PTSD: Things that used to paralyze me,

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Things that used to paralyze me, drive me into seclusion, no longer wield that kind of power.

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The last two months brought a seismic change in my behavior. At least five times a week I am at practice or my grandson’s game.

These are crowds of strangers closely packed in tight spaces.

It is also a long duration of contact, three-plus hours of being vulnerable.

Soldiers with PTSD, rape victims, and abused kids all avoid crowds and people.

All have differing degrees of mistrust and anxiety levels involved in their PTSD.

I have been triggered, but it resembles a firecracker instead of a bomb.

Uncomfortable and awkward, they are not powerful enough to overcome my desire to support my grandson.

For once desire wins over PTSD.

I will be glad when the season is over.

It is great to be blunt.
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Dissociation is a biological protection

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From the Complex PTSD Workbook:

“Dissociation is a biological protection that disconnects you from threatening experiences.

It exists on a continuum from relatively mild sensations of fogginess, sleepiness, or having difficulty concentrating to feeling numb or cut off.

In the most extreme situations, you might have lapses of memory or a feeling of lost time.

For instance, a neglected or abused child may learn to dissociate from, or tune out, threatening experiences.

In adulthood, this dissociation can be perpetuated as you push away the parts of you that hold emotions of fear, shame, or helplessness.

Here you might say, “It’s just too much to know what happened.”

Derealization and depersonalization are two key aspects of dissociation.

Derealization refers to ways in which you feel surreal or as if you are living in a dream.

Depersonalization is when you disconnect from your feelings or thoughts as though they are not yours.
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PTSD: Shame

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from The Complex PTSD Workbook

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“Shame is often hidden underneath perfectionism.

As a child, you may have internalized the belief that you had to act perfect because your parents couldn’t handle your authentic feelings.

Or perhaps you believed acting “good” would stop the bad things from happening.

In either situation, you may have had to hide your true feelings to avoid rocking the boat.

Perfectionism is maintained by critical self-talk that attempts to push down painful feelings.

When the inner critic berates you for being lazy, stupid, or useless, you are again confronted with your shame.
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Saturday Quotes

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Excerpt From
100 Quotations to Make You Think!
Wolfgang Rieb

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To reach a great height a person needs to have great depth.
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A half-baked idea is okay as long as it’s in the oven

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Bad habits are like a comfortable bed; they are easy to get into, but hard to get out of.

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“The best teachers
teach from the heart, not from the book.”

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Feeling Vulnerable is part of healing

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Feeling vulnerable has many different intensities, some minor while others are paralyzing.

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Feeling vulnerable was a constant childhood companion.

I was force-fed a food I vomited every week (lima beans) then dad would beat me with a specially made paddle with holes drilled in it.

He would scream and berate me like I committed a mortal sin, did other kids face these things weekly?

Forced feeding is considered torture in some circles.

Now, I avoid lima means altogether, a strategy, the easiest part of my PTSD. Is sarcasm part of an abused kids DNA?

If we are going to improve, we must be able to function when PTSD intensifies or explodes.

I have hunted down my original triggers, demystified them, and calmed the fight or flight mechanism surrounding them.

They do not pose the same threat but are awkward, uncomfortable, and still contain suffering.

Yes, I avoid many things and struggle with the depressive part of my complex PTSD more than the anxiety.

Complex PTSD still has its moments of destruction and turmoil.

My behavior is still impacted but that impact has lessened.

To heal we must take risks, and exist in very vulnerable spaces.

I risk, briefly join the masses, then retreat and hide.

Oh, it’s a well-practiced habitual pattern of mine.

Be aware of your patterns!
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Pendulation: from The Complex PTSD Workbook

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

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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.

• Choose a descriptive word for your distress. Your word can correspond to a sensation, an emotion, a color, or an image. Some examples are “jumpy,” “angry,” “hot,” “locked,” “fear,” or “dark.”

Now, bring your attention to any area of your body where you feel calm and at peace. Maybe this resides around your heart, or perhaps in your hands or your legs. If you are unable to find any positive sensation, look for an area of your body that feels neutral. Again, allow your awareness to reside here for a few breaths.

• Choose a descriptive word for your calm or neutral sensation. Again, your word can correspond to a stay with the uncomfortable experience just a little longer. Then, return your attention to your calm or neutral sensation, any related image, and descriptive word. Perform several rounds, alternating your attention between your calm place and the distressing event.

Notice any new sensations in your body, including the desire to breathe deeply, let go with a sigh, or move your body in response to your felt experience. Perhaps you feel the impulse to shake or push your arms or legs. These impulses are part of sequencing—a normal and healthy resolution of the fight-or-flight reaction. Follow any urges to move until you feel complete.
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Reduced capacity for sensation and emotion

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Distress Tolerance from Complex PTSD workbook


“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.”
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Influencing our Nervous System

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Window of Tolerance from The Complex PTSD Workbook


“The window of tolerance is a concept developed by clinical psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Siegel.

It refers to an optimal zone of nervous system arousal where you are able to respond effectively to your emotions.

When you are outside of your window of tolerance, you will go into survival modes.

Feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or panicked is a sign that you are hyper-or over-aroused, whereas feeling shut down, numb, or disconnected is a sign that you are hypo-or under-aroused.

It is common with C-PTSD to alternate between the two extremes or to feel stuck in one or the other.

When you begin to practice emotion regulation, you focus on developing the capacity to stay within your window of tolerance by cultivating mindfulness of the fluctuations in your sensations, thoughts, and emotions.

Through this, you increase awareness of the subtle signs of dysregulation.

An early sign of distress might be a sense of slight irritability or growing frustration.

Maybe you observe that your breath has become shallow or that you are clenching your jaw.

When you are able to recognize the slight changes in your body, you can engage self-care resources before you get overwhelmed or shut down.
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PTSD: How do we handle making mistakes?

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I made a mistake yesterday on this blog.

While answering a response, trying to give a compliment, I did the opposite.

Hearing the word on the radio a few days earlier I thought it was an intelligent way of complimenting ones prose.

Now, I find out, what it means, to speak in a pompous or dogmatic manner:

Instead of complimenting, I insulted a loyal viewer with the word Pontificate.

This started my PTSD brain dissociating:

Why didn’t I look up the definition?

All those negative sirens about unworthiness chime in.

We beat ourselves up after we mess up.

Subconsciously I still seek perfection and suffer when I fail.

Failure is a conduit to suffering for me.

Why do we beat ourselves up when we mess up?

Another habit I have become aware of.

It all stems from childhood abuse and the formation of an unworthy self (”I”).
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Our Inner Condition


Matthew Ricard from “Happiness”

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“We willingly spend a dozen years in school, then go on to college or professional training for several more; we work out at the gym to stay healthy;

we spend a lot of time enhancing our comfort, our wealth, and our social status.

We put a great deal into all this, and yet we do so little to improve the inner condition that determines the very quality of our lives.

What strange hesitancy, fear, or apathy stops us from looking within ourselves, from trying to grasp the true essence of joy and sadness, desire and hatred?”

Fear of the unknown prevails, and the courage to explore that inner world fails at the frontier of our mind.
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My two cents: What an ominous phrase, at the frontier of our mind. That means our mind is massive.

Talking with my grandson’s soccer and baseball coach, he said confidence, the attitude of the mind means everything even at 9.

Can we have a good attitude living with PTSD?

Our mental attitude means everything when dealing with PTSD.

What does your scoreboard look like, time of day with good versus bad attitude?

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