Fear and PTSD

Claude Monet

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What we refer to as fear, is called the adrenal stress response or common man definition, our fight or flight mechanism.

It increases bp, heart rate and respiration, coagulants and pain killers are dumped along with cortisol and adrenaline.

We lose our fine motor skills, get tunnel vision, hearing is impaired and our minds freeze up.

Try accomplishing something using a complex skill under intense pressure, being late, missing an immediate guideline with real consequences.

Yea, it is overwhelming, the faster we try to catch up, the more frustrated we become.

This defense mechanism, this thing we fear, this thing that ignites the defense mechanism, powers PTSD.

We run because we fear our own trauma, stored in the amygdala as real danger, delusional in content and reality.

Visualize your last episode, cortisol and adrenaline jolting the nervous systems and see if this is the point where PTSD has greatest power for you.

Be aware of the body sensations during fight or flight firing, focus, breathe, observe.

Big Secret: PTSD is at its most powerful, most frightening, when our fight or flight mechanism fires.

It is also at its most vulnerable during this eruption.

I found it was my best opportunity to heal.

Learn to observe, focus on breath and feel the body sensations without judgement.

Improvement will be your reward.

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The breath is extremely powerful

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The inhale takes the majority of energy needed to breathe.

Inhaling needs the chest to expand and that takes strength, effort.

Muscles have to contract to accommodate oxygen.

Notice what happens physically, visually when we inhale deeply.

Focus, feel your lungs expand, fill up, and then hold this energy, life force.

The first pause has a feeling of pressure wanting to be released.

The deeper we breathe, the more pressure we create.

This first pause takes effort to hold back the pressure of our inhale.

The hard work of breathing is over after this first pause.

The exhale takes little energy to no energy.

It feels as the inhale created all the pressure (energy) needed to exhale.

The exhale feels like a filled balloon we allow to deflate on its own.

Tension, worry, and doubt can flow out in this exhale.

The chest and lungs return to resting.

We inflate the chest and lungs and then return them back to resting, simple.

The last pause allows the bad air to clear and the breath to have balance, flow, symmetry, rhythm.

Pay close attention to these pauses, the body is in a suspended animation space.

Inhales and exhales have movement and sound, the pauses find us without movement, without exertion, and without sound.

The most immediate, most powerful life force, the breath. Our breath breathes on its own without any input from us.

It is the only body function where the external (air) enters our body, without cognition.

Meditation is the intense focus on all four parts of the breath, absent of thought, concern or judgment.

The breath controls our nervous system and is our focus object to reach our creative, right hemisphere.

The most immediate need of our being is oxygen. We can live without water and food for days, only seconds for oxygen.

So much power is contained in our breath, we just are fooled because of its mundane appearance.

I think if meditation was packaged as an expensive cure many more would use it.

Being free and seemingly harmless fools the masses.

Dedicate ten minutes a day, work with only one breath, then assess your experience.

Take another slow breath and repeat. In time expand to three, then five, then ten.

You may find your self meditating.
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Psilocybin Treatment for Mental Health Gets Legal Framework by Zoe Cormier

Psilocybe semilanceata

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Scientific America:

“Oregon made history on November 3, becoming not just the first U.S. state to legalize psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in “magic mushrooms,” but also the first jurisdiction in the world to lay out plans for regulating the drug’s therapeutic use.

The next day, on the opposite coast, Johns Hopkins University researchers published results from the first randomized controlled trial of treating major depressive disorder with synthetic psilocybin.

Their study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found 71 percent of patients experienced a “clinically significant response” (an improvement that lasted at least four weeks after treatment).

And 54 percent met the criteria for total “remission of depression.”

(Look at this number and this is from JAMA, a reliable source)

At the U.S. federal level, psilocybin remains a completely prohibited Schedule 1 Drug, defined by the Drug Enforcement Administration as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

My abuser, my dad wins if I give up

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I find myself in a quandary, an old powerful trauma has resurfaced, throwing my whole narrative into confusion.

My tools that healed me from childhood trauma have failed to calm the upset, the unrest, the panic, the worthlessness in this early stage of entering my consciousness.

While trying to meditate, trauma fills my mind immediately with horrible intrusive thoughts.

One of the skills that was powerful, the ability to let go and be present, has deteriorated into Dissociation, ruminating in the past.

My demeanor and self image have taken a large hit.

This is a weird situation, I have highly developed healing skills, not abstract skills, ones that helped me heal from an abusive childhood in real time.

Usually PTSD explodes at the time of our trauma or holds on to be released at a future stressful situation or crisis, a death, cancer, divorce, etc.

It takes time to understand that we have PTSD, then slowly develop skills to improve.

Our traumas initial crazy phase has lessened by the time we move to heal.

For me, it was six months before I had a real grasp on what was wrong (PTSD), then time to find a therapy that worked, and finally time to develop meditation skills to battle on my own time.

The difference is this time, my knowledge of PTSD and mindfulness skills are well developed already.

My assessment: In due time my mindfulness and healing skills will work again. If not I am screwed.

I have gone from a confident, giving, compassionate guy to one who sufferers from the constant bombardment of trauma symptoms.

My mind has turned from powerful friend to arch enemy of evil.

One post traumatic growth skill, or the skill developed to survive my father, was the willpower to never cry when he beat me, and never give up.

I have not surrendered, I have not given up, I am searching for its weakness, that crack in its armor so I can attack.

I do not know if I need to apologize for the recent posts detailing suffering but real life has these dark periods of being lost for me.

My motto has not changed, never give in, never give up.

PTSD can not take away those I have helped by giving back.

PTSD can not take away the wisdom and effort put into making this blog available.

In the midst of my suffering, this is my best lemonade.

Thoughts?

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Changing my life’s narrative again

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I improved a great deal from my childhood abuse, seemed stable, well adjusted grading on a PTSD curve.

Then a couple months ago, a hidden public betrayal has changed everything, my narrative of life was false.

My childhood abuse was always the solid foundation of my suffering but an event in college changed me drastically.

Now, I see why trust is to dangerous to employ.

Yes, I do not trust anyone except my daughter and three grandkids, they will never betray me.

I have a few close friends but would never engage anyone in an intimate relationship.

Everything my initial healing taught me was flawed, my college betrayal was the event that killed trust, set me on a path of isolation, and grew my childhood unworthiness into a monster.

At 69, this is quite a conundrum for a guy, who thought he faced all his trauma and healed.

I have tried to rearrange memories, change my flawed beliefs and gain some perspective, my reality.

Well, I am lost in the middle of this upheaval.

Childhood abuse lasts forever, at least til 70 for me, that’s a long time to carry someone else’s evil behavior.

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The 3 stages of C-PTSD recovery

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From Suzanne Jessee, M.A.

Stage I: Establishing Safety

“The initial phase of treatment focuses on establishing a sense of stability and safety and forming an alliance with the therapist. The therapist will teach the client about the elements of trauma and how people respond to trauma as a foundation upon which to teach the recovery skills.

The client will learn how to self-nurture and self-soothe, as well as how to modulate emotions.

The therapist will teach the client how to better manage the symptoms of PTSD, such as flashbacks or nightmares, in addition to teaching how to set healthy boundaries, assertiveness training, and stress reduction techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness exercises.

In addition, the client will benefit from antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.

Stage II: Remembrance and Mourning for What Was Lost

The middle phase of treatment begins after the client has successfully integrated the stabilization skills taught in Stage I.

During the middle phase those stabilization skills will be needed, as the client revisits and processes the traumatic events and experiences intense emotional response to the memories.

Also, the middle phase involves the task of exploring and mourning what has been lost as related to the trauma, and to grieve the loss. As with PTSD treatment, prolonged or graduated exposure therapy is often utilized.

Other therapies that are effective during this phase include cognitive processing therapy, narrative exposure, EMDR, cognitive restructuring, and reprocessing.

Stage III: Reconnecting with Community and Society (the hard part of healing)

The final phase of treatment involves creating a new sense of self and setting sights on a new future. (This is a monumental chore for abused kids)

During this last stage of recovery, the client accepts the trauma as just a part of their life story, but no longer allows it to define who they are or what they can become.

This phase develops a sense of personal empowerment and a feeling of control over their future. ( empowerment, that’s such a stretch for seriously abused kids, our brains hard wired under duress, extreme fear. For me I feel no control, never have since I was a kid)

Self-identity is newly defined, and new interpersonal skills are developed. ( redefining my whole childhood was a monumental chore, my father told me my identity, then beat me every time I tried to be me)

The client will review the people in their life and decide whether to retain those relationships in light of new insights and boundaries. ( I guess in this stage, trust was never rekindled for anyone in my life. My whole life, trust was rationed, only went to a shallow level, improving did not change my trust issues, it always sounds so easy on paper)

For some, taking on a mission to help others, or a survivor mission, following the end of treatment is a constructive way to help others and continue to heal and grow.” ( my mission was this blog and a real mindfulness group. It helps but nothing has fixed the betrayals from loved ones. Got one right.)

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How do abused kids ever trust again?

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Even if my healing is miraculous, I will never trust, never risk being betrayed at all costs.

The damage betrayal did to me was profound and immediate, my male ego never quite recovered from the lies, manipulation and coldness.

Of course my abusive childhood, made me extremely vulnerable to be used and impossible for me to endure.

All of my abuse that haunts me now happened before I was 20, starting at age five, when I was helpless and ending in such a horrific public betrayal in college.

In my head, I do not want to be the betrayed or ridiculed , ever, ever, ever, ever again.

In fact, I do not want to be me.

It has changed my whole outlook and value, or should I say life has lost its value for me.

How do you replace value and worth when it is destroyed.

How do you make it ok for me to Trust?

I have went to a decade of therapy, practiced on my own, meditated for at least 10,000 hours, read everything on trauma, neuroscience, ptsd, therapy and war I could devour.

For five years I spent 8 to 10 hours a day devoted to healing.

I trust less now after facing my fears and improving.

Yea, I know, just distract myself or let the past go.

Really!

Can we ever rewire what was hard wired as abuse in childhood.

I do not think so.

I think psychology tries to act like they have answers for serious abused kids, cures.

I think they have hard enough issues trying to help those heal with regular PTSD.

How do look at therapy and healing?

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Pressure from others to act normal

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A high overachiever would be the moniker on my gravestone.

Marty, my Ego is expected to always be strong, always overcome, always outperform, and never be discouraged or overwhelmed.

For the first time in my life, I have given up for now.

Overachieving has done nothing to heal me, so why not try something else.

My trauma constantly haunts me, thoughts proliferate with more humiliation than I can withstand.

All my tools, mindfulness skills and all the therapies have failed to lessen its intensity.

I have faced a whole abusuve childhood and improved, however public sexual humiliation is something I have no answers for.

Now, I have no way of ever trusting, ever feeling intimate, or even a desire to be in a situation where I can be betrayed ever again.

As I said before, my trauma makes it easier to be alone than ever risk a relationship, an opportunity to be betrayed. This is a fact for 50 years as I take a look back at my life.

People around me are demanding I be the old me, energetic, upbeat and very active.

I was told I need to find something I desire, a hobby to distract me.

Really!

For once in my life, I do not care, desires to do anything besides be safe and fed are gone for now.

My constant search for approval has also died, I could give a shit what others think for the first time in my life.

That is the most refreshing thing in a decade for me.

My desire to isolate has reached its apex.

My room is only place I feel safe on this planet.

I am amazed how long I have lived this way without concern or sadness.

Everything they say about needing all these relationships has never been true in my life or never been part of my life.

Am I that different than others?

I feel free to share both my triumphs and joy along with the tortuous times trauma steals life and brings worthlessness for a substitute.

Any thoughts?

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Ways that a Narcissistic Parent controls his or her young children

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From https://bandbacktogether.com/master-resource-links-2/mental-illness-resources/adult-children-of-narcissistic-parents/


“There are a few ways that a Narcissistic Parent controls his or her young children. These control mechanisms include:

1) Codependent Control: “I need you. I can’t live without you.” This prevents children of Narcissistic Parents from having any autonomy, from living their own lives.

( I had no clue how to live my childhood or life. Little kids are brainwashed by their narcissistic parent using emotional and physical torture.)

2) Guilt-Driven Control: “I’ve given my life for you. I’ve sacrificed it all.” This method of control creates a feeling of obligation in children; that they “owe” their Narcissistic Parents and must behave in a certain way to make their parents happy.

(My mother told me, every breath my father took was for me)

3) Love Withdrawal Control: “You’re worthy of my love ONLY BECAUSE you behave the way I expect you to.” So long as their children are behaving properly, a Narcissistic Parent will be loving. That love disappears the moment a child doesn’t meet expectations.

( My father threatened abandonment. I did not attach to something that threatened to leave me exposed, vulnerable)

4) Goal-Oriented Control: “We have to work together to achieve a goal.” These goals are generally the goals, dreams, and fantasies of a Narcissistic Parent. A Narcissistic Parent lives vicariously through his or her children.

(My father stole my childhood as his way of gaining status in his life, self worth at my expense.)

5) Explicit Control: “Obey me or I’ll punish you.” Children of Narcissistic Parents must do as they’re told or risk shame, guilt, anger, or even physical abuse.

( My beatings were frequent and severe, delivered coldly without concern for my wellbeing. My dad meant to hurt me and scare the shit out of me. Control would be absolute.)

6) Emotional Incest Control: “You’re my one true love, The One, the most important person to me.” An opposite-sex parent makes his or her child fulfill the unmet needs of the Narcissistic Parent.

( My mom was the enabler, her life was better when dad focused on me instead of her)
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This Will Change Your Mind About Psychedelic Drugs

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Excerpt from https://time.com/5278036/michael-pollan-psychedelic-drugs/

“For years, the field of mental health has been largely barren of meaningful treatment advances. But now, scientists have new hope in the least likely of places: psychedelic drugs. Recent research suggests that certain psychedelic substances can help relieve anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction and the fear surrounding a terminal diagnosis.

“The biggest misconception people have about psychedelics is that these are drugs that make you crazy,” says Michael Pollan, author of the new book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. “We now have evidence that that does happen sometimes — but in many more cases, these are drugs that can make you sane.”

What do psychedelics do to the human mind?

The honest answer: nobody quite understands. We’re really just at the beginning of exploring that frontier. But psychedelics appear to diminish activity in one very important brain network called the default mode network. That network is very involved with operations having to do with our sense of self: how we integrate what’s happening to us in any given moment, with our abiding sense of who we are.

The interesting thing about psychedelics, both LSD and psilocybin — the ingredient in magic mushrooms — is that they take this network offline. When that happens, you have this sensation of ego-dissolution: that your self is evaporating or dissolving. And that seems to lead to new connections in the brain temporarily forming.

Your emotion center starts talking directly to your visual cortex, let’s say, and you see things that you’re hoping or fearing. New connections are made that could produce new insights, new perspectives, new ways of looking at the world.

Your book talks a lot about the scientific approach to psychedelics. What do scientists believe that psychedelics can offer people?

The feeling among the scientists is that these chemicals allow us to essentially reboot the brain. If the brain is stuck in these narrow grooves of thought — whether it’s an obsession or a fear or the story you tell yourself — all those deep grooves that lock us into patterns of both thought and behavior are dissolved and temporarily suspended in a way that allows us to break those patterns.

What psychedelics do you think show some therapeutic potential?

There are two drugs that show the most potential and will probably be legalized for medical use soon. One is a drug that isn’t always considered a psychedelic: MDMA, also known as Ecstasy or Molly, which has been shown to be incredibly useful in the treatment of trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers or in rape victims. A study recently came out that showed great effectiveness at treating those problems. That’s very encouraging, and that may be the first of these drugs to get approved.

The second is psilocybin. It appears to be very useful in the treatment of anxiety, depression and addiction in both smoking and alcohol.”

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My two cents: Psilocybin has been legalized in Oregon. Everything I have read always said a magic pill is a fantasy, but rebooting the brain along with our practice has me interested.

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