Posts Tagged ‘Attitude’

PTSD (trauma), Memory and Our “Ego”

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Normal kids have good memories, solid attachments, support.

Abused kids have nightmares for memories. When we close our eyes, we see a real boogie man, our abuser

Even now, at 69, letting my mind wander into memory has awful consequences.

Life is a battle, constantly letting go of bad memories, coming back to this minute.

I can win that battle if my PTSD is inside my window of tolerance.

Twice in my life, when an old trauma exploded, my window of tolerance disappeared. Intrusive thoughts overwhelmed my being for a couple of months.

Memories can trigger our nervous system or support other triggers firing.

Remember, while meditating, we hook up to our divine self, our core, our true self, our soul.

It is the shining light of power for our being.

It is perfect, everyday since birth.

Abused kids, it is our “Ego” that is severely flawed not our true self, our soul.

With my old trauma exploding recently, I see how damaged my “Ego” is.

Subconsciously, he has always felt so unworthy, a failure, unredeemable, to his core.

Much of this is below consciousness and remains there without inner exploration.

I have been unaware of many habits, carrying a damaged “Ego” is my greatest failure.

That is shame!

Since we create our “Ego” my plight is not permanent.

We can change our “Ego”
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Transitions and Mindfulness

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Mindfulness works best with acute awareness. What does that mean?

If your sitting down, bring awareness to your thought of standing up, as you stand up. Bring awareness to the thought of walking, one leg then the other.

Can you notice how your mind works, how a thought precedes action. We can not function with this level of awareness but we need to understand how our mind works.

Our most important transitions are extremely simple and immediate. Any guesses?

The transition from inhale to pause, pause to exhale, exhale to pause and finally pause to inhale, one complete cycle.

These transitions determine many things in life.

Our nervous system is heavily influenced by the cadence, depth and ease with which we breathe.

Remember the brain uses 25% of the bodies oxygen.

Unless we are exercising or excited for a reason, our breath serves us better going slow and deep into our diaphragm.

Another transition for PTSD sufferers is letting go.

Yes transition from trauma thoughts back to this present moment.

This transition helps us heal.

You can learn to meditate or deepen your current practice.

Will you change an old habit or start a new one this year?

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Survival Mode: “The Body Keeps the Score”

Pixabay: Comfreak

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“In other words: If an organism is stuck in survival mode, its energies are focused on fighting off unseen enemies, which leaves no room for nurture, care, and love.

For us humans, it means that as long as the mind is defending itself against invisible assaults, our closest bonds are threatened, along with our ability to imagine, plan, play, learn, and pay attention to other people’s needs.

Darwin also wrote about body-brain connections that we are still exploring today.

Intense emotions involve not only the mind but also the gut and the heart: “Heart, guts, and brain communicate intimately via the ‘pneumogastric’ nerve, the critical nerve involved in the expression and management of emotions in both humans and animals.

When the mind is strongly excited, it instantly affects the state of the viscera; so that under excitement there will be much mutual action and reaction between these, the two most important organs of the body.”

The first time I encountered this passage, I reread it with growing excitement. Of course we experience our most devastating emotions as gut-wrenching feelings and heartbreak.

As long as we register emotions primarily in our heads, we can remain pretty much in control, but feeling as if our chest is caving in or we’ve been punched in the gut is unbearable.

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Chronic Pain: action is needed to cope well

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A triple rollover in a company car changed a healthy productive man into a 100% disabled mess. After multiple fusions, nerve killings and years of physical therapy, I ended up in a 15 person chronic pain group.

My peers had damaged spines, chronic pain and not much of a life. It was depressing to listen to them describe their suffering. They had given up, this was foreign to a former pro jock.

Everyone in group used Benzodiazepines for anxiety and opioids for pain. Out of 15 of us, most were taking between 20 and 40 pills a day, plus an implanted stem or morphine pump.

You can not chase something chronic with a short term pill. Opioids or Benzodiazepines last a few hours at best and then lose strength with repeated use.

Opioids or Benzodiazepines will not solve our pain or anxiety issues, in fact it will complicate them and do damage in the long run.

Hell, I lost my willpower, they had me so sedated.

Something in me, would not let me sit back and be a victim. One day I flushed all my pills down the commode and started hiking. Chronic Pain would be my combative enemy.

I named my pain Mr. P., like Mr C. On Happy Days. Pain is like the wind, invisible but powerful, so I gave my pain physical qualities.

So mid morning, I would battle Mr. P., tell myself he was trying to stop my legs from moving. I would cuss and taunt my pain and laugh at his feeble attempt to stop me from hiking.

I had brought my pain to a platform where I could use my greatest strength, my willpower, the battle for control was engaged.

I wish I could do this with my complex PTSD.

My pain exploded, intensity spiked, I kept moving my legs.

I was not going to live like a zombie on all those meds. Each week I saw others suffering without the will to resist or take action.

I would rather die fighting chronic pain than live a victims existence. So motive was clear and I would give all out effort.

In three weeks of daily hiking, each day my pain became more familiar, less scary, less painful.

In my misguided way, I was going right at my pain, bringing him out to compete, the others showed fear and avoided their pain.

Which way do you think leads to relief?

It never leaves completely, it just takes a seat way in the back of the auditorium.

Overcoming chronic pain was training for the trauma that would explode a little later in life.

Rick, a group member followed me out, started exercising and got off 80% of his opioids.

The difference of those who improve and those who suffer greatly is the ability of some to take action.

Action heals.

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I am two different people

Credit…The Mankato Free Press/Associated Press

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Complex PTSD can cause some to dissociate severely. It is called dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities or DID).

They have a host, themselves and numerous alters or other people inside their head. Some have 16 alters or other people sharing their headspace.

It is like the internal family therapy system but their inside family is real and have names. These alters can be any sex and age, some dominant, some submissive, some angry and a few frightened to death.

Severe sexual abuse endured as a child usually is the cause.

These alters are real inside their heads. DID sufferers have come to my in person mindfulness group .

If you discount their reality, they will never open up to you. The movie Sybil was about a multiple personality. A few DID people actually follow my blog.

The vast majority of abused kids do not have multiple personalities however we have a big dissociation problem.

PTSD has given me a split personality, a hybrid alter, a guy my regular everyday self does not recognize.

My true self was suppressed during my childhood abuse.

My true nature is a easy going extrovert. At work and on athletic fields I have been charismatic, a leader, a prankster and successful.

My PTSD self, is a depressive introvert. Somewhat hypervigilance and uncomfortable around strangers.

This Marty has parts of his personality stuck in childhood. Anger for example was never used by me. My dad would of hurt me more if I showed him anger.

He has low self worth, worries incessantly and spends enormous energy trying to protect Marty from danger (triggers firing).

Trust and love are strangers, unknown to him, awkward feelings for this Marty.

The extrovert Marty wants social contact, lively discussions and inclusion.

The introverted Marty, avoids people, adopts rigid black and white thinking, and starts to isolate from society.

Safety is such a hidden issue for us. I never understood why certain situations felt dangerous at times.

It’s like looking down an alley sensing danger.

Is it real?

PTSD is the unknown in our life.

Some people have physical issues, cancer, etc.,others are born into a narcissist lair.

We all have challenges, life is harsh.

How many different people do you have inside.

Is your PTSD self the same as the regular you?

I would ask which one of these guys is the real me, or am I both.

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We are not Normal: Is that a problem for you?

CT scans belong to children of the same age, you’ll notice that the one on the left is much bigger and has fewer blurred structures than the one on the right. 

This radical difference is not caused by disease or physical injury, it’s actually the result of extreme emotional trauma and neglect.

The image comes from a paper by Professor Bruce D Perry, Chief of Psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital.

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Feeling good about ourselves, in childhood, in early adulthood and old age, never quite crystslizes for us.

We have that void, it is the space in our brain that being hugged, supported and loved accumulated as the base for self worth. That does not exist for us.

Ours never felt safe, instead it spotted danger, in fact imminent danger.

We have an uninvited ghost (childhood PTSD) sabotaging our “Ego” and self worth from inside our 🧠 brain.

From my perspective, all my therapy, all the books I have devoured and all the actual application of my healing skills, highlighted how much different I was from a normal person.

Instead of belonging to a family, feeling safe, secure, we are outcast from the earliest age.

For the rest of our lives, we subconsciously crave to be normal, included, invisible in the midst of our peers.

We never get close.

My joy in this life only came when I gave up the desire to be normal.

Do I have to state the obvious, that is very, very, not normal.

We live the road less 🧳 traveled, not by choice but by the unwanted abuse we endured as kids.

We spend weeks, actually a lifetime looking for inclusion and self worth.

Common man terms, we crave approval and inclusion, we are terrified of betrayal and ridicule.

We covet things that bring us approval.

Sad, none of these things contain what we lack, wellbeing, love, trust, or happiness.

Without great introspection and effort to improve, we suffer until we die.

I have found myself in two groups in my life that I never desired, chronic pain and PTSD.

It is how we accept our fate, then our ability to fight, that determines if we can carve out a small piece of mind.

This blog has given me a platform to finally feel included to a group.

I belong to your group, fellow abused kids trying to figure out trauma and find the courage to continue living.

I see it in the compassion and sharing of feelings in the response section.

This is one of the few places where I am understood and valued.

Thank you for that.

We are very hard to describe or define, we never really know why we feel and act in certain situations.

I need to work on forgiving myself everyday, it is that stream of guilt that runs underground inside us that haunts me.

Funny, when I am most vulnerable, seemingly in victim mode, sharing my weaknesses, is when my followers have given me a cyber hug.

For me, I have received more kindness on this blog than from real life.

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I do not have to win: I do have to fight with every fiber

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Learning how to endure my chronic pain prepared me for my battle with PTSD.

I learned to use my strengths, adapt any solution around them.

Instead of sitting quietly in the middle of 14 other chronic pain patients, my path hit the fork in the road.

I was not going to be a victim and let chronic pain and 25 pills a day take my willpower.

I threw my opioids away and started hiking.

When my childhood trauma (PTSD) exploded, my second big challenge in life, entered my world with violence.

Sitting in the middle of ptsd firing, focused on my breath was a similar journey as chronic pain.

As with chronic pain, I did not avoid it, I brought it out to compete. I used hiking as the vehicle to crack my pain.

For trauma, meditation was my magical sword.

It takes daily action and repetition to heal. You can outwork trauma. You can recite an affirmation every time an intrusive thought gains consciousness.

Thinking did not heal my ptsd or calm my chronic pain.

Thinking is by far, not the power of our mind.

Our cognitive engine, our left hemisphere is a beach ball, in the Pacific Ocean, our creative, expansive right hemisphere.

Healing is far more doing and far less thinking.

I meditated five hours a day for five years.

Doubt and worry were met with increased effort.

I had determined to outwork ptsd.

I do not always win that battle.

But I fight

And the fight is more important than healing, or winning.

Not many understand that last sentence

You have to be there and lived it.

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Trust, is it possible for seriously abused kids.

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I am just realizing some of my habits were created from childhood trauma.

My Childhood was void of trust, it was a violent struggle for a little boy to survive. No attachments were created with my parents, I hated my father, my abuser.

After leaving the household for college, the first person I trusted betrayed me in a horrendous way.

Consequences: Life was much better not trusting people, being dependent on myself, especially when a crisis occurred.

How do you trust after a childhood where I was brutalized emotionally and physically until I left that house?

Childhood did not turn out ok, I was severely damaged and isolated from healthy connections to my peers. I was not allowed to dilute my father’s control with having close friends and a girlfriend was forbidden.

My brain lacked social skills to trust and bond with the group.

Do I cry about lacking, become a victim or do I learn to live without people’s help. That answer is quite obvious.

PTSD is an irrational disorder, we make decisions in survival mode that do not work in normal life. Things are extremely distorted inside our damaged brains.

How does a person like me get to therapy and then trust a therapist?

Trust is a shallow connection to another for me. I just realized how sad this is.

How do we trust on a deep level?

My only touch I received in childhood was getting beat. That does not promote trust or closeness.

Who do you call?

69 years of not trusting is a big mountain!

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“The mind uses the brain to make the mind.”

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“Mental activity and neural activity thus affect each other.

Causes flow both ways, from the mind into the brain….and from the brain into the mind.

The mind and brain are two distinct aspects, integrated system.

As the interpersonal neurobiologist Dan Siegel summarizes it,

The mind uses the brain to make the mind.”

From Rick Hanson

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My two cents: The brain can be seen, touched, the mind can not.

The more we learn how the mind operates, the more our path towards happiness is illuminated.

I have found myself lost, off my spiritual journey.

Now, my path switches to building my concentration intensely, hooking up with that spiritual Marty, the one with much less Ego and much more gratitude and giving.

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Looking back, assessing the arduous journey

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For some of us abuse started around five, way before a little mind had developed. I did not have the skills to even discern it was abuse. Criticism replaced encouragement, achievement was expected not rewarded.

I thought everyone was raised like me. Perfection was demanded of all kids and met with harsh physical punishment when it was not attained.

Fear, anxiety and a stomach that ached and was prone to vomiting often followed me. Never figured out, it was my abuse that was the culprit. My nervous system was in survival mode quite often.

Everyday life had real danger, verbal threats, physical harm and suffering.

I was shocked to find other kids had a much different experience.

They could not relate to me and I sure as hell had no idea what love, support and kindness looked like. I did not fit in at home or school.

Looking back, it seemed I needed to suffer a tremendous amount in my life before death would grace my door.

One of the biggest joys of my life was healing (improving) the first time.

For two years life was free of intense anxiety and suffering.

At 68, I see I fought a lifetime to earn two short years. But those two years meant everything to me, a magnificent triumph.

Now another trauma has returned and upset the delicate balance between suffering and being free.

In spite of my plight, I meditate and practice as hard as ever.

For my life, I had to find some peace of mind, some happiness in my ability to endure my suffering and not slack off my effort.

That was happiness for me.

Happiness is much different for me than normal kids.

I have gratitude because I know other kids had it much worse than me.

Self pity is something I loathe and rarely practice.

This recent trauma has clarified why I am like I am.

It was not easy to sit and accept everything about myself.

How about your journey and challenges?

Never give up, never give in.

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