Posts Tagged ‘AWARENESS’

Part 1: Dysfunctional Households or Adult Children of Alcoholics: The Inner Drugstore

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Inner Drug Store:

“For every emotion we feel, a corresponding biochemical substance is automatically released in our bodies.

Think about how the felt sense of anger is different from the felt sense of calm or amusement.

Especially for those of us who have trouble connecting with our bodies or our emotions, these chemical changes may happen below our level of awareness.

But they still happen.

The inner drug store is not all bad.

There are bottles of joy, peacefulness, and spirituality to name a few.

But we Adult Children often gravitate toward the drugs of negative excitement.

Growing up in dysfunctional households, our everyday state can become one of hypervigilance.

Am I safe?

What mood is Mom in?

We walk on eggshells trying to be invisible.

Dad’s car just pulled in the driveway, is he drunk?

We scan the house for things that might anger him and quickly try to neutralize them.”
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My two cents: My life has an abundance of hypervigilance like other abused kids, we grew up living in fear.

Yes, my fight or flight fired violently in the beginning but calmed with practice.

Meditation practice tells us to notice where emotions manifest inside our bodies.

Mine are located in my solar plexus or gut area for the most part.

I yearn for calm, for the constant feeling of upset to disappear.

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A blanket of Darkness

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PTSD feels like a heavy weight, a dark blanket of sadness.

A force applying pressure downward numbing my being.

When my symptoms momentarily subside, I feel lightness return.

I notice the difference, the feeling, the emotional freedom.

I have worked hard to heal, and to be aware of my symptoms traits, strengths, and weaknesses.

When PTSD and depression are active, my waking hours are filled with turmoil, anxiety, and danger.

Desire and opportunity disappear from consciousness, we return to some form of survivor mode.

Survivor mode shuts down parts of the brain, some executive functions while activating our defense mechanism.

Survival replaces desire. Or maybe our greatest desire is to survive above all other desires.

Desire needs a safe place to exist.

PTSD never feels safe to us.

After childhood, we do not trust the world, we fear what may happen to us next.

Maybe this is why we lack direction, confidence, and self-worth.

Survival mode has no direction, it is best used sparingly for a crisis.

Daily use is terrible for our health and emotional sanity.
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PTSD: Changes are happening

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My PTSD symptoms have spiked, and an intense change has happened in the last 10 days.

My stomach and solar plexus remain tight and agitated.

My sense of danger and fear is palpable.

It’s like looking down a dark alley sensing danger, nothing is concrete or visible, it is more intuitive, more abstract.

Two times now, PTSD has receded momentarily during this turmoil.

My symptoms stop, I felt desire arise and life opened up for a minute.

Most of the time it seems something worse than death is coming.

Now that’s contrast.

That’s how PTSD works, it creates disastrous scenarios of failure.

Am I in the middle of a breakthrough or am I going in the opposite direction?

Hard to tell inside this tsunami.
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PTSD dropped away for a moment yesterday

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PTSD operates without any conscious input from me, he feels like an internal entity, an invisible demon.

Yesterday while skirmishing with intrusive thoughts and emotions, I felt everything drop away momentarily.

Instead of being in the middle of the triggers, I was at a distance, separate, observing PTSDs mechanism.

I could feel life without PTSDs distractions or influence.

That dark cloud dissipated for a moment. How strange a feeling.

My nervous system calmed, while my anxiety and fear took a short vacation.

Life felt entirely different with PTSD being suppressed like this.

My first thought was, how do I make this last, perpetuate a life without the constant drama, danger, and anxiety of PTSD?

Is this a breakthrough or a fleeting moment?

I felt life as a normal person for the first time, I think.

I dream of a calm mind, a normal brain with normal thoughts, and a life filled with desire.
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How Emotional Abuse in Childhood Changes the Brain by Leonard Holmes, PhD

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Excerpt:

Effects on Brain Structure

“Childhood abuse and neglect can have several negative effects on how the brain develops.

Decreased size of the corpus callosum, which integrates cortical functioning—motor, sensory, and cognitive performances—between the hemispheres

Decreased size of the hippocampus, which is important in learning and memory

Dysfunction at different levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is involved in the stress response

Less volume in the prefrontal cortex, which affects behavior, emotional balance, and perception

Overactivity in the amygdala, which is responsible for processing emotions and determining reactions to potentially stressful or dangerous situations

Reduced volume of the cerebellum, which can affect motor skills and coordination”
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PTSD: Is happiness attainable?

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Yesterday, my nervous system and sense of danger intensified.

I am on edge, short-tempered, and on alert.

Nothing concrete, this abstract sense of fear impacts life, my behavior, and PTSD symptoms.

It is not connected to anything specific.

At times, this battle inside my brain wreaks havoc on my being.

It is an ominous feeling, a foreboding sense of doom that has followed me since childhood.

Do normal people have thoughts and feelings like this?

After numerous attempts to calm everything down failed, I accepted these awkward feelings and went on with my day.

Oh, I am acutely aware of how my nervous system nears tilt again.

PTSD steals life away, every day I battle for my sanity.

Is Happiness unattainable for us?

I would settle for a cessation of suffering!
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PTSD: Avoidance is my issue

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After a decade of therapy and meditation, I was able to use exposure and flooding therapy to navigate socially.

I visited my trigger situations until my nervous system calmed down.

This was a monumental success for me, I was agoraphobic for six months.

Two PTSD Symptoms persist, dissociation, ruminating in the past and avoidance

I can navigate socially, it can be awkward, triggering or tolerable.

Why do I stay in my room then?

I rarely make plans, the desire to go out has no energy, no purpose for me.

The one exception, I engage the world if it involves my grandkids.

Absent my grandkids, I end up in my room.

That’s the reality of my PTSDs damage.

Look what I have become.

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PTSD and the Ego

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My mind or part of it seems like a separate entity, I call it PTSD.

This traumatic part is connected to my Ego, he is a world-class judgmental star.

He/She compares the present with the traumas of the past, it’s called dissociation, the kingpin of PTSD symptoms.

Time spent ruminating, dissociating into the past fuels our symptoms, and powers PTSD.

The longer the duration, the stronger PTSD becomes.

This PTSD mind melts into our Ego or vice versa.

My Ego was created under traumatic abuse, so he identifies as a PTSD Ego.

My daughter tells me I identify as a PTSD person or sufferer.

Well, I sure do not identify as anywhere close to normal.

When I meditate at times, my Ego drops away along with all my PTSD symptoms.

This is the freest feeling I experience.

The sirens of trauma take a momentary break.

I have worked diligently on shrinking my ego, lessening his impact.

Without the Ego dominating life, our hearts can begin to open for short periods.

It takes great awareness to realize how PTSD functions inside our brains.

Have you ever followed the concept of I or me to its origin?

Who am I is a trick question.

I is a mirage, a created identity moniker.
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PTSD: We miss out on Life

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We get so wrapped up inside PTSDs symptoms, and the perceived danger that we miss life’s opportunities.

I am guilty!

My mind has always been on alert since childhood, hard to remember a time when my nervous system was at ease.

We do not realize the normal life, the normal opportunities that are hidden by PTSD.

Keeping safe outweighs desire and opportunity.

We are not aware of the life we are missing.

A sad feeling engulfs my being when I realize the damage done by abuse and trauma.

While meditating this morning, I saw this wasting of life.

I do not know how to fix it but I am aware.

PTSD is like a ghost, he/she is invisible, haunting us with past trauma.

He lives inside my brain.
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How does flooding therapy work?

KELLEPICS / 1057 images

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My two cents: You have to give consent before trying this therapy. This can be dangerous if you are not strong enough or have certain skills. After I built my focus skills with meditation, I went to my triggers on my own and sat til my nervous system calmed.

I did not realize it was called flooding therapy.

From https://psychcentral.com/

“During flooding, you’re exposed to your most feared stimuli, such as heights or spiders, in a safe and controlled environment for an extended time.

During this time, you can use calming techniques to help you through the process, but your therapist makes no particular effort to alleviate your fears.

Your therapist, however, may likely start with some psychoeducation before beginning the flooding.

They will likely explain the method of flooding therapy — that the nervous system is sending a false alarm to your brain about your phobia and that only sticking it out through the whole exposure can get rid of this false alarm.

In other words, once your body’s fight-or-flight response has exhausted itself, your brain can recognize that nothing bad has happened to you.

The goal is to positively condition your mind to stop reacting severely when presented with that trigger in the future.

Flooding session times vary but may last 2-3 hours. Very often, the goal is to complete the treatment in one session only — often lasting several hours. In some cases, the client may need to repeat the process several times.

While flooding is understandably quite stressful for the client, it can also be stressful for the therapist. In a studyTrusted Source of 25 participants with specific phobia, researchers found that clients released slightly higher levels of stress hormones during flooding than during gradual therapy.

While therapists showed no excessive release of stress hormones during gradual therapy, they did show heightened stress hormones during flooding therapy.

Flooding example

If you live with claustrophobia, a flooding session might involve sitting in an extremely small, crowded room for several hours. This might even involve an elevator or a closet.

A proper flooding session would require that you stay in the room until your panic response has fully subsided.

The therapist would make no effort to help you work through the panic, and there’s no option for avoidance..

Original article: https://psychcentral.com/blog/ocd-and-flooding-exposure?slot_pos=article_3&utm_source=Sailthru%20Email&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=weekly&utm_content=2022-08-10&apid=&rvid=e0f9c489ca2fd3b9f770acd949311150850a1b372804e1a17925d8b7d4e4f2a2

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