Posts Tagged ‘MINDFULNESS’

Tips for navigating the mechanical side of PTSD

https://www.turningwithin.org/fight-or-flight

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Serious PTSD sufferers live with an elevated nervous system, some underlying agitation is always present.

For me, the fight or flight exploding was like getting shot in the solar plexus, intense, an electrifying jolt.

Those are the easy times to know the condition of our nervous system.

Bringing more awareness to my inner world, I have noticed a few things.

First, my baseline activation is higher, my nervous system has more agitation at rest than a normal person.

I have learned my nervous system, or anxiety level can be raised to an excited level without me recognizing it consciously.

When intrusive thoughts are active, then I notice my agitation consciously. I guess it needs to reach a certain intensity before I become aware of it.

Being sensitive to smaller levels of activation helps us navigate PTSD much better.

An elevated nervous system depletes our energy, wears on our emotional stability.

This is the mechanical, the physical part of PTSD that we can learn to calm.

They teach Navy Seals to handle fear (high anxiety), their fight or flight mechanism, using their breath, focusing on elongating the exhales.

Yes, slow focused breathing can dissipate adrenaline and cortisol while activating our parasympathetic nervous system, the breaks, bringing calm.

I have learned that fear, it’s physical embodiment, our adrenal stress response (fight or flight mechanism), contains no fear.

Fear is added by our thoughts. I choose to focus on the body sensations, taking my breath into the middle of the agitation or unrest.

While hiking with my chronic pain, I would summon my fight or flight mechanism to fire, then use the Adrenaline and Cortisol for my workout energy.

While handling my fight or flight mechanism everyday hiking, I became more familiar, more comfortable with that intense feeling.

The more we know about our nervous system the better.

Now I do not fear my chronic pain or my fight or flight mechanism firing.

If you weather the storm sitting quietly, motionless, focused on your breath, your confidence and power will grow.

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My childhood Abuse haunts me, it was hard wired

https://pixabay.com/users/tabor-1546010/

I have been watching “Queens Gambit” on netflicks, so I find this pic funny. Yea nothing to do with the post but entertaining for me. That’s an active PTSD brain functioning, I think. The Jethro Tull t-shirt completes the picture.

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My childhood Abuse haunts me, it was hard wired into my brain and nervous system before it developed.

It is like a bad dream when it is awakened, it is intertwined with our brains normal development. It existed before some parts of our brain matured.

It is highly irrational by definition and ever so confusing.

I never had a healthy ego, autonomy, or even safety in my entire childhood. There is no core, no resilient piece developed, I functioned in survival mode.

Many healthy circuits are ignored and thus damaging our chances of ever being normal. Survival mode, means high alert, spotting danger replaces any creative endeavors, building deep attachments etc.

If you follow this blog, you have seen me as a crusader of healing and then other times like now, you have also seen me in the abyss of active suffering from PTSD.

It is a battle, those who suffer from childhood abuse, physical, emotional or even rape know the nightmare they live.

Our trauma scares the shit out of us, commandeers our nervous system, then floods our minds with intrusive thoughts.

My healing was like a war zone. Violent exits of childhood trauma that I finally integrated were the best feelings.

Then in a few days more trauma arrived. After five years of daily, 8 plus hours of meditation, reading and applying every healing technique I could find, it was frustrating to have more abuse always surface.

It seemed it was limitless and finding peace impossible.

My optimum space for healing, found me totally focused on my effort.

If things got worse, I practiced more.

Another big advantage, I learned from being a pro athlete.

We worked out five months in the offseason without worrying about results until next season.

Childhood PTSD (C-PTSD) is not going to change much in a day, a week, or a month, so I placed all worry or concern into more practice, more effort.

Worrying is a nasty form of Dissociation, our biggest enemy stopping us from improving.

No great direction in this post. My posts are so different when my PTSD is active or dormant.

It feels a little vulnerable sharing when my ptsd is this active.

Thoughts?

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Mothers – Daughters

https://pixabay.com/users/milucernochova-1555503/

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“Self-trust,

self-love, and

self-knowledge

can be taught

to a daughter

only by a mother

who possesses

those qualities herself.”

Dr. Karyl McBride, from Will I Ever Be Good Enough

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Trust, is it possible for seriously abused kids.

https://pixabay.com/users/johnhain-352999/

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I am just realizing some of my habits were created from childhood trauma.

My Childhood was void of trust, it was a violent struggle for a little boy to survive. No attachments were created with my parents, I hated my father, my abuser.

After leaving the household for college, the first person I trusted betrayed me in a horrendous way.

Consequences: Life was much better not trusting people, being dependent on myself, especially when a crisis occurred.

How do you trust after a childhood where I was brutalized emotionally and physically until I left that house?

Childhood did not turn out ok, I was severely damaged and isolated from healthy connections to my peers. I was not allowed to dilute my father’s control with having close friends and a girlfriend was forbidden.

My brain lacked social skills to trust and bond with the group.

Do I cry about lacking, become a victim or do I learn to live without people’s help. That answer is quite obvious.

PTSD is an irrational disorder, we make decisions in survival mode that do not work in normal life. Things are extremely distorted inside our damaged brains.

How does a person like me get to therapy and then trust a therapist?

Trust is a shallow connection to another for me. I just realized how sad this is.

How do we trust on a deep level?

My only touch I received in childhood was getting beat. That does not promote trust or closeness.

Who do you call?

69 years of not trusting is a big mountain!

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Childhood abuse can also increase your vulnerability to stresses you may experience as an adult.

https://pixabay.com/users/openclipart-vectors-30363/

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From https://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/docs/librariesprovider16/default-document-library/the-long-shadow-adult-survivors-of-childhood-abuse.pdf?sfvrsn=0

Childhood abuse can also increase your vulnerability to stresses you may experience as an adult.

In one study, Vietnam veterans who had been physically abused as children were significantly more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after combat than were veterans who had not been abused as children (Bremner, Southwick, Johnson, Yehuda, & Charney 1993).

These findings were true even when comparing veterans who had had the same amount of combat exposure.

What this means for you is that a previously abusive experience, of whatever type, may increase your risk for having a traumatic-stress reaction to something that happens to you in adulthood.

Experiences that could trigger this reaction include being mugged or assaulted as an adult, having a frightening birth experience, or having someone in your family (including you or your child) become seriously ill.

Cognitive Distortions

If you have experienced abuse in childhood, you may see the world as a dangerous place. Because you have been powerless in the past, you may be highly fearful and overestimate danger and adversity in your current environment.

(My comment: The world was dangerous for me, my father beat me violently. That feeling persists in the deepest reaches of my mind to this day. It is subtle now, not overt, it hides in the shadows)

You may also underestimate your own sense of self-efficacy and self-worth in dealing with both real and perceived danger, and feel that there is nothing you can do. You may feel powerless to protect and provide for your children. (My comment: self worth is replaced by co dependency, we lack clear boundaries and become targets of others)

Cognitive distortions can also influence what you think about your baby and child. In one recent study, mothers who had been physically abused had significantly more negative thoughts about their babies than did the comparison mothers, who had not been physically abused (Gara, Allen, Herzog & Woolfolk 2000).

These distortions can contribute to your emotional distress and increase your risk for depression.

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How many kids heal from serious Childhood abuse?

https://pixabay.com/users/cocoparisienne-127419/

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Statistics cover the many causes and their percentages, absent is any percentage for how many heal and how many suffer and die early.

Finding a ballpark figure of how long it takes to heal is non existent.

I would like to know what chance exists for healing from serious childhood trauma.

So many parts of our abuse are intertwined with our brains development. My brain was filled with abuse before it was even capable of distinguishing between trauma and normal development.

If you have serious childhood PTSD, a regular therapist without outstanding skills and wisdom will not work very well.

Recognize the mountain we have in front of us.

People suffer from a single trauma, we were traumatized for a decade and a half growing up.

Parts of us stayed behind in survival mode.

We act out from invisible fear we spot and isolate for reasons no one else can see.

We are not like normal people and will never be like them.

Even if we heal, our lives will never resemble theirs.

Our brains wired differently and not for our wellbeing.

Our coping mechanisms we used to survive our abuser will damage us in adult life.

Will we ever feel safe, worthy and secure?

I have improved in remarkable ways but feeling safe and worthy, having peace of mind are not my companions even now.

If we are offered another life, reincarnation, how many of violently abused kids would take it.

This little boy would never chance being abused like I was ever again.

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I have two significant traumas in my life: a pattern has emerged

https://pixabay.com/users/quincecreative-1031690/

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My traumas waited many decades to explode, coming alive in my consciousness. Usually a crisis, death, cancer, another trauma, etc. activates our stored trauma.

For me, this has happened twice, a decade apart, one with my whole childhood, second a horrible public betrayal in college.

During childhood, my brain wired under duress, fear and survival shut down many normal developmental circuits.

As a child, my complete focus centered around my father (my abuser).

Instead of developing healthy attachments, social skills, all my focus was spent on my fathers mood.

When a caregiver places you in imminent danger, even digestion is interrupted.

So the pattern of being consumed by trauma thoughts is a habit practiced from such an early age.

Now, a second trauma, not childhood but a college tragedy erupted a couple months ago.

Now my mind haunts me night and day playing a short video of the trauma.

My inner world tries to change the outcome. The wounded me in college, does not want to endure this a second longer.

I never felt this humiliated and worthless in my life. We feel the emotions at the time of the event, like reliving a real horror movie.

Of course my trauma from childhood made this new trauma far more damaging.

Abused kids lack emotional regulation skills and healthy coping mechanisms , making us vulnerable the rest of our lives.

Realize, if you have Complex PTSD from childhood, a new trauma will be far more damaging to us than a normal person.

I am finding that two big traumas like this can be overwhelming, so much more power in combination.

Yes, frustration and resentment share my mind with fear and humiliation in the midst of this past trauma.

You can see the rollercoasre ride our traumatized mind takes us through.

This is not an easy life. We isolate to protect our damaged souls.

Not everyday is jubilant on this journey.

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PTSD statistics 2020……..

https://pixabay.com/users/tumisu-148124/

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By SINGLECARE TEAM | MAY 29, 2020 Medically reviewed by MARISSA WALSH, PHARM.D., BCPS-AQ ID

“Studies have demonstrated that up to 46% of people with PTSD show improvement within the first six weeks of psychotherapy. Antidepressants are also a treatment option to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, including anxiety, with studies showing up to 62% of people receiving medication for PTSD show improvement.” (American Family Physician, 2003)

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My two cents: 46% improve: How abstract can psychology be?

Hell, you can improve by distracting yourself, but we will continue to suffer.

I expect to see how many heal. Is our ultimate goal to just improve, then how much.

It took me years to improve and I suffered until improvement was significant.

If you have childhood trauma, six weeks of therapy is not going to change damn near anything.

Do seriously abused kids ever heal. What percentage? I would like to know!

If clients improved why not share what therapies worked the best. How many healed and how long did it take for each category, mild, moderate and severe cases of PTSD.

Are certain therapists more successful at healing clients?

I think we all know the answer to that one. Therapist are as important as the therapies they use.

If 46% improve, why are 22 vets committing suicide everyday?

I would think our psychological cabal would demonstrate their success on veterans who are killing themselves at an alarming rate.

I mean they are claiming 46% improve in six weeks. This would save many lives with minimal duration.

How long does it take for these vets who are killing themselves to heal? How many of them heal or improve significantly.

Why are we not focused on helping those at greatest risk. Some vets are now committing suicide in the VA parking lots. Think this is a message?

These stats are always low, I think many, many ptsd cases are never reported.

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PTSD in veterans statistics

An estimated 354 million adult war survivors globally have PTSD and/or major depression. (European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 2019)

In one study of 1,938 veterans, a PTSD prevalence of about 14% was present in veterans who served in Iraq. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

In reports, a 10% prevalence of PTSD has been extrapolated for all Gulf War veterans. (American Journal of Epidemiology, 2003)

About 30% of Vietnam veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.” (American Psychological Association, 1990)

U.S. PTSD statistics

About 8 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during a given year. (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2019)

PTSD affects more than twice as many women (10%) as men (4%). (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2019)

70% of adults in the U.S. experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. (Sidran Institute, 2018)

The lifetime prevalence of PTSD in the U.S. was 6.8% as of 2001-2003. (Harvard Medical School, 2007)”

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Combining Two Effective Therapies To Help Codependents: Published by Dr. Nicholas Jenner

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Codependency is a complex issue and many therapists doubt its existence. They might agree somewhat with the classic definition of codependency where an enabling partner helps an addict maintain his addiction but the idea of codependency in relationships, the love addiction, is disputed. However, codependency in relationships is something I see and work with every day in my practice and I am convinced it is a concept that affects many relationships.

Once this is established, the question is, what can be done about it? How do you unravel the roots of codependency and the enmeshment with another person? Where do you start to deal with thoughts and feelings first established in childhood? How do you break the cycle of sacrifice and enabling? There are, of course, many approaches aimed at dealing with codependency and its effects and therapists and organisations have their favourites. I have dealt with codependents for years and I have found that combining two therapies, powerful individually but life-changing when used together, to be truly effective. The two therapies in question are Inner Child and Internal Family Systems therapy. First some definition:

Inner Child Therapy

The inner child is the creative, spontaneous, loving, trusting, confident and spiritual part of us that may have gotten lost or learned to hide earlier in life due to feelings of fear and shame stemming from experiences of trauma and betrayal. This may have been due to abuse, mistreatment or misunderstanding in childhood.

It is a rare child who has adults around him or her all the time who are able to be fully present to his or her aliveness. As adults, we can return to childhood memories and ‘retrieve’ and heal that lost or hidden part of us to bring creativity, spontaneity, love, trust, confidence and deep spirituality fully back into our lives. Inner Child therapy is a deep and profound psycho-therapeutic healing experience. It goes to the source of the problem and cuts through much of the intellectual chatter which prevents us from living our dreams.

Internal Family Systems Therapy

(IFS) therapy talks about thinking parts or a “fragmented self”. It offers a valuable model which identifies three common categories of parts: exiles, managers, and firefighters. Exiles carry the burdens of trauma including the emotions and memories. Managers work to stay in control of vulnerable feelings often by working hard or manifesting as a relentless inner critic. Firefighters “act out” with addictions or self-harming behaviours in order to prevent exiles from emerging. Parts work therapy holds a basic understanding that the members our family of origin are internalised as parts of our sense of self when we are children and remain within us as we grow to become adults.

These therapies are very different in their approach and application under normal circumstances but the definitions above might give a clue to how they can be used together. Below is a brief description of how this works.

My belief is that the “inner child” (named exile in IFS) carries our core wound, the trauma that we brought into adulthood and forms our core beliefs about the world and our place in it. Often statements like “I’m not good enough”, “I’m unlovable” come straight from this. These core beliefs are on a very deep psychological level and are hard to shift.

On a layer above are the “parts” that IFS describes. This is the self-talk that goes on in our head when we are triggered. The managers (inner critic, guilt) berate us with what we should or shouldn’t do, how bad we are and how our life is a mess. The firefighters (escape) give us an easy way out into addiction and avoidance but hand us back to the managers when the instant gratification is over. The role of these “parts” is remind us of our core wound and to stop us moving forward and potentially facing disappointment, rejection or pain. It is the classic self-talk that we all listen to. They are the remnants of the protection measures we adopted as children and often mirror the personalities of our original family.

To be able to heal the core wound, we must negotiate with and counter these parts of us that are protecting it and allow direct access to the “inner child” and the trauma it carries. This is done by developing a rational, practical inner mentor who will help with this process.

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What’s Your ACE Score? Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study)

Three Types of ACEs

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There are 10 types of childhood trauma measured in the ACE Study. Five are personal — physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect. Five are related to other family members: a parent who’s an alcoholic, a mother who’s a victim of domestic violence, a family member in jail, a family member diagnosed with a mental illness, and the disappearance of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment. Each type of trauma counts as one. So a person who’s been physically abused, with one alcoholic parent, and a mother who was beaten up has an ACE score of three.

There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma — racism, bullying, watching a sibling being abused, losing a caregiver (grandmother, mother, grandfather, etc.), homelessness, surviving and recovering from a severe accident, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father, involvement with the foster care system, involvement with the juvenile justice system, etc. The ACE Study included only those 10 childhood traumas because those were mentioned as most common by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; those traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.

The most important thing to remember is that the ACE score is meant as a guideline: If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences.

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ACEs Increase Health Risks

According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, the rougher your childhood, the higher your score is likely to be and the higher your risk for various health problems later.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Credit: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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Prior to your 18th birthday:

Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?

No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?

No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever… Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?

No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Did you often or very often feel that … No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?

No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?

No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Were your parents ever separated or divorced?

No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Was your mother or stepmother:

Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?

No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?

No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide? No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Did a household member go to prison?

No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Now add up your “Yes” answers: _ This is your ACE Score

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