Posts Tagged ‘Emotions’

Navigating pain and suffering, does it Fluctuate

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Whether we experience chronic pain or strong emotions, their intensity and duration fluctuate.

How long does a strong emotion last, ten minutes, an hour, a day, or longer?

How about chronic pain, it can last a lifetime, but it fluctuates, intensity spikes, then recede with stimulus.

I have found the biggest influences are attitude and thoughts. Being sedentary, acting like a victim, increases suffering.

For me, being part of a 15 person chronic pain group highlighted this importance.

For instance, if I fear my pain, it gains power.

Pain lasts longer and becomes more intense, more problematic.

My thoughts are the big influencer, for good or more suffering.

Let’s take my chronic pain: I do not fear my pain, I know it fluctuates and does no damage until it reaches an intolerable pain level.

This lets me ignore my pain 95% of the time.

The less I entertain thoughts about my chronic pain or PTSD, the more enjoyable my life becomes.

How about you, ever think of how your thoughts increase suffering?

Ptsd pain reacts the same way.

Our tightly held thoughts and emotions have a great impact on suffering or lack of suffering.
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Our PTSD fear is invisible to others

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Others see our fear (triggers) like this, they see no danger while our fight or flight mechanism explodes.


Ptsd fear: When a past event elicits fear, a deep, deep fear, a special memory is stored in a special place, beyond our cognitive reach.

We will have to learn skills enabling us to stay focused, calm and aware when the fight or flight erupts to access these memories

When fully activated by a current visual, a certain smell, maybe a confined space, or the backfiring of a car can fire our adrenal stress response, better known as the fight or flight mechanism.

It’s that sudden, paralyzing jolt in the solar plexus, we humans experience this as fear.

The fight or flight mechanism: Physiological Effects; Tunnel vision, hearing loss, fine motor skills disappear, time is distorted along with blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse spike, finally the stimulants cortisol and adrenaline are secreted.

Thinking can be many things from, unable to think at all, confusion and numbness, frozen unable to move or think, the proverbial deer in the headlights scenario.

I won this battle with Ptsd, the calming of my fight or flight mechanism. The emotional and cognitive healing still eludes me.

With daily practice and application, slowly I started becoming more familiar less afraid of the mechanism.

Over time I could sit in the middle of my triggers exploding.

This is only half the war, integrating the cognitive and emotional part are much easier with the fight or flight acting normal.

Use your strengths, adapt things to maximize healing.
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The Pauses are the doors

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Meditation in words: A slow focused inhale, followed by a pause under pressure, next the slow exhale releases the pressure, ending with a calm pause.

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Repeat 1,000 times. Now let’s dive into the minutia of the breath.

The pauses are similar to suspended animation, nothing is moving, silence is the deepest.

The first pause mixes with the energy we use to suspend the breath, holding back the pressure in the lungs.

The second pause happens with us at complete rest.

You can hear the inhales and exhales, however soft. Practice.

The lungs fill, expand, then empty, this all has movement and sound, the pauses are silent, nothing is moving.

Perfect time to feel the tiniest body sensations, time to observe gently and release.

Each breath brings two pauses, two chances to deepen our focus.

I love this focus on the breath and body when trauma stops responding to my efforts to heal.

When I sit (meditate), I am focused on the next 30 minutes, PTSD drops away.

I can own 30-minute intervals, that’s power in my battle.

We need power over PTSD, even if it is temporary.
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Awareness, then adapt,

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When my childhood trauma exploded a decade ago, I was already disabled physically from a highway triple rollover.

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The one thing I had an abundance of was free time.

Trying to heal replaced my career, every day I would invest in reading, meditating, exercising, and applying the learned skills (A minimum of eight hours a day).

My daughter tells me it was way too much, I have identified with my trauma. It is hard for me to deny her allegations.

The books I read have all been about trauma, neuroscience, war, and the spiritual side.

Not a one for pleasure.

I lead a mindfulness group and write this blog.

My life revolves around my Complex Ptsd and depression.

My decade of effort has not separated me from my suffering but connected me to it more.

Now, what direction is the correct pivot?

I am back to my meditation practice, focusing on my breath, calming my being, and opening my heart.
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Going back to basics

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Over the last couple of months, the online Kundalini group has been processing grief.

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Handling grief every day has riled my PTSD, I know this reaction means grief needs more work.

I have taken a break, reverting back to my well-established meditation practice.

No talking, chants, or hand positions, just me, eyes closed, totally focused on the breath, sounds, and opening my heart.

Simple, me alone with my mind, like old times.

The quiet has calmed my intrusive thoughts momentarily, I fully resist thinking anything is permanent.

As they say, back to basics when things fall apart.

If you follow this blog, PTSD and depression are kind of a rollercoaster ride.

One where we can have long, calm, slow, straightaways, flanked by the high crests and terrifying fast descents always lurking in the distance.

Go farther down the wormhole and there are giant loops of intolerable confusion and anxiety.

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I have a momentary pause, a peaceful calm that only visits for short periods, lately.

As always, when the pain and suffering seem unbearable, that is when we never give in, never give up.

Some days my job is to endure ptsd and depression until it lifts a little.

We will always have issues, hopefully, we will take action appropriately.
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Writing a blog brings many emotions for me.

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Reading some of my latest posts, I am embarrassed, shocked at how hopeless my words convey.

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Deep depression does not look good in person or on paper.

Dealing with my childhood abuse, I have done a great job of calming my nervous system and integrating significant parts of my trauma.

I guess I handle anxiety, the firing of my fight or flight mechanism, the symptoms of hypervigilance, fear, and avoidance better than depression.

Ptsd brought desperation but it was for short periods, it was a battle with Ptsd.

My strength is handling the physical challenges, the pain, the injuries, my vulnerability is the emotional betrayals and losses.

In my 60’s, Guilian Beret left me paralyzed from the neck down, ICU for two months, followed by another two months in rehab.

Doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists all said I would be in a wheelchair for a minimum of a year and possibly two.

Ten days later I got up from that wheelchair and took three very shaky steps.

The doctors and nurses were stunned, I was a devoted meditator and a former pro athlete, this was my element.

As accomplished at physical challenges as I am, it highlights my weakness with emotional betrayal and depression.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and then we have our blind spots.

Betrayal and depression are my vulnerabilities.

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For abused kids: Why are we on this Planet?

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I have questions that will never be answered, so many of us out there.

Why am I on this planet? Am I paying for a bad past life? Abused kids do not understand why we were born into violence and abuse?

Old age seems as unwelcoming as birth for this abused kid.

As my body deteriorates, my mind slows, becomes forgetful and weaker, my chronic pain increases.

My emotional and physical pain are out of control.

Childhood trauma has an encore for me, the most damaging experiences return with a vengeance.

I do not understand why I suffer, why my mind will not let go of its most painful event, why nothing helps.

Abuse has robbed my brain of wiring in a supportive and safe environment.

Life carries far less value for abused kids.

I do not feel good about life, what has happened to me, how I have been treated, how I have suffered because of others.

When we experience loss, our being is wounded, we sink, recoil, isolate and try to numb the pain.

We have difficulty enjoying life, trauma fills our being with danger and shame.

People have done things to me I will never forget, a mate shaming me publicly has left a permanent stain.

After a horrendous childhood, we are vulnerable to being used by people.

It happened to me in a way that brought suicidal thoughts, feelings of not wanting to be alive.

Who understands?

Why am I on this planet?

My hopelessness embarrasses me but I share anyway.

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I favor Ptsd over Depression

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PTSD has energy, cortisol and adrenaline, fear and danger, it’s much more exciting and enjoyable than deep depression.

Depression sucks the life out of you, for abused kids it is devastating.

My legs have stopped moving while hiking from depressive thoughts and emotions.

PTSD, I can engage and battle, calm my fight or flight mechanism while observing my trauma.

Depression, I have no answer for the shame it carries.

It is an awful mental disorder, it drained the little peace of mind my life enjoyed.

Seriously abused kids get crushed by betrayal.

We fear the outside world, when we get betrayed from inside our circle, life collapses.

We will never understand how a mate betrays us, a permanent scar will make trusting another impossible.

It’s such a narrow and risky existence, death does not scare me, being ridiculed or betrayed scares me.

Death before dishonor rings true in my world, my father drilled that into me.

I have experienced a betrayal that bad, publicly shamed for a mate’s actions.

What is your worst betrayal since childhood?

Is depression or PTSD harder for you?
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Emotional Regulation: Yikes!!!!!!

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Excerpt: From Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD

“The Body Keeps the Score”

“When trauma emanates from within the family, children experience a crisis of loyalty and organize their behavior to survive within their families. Being prevented from articulating what they observe and experience, traumatized children will organize their behavior around keeping the secret, deal with their helplessness with compliance or defiance, and acclimate in any way they can to entrapment in abusive or neglectful situations.

Being left to their own devices leaves chronically traumatized children with deficits in emotional self-regulation. This results in problems with self-definition as reflected by a lack of a continuous sense of self, poorly modulated affect and impulse control, including aggression against self and others, and uncertainty about the reliability and predictability of others, expressed as distrust, suspiciousness, and problems with intimacy, resulting in social isolation.

Chronically traumatized children tend to suffer from distinct alterations in states of consciousness, including amnesia, hypermnesia, dissociation, depersonalization and derealization, flashbacks and nightmares of specific events, school problems, difficulties in attention regulation, disorientation in time and space, and sensorimotor developmental disorders. The children often are literally are “out of touch” with their feelings, and often have no language to describe internal states.

When a child lacks a sense of predictability, he or she may experience difficulty developing of object constancy and inner representations of their own inner world or their surroundings. As a result, they lack a good sense of cause and effect and of their own contributions to what happens to them.

Without internal maps to guide them, they act, instead of plan, and show their wishes in their behaviors, rather than discussing what they want. Unable to appreciate clearly who they or others are, they have problems enlisting other people as allies on their behalf. Other people are sources of terror or pleasure but are rarely fellow human beings with their own sets of needs and desires.

These children also have difficulty appreciating novelty. Without a map to compare and contrast, anything new is potentially threatening. What is familiar tends to be experienced as safer, even if it is a predictable source of terror.

Traumatized children rarely discuss their fears and traumas spontaneously. They also have little insight into the relationship between what they do, what they feel, and what has happened to them. They tend to communicate the nature of their traumatic past by repeating it in the form of interpersonal en- actments, both in their play and in their fantasy lives.

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PTSD has a physical part and an emotional part

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When my childhood trauma ignited in my mid 50’s, the physical side of PTSD exploded along with these nasty intrusive thoughts.

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The physical, my fight or flight mechanism erupted 10 to 15 times a day. Our nervous system has another controller, another entity that can take over the operation now.

He/She is called PTSD.

My first goal focused on calming the fight or flight mechanism, trying to shut down the PTSD explosions.

We need our fight or flight mechanism for normal danger, for defense and protection, not for the abstract danger of PTSD.

After we have calmed this adrenal stress response, what remains are the symptoms, dissociation, hypervigilance, avoidance, flashbacks, emotional deregulation, startle response, difficulty concentrating, sleep issues, distortion of time, and unlimited intrusive thoughts.

Intrusive thoughts remind me of a Gatlin gun firing, they are much faster and much more numerous than normal.

Time spent ruminating in the past or trying to predict the future fuels PTSD. It is similar to pouring jet fuel onto a fire.

Dissociation is the kingpin of all these symptoms.

PTSD thrives when we leave the present moment, grasping intrusive thoughts in the past leads to suffering.

PTSD is confusing, time is distorted, usually, we have a beginning and a middle for our trauma narrative, the lack of an ending is the issue.

Healing is not a cognitive journey. Words will not heal us.

Our trauma is stored on the side of the brain that contains no words, no good or bad, no right or wrong.

Trauma is stored at the time it occurs with our abilities at that age.

Childhood trauma is stored at a young age without the brain being developed, so our abilities are limited.

Certain parts of the brain needed to heal are not yet online and functioning.

Our goal is to bring all old trauma into the present moment, so we can integrate it.
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