Posts Tagged ‘MINDFULNESS’

My history with triggers

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In the beginning, I learned to avoid my triggers, yearned to keep my fight or flight mechanism from firing, and yearned to let go of all the intrusive thoughts.

Using meditation, I learned to focus and stay present when amid a trigger firing. This was the first step in trying to neutralize the impact of my adrenal stress response.

My nervous system settled, limiting both the intensity and frequency of triggers firing.

The next step was searching out trigger situations, then sitting in the middle of them until they calmed.

This part of healing was gratifying and freeing.

Then covid quarantine uncovered more trauma and all hell broke loose again.

My triggers do not fire violently anymore but my system still fills with anxiety and negative emotions.

After all this healing and hard work, avoiding and isolating are still coping strategies.

Some of the deep, dark vulnerabilities are hard-wired from my childhood.

How normal people socialize so freely and without fear or anxiety puzzles me.

Looking back, I can see high levels of anxiety and fear were always present in my life.

From childhood on these high levels were normal for me.
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Healing spiritually

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A decade of therapy helped me but did not stop the demon from doing damage. My spiritual healing offers me hope, calming what therapy could not.


The online kundalini group is doing a 40-day meditation on positivity (love).

Ten minutes of breath work: Inhaling for five seconds, a short pause, exhaling for five seconds followed by a 15 second pause, then repeat.

Thoughts subside with intense focus on the breath like this.

Next, we chant for ten minutes. Chanting is new for me.

We rarely chanted at the zen center, silence was cherished.

We finish with ten minutes of deep breathing.

Instructions are to think of ourselves in the most positive, healthy, and happy way.

This is a task for us. No negativity, no gossiping all day.

I am working on opening my heart and trying to heal more spiritually.

Our job is to continually find new ways to improve, then take action.

The act of trying, and never giving up sustains us during the rough times.
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My traits from childhood abuse

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Traits from my Childhood abuse (Complex PTSD):

Fear of abandonment, low self-esteem, lack of trust, heightened sense of danger (hypervigilance), the anticipation of significant loss or worry, and a strong drive to avoid or isolate.

As everyone describes the benefits of community, of healthy attachment, we feel the opposite and take action to avoid people and organizations.

We have an issue with our safety, as a child, we never felt safe.

I think this fear drives us to isolate or avoid people.

It is hard to understand this cognitively, most feelings are subconscious, abstract, and confusing.

All of this is complicated by the way trauma is stored in a high-priority way and in a place we do not have conscious access.

PTSD has its own key to our defense mechanism, and our fear drugs (cortisol and adrenaline).

This feels like real power, real danger, and real harm.

Knowing these mechanisms of PTSD can help us navigate better.
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What’s the difference between PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder?

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From the blog ptsduk.org

Is it BPD or PTSD?

BPD (sometimes called Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, or EUPD) is a lifelong mood disorder which can affect how someone thinks, feels, perceives, and relates to others.

People with BPD may struggle with a fear of abandonment, impulsive behaviour, intense emotions and relationships, and an unstable self-image.

Although there’s no single cause, research suggests genetics and brain chemistry may make someone more susceptible to the condition.

BPD often stems from prolonged childhood trauma, which can also increase someone’s chance of developing PTSD. PTSD is a psychological response to a traumatic event (which of course might include childhood events).

The symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, depression, anxiety, shame, anger and relationship problems.

Can someone have both BPD and PTSD?

It’s thought that between 25% and 60% of people with BPD also have PTSD. This could be because living with a mood disorder can both increase the risk of experiencing a traumatic situation, and make it more likely that experiencing a traumatic event leads to PTSD.

When someone has both conditions, the symptoms tend to be worse than if they had BPD or PTSD alone.

PTSD can increase the likelihood of dissociative, intrusive and suicidal thoughts in people with BPD.

That’s why it’s so important to get the correct diagnosis.

Making a correct diagnosis for BPD or PTSD

BPD can sometimes be mistaken for PTSD or C-PTSD, and vice-versa.

C-PTSD is a subset of PTSD which is associated with long-term or chronic exposure to trauma – much like BPD.

Both can cause emotional distress, mood swings, flashbacks, anxiety and anger.

It’s thought there are some generalised key differences to look out for, but of course, everybody is different:

Although both conditions can lead to problems maintaining personal relationships, people with BPD tend to fear abandonment, whereas people with C-PTSD may avoid intimacy or relationships altogether because of ‘feeling somehow unlovable or undeserving because of the abuse they endured’.

People with BPD are more likely to self-harm, than people with PTSD or C-PTSD.

‘While both those with BPD and C-PTSD struggle with emotional regulation and often experience outbursts of anger or crying, those with C-PTSD may experience emotional numbing, emptiness, or a detachment from emotions.’

Someone with PTSD may be calmed by going to a familiar environment and being reassured that they are safe. This might irritate someone with BPD, who may respond more positively to being told their feelings are valid.

People with PTSD are more likely to be triggered by a specific external trigger and think and behave rationally outside those triggers.

For people with BPD, the triggers tend to be internal thoughts and feelings, which can be less predictable.

Unfortunately, because of the overlap in symptoms, and because some differences appear similar from the outside, some people with C-PTSD end up being misdiagnosed with BPD, or vice-versa.

Sometimes someone will have both conditions, but only one is picked up.”
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PTSD: trauma over time

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Childhood abuse impacts our life and does the most damage by repeatedly exploding month after month, year after year.

This strengthens the symptoms of PTSD and makes them almost a habit. We adjust our behavior, avoid triggers, while trying to limit the danger we feel.

Then, we start to anticipate danger, it feels like real fear.

It sure secretes our fear drugs (cortisol and adrenaline) numerous times a day.

We navigate life by avoiding triggers and danger subconsciously. It becomes a habit over time.

Hypervigilance becomes a way of keeping safe.

Avoiding calms our hypervigilance for a while but narrows life.

Hypervigilance happens quickly without thought, every time I go out, enter a building, or plan an outing.

I have never been able to stop my hypervigilance from happening but I can ignore the danger as not real at times.
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Things to repeat for us and others

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May you be happy

May you be healthy

May you be safe

May you be at ease
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Inheriting Anxiety

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In a discussion with my daughter about my defense mechanism, she disagreed with me.

I judged my defense mechanism was broken, she said that judgment was erroneous.

My defense mechanism, my hypervigilance was very, very, very sensitive, she said, not broken.

In the right environment, a hyper-sensitive defense mechanism would keep me alive.

If spotting danger was an asset, I would thrive.

How do we navigate normal life with a nervous system like this?

I inherited anxiety.

Childhood abuse made the anxiety much worse.

Fear and intense anxiety are hard to differentiate.

How do you handle an active defense mechanism?
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My PTSD has exploded.

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My PTSD has exploded.

Somehow my body stays full of anxiety without any strong jolts from my fight or flight exploding.

My solar plexus and gut stay tense and agitated.

My mind is bombarded by negative traumatic thoughts.

PTSD dominates thought and emotion, I try to unplug this mechanism.

I fight to stay present.

My body feels paralyzed with abstract fear.

I fight to calm my anxiety, physically by hiking strenuously uphill and spiritually through meditation.
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PTSD: High Anxiety

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My body feels paralyzed from the level of anxiety and unrest in my solar plexus and gut regions.

At this intensity, my mind races, and it is hard to think level-headed.

It is almost overwhelming.

Funny, how we always try to escape intense anxiety.

I find myself pacing, trying to distance myself from anxiety.

Being on edge has always been close to me.

As a kid, my anxiety was so intense I would freeze up, finding it hard to speak.

My dad brutalized me, it made me an anxious mess, and I felt helpless to protect myself.

All this followed me into adulthood.

Hard for joy or happiness to exist inside intense anxiety and fear.

I fight for my security and sanity, happiness seems a pipe dream.
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Our small bodies are marinated in those chemicals.”

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This sentence about child abuse and kids of alcoholics shocks me, “As children, our small bodies are marinated in those chemicals.”

It explains more accurately how PTSD impacts my body and nervous system.

We carry these hypervigilant drugs at higher resting levels than normal people without realizing it.

That makes sense.

I can not remember a time when my body was calm.

Our brains developed while we were in these hypervigilant and survivor modes.

Our brains were wired under duress and abuse, in a state of fear.

This is why we focus on spotting danger, why we worry constantly.

We live with that tightness in our solar plexus, it feels like fear, and we read it as danger.

When you value safety over all other desires, life becomes more and more narrow.

We find it extremely difficult to trust.

It is all stored in our cells and brain, our own body and mind carry PTSD through life.

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