Posts Tagged ‘Dissociation’

“Never giving up” is the trait we need most


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I have learned to keep trying, to keep going when life feels hopeless.

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If you endured serious childhood abuse, life has always had a tinge of hopelessness.

We have a choice, give up, deny or never give up, no matter how bad it gets.

I wonder if my father felt powerful beating a helpless child violently and often.

These actions are so against my nature, I try not to harm anyone, especially kids.

Never giving up relies on our ability to play defense when PTSD is active.

I can not react, not panic, and not make any judgments for days until PTSD calms down.

My fear gets muted, my anxiety accepted as harmless, unattached sensations and my thoughts get discounted as worthless creations of trauma.

I may suffer but I do not fear PTSD.

I distract myself, meditate and use my mindfulness skills.

Know that PTSD is like a wave coming in, forceful and damaging until it loses its momentum.

Withstand the force of the wave and it will return to the sea harmlessly.

As much as possible, I have learned to not think, not judge while PTSD is active.

Dissociation fuels PTSD, and ruminating on triggers leads to explosions.

I am not winning the war but I do triumph in some of the battles with PTSD.
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Distorted Time

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Yesterday was a tough day.

PTSD feels like distress, time is distorted, and nerves are frayed.

It is not geographical, we can not run from it, it is attached to us.

PTSD overrides all other cognitive functions, life stops, it is called survival mode.

The war is inside my head.

This war occupies enormous amounts of time, the chance to be happy never gets enough time or energy.
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PTSD: My daily challenges

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Parts of every day are filled with trauma memories and depressive thoughts.

Resentment and shame overflow my soul, and unworthiness permeates my being.

This daily battle is the price I pay to stay alive.

Distrust grows when PTSD brings these strong feelings of unworthiness.

I am both ashamed and afraid of these destructive thoughts that enter my consciousness.

A separate entity lives inside kids who were abused.

I battle this demon.

How would you live this life?

Remember I have a decade of intense effort trying to heal using therapists, reading, and meditating.
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PTSD: A few of my traits


Many of these traits were accepted as old habits, part of who I was instead of PTSD symptoms.

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Distrust: Friendships can be tenuous, any betrayal ends any friendship immediately. This distrust limits deep relationships because of the basic need for protection.

Security: From my earliest memories as a child, feeling safe and supported was missing. All I know is this void. No mentor, no adult has ever gained my trust unconditionally.

Hypervigilance: Entering a restaurant, any group or meeting, my defense mechanism takes over, spotting imminent danger, always on alert. This is automatic, almost subconscious, and quick.

Avoidance: PTSD narrows life, we isolate to avoid triggers firing. Our fight or flight mechanism firing signals danger, this is our chemical version of fear.

In some strange abstract way, I fear and distrust people. Childhood abuse brings a vulnerability that never leaves as an adult. I can not grasp words to make you understand.

Thinking: PTSD brings intrusive thoughts and negative emotional trauma memories. These thoughts are numerous and highly invasive, filled with what we fear most.

Thinking, and dissociating into past trauma memories, fuels PTSD. The more time we spend ruminating into the past the more PTSD powers up.

Mood Swings: Life can be a rollercoaster ride of emotions and thoughts. I can spot the shift at times. My demeanor swings wildly and forcibly without my conscious input.

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PTSD feels like there is another self or being inside my head. A highly sensitive, dysfunctional, and vulnerable soul. That other self has the power to take over the organism and does at times.

Who am I?
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PTSD is Invisible like chronic pain

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PTSD is invisible, others can not see it, including family, friends, or strangers.

Inside my 15-person chronic pain group, predominately spinal injuries, those with low back injuries received the most empathy from strangers.

They used a cane or a walker, strangers could see their pain.

Strangers could not see my neck fusions and nerve killings.

Not many see our mental disorder, PTSD.

It too is invisible.

Even if they did, it’s not their problem or concern.

People are wrapped up trying to fulfill their desires or living their own dysfunctional life.

I learned early on, PTSD is our internal battle.

Healing and quality of life are determined by our actions not others’ opinions.

PTSD is like the boogie man from childhood, no one else can see or hear him.

He has a voice, voluminous intrusive thoughts, and those crisis chemicals of cortisol and adrenaline.

It is why I can be with friends in a mundane environment, where I feel panic for my life while they are carefree and calm..

It is invisible to them, all except my numbness, my quietness and my hypervigilance may give me away.

Do we try to act normal, hiding our panic?

Are we feeling vulnerable, ashamed, scared or angry?

How do we express our condition to a friend?

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Approval and Condemnation

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“As much as we thirst for approval we dread condemnation.”

Hans Selye

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My two cents: Approval is far more important than we realize.

We want our families’ support and approval from strangers.

It is why we join teams, organizations, political parties, and gangs.

We fear criticism and condemnation.

I fear condemnation more than I crave approval.

How about you?

PTSD: Never Good Enough

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The consequences of my dad demanding perfection: As one therapist put it, on your gravestone is etched, “Never Good Enough”.

My first revelation that my childhood was horrific came out of his mouth.

My dad never showed remorse, he was a tyrant inside our house, but his presentation toward the world was different.

Constant criticism and violence were the weapons of enforcement dad used.

I became the ultimate overachiever, fear and the need for approval dominated my life.

Being the ultimate grinder, thinking I could reach peace of mind through accomplishment failed miserably.

Failure did not dull my effort while I was younger.

Being 70, I am older and weaker, not able to muster a herculean effort and attitude anymore.

I always blamed my unworthiness for my plight.

Unworthiness was a constant companion, I thought it was my failure, not my abusive father’s.

We are so confused when our caregiver harms us.

I have studied normal people, they have amazing abilities.

They trust, attach and feel safe with each other.

They have a natural joy around others while we feel danger and mistrust.

Our anxiety and fear levels are foreign to them.

I have lived my life predominately in survival mode.

It makes all the difference in the world, survival mode is designed for surviving imminent threats, not a way of living.

A nonabused child rarely enters survival mode and if he/she does it is for short periods.

It is the difference between having peace of mind, and feeling safe compared to spotting and avoiding danger at all costs.


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PTSD: Relationships

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Abused kids struggle in adult life with relationships.

We bring drama, mood swings, anxiety, lack of trust, and PTSD with us.

If we are married it takes a special mate to navigate our PTSD symptoms.

We can not act normally when triggers explode or PTSD activates with emotional intrusive thoughts.

When we isolate or avoid, how do we explain this to our mate?

We struggle with relationship responsibilities.

Before my PTSD exploded, I was married.

Afterward I was a completely different person, life narrowed for me.

In due time, the marriage collapsed. Looking back, it was mainly my fault.

A triple rollover, followed by spinal fusions, and nerve killings delivered chronic pain to my PTSD.

Hard to have a relationship when you go agoraphobic.

Inside the 15-person chronic pain group, all but one of us lost our mate.

The men left the women immediately, followed by the wives and girlfriends who stuck it out a little longer.

I subconsciously picked the female version of my abusive father for a wife.

We are attracted to familiarity without being aware of it.

PTSD is generational in my family, my dad, my first wife and the father of my grandkids all share strong narcissistic traits.

My life before PTSD exploded was different.

I can not envision that guy in my head anymore.
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PTSD; Feeling Disconnected

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When PTSD is active, life feels disconnected.

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It is like having a barrier between me and the world.

Avoiding or isolating enhances PTSD’s thick fog of confusion.

I inhabit my inner world when PTSD explodes.

A battle of emotions connected to traumatic thought unfolds.

It is high anxiety, and perceived danger connected to perceived fear.

The danger rarely materializes, but it does not seem to matter in this abstract world.

My life before PTSD activated was drastically different.

I did not know what PTSD was before it exploded at 55.

I had mild symptoms that we’re not recognized as PTSD, they we’re just odd habits and strange quirks.

Life changed one night, PTSD exploded, and it has never been the same.

The damage abuse wrought on a child seems permanent.

Like a soldier haunted by flashbacks, it never quite goes away.

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PTSD: Sensing Danger

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How do I describe my nervous system, my mood swings, or my behavior?

PTSD is the reason, the cause, the driving force behind my mood swings, intrusive thoughts, and distrust of this world.

Having attachments is not a priority, safety is number one, avoiding failure and humiliation number two.

I get this foreboding sense of danger, it’s spooky, abstract of course, nothing I can see or touch.

It is not someone shooting me or knifing me, it’s the dark unknown, out there in the mist.

Going out seems risky, I find myself hiding, on edge, and anxiously depressed.

This is like the Mafia going to the mattresses.

This is anxious downtime, days lost in a dark fog, clutching the safety of isolation.

Happiness is a dream, an unknown commodity, like love and trust for abused kids.

Complex PTSD does not end, I am 70, still battling for my sanity.

This is my life.
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