Posts Tagged ‘Dissociation’

Hooking up with my worthy Marty, my perfect me.

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I believe each of our true selves, our core, our soul is perfect, our bodies and behavior have flaws.

At 69, dealing with an old trauma, a time of re-experiencing a huge unworthy event, I yearn for that worthy Marty.

Meditation was the vehicle that introduced me to my true self.

Yes it took me a long time, an arduous journey of harnessing my concentration powers.

In time, a meditation sit, an hour of intense concentration, brought me to a place of serene quiet, a place I was whole, worthy and happy.

Now, I am headed back to that place once again, sidetracked by old trauma and learned habits no more.

Opportunity thrives in this empty space, a place where thoughts die and worthiness is normal.

Please join me.

Concentration is a learned skill, takes daily practice to grow your wellbeing.

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How I calmed my fight or flight mechanism

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https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response

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Acceptance and Committment therapy introduced me to meditation.

At first meditation seemed abstract, simple and benign.

Took me awhile to see its enormous power and healing properties.

My triggers exploded violently, solar plexus jolted with fear, actually a big dose adrenaline and cortisol is dumped into our blood stream.

Heart rate, blood pressure, respiration increase, we lose fine motor skills, get tunnel vision along with cognitive functions becoming cloudy and limited, we are ready for imminent danger.

Until I calmed this mechanism, PTSD kicked my Ass, badly.

I built my focus, meditated everyday, learned to stay present when my fight or flight mechanism fired.

Every time it exploded, I watched intently, became familiar with all the body sensations and the attached emotions.

Then in ten minutes or so, the drugs were absorbed, my system returned to normal.

No damage, just my defense mechanism firing erroneously from PTSD.

In time, after many tries or failures, I succeeded.

My fight or flight mechanism calmed, stopped firing for traumas triggers.

Life changed that day.

The storyline was left unprotected and vulnerable to be integrated.

Pick one thing to work on at a time.

I chose to limit my Dissociation while I unplugged my fight or flight mechanism.

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Take the Power away from your Triggers

https://www.pinterest.com/janes1022/

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The skills learned to heal from PTSD are accumulative.

They are similar to lifting weights. If you build a solid foundation over a long period of time, you can stop for a while, then return and muscles have memory.

A daily meditation practice calmed my fight or flight mechanism.

My triggers lost the power of cortisol, adrenaline and the physiological changes.

Triggers did not explode anymore, the storyline stood by itself for the first time.

If my fight or flight mechanism did not fire, trauma had lost its most powerful weapons, fear and panic.

No need to run or avoid triggers anymore.

The thoughts were isolated now, vulnerable, ready to be integrated.

Calm your nervous system using your breath, meditate and learn how to dissipate cortisol and adrenaline.

Practice when it is calm, then apply when all hell breaks lose.

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Complex PTSD a subtype of PTSD

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“Complex PTSD is a subtype of PTSD with complex symptomatology in response to chronic trauma (Herman, 1992).

Usually, the patient has an extensive history of childhood abuse where the patient can’t remember a time when they weren’t being abused.

Another example of chronic trauma includes victims of long-term intimate partner violence.

In comparison with textbook patients with PTSD, who have a distinct life before and after their traumatic experience, patients with complex PTSD are only familiar with the traumatic experience.

Patients with complex PTSD have issues with emotional regulation, and can range from rageful to regretful in a single session, much like patients with borderline personality disorder.

Patients with complex PTSD often get caught up in cycles of re-enactment where they act out in their personal relationships, and even in their therapeutic relationships, in ways that mimic the trauma that they’ve felt.

In Dr. Jain’s experience, although patients with complex PTSD exhibit emotional lability, just like borderline personality disorder, she would think a diagnosis would lean more towards borderline personality disorder if the classic symptoms (such as identity issues, self-injury, chronic suicidality and attachment issues) were present (APA 2013).”

From: https://www.psychiatrypodcast.com/psychiatry-psychotherapy-podcast/2019/6/12/the-unspeakable-mind-stories-of-trauma-and-healing-from-the-frontline-of-ptsd-science

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DISSOCIATIVE PTSD

Pixabay: Tama66

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“Dissociative PTSD is a subtype of PTSD that occurs in 15-30% of PTSD patients, in which the patient not only meets the criteria for PTSD, but also exhibit persistent dissociative symptoms (e.g. depersonalization, derealization) (APA, 2013; Armour, Karstoft & Richardson, 2014).

Derealization is the feeling of detachment from one’s environment, while depersonalization is the feeling of detachment from one’s body, thoughts, perceptions and actions (APA, 2013).

Patients often describe the feelings of depersonalization and derealization as “they don’t feel real,” or that “the world around them doesn’t feel real.”

Because patients with the dissociative subtype of PTSD experience these symptoms persistently, their day is often derailed as they don’t live in the present, but in their dissociative world.

Patients who have had severe childhood abuse tend to have the dissociative subtype, which is associated with a poorer prognosis.

Patients can dissociate in many environments, including the therapy environment, thus grounding techniques such as breathing techniques and anxiety-reducing exercises may be useful to bring patients from their dissociative state.”

https://www.psychiatrypodcast.com/psychiatry-psychotherapy-podcast/2019/6/12/the-unspeakable-mind-stories-of-trauma-and-healing-from-the-frontline-of-ptsd-science

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overwhelming experience is split off and fragmented,

Pixabay: cocoparisienne

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The Body Keeps the Score

The overwhelming experience is split off and fragmented, so that the emotions, sounds, images, thoughts, and physical sensations related to the trauma take on a life of their own.

The sensory fragments of memory intrude into the present, where they are literally relived.

As long as the trauma is not resolved, the stress hormones that the body secretes to protect itself keep circulating, and the defensive movements and emotional responses keep getting replayed.

Unlike Stan, however, many people may not be aware of the connection between their “crazy” feelings and reactions and the traumatic events that are being replayed.

They have no idea why they respond to some minor irritation as if they were about to be annihilated.

Flashbacks and reliving are in some ways worse that the trauma itself.

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passive, navel-gazing

Pixabay: stux

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“The practice of meditation is not a passive, navel-gazing luxury for people looking to escape the rigors of our complex world.

Mindfulness and meditation are about deeply changing ourselves so that we can be the change that we see needed for the world. —

Larry Yang

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My two cents: A daily meditation practice is an auger, uncovering fear, doubt, worry and traumatized parts.

My practice was extremely violent when old trauma was forced to leave my being.

Yes, extremely scary the initial journey but an enjoyable violent exit after that.

Never give in, Never give up!

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My two big traumas laid dormant for decades.

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I knew something was different about me, but had no idea why I did not feel worthy as others or could not trust.

Childhood trauma exploded first with a family crisis and my inability to help one of my kids.

My dominate trigger happened in restaurants with someone staring at me. A daily benign slice of normal life, anyone can do. I was ashamed of this limitation.

Always knew there was no danger but my fight or flight mechanism sensed imminent danger and would explode.

Two months ago my girlfriends gangraped surfaced, my second big trauma.

Finally I understood my trigger.

It was from college, the aftermath of the frat boys who assaulted her would stare at me, kind of celebrating their gangrape at my expense.

Public shaming and them bragging about pulling a train on Cheryl, made a permanent mark on my being.

Hard to believe college guys could be this barbaric and demean for no reason.

Lesson: Now that I understand the origin of my trigger, unplugging it should be easier.

This event needs to have all the stored danger and emotional damage exit my body.

The last two months have been hell as this trauma exploded inside me.

Hopefully the intrusive thoughts run their course and I can integrate what’s left.

I can not run from this or suffering will never end.

As I use to teach, trauma is up, active and available for integration.

Childhood trauma makes us vulnerable to being traumatized in the future, our brains did not wire like a normal brain, with some parts of our development damaged.

I had to learn survival skills, ways to endure physical and emotional abuse instead of developing social skills.

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PTSD is a bluff, the real danger is over. Sometimes for decades

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In my life two big traumas dominate all others, childhood and a horrific assault in college.

Neither one caused PTSD until decades later, childhood trauma erupted after a family crisis triggered my panic, the latter exploded during this pandemic and quarantine.

I thought healing was complete as my childhood trauma integrated. Then isolated with this quarantine, an old horrific event surfaced with enormous energy (fear, humiliation, shame and unworthiness).

In the beginning trauma becomes real for us, I was transported back to the event with all the highly charged fight or flight drugs being dumped into my blood stream.

The neurotransmitters are real, the emotions are the same, saved then stored at the time it happened.

For me, a short emotionally charged movie plays, whenever and wherever it decides.

Remember, we can not reach our trauma consciously, it has full autonomy to come and go anytime.

If I interact with these images and judgments, my trauma grows and gets worse.

Staying present, observing this movie is the best I can do.

We all try to manipulate and change the outcome of the event, but the danger is over and the event is now implicit memory.

No real danger exists now, PTSD is a bluff, an over compensation of our defense mechanism to protect from future trauma.

If I try to influence these judgments or the movie it grows. Avoiding, denying and dissociating are jet fuel for PTSD.

Pulling back, focused on my breath, watching the judgments and movie leave my consciousness, is my goal.

I do not control how many times I need accomplish this task for healing to be complete.

Our journey has more well being when we stay in the present moment, whether we be a normal person or a sufferer of complex PTSD.

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the need to know that we are not alone.

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Benne Brown:

“Empathy seeking is driven by the need to know that we are not alone.

We need to know that other people have experienced similar feelings and that our experiences don’t keep us from being accepted and affirmed.

Empathy helps us move away from shame toward resilience.

Sympathy, on the other hand, can actually exacerbate shame.”

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