Archive for the ‘Assorted’ Category

Part One: how-does-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-change-the-brain by Viatcheslav Wlassoff, PhD

Medial prefrontal dysfunction in PTSD. There was a failure of medial prefrontal activation in a group of combat veterans with PTSD compared to combat veterans without PTSD during exposure to traumatic combat related slides and sounds (yellow area in prefrontal 

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Child abuse. Rape. Sexual assault. Brutal physical attack. Being in a war and witnessing violence, bloodshed, and death from close quarters. Near death experiences. These are extremely traumatic events, and some victims bear the scars for life.

The physical scars heal, but some emotional wounds stop the lives of these people dead in their tracks. They are afraid to get close to people or form new relationships.

Change terrifies them, and they remain forever hesitant to express their needs or desire to meet their creative potential. It may not be always apparent, but post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stifles the life force out of its victims.

It is no use telling them to “get over” it because PTSD fundamentally changes the brain’s structure and alters its functionalities. (This is why sharing our trauma with others turns out bad)

What goes on inside the brains of people with PTSD?

PTSD is painful and frightening. The memories of the event linger and victims often have vivid flashbacks. Frightened and traumatized, they are almost always on edge, and the slightest of cues sends them hurtling back inside their protective shells. (We have to resist this with all the energy and courage we can muster.)

Usually, victims try to avoid people, objects, and situations that remind them of their hurtful experiences—this behavior is debilitating and prevents them from living their lives meaningfully.

Many victims forget the details of the incident, presumably in an attempt to lessen the blow. But this coping mechanism has negative repercussions as well. Without accepting and reconciling with “reality,” they turn into fragmented souls.

Extensive neuroimaging studies on the brains of PTSD patients show that several regions differ structurally and functionally from those of healthy individuals.

The amygdala, the hippocampus, and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex play a role in triggering the typical symptoms of PTSD.

These regions collectively impact the stress response mechanism in humans, so that the PTSD victim, even long after their experience, continues to perceive and respond to stress differently than someone who is not suffering the aftermath of trauma.

Effect of trauma on the hippocampus

The most significant neurological impact of trauma is seen in the hippocampus. PTSD patients show a considerable reduction in the volume of the hippocampus.

This region of the brain is responsible for memory functions. It helps an individual to record new memories and retrieve them later in response to specific and relevant environmental stimuli. (Our memories such, are biased and inaccurate )

The hippocampus also helps us distinguish between past and present memories.

PTSD patients with reduced hippocampal volume lose the ability to discriminate between past and present experiences or correctly interpret environmental contexts.

The particular neural mechanisms involved trigger extreme stress responses when confronted with environmental situations that only remotely resemble something from their traumatic past.

For example, this is why a sexual assault victim may be terrified of parking lots because she was once raped in a similar place. (Our triggers seem mundane but hold more fear than we can s5and, that is why we run, avoid, distort and deny)

Or a war veteran cannot watch violent movies because they remind them of his trench days; their hippocampus cannot minimize the interference of past memories. ( I can not watch many movies, I scroll and scroll feeling triggered. We do not get to pick our triggers)

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Is Ptsd a bad genie in a bottle?

Genie in a bottle

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/27866091433321867/

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PTSD’s power emerges from the fear and anxiety it perpetuates through dissociation.

Dissociation is the lynchpin of Ptsd, the fuel trauma uses to control life.

Without time spent in the past, judging, ruminating or just handling trauma thoughts, Ptsd whithers in that moment.

There is normal healing where life becomes easier to navigate.

Set accurate expectations, we are never going to be happy go lucky or be like others, we will be our own happy self, whatever that looks like.

Thinking in absolutes seems to be the rhetoric of the inner critic (Ptsd) employs to control us.

If we leave this present moment to delve into the past, suffering will materialize.

It’s almost like a genie in a bottle, Ptsd that is.

Ptsd is a bad genie, traumatized and unworthy at his core. Sounds like the inner critic’s voice.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/25543922874949051/

If we rub that lamp, suffering comes pouring out.

I entertain the dream, I am perfect as my true self, right now, right here, right this second, then I move onto the next minute.

Know the enemy and how he/she operates.

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PTSD is a con artist

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/973833119394298748/

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PTSD is a con artist, he/she entices us into thought, discussion and then judgement.

This con artist, my inner critic, defines my dysfunctional relationship with my true self.

PTSD wants me to live as a victim, avoid risking, living fully, actually giving up a productive life to hide.

When I observe PTSD from a distance, the irrational parts stick out as flawed and filled with suffering.

I have calmed my fight or flight mechanism with therapy and meditation so I can take the opposite action.

PTSD wants me to stop living my life freely.

How about you, what does your inner critic want, a true victim to control?

Therapy and meditation have limited his powers but he still found a way to regenerate and thrive.

Now, I have learned to not only resist but to change the storyline around the inner critic.

If I stop the ruminating immediately, the narrative dies a quick death.

I refuse to feel my old PTSD unworthiness, those sirens sing but their song has lost some power. It sounds out of tune for me now.

It is these little battles for dominance that decides our PTSD war.

Discount the inner critic, take immediate action, embrace contrary thoughts, go in the opposite direction, fast.

My ruminations have lessened but this is a moment to moment battle and perfection is not our goal.

Keep on the offense, vigilant and aware of the con artist.

He/she operates best when we dissociate, leave this moment to think, this is our Achilles heal.

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The Inner Critic: Assigning Importance

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Our goal is to
find a way to live in this moment unencumbered by memory or past thought (PTSD).

Pixabay: Zorro4

Sounds ominous, complex and impossible.

My inner critic, a major contributor to the ego, causes that snowball to roll down that hill of suffering.

A sports analogy: A back in football is much easier to stop before he gets a full head of steam, similar to the inner critic, much easier to thwart before it gets momentum.

My inner critic lobbies for power, isolation, feeling like a victim and time bombarding me with worthless thoughts.

Instead of battling him/her, do the opposite.

I try to accept, let go and keep living life.

Without my negative narrative having power, life is better.

All the therapy and healing will feel numb if the inner critic still reigns supreme inside our mind.

Just for today, make a choice to change your relationship with the inner critic, act contrary to his/her wishes.

I am actively giving this approach full energy.

Any thoughts?
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Real Codependency Stories: Jane

Reblogged from the online therapist

Excellent podcast and skills

Gaslighting observed and codependency explained

Real Codependency Stories: Jane

Welcome to another episode of Dr Jenner Podcast. Today, we look at a real-life codependency case and we meet Jane who is recovering from a …

Real Codependency Stories: Jane

Where Narcissists And Codependents Share Common Ground

Reblogged from the Online therapist

Great content

Much of the content available online paint narcissists as monsters and codependents as victims. As most of the personal blogs that carry this content…

Where Narcissists And Codependents Share Common Ground

PTSD: finding our way

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/296533956723067482/

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As a lay person, I know nearly as much as most therapists about childhood PTSD, in my opinion.

Yes, this has been helpful improving but healing therapies, therapists and holistic solutions have their limitations.

I lost my mind for a few months when an old buried trauma decided to surface.

All those old therapies and tools did not stick to the proverbial wall, life narrowed, became rigid and my options dwindled.

Childhood trauma has been highly resistant to healing for all of us at times.

We get lost, angry, ashamed and frustrated, suffering feels endless at these moments.

That’s when we need to find our own way out, intuitively.

Meditation has let me visualize things outside the box.

Now, I refuse to follow my inner critic or let PTSD mood swings impact behavior.

Not really a therapy but a valuable skill for me.

In a way, I have rationally refused to have the past rule my present moment.

Instead of letting ptsd fear and anxiety impact my thoughts, behavior, I do the opposite.

Feels so much freer not handling old trauma and the past.

Is this healing?

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Changing my PTSD habits

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Many of my trauma habits were hidden, subconsciously out of sight for decades.

I never understood why my thoughts, my life was so much different.

Unfortunately, many of my behaviors were trauma related, highly dysfunctional and confusing.

My healing journey has pivoted many times, now I focus on the outcome.

I want to not react, when my PTSD spots danger, unworthiness or outrage.

That’s correct, not react physically and not react to the storyline of PTSD.

I know this will be good for me!

Our goal is to let go of the perceived wrong as quickly as possible.

I will have more wellbeing if I can learn not to react, not to give it power.

This focus is ever present, has nothing to do with old trauma, just do not react, now.

I believe this is the way to calm the inner critic.

Take power away from him/her.

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Taking a different action to heal


I have started to change my reaction to triggering situations.

Pixabay zhuwei06191973

We all know how to avoid with the best of them, worry like a champion, and find trust a minefield.

With all these negative trauma thoughts roaming around, I leaned into my old habits and patterns.

After being triggered by a perceived invalidation of my PTSD, I played defense for a couple of days.

Then I did the opposite, my inner voice be damned.

Instead of isolating, I let the turmoil go and reengaged with life.

Then I mended another old relationship.

Such a burden of anger I was carrying around like a badge of honor is fine now.

I have shared the mess lately, this is a pleasant break in the action.

Healing is the path my inner critic does not dare venture down.

I found myself unguarded at my grandsons baseball game, absorbed and relaxed watching and talking to parents.

How did that happen?

Let healing be, work to improve now, react the opposite way PTSD wants you to behave.

Our PTSD has Patterns

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/48695239710690388/

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A couple days ago my PTSD reacted to external stimulus, one of those invalidating discussions with a friend.

No, my fight or flight did not erupt, my nervous system revs up some, nothing scary or intimidating.

The irrational thinking part of PTSD takes over. This is my main culprit.

This is my pattern.

A battle between letting the crap go versus engaging the trauma begins.

We have to find reality in the midst of all the PTSD symptoms.

For me, I play defense, refuse to make decisions, discount the anger and unworthiness that PTSD offers.

When intrusive thoughts flow, anxiety arrives and cognitive functions become confusing.

We get lost and suffer.

What is real life and what is trauma? Takes time and practice to decipher this riddle.

In a couple of days the horizon clears back to our PTSD normal.

I always come back, never get lost for long now.

For me, this is most freedom available, being able to navigate PTSD when it erupts.

I have lost my guilt around my abuse, this is a soothing accomplishment.

I take daily action, try to heal a little each day.

Never give up, never give in, this is our challenge.

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