Posts Tagged ‘avoidance’

PTSD: what havoc has a year of Quarantine produced?

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Having a compromised immune system, contracting covid could of been fatal for me. I have already experienced two viral immune diseases, chronic fatigue and guillian beret, actually being paralyzed for three months.

With Covid, people presented a real danger to my health, combine that with my irrational childhood triggers, and you have a big mess.

In a way quarantine was the symptom of avoidance being enforced culturally. Since my PTSD erupted over a decade ago, some form of avoidance has always been present.

At my low points avoidance turned into agoraphobia. Now, I am close to agoraphobic again.

Five months into this quarantine an old trauma broke loose and entered my consciousness, my dormant childhood PTSD fired back up.

I enjoyed an almost symptom free period of two plus years. Yes I thought total healing was possible. Now I am at a low point again.

Childhood PTSD presents a calculation for every social situation, risk versus reward, suffering versus wellbeing.

There is no clear cut answer, no right thing to do. Therapy says we need community, attachment, I rarely have felt either.

Some risks turn into damage and suffering, some turn into a pleasant experience.

All risk contains anxiety and suffering for me. Many risks have turned out badly and made further risks unlikely.

My daughter is disappointed that her father, the type A driver, the highly motivated and active man has disappeared.

I am wondering how I kept pushing through my trauma, how I persevered in the midst of emotional turmoil.

It’s hard when we do not live up to expectations from those around us.

I feel shame for how compromised PTSD has made my life, my behavior.

Enjoying life is so far out of reach, I would plead just to be out of suffering.

In the midst of all this, I am venturing out today, going to the coast with a friend, to an aquarium.

Exposure therapy was over for me years ago, now life repeats itself.

Childhood trauma is the gift that keeps on giving, it never dies.

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PTSD can lead to addictions

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Chasing pleasure exclusively, leads to addiction. Whether it be food, alcohol, drug, sex , approval or power, it ends the same way.

Avoiding suffering, pain, and PTSD also leads to addiction.

It is a different addiction, avoiding actually grows suffering, pain and PTSD.

Our actions are aimed at wellbeing and happiness but our lack of perspective dooms us.

I avoided my triggers, situations, people and events that caused me pain. It had the opposite impact.

We all have witnessed an alcoholic or addict that denies he/she has an issue.

Look how far chasing pleasure or avoiding suffering can take us.

Do we not know that chasing pleasure only lasts a short time.

Any desire we satisfy does not last long.

That is the issue, the greatest meal in the world ends in hunger after 8 hours.

One meal, one hit of a drug, or one wild sexual fling lasts how long.

We do get temporary pleasure and maybe a residual smile with a later memory, but it does not satisfy anything today.

Avoiding suffering caused me to be agoraphobic for six months, trapped in my garage, unable to go out in public.

PTSD people need perspective and balance.

As always awareness is paramount.

Happy healing.

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A viewer asks a great question. I reference Top Gun and the Danger Zone

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=siwpn14IE7E

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“I do a lot to avoid seeing my trauma in my head. I turn away from thoughts and images. However what I can’t drop are the body sensations. They come on like a steam roller and leave me exhausted and sometimes frozen. When the therapy session is too much & I’m outside my WOT (window of tolerance) it’s not good. There’s too much suffering and not enough healing.”

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My two cents: There is a fine line between letting go and avoiding trauma thoughts.

Avoiding is a symptom of PTSD, I ended up agoraphobic for six months. I was really good at avoiding my trauma.

Suffering intensified, my body sensations became unbearable, so I avoided even more. It is a vicious cycle

We dissociate (leave this present moment) continually in this dysfunctional circle.

I lived outside my window of tolerance for years because of dissociating and avoiding my triggers, life.

Solution: We must experience our trauma thoughts, observe our body sensations (trauma) without judgment or cognition.

I had to feel my emotional trauma in its entirety before it would release and fade away.

No way around our trauma exists, only suffering down that road.

A pill, a therapist, distraction or avoidance powers PTSD.

Our symptoms increase as does the time we spend outside our window of tolerance.

This is important: What we do when PTSD is at its apex, it’s most powerful and scariest point, decides if we heal.

Until I built the courage and focus skills to sit quietly and observe my body sensations when my fight or flight mechanism fired, I had no chance of healing.

PTSD powers itself when we are out of our window of tolerance.

Think of the movie Top Gun and the song Danger Zone.

We are in the danger zone when our ptsd is out of control, outside our window of tolerance.

We can not run or avoid our trauma and heal, bottom line.

Each time we avoid, PTSD becomes a little more unknown and scary to us. The unknown can haunts us.

PTSD does not need to be any more power or fear, especially because we avoided it.

Our fear grows. Our priority is to decrease our fear so we can do the work of healing.

Takes daily practice, takes trying and failing many times without giving up.

That was my experience anyway.

Hope this helps. I was the king of avoidance and suffered.

Learn from my mistakes.

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