Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

Understanding why I have been a loner

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Trying to heal has given me insight into the causes of my suffering. In childhood my naricsstic father tried to control every attachment.

Actually, he controlled every aspect of my life, trying to fulfill his desire of me playing professional baseball.

Any friend or acquaintance had to meet his standards, then their influence over me would be limited or cut off by good old dad.

Assessment: This week it dawned on me that I did not attach to either parent or anyone else beyond a shallow friendship.

My father would severe any relationship that he thought diluted his control. The natural desire to connect with others was cut off for me many times.

After you tell a couple of guys you can not be their friend anymore, word gets around. Oh, having a girlfriend was out of the question around my father, he owned me.

This means my social network lacked connections and attachment was unfamiliar to me. Social emotions lacked experience in my consciousness while athletic willpower and strength dominated my development.

When my first real attachment in college betrayed me, I had no one to confide in.

This week is the first time I became aware of this. I guess it was normal facing life alone for me.

I did not feel loss, I never experienced love, or kindness in my childhood. Criticism and fear dominated my existence.

Trusting someone was a foreign emotion for me.

Being a loner was so natural for me, in fact I never felt safe around people.

I did not know why, now I do.

It will be a massive undertaking rewiring 69 years of life.

With meditation and years of healing, my empathy center is open, I am a giver at my core.

For a loner, I ran a mindfulness group. Somehow that was a safe space while around people.

A triumph in my life, I have helped others heal in spite of my suffering and fears.

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When you were young

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Rick Hanson:

Every child is particularly vulnerable during the first few years.

One reason is that the primary neural trigger for experiences of stress and fear—the amygdala—is fully formed before most babies are born.

This “alarm bell” in your brain was ready to ring loud as you took your first breath.

Second, a nearby part that calms down the amygdala–the hippocampus–deoesnt become completely developed until around the third birthday.

The hippocampus is key to forming episodic memories—specific recollections of personal experiences—and it’s slow maturation is why we we don’t remember our earliest years.

It also signals the hypothalamus to quit calling for more more stress hormones (”Enough already”).

The combination of a ready-for-action amygdala and a needs-years-to-develop hippocampus is like a one-two punch: young children are easily upset while lacking internal resources for calming themselves and putting events in perspective.

Third, the right hemisphere of your brain got a jump start in development during your first eighteen months.

This matters because that side of the brain tends to emphasize the perception of threats, painful emotions such as fear, and avoidance behaviors such as withdrawing or feeling… which intensify the negative effects of the amygdala-hippocampus combination.

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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

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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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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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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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Fear and Shame from “Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness”

Pixabay: lechenie-narkomanii

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“But here are two factors that are immediately relevant to trauma-sensitive mindfulness.

The first is fear.

Trauma can make us terrified of our internal experience.

Traumatic events persist inside survivors in the form of petrifying sensations and emotions.

Understandably, survivors become afraid to feel these again. Van der Kolk described it this way:

Traumatized people . . . do not feel safe inside—their own bodies have become booby-trapped.

As a result, it is not OK to feel what you feel and know what you know, because your body has become the container of dread and horror.

The enemy who started on the outside is transformed into an inner torment. (Emerson & Hopper, 2011,)

A second barrier to integrating trauma is shame.

Connected to humiliation, demoralization, and remorse, shame is a complex, debilitating emotion that often arrives with traumatic stress.

A person who was sexually abused may berate themselves for not having fought back—even though they may know it would have made matters worse.

A soldier who freezes under fire during combat is demeaned by others, and comes to feel fundamentally flawed.

Someone who is discriminated against can internalize the form of oppression being directed at them and begin to feel defective and unworthy.

Shame is a powerful, paralyzing force.”

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Ptsd on Campus: Rape and Gangrape

Pixabay: geralt

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PTSD by definition is irrational.

It is a survival reaction when no real danger exists.

Life is irrational inside my trauma, experiencing the event.

My girlfriend was gangraped at a frat house.

I saw what it did to her, I experienced the assault through the damage it did to her.

They bragged about what they did on that small campus, gangrape was not enough to fulfill their brutal lust, public ridicule and humiliation was added.

Now, this event and the terror and humiliation I felt are alive like it was yesterday.

That is irrational but the drugs and movie that plays brings enormous sadness.

One gals dreams ended that night.

I witnessed a kind 19 year old girl be destroyed emotionally.

She was never the same.

Life’s value took a big hit for me. Nothing I could accomplish could fix or change what happened to her.

Life is so cruel at times.

Life would never be same for her or me.

Rationally I know this has no power in this moment but it brings a deep deep sadness to my soul.

No,wonder I buried this.

Comments or opinions are welcomed.

How does It make you feel?

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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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