Posts Tagged ‘ACCEPTANCE’

The Dance between PTSD and our Thoughts

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Taking a step back, perusing life around me, then exploring my mind, ideas percolate.

So much of well-being depends on our thoughts, abstract inventions filled with bias and emotion.

Expressed by wrote or speech, certain thoughts are damaging if we adopt them.

Remember 60,000 thoughts cross our consciousness daily.

Why do trauma thoughts dominate the 60,000, take up all the oxygen in the room?

Who do PTSD emotionally charged thoughts have so much power?

Why do some never go away, not present all the time but visit each new day.

Thoughts can shape our narrative, identity who we think we are, waste huge amounts of time pursuing that image.

Implicit memory (stored trauma) brings the scariest thoughts, lethal threat memories of abuse or trauma.

On the PTSD discussion boards, childhood abuse and rape were constant companions for so many.

Stuck in the violence of childhood like an invisible prison, suffering is the dish served over and over.

Recovery seemed impossible from my observation point.

For me, healing has taken power from these memories, granted me periods of well-being.

I realize some thoughts become weaponized with emotions, seeming enormously powerful, it is all hot air.

PTSD is a bully, know thine own trauma well.

Matthew Ricard describes thought as ephemeral, fleeting and hollow.

Our thoughts on self (self-worth) are extremely important.

These thoughts influence the Ego’s (identity) creation.

Our Ego has been severely compromised during childhood, we need to reparent and be aware of how the mind works.

Therapy and meditation have been my reparenting effort.

The mind is extremely complex but is programmed by simple repetitive actions.

For me that action was found in meditating, learning to focus intensely.

Calming my nervous system and being able to let negative thoughts go, remain my most powerful tools.

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My Top two skills for PTSD

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/38702878038245906/

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My focus skills have helped me the most, have always been there to access in low moments.

Meditation, the ability to focus on an object, the breath, mantra, etc. opens many doors.

My daily practice of sitting quietly, intensely focused on the tiniest body sensation or observing a trauma trigger thought from a safe distance, calms and soothes me.

Any therapy or skill is applied through meditations focus, it is a safe space to take risks.

My fight or flight mechanism calmed from firing by meditating everyday for hours.

In my mind, this is imperative and the first goal on the healing path.

I have been able to risk at times because of meditations power. Meditation allowed me to use exposure therapy in a safe place, over and over and over and over again, until I had enough courage to face triggers in real life.

Next I learned to separate from my Ego’s grasp, allowing me access to reality, my true self without bias or confusion.

To this day my wellbeing depends more on my ability to focus, then let go than any other skill in my tool box.

Aerobic exercise has always been beneficial in many ways.

It is a physical challenge where trauma thoughts die a fast death.

I flush the poisons from my system, gain achievement which is shared with my mind, deplete cortisol and adrenaline, then escape out of my head into my body.

Aerobic exercise is such a release for my body, meditation is a release for my mind.

If you are not using aerobic exercise, a great healing opportunity awaits those who can take action.

Start slow, focus and know you are actively healing.

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Lessons I have learned

https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?rs=typed&q=ptsd%20healing

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After a long energetic effort with therapy and practice to heal, my life was still a damn mess.

In my old wisdom, if that is a real thing, learning to function in the midst of PTSD is the new gold on my healing path.

Listen, my childhood abuse, wiring of my brain in survival mode, is never going away.

My ability to function, discount the noise and take action is a part of my happiness in life, the oasis in this PTSD desert.

It is not about winning, it is how we fight, how much energy we exert, how much adversity can we respond to.

How resilient can we be along this path, how many times can we get back up.

This is not the road of an easy life, many succumb without much resistance.

My purpose is to live as freely as possible despite PTSD and inspire you to never give up.

We rarely take big risks.

We face adversity and the collapse of our boundaries.

Adversity is not a punishment, some think opportunity lies within adversity.

Adversity is ever present in our lives, attitude and effort are the tools needed to resist and continue living.

Effort has always been easy for me, attitude is difficult when unworthiness and depression try to consume me.

Another lesson I use is the knowledge that PTSD is cyclical, it explodes with cortisol and adrenaline, fills us with anxiety and fear, then recedes in time back to our normal.

Know the pattern of trauma firing up, staying a while then returning back to normal.

Some Wisdom: I have survived my worst flare ups already, with PTSD active and powered up, so my fear level has dropped.

PTSD can do nothing new to me that I have not already endured or survived.

So PTSD has thrown its biggest punches and I am still standing, so are you, maybe you have not realized the accomplishment yet.

Realize that therapy even once a week is only 4 hours a month, our time alone accounts for 720 hours. 720 hours versus 4 hours.

Where do you think healing will happen?

Mine happened on my own time, sometimes directed by my therapists input, most of the time while meditating using my tools.

Next, Find a mentor.

Books were my first mentor, books on neuroscience, PTSD therapies, war, meditation and holistic cures.

PTSD discussion boards were next, a negative place filled with victims acting out, taught me what not to do.

Lessons are hidden everywhere.

Now, I follow blogs that inspire me as part of my daily routine.

Please share one of your tools that has made a difference.

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My take on childhood abuse’s impact on the mind and body

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Childhood abuse results in a smaller hippocampus, larger amygdala and the quarterback (left prefrontal cortex) of our mind confused and ineffective.

Our minds wired around abuse, in survival mode, so the organs responsible for regulation and safety developed differently.

So memory, emotional regulation, safety and common sense have been compromised.

If we understand these shortcomings, we can grade our thoughts on this trauma curve.

Discount everything we feel and think around our PTSD. I do not believe my PTSD thoughts.

They are inaccurate, damaging and a distant memory.

That question of why we just can not let go, is answered in the damage to these three brain organs.

If we look at the Kaiser Adverse Childhood study, cancer, disease, addiction and early death come with childhood abuse, also.

It’s just not the mind, it is the body that suffers.

So let me rejoice at my advanced age to have survived and never given up.

Few will understand how we feel, now we know our brains have physical deficiencies.

This is not to use as an excuse but wisdom to live life as fully as possible in the face of our challenges.

There will be low times of hopelessness and depression, that’s why we never give up, never give in.

I have waited out serious bouts of PTSD with triggers firing, anxiety filling my body, and fear consuming me.

These spells will break, subside and life goes back to our normal.

I still hope, but hope only has a chance with daily work and courage to risk.

We journey together on this path not on competition.

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

Amygdala activation during acquisition of fear learning in PTSD. There was an increase in amygdala activation during acquisition of conditioned fear learning in women with PTSD related to early childhood abuse. Yellow areas in the amygdala show areas 

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Effect of trauma on the ventromedial prefrontal cortex

Severe emotional trauma causes lasting changes in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex region of the brain that is responsible for regulating emotional responses triggered by the amygdala.

Specifically, this region regulates negative emotions such as fear that occur when confronted with specific stimuli.

PTSD patients show a marked decrease in the volume of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the functional ability of this region.

This explains why people suffering from PTSD tend to exhibit fear, anxiety, and extreme stress responses even when faced with stimuli not connected—or only remotely connected—to their experiences from the past.

Effect of trauma on the amygdala

Trauma appears to increase activity in the amygdala. This region of the brain helps us process emotions and is also linked to fear responses. PTSD patients exhibit hyperactivity in the amygdala in response to stimuli that are somehow connected to their traumatic experiences.

They exhibit anxiety, panic, and extreme stress when they are shown photographs or presented with narratives of trauma victims whose experiences match theirs, or if they listen to sounds or words related to their traumatic encounters.

What is interesting is that the amygdala in PTSD patients may be so hyperactive that these people exhibit fear and stress responses even when they are confronted with stimuli not associated with their specific trauma, such as when they are simply shown photographs of people exhibiting fear.

The hippocampus, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and the amygdala are part of the neural circuitry that mediates stress. The hippocampus facilitates appropriate responses to environmental stimuli, so the amygdala does not go into stress mode unecessarily.

The ventromedial prefrontal cortex regulates emotional responses by controlling the functions of the amygdala. It is thus not surprising that when the hypoactive hippocampus and the functionally-challenged ventromedial prefrontal cortex stop pulling the chains, the amygdala gets into a tizzy. (This explains a lot)

Hyperactivity of the amygdala is positively related to the severity of PTSD symptoms. The aforementioned developments explain the tell-tale signs of PTSD—startle responses to the most harmless of stimuli, frequent flashbacks, and intrusive recollections.

Researchers believe that the brain changes caused by PTSD increase the likelihood of a person developing other psychotic and mood disorders. Understanding how PTSD alters brain chemistry is critical to empathize with the condition of the victims and devise treatment methods that will enable them to live fully and fulfill their true potential.

But in the midst of such grim findings, scientists also sound a note of hope for PTSD patients and their loved ones. According to them, by delving into the pathophysiology of PTSD, they have also realized that the disorder is reversible. The human brain can be re-wired. In fact, drugs and behavioral therapies have been shown to increase the volume of the hippocampus in PTSD patients. The brain is a finely-tuned instrument. It is fragile, but it is heartening to know that the brain also has the amazing capacity to regenerate.

(I would love to get a functional mri of my brain)

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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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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

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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