Posts Tagged ‘Gratitude’

How Emotional Abuse in Childhood Changes the Brain by Leonard Holmes, PhD


Effects on Brain Structure

“Childhood abuse and neglect can have several negative effects on how the brain develops.

Decreased size of the corpus callosum, which integrates cortical functioning—motor, sensory, and cognitive performances—between the hemispheres

Decreased size of the hippocampus, which is important in learning and memory

Dysfunction at different levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is involved in the stress response

Less volume in the prefrontal cortex, which affects behavior, emotional balance, and perception

Overactivity in the amygdala, which is responsible for processing emotions and determining reactions to potentially stressful or dangerous situations

Reduced volume of the cerebellum, which can affect motor skills and coordination”

Feeling at peace: what does that feel like?

I search for that peaceful feeling in the morning when the mind looks to peruse the day.

Being at peace means, feeling safe, relaxed, confident, looking forward to the day with unlimited opportunities.

Instead, my mind searches the day for danger, abstract danger, PTSD danger, perceived danger, then tries to navigate around any awkward situation.

It happens on its own, a habit practiced since childhood, it has deep roots.

I fear loss, humiliation, and failure above all else.

Our minds grapple with judgment, a never-ending stream of thoughts bombards us, and PTSD dominates our consciousness.

I deal with my PTSD symptoms no matter what I do.

At my worst I went agoraphobic for 6 months, hiding in my dark garage unable to muster the courage to go out.

My mind followed me into that dark garage, triggers fired despite my solitude.

Now, if I need to socialize or go to an event, I can navigate and participate.

It is not pleasant, it is filled with anxiety and awkwardness.

It’s like a soldier hearing a car backfire.

He takes cover spontaneously without thought, a perceived imminent threat has been heard.

He has been transported back to the battlefield.

That’s PTSD.

Spending time in my ROOM

This blog chronicles my decade-plus battle with PTSD.

Over 6,000 posts, plenty of educational expertise, sound advice, and an optimistic outlook for therapies and meditation.

I have read, researched, actively tried to heal through therapy, application, and meditation.

I could be a huge success story, working above and beyond, but I avoid people for safety.

I can not change reality.

In reality, I only venture out for my grandkids and necessities, hiking, food etc.

That means I live my life mainly in my room by myself.

I can not explain all my reasons, but I end up not going out.

After all the effort, all the therapy, all the courage in facing my demons, I do not socialize.

I avoid most people.

I have no desire to risk betrayal, trust died many years ago.

How do you climb out of this hole?

PTSD: Belief System

In the Kundalini online group, Jennifer had us look at our belief system, our thought patterns, and the attached feelings.

When I am inside my head, judging, using my cognitive prowess, my belief system locks onto my PTSDs feelings.

Lack of trust, fear, and worry fuel intrusive thoughts.

I am not a victim but I am lost, almost depressed, trying to escape this invisible prison.

How do I handle this incessant flood of trauma thoughts?

How do I dissipate the fear, anxiety, and resentment these thoughts bring?

I ignore as much as possible, focusing on my breath as a countermeasure but some get thru.

My life is consumed by PTSD at times, am I failing?

I feel like a soldier trying to escape the gore of war, it seems to never be over, never leave.

My mind never tires of running intrusive thoughts by my consciousness.

PTSD wants to control.

It is so frustrating.

PTSD: Avoidance

This symptom is hard to avoid, avoidance that is.

Both PTSD and Childhood (Complex) PTSD share the avoidance symptom.

Avoidance is my dominant symptom while dissociation is a close second.

Avoidance impacts desires, or we desire safety over all else.

Does childhood abuse cause more avoidance, more intense fear around people?

Covid quarantine impacted my avoidance tendencies.

Being told people were dangerous, to wear a mask and keep a six-foot distance changed something in me.

Avoidance was a way of life for two years, old, buried traumas burst into my consciousness.

My PTSD has grown more powerful since quarantine.

My therapist said quarantine intensified all his trauma clients negatively.

How powerful is your avoidance symptom? Has it grown?

If you do engage socially, what is it like preparing to go out?

PTSD changes with time

My most polished skill as a kid was spotting, then avoiding danger.

My nervous system was always a wreck, my stomach always upset, and fear was my dominant emotion.



Now, my nervous system has calmed, gone is my fight or flight mechanism firing multiple times a day.

PTSD changed from frightening with intense anxiety to depressive with shame, and anger.

Intrusive thoughts took center stage without the fear of cortisol and adrenaline being dumped into my bloodstream.

Which form of PTSD is worse? Choose between an out-of-control nervous system or shameful intrusive thoughts causing depression.

What a choice? This damage happened in early childhood.

Both bring pain and suffering. We have to heal one to isolate the other or we have no chance at healing.

Hard to function with our fight or flight mechanism out of control.

I have faced my fears, my triggers, integrated and processed, why do I still suffer.

I have been diligent, persistent, and brave.

No bonus points for the effort I guess.

I am stuck after a decade of therapy, meditation and self-healing under my belt

I am currently trying to open my heart and heal the rest spiritually.

Does True Altruism Exist?

Excerpt from Neel Burton M.D.

Does True Altruism Exist?

“The bottom line, I think, is this.

There can be no such thing as an ‘altruistic’ act that does not involve some element of self-interest, no such thing, for example, as an altruistic act that does not lead to some degree, no matter how small, of pride or validation or satisfaction.

Accordingly, an act should not be written off as selfish or self-motivated simply because it includes some small and inevitable element of self-interest.

The act can still be counted as altruistic if the ‘selfish’ element is accidental; or, if not accidental, then secondary; or, if neither accidental nor secondary, then un-determining.
My two cents: My daughter with the child psychology degree tells me altruism does not exist in nature.

She studied the behavior of primates in college, concluding we always have a benefit in mind.

Some people go to church so God will be good to them or they are afraid of not going to church and the consequences they may incur.

We always have a reason.

I want to believe I am a giver.

I can see both perspectives on this one.

Full article here:

Trust can sneak up on you

I was triggered yesterday in the online Kundalini group. We have a daily online group at 7 am During the week and at 8 am on weekends.


We have a WhatsApp group chat to facilitate sharing and community.

I experienced the PTSD upset, a sense of danger, the physical reaction, intense sweating, and intrusive thoughts.

Instead of isolating myself, I shared my experience with the group.

Inside this group, I feel respected and safe.

That sounds like trust.

It can sneak up on you when you least expect it.

Sometimes we have to lean in more, risk a little more and do the opposite of what PTSD wants us to do.

Instead of the usual aftermath of being triggered, isolated and upset, I feel part of the group, calm, and included.

They supported me and gave me great feedback and empathy.

PTSD still rages at times but as Rudid96 says, I will continue swimming upstream for a while.

P.S. What a pain in the ass I must be. I am a lightning rod for discussion, never at a loss for topics.

Happy Easter: A Kindness Post


Photo by Adam Nemeroff on Unsplash

Kindness strengthens the brain: Study shows it helps boost the entire family’s cognitive health

By Jocelyn Solis-Moreira

Doing an act of kindness can make you feel good about yourself, and a new study suggests it also benefits the brains of everyone living under one roof. Researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas report that teaching and practicing kindness at home improved parents’ resilience and children’s empathy.

Because both resilience and empathy use different cognitive skills such as responding well to stressors or considering different perspectives, the researchers suggest kindness can improve a person’s cognition.

The Children’s Kindness Network is an online kindness training program that enrolled 38 mothers and their 3- to 5- year old children. The program included “Kind Minds With Moozie” with five modules featuring a digital cow who explained creative exercises parents can use with their kids to learn about kindness.

“We aim to encourage parents to engage in practical, brain-healthy interactions with their children that aid in a better understanding of one another, especially during times of stress,” says Maria Johnson, MA, director of Youth & Family Innovations and coauthor of the study in a media release. “Research shows that kindness is a strong potentiator of vibrant social engagement, which in turn is a critical component of overall brain health.”

The team studied the impact on the program and children’s empathy. Parents filled out a survey on their own resilience and their kids’ empathy before and after the training program. Results showed that after the program, parents reported being more resilient and preschool-aged children were more empathetic. 

One surprising finding was that children’s empathy levels were below average despite showing improvements after training. The team explains this is likely because of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns that limited children’s social and emotional development.

“In times of stress, taking a moment to practice kindness for yourself and model it for your children can boost your own resilience and improve your child’s prosocial behaviors,” says Julie Fratantoni, PhD, cognitive neuroscientist and head of operations for The BrainHealth Project. “Do not underestimate the power of kindness, because it can ultimately change and shape brain health.”



PTSD: accepting our fate

You reach a point, I have met others with my same pathology, abused kids, suffering at 50, 60, 70, etc, where we accept our fate.



We adjust, fight the daily battle, accept healing is a mirage, and reality is overwhelming.

We have improved but PTSD still has power as a disruptive force.

I need to survive, so PTSD is alive but so am I.

It is a duel, a daily battle, a game of variant intensities of highs and lows.

Mood swings were unavoidable, and devastating to all relationships.

We must survive, endure this part of our life and continue to improve.

I feel like an extreme introvert one minute, near-normal the next, other times, an extrovert, a confident scoundrel.

Who am I?

A split personality, me and PTSD me?

It’s so strange, a plethora of woes.

What a quandary of drama called life.

I need to suck it up, take my risks, and live as fully as I can.

Help, ideas, comments, opinions?

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