Posts Tagged ‘Anxiety’

Our mind does not work the same when PTSD is active.

https://themighty.com/u/mrpositive/

I was force fed Lima beans once a week, I puked them, then got beat with a big paddle he drilled holes in to hurt me more.

Never have touched a Lima bean since childhood.

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Our mind does not work the same when PTSD is active.

Anxiety and fear switch the minds mode of operation.

A calm, safe environment has our mind relaxed, open and maybe looking for opportunity, we can think quickly and clearly.

A PTSD mind can spot imminent danger in a second, activating our defense mechanism.

A PTSD sufferer has practiced over and over his/her reaction to trauma, paved a highway to survival mode, becoming best friends with avoidance.

Our mind becomes confused, pressured by anxiety drugs as fear spikes, trying to escape at all costs.

Our mind panics, cognitive functions almost stop, fine motor skills are gone, tunnel vision ensues.

Severe cases mimic near death experiences.

PTSD fear is the worst fear we can imagine, it has the ability to fire our fight or flight mechanism 15 times a day.

The drugs are real, the PTSD is abstract and subjective to us and lives only inside our mind.

The drugs stopped secreting the first time I healed.

Now instead of my fight or flight exploding, my mood changes, spotted and pointed out by those close to me.

My abuse, now at 69, still impacts my daily existence.

It is humbling, frustrating and full of guilt when my PTSD upsets those closest to me.

Hard to not hold anger at our abusers.

There is no wand or pill or quick solution for violent childhood abuse.

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PTSD was a Submarine, out of site, stealthy

https://pixabay.com/users/conmongt-1226108/

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PTSD was a submarine for me until my mid 50’s, stealthy, out of sight, right below the surface of consciousness.

There were no flashbacks, triggers firing, or any visible confirmation I was suffering from PTSD.

Oh a trained therapist would have spotted my PTSD easily!

The sad thing about my trauma being hidden, it grew in power, unnoticed as it impacted critical parts of my wellbeing.

Vital parts of my wellbeing were severely damaged and not working for decades.

One of my major deficiencies was my ability to trust and feel good enough, worthy.

In childhood, my narcissistic father tried to take over my being, live through me, since I came into his life unexpectedly when he was 16.

I took his childhood so he repaid the favor, he never said a kind word to me, never letting me feel comfortable was his goal.

He thought it would make me a better baseball player, his ultimate goal.

So that narcissist owned me, treated me as an it, I was his pit bull he took in a cage to the fight.

My value was totally contained in my performance, showing his peers his coaching talent.

Some would call this conditioned love, that is a misnomer, there was no love, only a narcissist cold ownership of his first male child.

How do you explain love to an abused child like this?

Love is something I do not pine for, being able to trust would be nice.

I wonder if my father has any remorse being dead now, looking down or up at me.

Lots of thoughts haunt us, what is real and what is trauma?

Is there love, trust and loyalty out there?

I was birthed into violent abuse and criticism.

Love and trust are strangers to me.

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PTSD fears: avoid or face?

27 Deep Dark Fears That Will Make Your Skin Crawl

Animator Fran Krause

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We can not be afraid of our pain, of our triggers, of our thoughts, unless we can still take action and face them.

In the beginning I was petrified of triggers firing violently, albeit I was frozen, paralyzed with the biggest jolt of cortisol ever experienced.

Showing very little courage describes the first couple of months when trauma exploded. Hell, I did not understand anything about PTSD or how it worked.

It took time to face my fears, but my meditation practice headed directly at the center of my abuse. My meditation practice worked like a big auger, whatever sludge trapped inside was going to come up in due time.

Exposure therapy became one of the bravest things I repeatedly practiced every week.

Real courage is taking action in the face of our PTSD fears. Have you ever faced your PTSD fears?

I was scared to death, the monster inside is powerful and invisible to others, so my words fall on ears that do not understand.

You have to face these PTSD fears to get better.

No pill is going to do it.

I would run into a person suffering from PTSD who was desperate.

They had hit bottom, the decision to take action had been made.

Their current life was unacceptable, all they needed were tools and direction.

Please be desperate, everyday PTSD rules your life, it grows more powerful.

You can take action in the face of your fears.

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A technique using a large Circle, a big Zero 0

https://pixabay.com/users/analogicus-8164369/

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Find a quiet spot, focus on the breath intently, slow way down, calm your being.

After the body calms, Visualize an enormous circle in front of you.

Bring all awareness to your body sensations, be extremely sensitive, explore the inner world.

Now let your trauma thoughts and feelings have an audience.

We are just observing them from a short distance. Next start filling the big circle, that zero with your trauma.

Every exhale, shovel some more inside the ⭕️ circle, all the worry, doubt, humiliation, loss and unworthiness we carry like an anchor.

When you have shoveled all you can, every exhale moves the circle farther away as it begins to shrink.

In a couple of minutes the circle is so far away, it looks like a period.

Do you notice any change?

We are trying to build some space, some distance between us and our trauma, between stimulus and response in waking life.

Remember, it takes repetition to handle trauma, to enjoy wellbeing.

My Wednesday meditation group leader, Cam, introduced this technique today.

I adapted it to trauma, fill that ⭕️ circle, it is like a door, an opening to jettison our PTSD.

Being able to focus on the breath and visualize things has helped me get better.

As usual, new things are awkward and we are not very good at it in the beginning.

You can do all this in private, avoidance is a big symptom.

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3 tools for calming the nervous system

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I know of three ways of depleting cortisol and adrenaline.

First is our diet, what we eat and how much body fat around our belly is influenced by our cortisol levels. Certain foods help deplete cortisol.

Second tool is Slowing the breath, focusing intently, activates our parasympathetic nervous system, applies the brakes.

This calms us, settles us down and lowers cortisol and adrenaline. It’s called meditation, it has many variations.

The third way is purely physical, aerobic exercise works like a charm.

Aerobic exercise to near failure works like a miracle. Start slow and adapt, then build up so you can exert maximum energy.

We have to want to heal more than any desire we entertain. I have never read that in any psychology book.

Therapy and my two therapists, one in San Diego then another in Eugene , helped me on my journey. I was encouraged to explore and try new things outside therapy.

Aerobic exercise and meditation were my two most valuable skills. Being a former pro jock, aerobic exercise was easy for me.

All my friends doubted I could ever meditate, I was always amped up, excitable and kind of high strung.

Do not let other people’s judgments rule our behavior. We get lost and run over by others because we are different, stay strong and try like hell in the face of worry and doubt.

I laughed at my friends, you think focusing on the spin of a baseball while hitting with 25,000 screaming fans can not be turned internally.

For a jock, being told we can not do something, is not something you want to bet against.

When my mind was frozen from trauma, my legs could still move and my willpower drove me to exhaustion.

Mechanically I can calm my body completely down.

We can not separate our mind from our body, they work as one.

There are many skills or tools we can learn to improve.

Yesterday, I started hiking to exhaustion again.

It’s half mental and half physical. It builds willpower.

How bad do you want to heal?

What is your level of commitment, are you in a little, a medium involvement or are you all in.

Intensity is a necessity for optimum results.

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An abused childhood brain

Pixabay: Anemone123

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There are events that change a life forever, the winner of the harmful events, trauma.

Can you think of the time before your trauma? How did your mind function? You have experienced the mind without trauma, remember back and mimic that experience.

You have a much better chance at healing than a kid abused throughout childhood.

For childhood trauma, many never knew a time without abuse, their minds were always in some form of survival mode.

We have to watch healthy people live or read books about what a mind without serious abuse feels like.

My childhood PTSD did not explode until my mid fifties, but I always had symptoms.

I was puking by the time high school arrived, my stomach and nervous system had PTSD symptoms. There was no safe place for me at school and especially at home.

Of course I hid any weakness from my father, I was terrified by that monster.

My anxiety levels were off the chart, there was no escape.

I have no idea what a mind without serious childhood abuse feels like. My mind never fully relaxes, ever, he is always on guard, always somewhat hyper vigilant.

Trust is something I tried once, it turned out to be the worst event of my life. We are terrible at picking a mate that is trustworthy.

I have read that we are incapable of having a healthy relationship, I finally agree. It is a consequence beyond our control, we did not ask to be abused as children.

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Navigating life with PTSD active

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My PTSD has come alive again with a repressed memory. How do I navigate life until this new trauma is integrated?

For most of us, PTSD either survives our healing efforts or there is much more trauma below the surface.

How do we live life until we heal? How do we respond to our trauma, do we avoid going near anything that feels dangerous?

I sure did for a long time. PTSD got much worse avoiding.

At my worst, agoraphobic for six months, I started a weekly exposure therapy. I would pick one day a week and go out and face my triggers.

The emotionally tainted fear was palpable, my resistance acute, it felt extremely dangerous. Part of PTSD’s irrational nature, it is an invisible battle inside our body and mind.

What is real and what is trauma? I do not have an answer for that, I am way to close.

Looking back, it took enormous courage to face mundane, neutral situations other people take for granted.

Where others see opportunity for attachment, we see danger.

How do we act like normal people who feel no danger, no anxiety? I have never pulled it off when my PTSD was active.

Even if I had the courage to practice exposure therapy, I was a mess, anxious and guarded the whole time.

My mind could hardly think, it was scouting for imminent danger instead, confused and nervous.

A few minutes felt like an hour, I was heading right at my trauma fears, the opposite of avoidance.

All of this is invisible to everyone around us. It is a lonely journey until we improve.

Afterward, I was euphoric, in the face of PTSD fear, I had triumphed. A small victory, but a vital one.

For me and for you, we must find the courage to face our trauma fears or we will suffer.

I focus on improving, healing is to large a concept for us.

Work to improve a little each day, healing is so much bigger an animal. Keep it simple.

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Looking back on the Week

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Description of this week: There is an internal war going on, battles are intermittent but intense.

My moods can switch instantly, the morose part brings many emotions, seemingly before thought even starts. Remember the defense mechanism fires immediately, the cognitive side is 5 seconds delayed.

PTSD triggers fire our defense mechanism, called our fight or flight mechanism. This is part of the mechanical, physical side of trauma. Think of that, a trigger fires before directed thought even knows what the hell just happened.

I have eliminated this repressed trauma three times, gaining some freedom for a few days, then it appears again. With my childhood trauma, once a piece was integrated, my improvement lasted.

So part of my day is good, part horrible and then the rest spent distracting my mind.

I have to play solitaire while I watch 📺 tv, it takes two things like this to prevent my mind from ruminating. Having chronic pain and being 69, I do not have the energy to go back to my workaholic distraction.

Much of my adult life, I see now, was spent working or being busy, overloaded to outrun what was chasing me. Spending time alone with my mind was avoided at all costs. Sound familiar?

Fear is not a big part of my PTSD lately, humiliation and shame are far more dangerous and debilitating.

Humiliation and shame have a huge impact on unworthiness.

Childhood abuse brings anxiety, fear and unworthiness at its core. Unworthiness and abandonment were my big fears as a child.

I was going to get beat severely no matter what.

I feared, but never cried, giving that son of a bitch (dad) any satisfaction.

Even as a little kid, there was a apart of me that would not let him think he could hurt me.

That’s hilarious now as he has stolen most of my adult life. I was using my only strength against him, sadly it was not enough.

It was the emotional crap that carried on inside. We all have strengths and weaknesses.

I can endure pain, unworthiness and shame are my weaknesses. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

For me going after the physical part of PTSD first, was using my strengths. I needed to take as much power away from PTSD before I attacked my weaknesses.

Common sense for me, comes from pro ball, how to improve and fill in your weaknesses.

It’s called the off season.

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PTSD: a mental illness?

This Pinterest poster made me uncomfortable, so I used it.

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“Trauma disorders are mental illnesses that are caused by traumatic experiences or significant stress.”

https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/trauma-disorders/

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My two cents: I believe serious childhood abuse is a significant mental illness.

Many harsh connotations for people with mental illnesses.

Hell, I have always been different than all the rest, why change now.

There is an internal war going on, battles are intermittent but intense.

Hard to ignore triggers firing, hypervigilance and intrusive thoughts.

It’s like warring with yourself, any wound harms both participants.

See how irrational PTSD can be.

Does admitting we have a mental illness, help us?

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More Suffering (PTSD style)

Pixabay: kalhh

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We not only avoid triggers, people and situations, but suffering.


There are many kinds of suffering, many different intensities and durations involved.

In a normal life situation, avoiding suffering is a basic skill.


We do not put our hand in the flame on the gas stove or jump off a roof.


PTSD bring a longer, more insidious kind of suffering.

PTSD suffering is repetitive, pain is mixed with emotionally charged fear and trauma.


PTSD uses our defense mechanism to scare us, firing our fight or flight mechanism, turning our nervous system into our personal terrorist.

This suffering is not physical as a broken leg, and does not heal anything like a broken bone.


PTSD has a big physical dimension using strong fear drugs and bodily functions to prepare us for a lethal threat.

We can see that PTSD suffering has the ability to last a lifetime.

I have had many, many injuries playing professional sports, they pail in comparison to childhood PTSD.


So how do we handle the suffering PTSD brings us?

Our first reaction is to avoid suffering at all costs.

With PTSD it does not work.

It’s similar to chasing pleasure, which seems like a good strategy until it ends in addiction.


Trying to avoid suffering, being afraid to experience my suffering made it worse.

How do we change human nature and accept our suffering.

For me this idea came forward.

If We have to suffer, we will suffer trying to heal.

In that sentence there is no avoidance or fear dealing with my suffering.


If you try to heal, your suffering will increase before it will release.

The old adage, no pain no gain seems to fit perfectly here.

If you fear your suffering PTSD will get much worse.
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