Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

Mindfulness versus Ego: an oldie I like

 

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The ego grasps identity, needs approval, achievement, a sense of superiority.


Mindfulness is about letting go, bringing perspective to desires.


The ego is rigid and narrow, mindful flexible and expansive.

 

The ego is created, mindful just is.


The ego feels isolated, better or worse not equal, the mindful totally connected to one another and things.

 

The ego always needs, the mindful, fulfilled with life exactly like it is.


The ego judges, the mindful accepts.


The ego avoids, the mindful stays even when vulnerable.


The ego has goals, the mindful a journey.


The ego restricts growth, the mindful unlimited opportunity.


The ego feels unworthy, the mindful complete.


The ego races, the mindful enjoys, slows.


The ego affiliates with anger, hate, resentment, the mindful has perspective and balance when expressing emotions.


The ego is lonely, the mindful at peace.


The ego is sad, the mindful happy.

Meditation brings awareness to the senses.


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First we focus on the breath, slowing the pace, elongating the cycle gently. Next we start to extend the exhales, calming the nervous system intentionally.

 


Relax, no right or wrong, good or bad where we are headed.

 


We listen for the softest sound in the room. We then go below that decibel level, listening for the sound of our inhales and exhales.

 


We feel our interior world for body sensations, irritations, spasms, tightness, pain, and any other insight. Bring the breath to these areas and relax. Be curious about exploring your inner world.

 


Next we investigate what we see with our eyes closed. It could be dark, a grey fuzz, vibrant colors or something in between. Some people experience light shows, mine is a grey pattern.

 

If you are sitting in a chair, feel your soles connect with the floor and your butt grounded in the seat. Feel gravity weigh your calm body downward.

 


Some people light their favorite incense when they sit. Notice the smells in the room. Certain aromas help calm us for our journey.

 


All of our senses require no thought and are ever present. Intense awareness of the senses brings us back to now.

 


Enjoy the time you have taken to be kind to yourself.

 

Observe the senses intimately without judgment or cognitive input.

 

 

Start slow and enjoy the awakening.
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4 Effective Strategies To Take Control of a Strong Emotion By Jonice Webb PhD

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Anger

Dread

Anxiety

Hurt

Loss

Longing

Sadness

These are only a few of the feelings that have a special ability to grow very intense, virtually incapacitating you.

Whether you wake up in the morning feeling it, lie awake unable to fall asleep because of it, can’t make a decision due to it, or stay in constant motion to avoid it, any one of these feelings, when intense enough, can temporarily rule your life.

As often as I say that your feelings are your friends, I also must acknowledge that they can become your worst enemies. And many fine people are set up to have this happen to them more than should be. They are set up by growing up in families which ignore or minimize, or simply do not talk about, feelings. I call this common childhood experience Childhood Emotional Neglect.

When you grow up in a family that does not openly address feelings, you do not learn how to manage and use your feelings the way they are meant to be used. As an adult, you will then be prone to becoming either numb or periodically overwhelmed or immobilized by powerful feelings or, as happens for many, both.

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Thoughts and emotions, Which comes first?

 

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In my mind, emotions attach to thoughts. Certain thoughts manifest with the same emotion every time they enter our consciousness.

 

Feeling helpless in a dangerous situation, imprints this trauma with these same emotions.


PTSD triggers can activate our fight or flight mechanism, dumping cortisol and adrenaline into our blood stream, intensifying the already scary emotions.

 

We think we are in real danger. The mind is in panic mode as emotional fear freezes us. We may try to fight our triggers fears the first couple of firings, however in due time, we freeze to the constant eruption of cortisol and panic.

 

What can we do?

 

Understand emotions are fleeting, ephemeral and transparent.

 

That means emotions come and go, over and over again. They arrive, stay a while then exit.  They are like ghosts, coming and going on their own.  

 

Count how many emotions you experience in an hour.

 

We all have the same amount of emotions. An emotion definitely does not define any of us.

 

Buddhist have no words for emotions, being present and aware is more important.

 

So we need to experience our emotions fully then release them.

 

We try to make good feelings or happiness last and bad feeling end.

 

 

That engages us in a tug of war we always lose.

 

 

Our greatest strength is our ability to experience these emotions then let them go.

 

We are not engaging cognitively or emotionally, we are focusing on the breath, exploring the body sensations with curiosity.

 

What fires together wires together. Where we place our attention thrives, where we withdraw our attention, whither and dies.

 

Know your emotions do not impact your thoughts. Discount your thoughts and emotions attached to them.

 

Why wrestle with past thought when life is passing us by.

 


Trade thought and emotion for the only place happiness thrives, now.

 

 

Observe from a distance, see the big picture.
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Phases of PTSD (my opinion)


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My childhood abuse lay dormant until my 50’s. I knew something was different about the way I felt, however I did not understand the causes of my PTSD.


After PTSD ignites, we enter a phase of discovery and research. Hell, it took me six months to understand the basics of trauma and how abusive my childhood had been.

 

Then we need to figure out a way to heal.


Optimally we have two times to handle the specifics of our trauma. The first is this discovery phase of exploring the cause of PTSD. The second is with a therapist or healer.

 

Trauma needs to be integrated when it surfaces. If your therapist brings up your trauma during a session, triggering you, it is their obligation to integrate this trauma into present moment.

 


Early on my healing journey, I visited an intuitive healer. She would resurrect the details of my childhood and then fail to integrate those triggers. My PTSD grew with this malpractice.

 

After we explore the cause and impact of trauma, handling trauma thoughts is detrimental to our health unless it is integrated.

 

Dissociation saved us during the trauma. When the trauma is over and we understand the cause, dissociation causes suffering.

 

We will never end our suffering, if we entertain trigger thoughts, dissociating into our emotional, irrational ptsd fear.

 

You can go on a PTSD discussion board and witness suffering and little healing. Participants trade specific details of their trauma with others, then judge how they relate to them.

 

This behavior brings a momentary feeling or comfort, followed by suffering, then strengthening of PTSD symptoms.

 

This is the opposite of healing. We heal by not thinking about our trauma.
We heal by refusing to dissociate into the past or future.

 


We heal by focusing, letting go and staying present when triggers explode.
PTSD is an irrational disorder. Common sense is useless in understanding how trauma manifests in our life.

 


My trigger fears were embarrassing for me. I knew there was nothing to fear when people stared at me.


My trauma, my right amygdala did not get my conscious belief. Suffering was out of control when I consciously battled my judgments.


I tried to think my way out of PTSD. Constantly I would analyze the specifics of my dads abuse, consciously  trying to find the door to normalcy.


All that thinking, dissociating landed me in my garage for six months, unable to leave, agoraphobic.


I had avoided my triggers until life narrowed to one room.

 

Healing came with accepting, then not thinking, letting go and staying present.

 

Strength comes with surrender to our fears. Counterintuitive indeed but it is the path to healing and happiness.

 


We have to take action to heal.
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DISTRESS TOLERANCE: The Complex PTSD Workbook

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If the first goal of emotion regulation is to learn to sense the ebb and flow of your inner world, the second goal would be to increase the range of your window of tolerance.


Having a trauma history tends to result in a reduced capacity for sensation and emotion. It is important learn how to exist with difficult feelings. You can do this by slowly developing your ability to stay present with increasingly greater amounts of sensation.

 

You can broaden your capacity to handle distress by slowly stepping out of your comfort zone. In somatic psychotherapy, you can learn to increase your window of tolerance through an activity called pendulation.

 

Pendulation involves alternating your attention between feelings of safety and feelings of distress as they are experienced in your body.

 

The practice goes as follows:


• Within a safe environment, choose a recent distressing event to think about. Depending upon your comfort level, you can choose a relatively minor recent event or perhaps one where you found yourself triggered outside your window of tolerance. Mindfully observe any emotions, thoughts, and body sensations that you experience as you recall the event.


Bring your attention to the areas of your body where you feel tension or discomfort. Stay with the sensations for a few breaths.

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Motivation

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What is the most important skill to look for in a therapist?

 

Knowledge of multiple therapies, timing, knowing when and how to apply his/her wisdom, adept people skills, or empathy.

 

For most clients the greatest skill needed, is the ability to motivate them to take action.


Let’s look at our healing time. Having a weekly therapy session gives us four hours a month in session.


That means we have 668 hours a month on our own.

 

It is obvious to me healing happens in those 668 hours not the 4 in therapy.


Unless you are highly self motivated, taking action between therapy sessions seems highly unlikely.

 

Healing takes your daily action and attention. I know how hard it is for someone to meditate for just 15 minutes a day.

 

The ability of your therapist to motivate you decides if you improve or suffer.

 

The ability of your therapist to convey this truth is crucial.

 

It is my responsibility to take action.

 

How many people share that conviction.

 

The skill to motivate is not taught in our college curriculum.

 

PTSD is at epidemic levels. In my opinion, only a small portion of those suffering reach a therapists couch.

 

Many are never diagnosed, others do not have insurance or financial ability to afford help and few ever seek a second therapist when the first is not a match.

 


What do you value most in a therapist?

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