Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

The invisible Monster: PTSD

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Yesterday, frustrations boiled over, something invisible, abstract, was dominating my life.

It’s called PTSD, not a birth defect or physical issue, more an invisible vapor that confuses us.

My current real-life is high jacked by trauma memories.

As I share my narrative with a therapist, friend, or in a group, I realize how humiliating living this way has become.

Who wants to be this vulnerable and detached.

Living in survival mode, worry, doubt, and spotting danger replaced feeling safe and attached.

I can not will this mess away.

In my pursuit of a cure, I can observe Ptsd from a distance, operating without my input. He sort of takes over my mind, my thought patterns, and nervous system, sometimes in a split second without warning.

I know these damn memories are 50 and 60 plus years old!

It makes no logical sense. Our defense mechanism has a flaw, it’s called PTSD.

Our defense mechanism, our right amygdala has stored trauma memories from the past.

These stored memories, put away under imminent danger have never gone away.

One trauma event can last the rest of our life.

Certain traumas have ruined lives, they never recover, death would be a better outcome.

That statement is my own, bias as hell but I have witnessed what PTSD has done to people.

In a way, I see our defense mechanism is broken.

Tasked with protecting us, our defense mechanism now torments us.

Look how the apparatus designed to protect us, haunts us.

I am in the middle of climbing out of this hole, it’s scary, depressive, filled with mental and emotional detours.

What lies between us and well-being?

Nothing solid, only some defense drugs and outrageous thoughts.

Somehow, I am going to escape this invisible prison.

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Sex and gender differences in post-traumatic stress disorder:

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Full article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5632782/

“Prevalence and type of trauma: The lifetime prevalence of PTSD is about 10–12% in women and 5–6% in men.

There are similar differences between the sexes for (comorbid) disorders such as major depression and anxiety disorders.

PTSD subcluster scores have been found to be increased in women, e.g. for re-experiencing and anxious arousal (Charak et al., 2014).

Men and women experience different types of trauma, both in private life and at work (e.g. police officers, Van der Meer et al., 2017), with women being exposed to more high-impact trauma (e.g. sexual trauma) than men, and at a younger age.

Trauma early in life has more impact, especially when it involves type II trauma interfering with neurobiological development and personality.

Traumatic stress affects different areas of the brains of boys and girls at different ages.

“Acute phase, stress-coping and psychotherapy: In the acute phase, women generally score higher than men on acute subjective responses, e.g. threat perception, peritraumatic dissociation and known predictors of PTSD.

Women handle stressful situations differently and have evolved differentially to support these different behaviours. For instance, women in stressful situations may use a tend-and-befriend response rather than the fight-or-flight response that is often assumed.

Emotion-focused, defensive and palliative coping are more prevalent in women, while problem-focused coping is higher in men.

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Women seek more social support, the lack of it being the most consistent predictor of negative outcome of trauma.

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Women have been shown to benefit more from psychotherapy then men in the reduction of PTSD symptoms.

Psychobiological reactions and effects of oxytocin: Although only 2% of psychobiological research has been conducted in females (mainly rats), sex differences have been shown.

Women appear to have a more sensitized hypothalamus–pituitary–axis than men, while men appear to have a sensitized physiological hyperarousal system.”

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My two cents: “Women seek more social support, the lack of it being the most consistent predictor of negative outcome of trauma.”

We men isolate, I do not trust men or women. My childhood had serious type two violence over 18 years.

Childhood abuse destroys trust, emotionally separates us men, our felt unworthiness reinforces the isolation.

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Unused Emotions: Warning; sarcasm and gallows humor ahead!!

You Can Stop Apologizing for Your Sick Sense of Humor!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/498281146262541482/

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My PTSD symptoms have developed into habits, some emotions have been tamped down, almost buried.

I feel the void watching others interact, watching such trusting and kind emotions surface.

Defenses are down, they display warmth, I am envious, a coldness engulfs me.

I do not feel what they feel? Why is what they do worthless to me?

People laugh out loud, hug each other, seem to absorb great emotional rewards, valuable property. They smile and I guess life is good.

This sharing and community must be happiness. What do they feel?

Memories and terror are absent from their demeanors, their behavior. I do not feel safe, free, exuberant emotions, not in private, not in public.

I have no idea what this abstract thing they enjoy, it seems to fulfill them. Makes me uncomfortable.

They have some special connection, attachment, some secret communication of knowing, trusting. I think they developed this in childhood, the security they feel is also foreign to me.

I have not and do not feel these emotions and never would I trust people like this.

Why have certain emotions been absent from my life? When others have warm inclusive feelings, mine are cold, watching for danger.

Have they not been betrayed, publically humiliated, beaten half to death as a kid?

Oh, I love gallows humor, you have to laugh at what we were born into.

If you do not believe in reincarnation, childhood abuse sucks.

If I ignored my PTSD, did nothing to heal, I would expect to suffer.

Why does my PTSD haunt me after a decade-plus of intense effort?

I navigate life in a narrow alley of confusion, anxiety, and terror, finally absent of guilt.

Words can not explain the emotion of unworthiness at my core.

How could my friends understand my feelings, understand my words, or what my life is like?

How should I look at my life at 70, hope for healing by 80?

Sarcasm and gallows humor. Depression is so serious.

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Why are intrusive thoughts (trauma memories) so destructive?

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/19632948360919124/

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Childhood abuse (PTSD) changes life, memories are abnormal.

Our memories are experienced (felt) through the emotional prism of worthlessness, damage, failure, or abuse.

Abused kids feel worthless, flawed, or just too damaged for anyone to love or respect.

My intrusive thoughts carry these sentiments, it makes them powerful and scary. As innocent children, we never understood being beaten, raped or emotionally terrorized.

They are not normal memories, highly charged as Stephen Cope describes, “Sometimes we encounter experiences that so violate our sense of safety, order, predictability, and right, that we feel utterly overwhelmed—unable to integrate, and simply unable to go on as before.”

My whole childhood violated my sense of safety, emotionally which has left an indelible mark.

How are we ever supposed to feel safe, normal? We carry a form of terror that changed the size of certain brain organs and functions.

Our nervous systems do not resemble a regular person’s nervous system.

They do not experience the terror, the hyper-vigilance, the flashbacks, the adrenal stress response firing repeatedly, the intrusive thoughts, the emotional deregulation, the avoidance, and the loneliness of complex PTSD.

Intrusive thoughts have the emotional content we felt when abused, they transport us back in time or bring the past to life.

My intrusive thoughts become a rapid, non-stop assault on my wellbeing. It is part of the vapor my brain brings every day, part of the 60,000 thoughts that cross my consciousness daily.

They never stop or slow down when triggered.

Unfortunately, we carry this abuse with us, whether we improve or falter, childhood trauma will always be with us.

I did not have a choice at birth, I did not have any skills as a child to defend myself.

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I have always been afraid of what will happen next, even on my best day.

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When I look back on my life, my memories carry extreme humiliation and worthlessness, they will haunt me till I die.

We can improve, have brief moments of calm but we will never heal, never be free from PTSD exploding.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Symptoms

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/467530005046215647/.

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Mayo Clinic: Ptsd

Symptoms

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event

Avoidance

Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

For children 6 years old and younger, signs and symptoms may also include:

  • Re-enacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play
  • Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event

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Childhood PTSD is like herding cats

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At my worst, my fight or flight exploded 15 times a day, things were out of control.

At one point, my mind and nervous system were not under my control, I was numb, frozen, shaken, and terrified.

Being overwhelmed, terrified, anxious, furiously trying to avoid further suffering, I would risk my life to escape that hell.

It’s easy to see how addiction and suicide are the solutions too many choose to stop the pain.

Ptsd was like herding cats, wholly irrational to try and corral trauma or felines, thoughts would escape from the pack.

Without notice intense emotional terror would arrive in an instant, my fight or flight would violently fire, I was in survival mode, sometimes in public, frozen, unable to speak.

I never wanted to be vulnerable around people.

Childhood taught me being powerless will get you abused.

It is almost impossible to not think, to try and stop thoughts.

Try to stop thoughts and they will proliferate like rabbits.

Focusing on the breath intently, letting thoughts fade on their own, can be accomplished.

https://www.beabetterhitter.com/baseball-bat-sweet-spot/

When I played pro baseball, intense concentration was a skill all hitters possessed.

Sometimes, 30,000 screaming fans, along with the pressure of performing, the real danger from getting hit, possibly failing, creep into our minds.

If I could not block out everything else except that baseball, failure was assured.

You learn to spot spin, seeing the seams of the ball rotate quickly, knowing a breaking ball is coming.

If your thinking you fail. Thought is way too slow.

It sounds easy but you only have .4 seconds to locate the pitch, recognize it’s not coming towards your head, then have the hand-eye coordination to hit a round ball with a round bat.

On top of that, the sweet spot of the bat we need to hit the ball is about 8 inches long and maybe an inch wide at the barrel of the bat.

I had a head start on being able to meditate and did not know it.

Now instead of a ball, I focus on my breath, looking inward. All the while whether it is a ball or my breath, cognition has stopped.

Victory is unattainable, we fight for this moment, then the next, this simple, small, mundane existence, it is our life.

The ultimate goal is not healing, it is never giving up.

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Matthew Ricard: A Fulfilled Life

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“A fulfilled life is not made up of an uninterrupted succession of pleasant sensations but comes from transforming the way we understand and work through the challenges of our existence.

Training the mind not only makes it possible to cope with mental toxins like hatred, obsession, and fear that poison our existence, but also helps us acquire a better understanding of how the mind functions and gives us a more accurate perception of reality.

This, in turn, gives us the inner resources to successfully face the highs and lows of life without being distracted or broken by them, and allows us to draw deep lessons from them.

One of the great tragedies of our time is that we significantly underestimate our capacity for change.

Our character traits remain the same as long as we do nothing to change them, and as long as we continue to tolerate and reinforce our habits and patterns, thought after thought.

The truth is that the state that we call “normal” is just a starting point and not the goal we ought to set for ourselves.

Our life is worth much more than that!

It is possible, little by little, to arrive at an optimal way of being.”

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My two cents: Ricard is referring to a normal life but his words and advice work for PTSD sufferers also.

My life has little fulfillment when ptsd is out of control.

My fulfillment has come from the intense daily work of trying to heal and the enjoyment of improving in small increments.

Recently, I found the core issue keeping me stuck.

People, we have to persevere when things seem hopeless.

Feeling hopeless and depressed is part of our journey to fulfillment.

Yes, fulfillment looks entirely different for us.

We have to adapt and never give up, I believe these two traits are needed for serious childhood abuse.

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Escaping trauma: Is it possible ?

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/2744449763904914/

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Lately, intrusive thoughts have bombarded my consciousness, strong negative feelings add to the awkwardness of enduring this onslaught.

At some point, I try to escape, looking for help, looking for any skill that can curb the pain.

I want to scream for help!

At all costs refrain from sharing Ptsd with friends, hide as much as possible, act as normal as possible.

Smile and act like everything is peachy, squash triggers, and act strong, deny you have PTSD.

They will never understand, they will insult your suffering in the end. Normal people need to believe everything can be fixed, repaired like new in their world.

Rain on that parade and they will attack you.

My blog is the one safe place I can share my experience.

Yesterday, I sat in the middle of my trauma, not moving, not trying to avoid or fix it.

I have tried everything else.

Maybe it will get tired and collapse.

My willpower against traumas.

Who knows the winner of this, not me?

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Simon Biles: Is this a Ptsd teaching moment

https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/350436414736916943/

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Let’s look at how amateur athletes are treated, then female athletes, finally sexually abused athletes.

We better hide our symptoms and have courage and perform like nothing is wrong.

Remember, Larry Nassar, the United States gymnasts physician who molested hundreds of our top female athletes.

Simon Bikes was his most famous victim, lest our great men sports writers forget.

Look at how they eviscerate her. She was triggered, we understand triggers can happen at anyt time. Especially under high stress and fear.

Three articles: Piers Morgan suggests Simon Biles is “pathetic, gutless, cowardly” for quitting.

.https://www.rawstory.com/piers-morgan-simone-biles/

https://spectatorworld.com/life/simone-biles-tokyo-olympics-gymnastics-quit-mental-health/

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/07/27/jason_whitlock_simone_biles_is_a_coward_i_dont_like_the_lack_of_expectations_for_greatness.html

She said it feels like the weight of the world is on her.

She stepped down to take care of her mental health.

She was triggered going back into her trauma environment and high pressure.

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Do you think other girls will want to compete?

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Did she do the correct thing for her well-being?

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Childhood abuse is much more than beatings and criticism.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/386394843007801323/

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I was programmed intentionally by my dad, he wanted his desires to be my desires, it was life and death, he beat me to make sure I understood.

He enjoyed beating me, making me afraid of him, he got a release out of it. Why would you beat me once a week for puking lima beans throughout childhood?

The pressure to perform held all my self-worth, he pounded that into me.

Some things could be worse than death in his eyes.

He demanded I be twice as good as everyone else, all my self-worth he granted me was connected to performance. I did not generate much self-worth on my own in this abusive atmosphere.

No wonder I was good, fear is a great motivator.

I did not understand I was a separate being, autonomous with my desires.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/12525705203642314/

My dad did everything to kill my self, he wanted total ownership. That’s hard to comprehend for most people.

When you look at this from the lens of a narcissist, it makes sense.

His empathy centers are not working, the only thing he sees is the benefit he has wanted since I was born.

My dad failed, got his girl pregnant at 16, dropped out of high school, then resented the shit out of me for complicating his teenage years.

Having sex does not make you a parent.

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