to bring a pleasant curiosity to their pain, emotions or negative thoughts each day.

I asked, if they could observe an emotion, a body sensation or a feeling?

I hoped they would pick a negative emotion, anger, jealousy, resentment, anxiety or fear.

We realize our power when our focus gobbles up anxiety or fear.

Emotions can last only a second or two if we refuse to give them attention.

This small step brings change.


We realize emotions may be fleeting, ephemeral and transparent.

We can discount negative emotions and just come back to the present moment, aware, alive and accepting.

These small accomplishments lead to massive change in our lives.

Look how much time we spend thinking, worrying, doubting, fearing, stressed out about “what if” .

“What ifs” don’t exist in this present moment, focused and aware.

Tools to improve life

For me, awareness brings a much needed scan of my body first, then my mind.

What is the condition of my body.? Lately it is tense and anxious.

With awareness, I feel the tenseness around my neck and solar plexus. My breath is shallow and choppy.  My mood anxious.

This is the opposite of wellbeing.


My thoughts follow how my body feels, I have observed many times in the past.

Relief comes when I sit quietly and focus inward.

First I slow my breath with focus, then take my breath to all the problem areas.

We observe, not judge what we sense!

Accepting my condition is next.

In this moment, right now, I am fine, relaxed and accepting of myself. I approve of me.


That may seem obvious to most but those of us abused as kids, it is a foreign idea.

It still amazes me how life shifts when we let all that noise go.


Being mindful is incredibly simple.

This simplicity brings clarity and relief.


It is free, no charge to self soothe your being.

Healing and happiness have a direction

On my journey, suffering linked up with avoidance, denial and negative judgments.


Wellbeing was a path aimed directly at my fears.


Whether it was chronic pain, PTSD, depression or fear, one path enhances suffering, the other wellbeing.


Improvement came when I found an exquisite tool, safe, secure, private and powerful, mindfulness.


In a quiet setting, slowing my breath, strengthening my focus, allowed me to explore my fears and my inner world.


Wisdom arrived telling me to evaluate my strengths and adapt my tools to incorporate them.

I realized the need to win or be successful was not the road to wellbeing. My father demanded perfection so winning meant everything to him.

Being criticized and beat constantly as a child developed an enormous need for approval.


This need consumed my behavior but bought no satisfaction, no peace of mind and no secure feelings.


Approval is very fickle, external and out of our control.


One day you may bask in it, the next it can morph into criticism.

Took a while to discover wellbeing was an internal way of living, being.

I needed a sense of acceptance and approval of myself to challenge my fears and disorders.

Life is still hard and issues arrive even after facing my fears.

The difference is enormous.

I am not a victim, not helpless or hopeless, I am perfect as my true self and worthy of happiness.

Never give up, never give in.

Fight for your wellbeing!

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