Posts Tagged ‘Mind’

What is the Purpose of Life?

pixabay Comfreak

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What is the purpose of life?

First, abused kids purpose will be drastically different than a normal kids.

We are separated at birth, an abused kids life will have more early death, cancer, addiction, pain, suffering, and mental illness.

It’s like as kids we were on different planets, one supportive and one abusive, damaging.

I have never had a purpose of my own, my dad and mom told me who I was and what I would be, a pro baseball player.

That ended at 27, I have been wandering ever since.

I have friends who are happy to lucky, life is an adventure, and their purpose is evident for them.

They live a life I am not familiar with.

Purpose has a hard time living in a container of trauma, fear, and anxiety.

Purpose becomes trying to survive, trying to diminish pain, trying to be normal.

Living is painful, I suffer enough that life feels worthless.

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Obsessed: a sports analogy

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https://pixabay.com/users/cherylholt-209609/

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From “Obsessed: The Compulsions and Creations of Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz by Steve Volk

“The catcher (your brain), gives signals to the pitcher (your consciousness).

Just as the pitcher can shake off a signal and ask the catcher for another option, our conscious mind can shake off impulses from the brain.

Some of these impulses, like quick motor reflexes, get processed and acted upon automatically.

When I see a car drifting over into my lane, I register no choice to honk the horn and move to the shoulder of the highway; I begin the actions involved before I even have full, conscious awareness of the danger.

But when I receive an impulse to eat a peach, I can shake that off—I’d rather have an apple—like the pitcher telling his catcher “no” and receiving another suggestion.

“The fact is, we behave automatically all the time,” says Schwartz.

We behave without thinking.

The brain is constantly sending us messages and thoughts and possible actions, and we can’t control what thoughts our brain is going to bring up into our awareness.

But once a thought has risen to conscious awareness, then we can step up and choose where we will focus our attention.

And the behavior we focus on is the behavior we’ll perform.”
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The Journey for abused Kids

https://pixabay.com/users/sreza24595-9538179/

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In the beginning, healing was always slow, an amazing amount of time and effort are invested for a small return.

Healing was so subtle I did not notice for months, small improvements were underway.

A trauma event as an adult, brain fully developed, is much different than childhood trauma.

Childhood trauma has a depth, a plethora of unknowns, seemingly unending instances of more abuse.

This creates some big issues.

An adult endures abuse or a horrible accident and develops PTSD. He/She knows what a normal non-traumatized existence feels like.

He/She has a finite, one-off trauma to deal with. Healing is much quicker, much easier with good tools and effort.

His/Her brain is developed and handles trauma much differently than a kid with a brain incapable of handling life.

An abused kid has never experienced a normal life, never known life without emotional or physical abuse.

An abused kid’s brain is altered from that trauma, smaller hippocampus, larger amygdala, and compromised prefrontal cortex.

Our brains are injured and trauma is mixed up with brain development. As an adult, we fail to realize we need in-depth counseling or maybe in-house therapy.

We do not have a basis to understand our life is screwed up.

We have never experienced normal, how do we know what life is like for others.

My friends think I am just crazy, weak, and stuck. They have simple fixes, then question me for not being brave enough or skilled enough to live life as they do.

I wonder how they would have survived my childhood, my dad.

I did not seek help until I was about 60.

We are similar to narcissist, how can we see something wrong with us with nothing to compare it to. Life has always been like this for us, we have not experienced support or attachment or normalcy.

Childhood abuse is a well with no bottom, no end, no hope.

That is how it feels and looks to us at times.

None of this allows us to give up trying to heal.

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PTSD: Birth is the ultimate lottery

https://www.si.com/nba/2016/10/27/classic-photos-kareem-abdul-jabbar#gid=ci02554da9c0002580&pid=2015

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Looking back after 70 years on this planet, life is harsh even for kids who had great support and love from their caregivers.

Watching a podcast of NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he described his life as an oddity, sticking out being 6’8” at 12 years old. 7’2″ was his height as an adult, how do you blend in or hide, fit into a hotel bed, buy clothes, or fit in a car?

People always stare and treat you like an oddity. He says this kind of scrutiny drives you inside, into your own cocoon.

Life shrinks for people scrutinized as different or abused kids markedly different in behavior than normal kids.

Now, consider being seriously abused as a kid, criticized and beaten by a caregiver. Think we are not an abnormality, an oddity compared to normal kids.

We do not feel equal to others, we know we are flawed and compromised, dysfunctional and isolated.

I am not saying as an adult I believe any of this now, however it was my reality most of my life and dogma as a kid.

If birth is the ultimate lottery, we lost big time.

The impact of abusing a child, lasts a lifetime, I am an example of this. The ACE study documents the physical diseases and early death that childhood abuse causes.

I am not a victim but I have suffered trying to heal from childhood PTSD my entire life. That is a fact.

At 70, my brain is still trying to cope with a smaller hippocampus, larger amygdala and a compromised left prefrontal cortex, Childhood PTSD disrupts nearly everyday with unworthiness and failure.

I have friends who are happy go lucky, think everything will turn out alright. Their demeanor is relaxed and confident, life seems easy and happy for them.

To say I am envious and amazed is an understatement.

Are they from another planet, how can a brain feel safe and secure, being able to trust thoughts, and finally they trust others.

I have never had those feelings and never expect to feel that way, a little bit of wellbeing and peace of mind are my only goals now.

My life is navigating around my trauma minefield, searching for brief moments of joy while dodging trauma thoughts, anxiety and isolation.

Yes, I have felt haunted by childhood demons, this battle has never receded from my life.

Everyone has challenges, some much greater than others. Whoever makes those decisions is way above our pay grade.

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Coping better is my Goal

Pixabay 愚木混株CDD20

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I do not think there is a cure for childhood abuse (C-PTSD), do not think there is a space where we say, I am healed.

It is possible to learn coping skills, navigate life, and find some wellbeing.

Childhood trauma is hard wired while the brain developed, so it is never going to disappear.

There is a huge difference between actively coping with PTSD and being a victim.

Knowing I will never heal is not an opportunity to give up, the journey is the same, the results maybe different than total healing, that’s all.

I am not healed but my life has both wellbeing and suffering.

Coping is using my trauma skills to minimize PTSD’s impact when activated.

When PTSD is dormant, I Strengthen my mindfulness skills, always preparing for the next battle.

It is a precarious existence, often an internal war being waged inside the mind.

Remember our hippocampus is smaller while our amygdala is larger, combined with the left Prefrontal cortex being compromised.

Trauma will explode from time to time as we navigate life.

Our goal is to live and risk in the midst of PTSD terror and enjoy our trauma free Periods fully.

Our challenges come when intrusive thoughts bombard us at a rapid pace, then our fight or flight mechanism fires, how we handle this perceived threat determines life.

Be prepared, develop as many coping skills as possible and practice daily.

There are no guarantees with childhood trauma, life will suck at times, unworthiness and fear will prevail at times.

We do have a choice, resist or give up, deciding not to have PTSD is not an option I am aware of.

We have to be determined, courageous and have the ability to take action in the face of fear and anxiety.

I have learned not to resent my place on this earth, that is a victims stance.

Life Axiom: Sedentary is closer to death, action closer to life.

Healing takes daily action, suffering arrives without effort.

Lessons I have learned

https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?rs=typed&q=ptsd%20healing

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After a long energetic effort with therapy and practice to heal, my life was still a damn mess.

In my old wisdom, if that is a real thing, learning to function in the midst of PTSD is the new gold on my healing path.

Listen, my childhood abuse, wiring of my brain in survival mode, is never going away.

My ability to function, discount the noise and take action is a part of my happiness in life, the oasis in this PTSD desert.

It is not about winning, it is how we fight, how much energy we exert, how much adversity can we respond to.

How resilient can we be along this path, how many times can we get back up.

This is not the road of an easy life, many succumb without much resistance.

My purpose is to live as freely as possible despite PTSD and inspire you to never give up.

We rarely take big risks.

We face adversity and the collapse of our boundaries.

Adversity is not a punishment, some think opportunity lies within adversity.

Adversity is ever present in our lives, attitude and effort are the tools needed to resist and continue living.

Effort has always been easy for me, attitude is difficult when unworthiness and depression try to consume me.

Another lesson I use is the knowledge that PTSD is cyclical, it explodes with cortisol and adrenaline, fills us with anxiety and fear, then recedes in time back to our normal.

Know the pattern of trauma firing up, staying a while then returning back to normal.

Some Wisdom: I have survived my worst flare ups already, with PTSD active and powered up, so my fear level has dropped.

PTSD can do nothing new to me that I have not already endured or survived.

So PTSD has thrown its biggest punches and I am still standing, so are you, maybe you have not realized the accomplishment yet.

Realize that therapy even once a week is only 4 hours a month, our time alone accounts for 720 hours. 720 hours versus 4 hours.

Where do you think healing will happen?

Mine happened on my own time, sometimes directed by my therapists input, most of the time while meditating using my tools.

Next, Find a mentor.

Books were my first mentor, books on neuroscience, PTSD therapies, war, meditation and holistic cures.

PTSD discussion boards were next, a negative place filled with victims acting out, taught me what not to do.

Lessons are hidden everywhere.

Now, I follow blogs that inspire me as part of my daily routine.

Please share one of your tools that has made a difference.

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My take on childhood abuse’s impact on the mind and body

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Childhood abuse results in a smaller hippocampus, larger amygdala and the quarterback (left prefrontal cortex) of our mind confused and ineffective.

Our minds wired around abuse, in survival mode, so the organs responsible for regulation and safety developed differently.

So memory, emotional regulation, safety and common sense have been compromised.

If we understand these shortcomings, we can grade our thoughts on this trauma curve.

Discount everything we feel and think around our PTSD. I do not believe my PTSD thoughts.

They are inaccurate, damaging and a distant memory.

That question of why we just can not let go, is answered in the damage to these three brain organs.

If we look at the Kaiser Adverse Childhood study, cancer, disease, addiction and early death come with childhood abuse, also.

It’s just not the mind, it is the body that suffers.

So let me rejoice at my advanced age to have survived and never given up.

Few will understand how we feel, now we know our brains have physical deficiencies.

This is not to use as an excuse but wisdom to live life as fully as possible in the face of our challenges.

There will be low times of hopelessness and depression, that’s why we never give up, never give in.

I have waited out serious bouts of PTSD with triggers firing, anxiety filling my body, and fear consuming me.

These spells will break, subside and life goes back to our normal.

I still hope, but hope only has a chance with daily work and courage to risk.

We journey together on this path not on competition.

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Orphan Triplets: separated by class then studied

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/1055599892591489/

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My rational mind has no understanding why a certain traumatic event carries such power and fear.

My rational mind has no control over when and how intense PTSD will erupt or last. All I know is my effort to heal this out of control demon.

The irrational, PTSD part of my mind, runs without input from my rational, cognitive side of my brain.

Cognitively, I know normal people are able to let past memories go and move on.

I understand trauma is stored as implicit memory in the right amygdala and also in the body.

The consequences of these mechanisms changes life forever.

The differences between self image, thought patterns, levels of cortisol, anxiety, fear of people, and trust is massive.

The difference between a severely abused child’s life and one who is supported is drastic.

They have taken orphaned triplets in England and placed them in different households to study the impact of childhood. Some were sent to different economic conditions , one poor, one average and one well to do.

They did not tell the kids or adoptive parents what they were doing. This was a study on the influence of class on kids.

The nurturing of the kids was more important than class. A poor foster dad who was devoted to his kid turned out fine.

These researchers were playing God. The kids met in there 40’s, not knowing they had two other twins.

One of the kids placed in a rich home committed suicide, so class is not the only factor.

It’s between biology and nurturing that decides what life will be.

In today’s environment I doubt if you could do such a study again, playing with life for science.

In real life, birth is the ultimate lottery ticket.

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PTSD: what havoc has a year of Quarantine produced?

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Having a compromised immune system, contracting covid could of been fatal for me. I have already experienced two viral immune diseases, chronic fatigue and guillian beret, actually being paralyzed for three months.

With Covid, people presented a real danger to my health, combine that with my irrational childhood triggers, and you have a big mess.

In a way quarantine was the symptom of avoidance being enforced culturally. Since my PTSD erupted over a decade ago, some form of avoidance has always been present.

At my low points avoidance turned into agoraphobia. Now, I am close to agoraphobic again.

Five months into this quarantine an old trauma broke loose and entered my consciousness, my dormant childhood PTSD fired back up.

I enjoyed an almost symptom free period of two plus years. Yes I thought total healing was possible. Now I am at a low point again.

Childhood PTSD presents a calculation for every social situation, risk versus reward, suffering versus wellbeing.

There is no clear cut answer, no right thing to do. Therapy says we need community, attachment, I rarely have felt either.

Some risks turn into damage and suffering, some turn into a pleasant experience.

All risk contains anxiety and suffering for me. Many risks have turned out badly and made further risks unlikely.

My daughter is disappointed that her father, the type A driver, the highly motivated and active man has disappeared.

I am wondering how I kept pushing through my trauma, how I persevered in the midst of emotional turmoil.

It’s hard when we do not live up to expectations from those around us.

I feel shame for how compromised PTSD has made my life, my behavior.

Enjoying life is so far out of reach, I would plead just to be out of suffering.

In the midst of all this, I am venturing out today, going to the coast with a friend, to an aquarium.

Exposure therapy was over for me years ago, now life repeats itself.

Childhood trauma is the gift that keeps on giving, it never dies.

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Childhood PTSD: Can we Rewire a traumatized brain in therapy?

Scans reveal intricate brain wiring

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After a decade of therapy and effort to heal, I see the big picture, the landscape of my childhood abuse and my inner world.

Many pieces of old trauma have been integrated and my life improved for a while. My trauma was layered, integrate a piece and another part comes forward.

My issue is how my mind developed in childhood. Living under serious abuse, my brain hard wired while in survival mode.

That means my nervous system and my defense mechanism were always on high alert. My brain wired parts together to spot imminent danger.

Think of being with your four year old child trying to find your way out of a jungle, feel the anxiety and vulnerability of protecting as predators approach. Your anxiety and fight or flight mechanism explodes.

Now, imagine your brain functions like this everywhere you go. I always spot emotional danger, survival mode is second nature and mostly subconscious. Before I go out, my mind has assessed the possible dangers.

My friends look forward to being at events, I strive to get back home as quick as possible.

My mind wired around fear and danger.

Many executive functions are shut down when emotional fear rocks our world, real or perceived.

It was easy to spot danger as a kid, my brain wired together to protect me from my father. Living a non threatening day as a kid did not exist for me, ever. I have become aware that most of my life, my brain was in its own version of survival mode.

Hard for others to understand our plight. It has taken me this long to understand the issues I face.

Feeling safe, secure, worthy with attachments never developed inside my brain. Never developed in adulthood.

Can we rewire a brain damaged in childhood? Has it been done? Could my brain act normally?

I mean we have our core personality by late teens. If you are happy go lucky, comfortable and secure with others, that’s how your brain hardwired. That brain is wired the polar opposite of mine.

It’s the difference between wartime and peace, imminent danger or feeling safe and at ease.

After a decade of intense work my hard wiring has not changed one bit. How do we rewire our brain to feel safe?

How do we rewire trust?

I have worked on rebuilding trust, however my nervous system and defense mechanism remain on high alert below my conscious layer.

Integrating trauma is different than trying to rewire a traumatized childhood brain.

After a decade, I finally see what’s wrong but nothing has worked so far.

I have asked therapists can we rewire a seriously traumatized brain?

No clear answer.

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