Posts Tagged ‘AWARENESS’

A Crooked Path

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For a decade, in therapy, working to heal from childhood therapy, I improved, however PTSD still thrived.

On my own, I meditated, worked diligently to let go and create a healthy, worthy “Ego”.

I got stuck when a terrible betrayal resurfaced. That me felt shamed and worthless.

My spiritual teacher addressed this issue for me. She pointed out being raised in toxic masculinity, being a real man (Ego) defined me.

We are never responsible for others behavior, but toxic masculinity gives us rigid guidelines of behavior.

Instead of creating a new “Ego”, which never worked for me, she told me to just throw this old one away.

Know that young Marty assumed a flawed mask of strength and power, which brought weakness and fear.

Your suffering is tied to this rigid “Ego”.

Throwing away an “Ego” that existed from my earliest memories is so soothing for my being.

This small adjustment feels like freedom, a huge burden has melted away.

How can such a small shift make this big of an impact?

We never know what will make a difference. Hopeless and helpless have disappeared

Now, let’s see if this lasts and another impediment is removed.

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The male Ego and Trauma

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My insecurities living up to the male ego my father demanded, caused so much anxiety and fear.

Being a man meant never showing weakness, hiding emotions and being prepared to respond to any threat with force.

I was not the man of my father wishes, I was far from the alpha male, superstar he envisioned.

Navigating life was difficult, failure lurked around every corner. Worry and fear of failure entered my mind at every turn.

I could not be seen as weak, never could back down, and my nervous system and stomach bore the brunt of living like this.

All that fear of failure made an anxious, scared boy.

My spiritual teacher pointed out this toxic masculinity, said it was a prison of my own construct.

I see that finally. My dad was not a brave man, never went to bars or fought another man, he was a giant beating my ass half to death.

He wanted me to be the man he never was. That is extremely sad, his weaknesses caused my trauma.

All that suffering, and most of my trauma happened to that toxic “Ego”, the man I was supposed to be.

I find that it is easy for me to let that toxic “Ego” go, release it and all trauma it collected.

It is like a big weight has lifted for a couple of days.

Moral of story: I have been suffering lately and it has felt helpless, but we never give up, this is part of our journey, our challenge.

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My Spiritual Teacher poses questions for me

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My spiritual teacher says, my “Ego” did his job extremely well and helped me survive childhood. Wow.

Thank him and soothe him, do not battle and interrogate him.

She talks about our divine masculine and feminine sides.

Funny, she says my feminine side is active, look at my empathy not repeating what my dad did to me. Interesting concept.

Had to digest those words for a while.

Maybe having the abuse I endured through childhood, gave me a better life than being in another environment. Her words bring ideas I have never imagined.

I realize all my PTSD symptoms are directly related to my “Ego”.

If I meditate, focus intently, my PTSD goes away, along with my “Ego” for a while.

My era is filled with toxic masculinity, a denial of emotions being thought of as strength.

That adds up to a flawed “Ego”, an intolerant, angry, anxious guy.

I need to filter my “Ego” through my heart. Cleanse it of the damage it accumulated navigating through childhood trauma.

Rarely, if at all, has therapy addressed my heart.

When the heart is in observer role, we are at a deeper, spiritual level.

This all resonates with me.

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A follower Rudid96 asks about the See-Saw quality of PTSD

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The see-saw quality of PTSD: Traumas ability to enter our consciousness when he/she feels like it.

PTSD demonstrates separate qualities, a stand alone power source and a tight relationship with our negative emotions.

My image of PTSD is a roller coaster, a big, tall monster of a ride.

In real life my lows are much deeper than the highs.

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The highs are always guarded, not trusting what the world has in store next.

Explanation: In childhood I had no control, no impact on what would happen to me.

Life since childhood carries that harmful unknown, out there, just beyond my visual reach.

Our traumatized mind scours the future incessantly looking to avoid more damage.

Such a waste of time, it happens automatically without directed thought from me.

My behavior has never caused my trauma, so I had no control over the outcome of my PTSD.

My personality was hard wired feeling like this..

When Trauma erupts, ignoring it is quite impossible, so we either avoid it or work to improve it.

This dominates life, I avoided, hiding in my dark garage, the only flaw was bringing my traumatized 🧠 brain with me.

I isolated physically for six months, my trauma filled brain (mind) still dominated life, if I was alone or amongst 30,000.

Back to basics, accept and try to release, exercise to deplete the cortisol or meditate.

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I have read that trauma (PTSD, C-PTSD) is an unfinished play

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I have read that trauma (PTSD, C-PTSD) is an unfinished play, it has a beginning and a middle but lacks an ending, closure.

Maybe this is why some horrific events never die inside us.

Cognitively we search to understand why, sometimes how, and always look to escape the unescapable, our past.

Similar to our childhoods, escape was impossible, mine was a prison without bars.

From my earliest childhood I have never felt calm, safe or worthy.

I was very accomplished and physically powerful, all that was a facade.

In my mind, I thought certain accomplishments could bring me joy, wellbeing.

Chasing anything external will not lesson PTSD’s impact.

The demon lives inside us, no one else has access.

Others can help but our path to improve is inward, and intuitive.

I have helped a few improve from PTSD, my involvement was technique, experience, tools, direction and enthusiasm, they did the work on their own.

In times like this, when nothing seems to work, when the mind churns up the thought, this is hopeless, we need to keep our activity and determination filled with energy and action.

I have felt hopeless, helpless many times on my journey, this is the time we find out if we do have courage.

As long as we do not quit in our lowest moments, do not give up, we will survive.

The world will never see what trauma has done to our minds.

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Reflections

Pixabay: sasint

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My daughter says I try to do things heroically at times.

That stung!

Instead of just healing, I ran a mindfulness group and a blog. Does she have a point, some truth in her statement.

I am guilty, oh my.

In the chronic pain group of 15, I threw my pills away and started hiking uphill strenuously. My therapist thought that was dramatic.

Maybe so, but it worked and I helped one other quit most of his meds, the rest suffered miserably.

Wow am I a drama king?

I do not apologize for my actions there. How many chronic pain patients quit their pain killers on their own?

Not many.

When I was paralyzed from guillian beret, in pain, in rehab, I refused to pace myself. They always preached, do not overtrain.

I said no, you have no idea where overtraining was at.

Arrogant as hell, I said I am an ex pro athlete and a meditator, I am different.

That embarrasses me, such arrogance, it is how athletes compete beyond their abilities.

I did their routine and then put my legs under the biggest load they could handle.

From being told I would be paralyzed, in that wheelchair a minimum of one, maybe two years, needing special chairs and nurses, ten days later I took three steps.

They were surprised. I told them if my upper legs fired, the rest of my body would follow. It happened.

To me this was not heroic. They put me in a gym, called it physical therapy, with an important goal, my life, and nothing else to occupy my mind.

Many of my peers, pro athletes could have done the same thing. We are trained to handle a load like this.

I am excellent at physical challenges, PTSD is my kryptonite.

Our greatest challenges come from our weaknesses people.

This one is kicking my ass lately.

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Observing my mind::::::::::::Patterns

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Observing my mind during morning meditation, using that space between me and the thoughts, I saw my mind’s pattern.

Before meditating, an email bill from Comcast was double a normal month, my mind engaged automatically.

Ten minutes later focused on the breath, my mind added many trauma worries from the past, emotionally charged events, then I saw my survival mode from a distance.

Subconsciously my mind has always hunted for danger, things that would worry me. My father raised me with violent criticism, he never said a kind word.

I had to know where he was, what mood he was in and make sure I did not do anything to disappoint him.

He wanted perfection, a cold narcissist, fear was my closest companion.

This explains the depth of what I am trying to modify. I would be frustrated if Healing was expected to be easy or quick.

Meditation has allowed me to observe my mind from a distance, I watch my thoughts and patterns at times.

It is scary, depressing to admit or write it down to share.

A decade of therapy has helped me improve, but my mind has always functioned in a hybrid survival mode.

When my complex PTSD is active, survival mode is intense, spotting danger gets the highest clearance. Looking back, I lived in some form of survival mode everyday.

Even when things were going well, feeling some happiness, I was on guard, never trusting life fully. That is difficult to write and know it is true.

I strive to change this everyday.

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Can Trauma Be Passed Down From One Generation to the Next? There’s some pretty strong evidence that parental trauma, like extreme stress (we’re looking right at you coronavirus) can alter how genes are passed down.

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Karina Margit Erdelyi:

We are living in strange times, with much of the world under quarantine for the novel coronavirus—and that’s precisely the kind of stress that may impact future offspring according to some scientists.A growing body of research suggests that trauma (like from extreme stress or starvation among many other things) can be passed from one generation to the next.

Here’s how: Trauma can leave a chemical mark on a person’s genes, which can then be passed down to future generations. This mark doesn’t cause a genetic mutation, but it does alter the mechanism by which the gene is expressed. This alteration is not genetic, but epigenetic. 

We spoke with Dr. Chris Mason, Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, with appointments at the Tri-Institutional Program in Computational Biology and Medicine between Cornell, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University, and Director of the Mason Lab. He shared that epigenetics, in simplified terms, is the study of the biological control mechanisms of DNA—the light switches that turn genes on or off. What does that mean? In essence: epigenetics control how or why your genes are expressed.”

What would have seemed preposterous 20 years ago has become a fast-emerging field of study. Today the idea that a person’s experience could alter their biology, and behavior of their children and grandchildren has gained serious traction. Animal and some smaller human studies have shown that exposure to stressors like immense stress or cold can trigger metabolic changes in subsequent generations—and we may just be living in such a time as we grapple with the mounting COVID-19 crisis.

So, What Exactly Are These Epigenetic Studies?

Differences among groups who had gone through extreme physical and psychological stress, like Holocaust survivors, those who were born to parents who lived through “The Dutch Hunger Winter,” and sons of Confederate prisoner-of-war soldiers in the American Civil War, all make the case the most clearly, but they’re not the whole picture. There has also been a lot of work in the lab focused on this phenomenon, and that work really accelerated after The Human Genome Project (HGP) was completed in 2003. Here’s a look at what scientists have learned from both case studies and experiments.

How Extreme Situations Have Impacted Offspring

Mason shared that the field of epigenetics gained real traction about a decade ago, when scientists published seminal research on the Dutch Hunger Winter, an extended period of famine that took place towards the end of World War II when the Nazis blocked food supplies in October 1944, thrusting much of the Netherlands into famine. When the Dutch were liberated in May 1945, more than 20,000 had died of starvation. Pregnant women were particularly vulnerable; and the famine impacted the unborn children for the rest of their lives.

Scientists found that those who had been in utero during the famine were a few pounds heavier than average. (The thinking goes that the mothers, because they were starving, automatically quieted a gene in their unborn children involved in burning the body’s fuel.) When the children reached middle age, they had higher LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They also suffered higher rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and schizophrenia. When scientists looked into why, they found that these children carried a specific chemical mark—an epigenetic signature—on one of their genes.

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Dr. Rachel Yehuda, Director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, conducted a 2015 study on the children of 40 Holocaust survivors.  She found that they had epigenetic changes to a gene linked to their levels of cortisol, a hormone involved in the stress response. She also found a distinctive pattern of DNA methylation, another epigenetic marker. The study concluded that both parents and unborn children were affected on a genetic level.

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Yogi Berra explains awareness

Yogi Berra during the 1960 World Series – photo Marvin E. Newman

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“You observe a lot by watching.”

He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.” – 

Yogi Berra

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PTSD: Revenge or Forgiveness?

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For me, intrusive thoughts are the big issue living with PTSD.

Once a trauma memory gets rolling all the negative emotions engulf us. 

One of my weaknesses is wanting revenge, wanting my abusers to pay a price, basic human nature.

This has not worked out well, actually it has damaged me more, made me suffer.

Forgiveness has been difficult, I have many harshly held resentments for the damage done to me.

This is the essence of PTSD for me now.

My PTSD has become a hybrid form since many of my traumas have been integrated or partially healed.

How much time my intrusive thoughts spend in my consciousness determines the outcome of everyday.

For that reason my mantra, I forgive everyone for everything they have done to harm me, was shortened.

I made the acronym FEE, Forgive Everyone Everything.

When an intrusive thought invades my space, immediately the acronym FEE appears followed by forgive everyone everything. 

FORGIVE EVERYONE EVERYTHING……FORGIVE EVERYONE EVERYTHING…….FORGIVE EVERYONE EVERYTHING…..FORGIVE EVERYONE EVERYTHING.

Am I a little OCD?

Repetition till it’s reflexive and intuitive makes our acronym much more effective.

Know your mind, it’s patterns and habits intimately.

When intrusive thoughts are broken, the emotions attached do not get a chance to draw me in.

This is a war between me and my PTSD, who will dominate my thoughts is the ultimate winner.

I healed the first time by not thinking about my father or my abuse.

So far it has helped clear my day of some of traumas turmoil.

Anything we can do to stay present, to stop dissociating, leaving this moment to ruminate, bodes well for us.

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