Posts Tagged ‘MINDFULNESS’

PTSD fears: avoid or face?

27 Deep Dark Fears That Will Make Your Skin Crawl

Animator Fran Krause

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We can not be afraid of our pain, of our triggers, of our thoughts, unless we can still take action and face them.

In the beginning I was petrified of triggers firing violently, albeit I was frozen, paralyzed with the biggest jolt of cortisol ever experienced.

Showing very little courage describes the first couple of months when trauma exploded. Hell, I did not understand anything about PTSD or how it worked.

It took time to face my fears, but my meditation practice headed directly at the center of my abuse. My meditation practice worked like a big auger, whatever sludge trapped inside was going to come up in due time.

Exposure therapy became one of the bravest things I repeatedly practiced every week.

Real courage is taking action in the face of our PTSD fears. Have you ever faced your PTSD fears?

I was scared to death, the monster inside is powerful and invisible to others, so my words fall on ears that do not understand.

You have to face these PTSD fears to get better.

No pill is going to do it.

I would run into a person suffering from PTSD who was desperate.

They had hit bottom, the decision to take action had been made.

Their current life was unacceptable, all they needed were tools and direction.

Please be desperate, everyday PTSD rules your life, it grows more powerful.

You can take action in the face of your fears.

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Intrusive thoughts tend to be experienced with a sense of “now-ness”

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Attention, Memory, Intrusive Thoughts, and Acceptance in PTSD: An Update on the Empirical Literature for Clinicians:

Jillian C. Shipherd and Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault

Excerpt:

“Additionally, intrusive thoughts tend to be experienced with a sense of “now-ness” (although the individual usually does not lose awareness of other aspects of the present moment, as in a flashback), and are regarded as separate from intrusive ruminatory or evaluative thoughts about the trauma (Hackmann et al., 2004).

In fact, the “now-ness” of intrusive thoughts is more intense in trauma survivors with PTSD as compared to those without (Schonfeld & Ehlers, 2006). As discussed previously, this is hypothesized to be related to the poorly elaborated memory and disjointed way that trauma memories are stored (see Ehlers, Hackmann, & Michael, 2004).

Although intrusive thoughts are an expected and normative part of trauma recovery, trauma survivors often report that the thoughts are disturbing, and are an indication that they are “going crazy” (Shipherd, Beck, Hamblen, & Freeman, 2000).

When an intrusive thought occurs, it can be associated with emotional distress, physiological arousal, and interference with concentration or task completion, lasting anywhere from minutes to hours.

It is understandable that survivors would want to avoid this experience (e.g., Lazarus, 1983).”

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My two cents: Psychological définitions do not describe my intrusive thoughts.

They are prolific in volume, but hold little fear, mostly unworthiness and shame mixed with anger.

The emotions of harm feel real. My intrusive thoughts are accurate, public sexual humiliation came from a real betrayal.

I can not reframe that in to anything good, after a childhood of abuse, this trauma destroyed trust.

Realize at 69 the damage between childhood and this betrayal is massive, I am still haunted, suffering to this day.

I have accepted it and surrendered to it, but that storyline continues.

I have done the work with therapists and this intrusive thought lives on.

Now, they say avoidance or trying to squash these intrusive thoughts does more harm.

So what does someone do, whose intrusive thoughts run constantly like mine at times?

How would you like the worst day of your life to play over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over?

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The Pauses……… are the weak points of the breath cycle.

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Meditation seems to scare many away, crazy connotations of monks in a cave, others find it extremely boring in the beginning.

So here is a crazy way my mind describes it.

Meditation for me, is just focusing on the four parts of the breath intently, as my listening skill becomes super sensitive to the tiniest sound, inside or exterior.

We are using at least two senses, ever present without thought needed.

Now let’s make it simpler to start. We will only use five breaths, easier to focus on small time frames as we get better.

It is easier to follow the the inhales and exhales inside our nostrils. The inhales are cooler than the warm exhales, the body is in motion, the chest expands or contracts.

The pauses are everyone’s weaknesses. They are like suspended animation, nothing is in motion. With practice these pauses can be the vehicle to the other side.

So here goes. Get an timer app, make the pauses 5 seconds. As long as we focus intently, the time frame can vary, maybe 10 second pauses feel more natural to you.

During the inhales and exhales, prepare for the upcoming five seconds, the key, the pauses. Anticipate the pauses like your finding buried treasure, this silence is golden for us.

So meditation has come down to us being able to focus for two five second periods on the pauses, during a full breath cycle. Inhale, pause, exhale, pause.

Five breaths, then take a break, assess and adapt and try again.

If you can can focus for five breaths like this, you are meditating. You will improve with daily practice.

In due time you can meditate for longer periods or use the focus you have built to unplug anxiety and panic during the day.

It’s not that complex, but your Ego will want to deter you from getting better, he/she never wants to give up any control.

Be aware of your inner critic, he /she is a pain in the ass.

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A technique using a large Circle, a big Zero 0

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Find a quiet spot, focus on the breath intently, slow way down, calm your being.

After the body calms, Visualize an enormous circle in front of you.

Bring all awareness to your body sensations, be extremely sensitive, explore the inner world.

Now let your trauma thoughts and feelings have an audience.

We are just observing them from a short distance. Next start filling the big circle, that zero with your trauma.

Every exhale, shovel some more inside the ⭕️ circle, all the worry, doubt, humiliation, loss and unworthiness we carry like an anchor.

When you have shoveled all you can, every exhale moves the circle farther away as it begins to shrink.

In a couple of minutes the circle is so far away, it looks like a period.

Do you notice any change?

We are trying to build some space, some distance between us and our trauma, between stimulus and response in waking life.

Remember, it takes repetition to handle trauma, to enjoy wellbeing.

My Wednesday meditation group leader, Cam, introduced this technique today.

I adapted it to trauma, fill that ⭕️ circle, it is like a door, an opening to jettison our PTSD.

Being able to focus on the breath and visualize things has helped me get better.

As usual, new things are awkward and we are not very good at it in the beginning.

You can do all this in private, avoidance is a big symptom.

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A loved child versus an abused one, the differences

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Abused children overdevelop the defense mechanism while revving up their nervous system. Being anxious, hypervigilant becomes second nature to us, it is how we navigate the world.

The abused child thoughts and emotions with be totally different. The abused child will be more detached, prone to large segments of time dissociating (ruminating on Trauma thoughts and emotions).

One is in survival mode, the other calm, present and looking to take risks. The abused child grows up to fear loss, public loss even more.

Unbelievable, is it not?

A loved child feels secure, supported which forms a strong attachment to their first caregivers. The opposite happened to the abused child.

The abused child grows up not trusting, being guarded, skeptical, the loved child already has strong attachments which built a foundation of trust.

Loved kids grow up to be trusting adults.

Being loved as a child does not exclude anyone from experiencing trauma later in life but that foundation of love gives them a great chance of healing.

One child feels confident, secure, the other searches for any self worth or kindness. It is a life time of searching, trying to fix what was missing in our childhood.

One craves approval, runs from criticism, feels unworthy, while the other has confidence and autonomy, lives with a sense of worthiness.

Growing up, the abused one, becomes hypervigilance and paranoid around others, seeking a safe place above all else. Risk is way to risky for us.

The loved one feels safe in a group and builds attachments with ease. He/She has way more perspective and resilience if a crisis arrives.

The abused adult will have to battle his brain for the rest of his life. If he/she has the courage to fight it, all that time invested in healing, is time not enjoying life.

I am aware of how much time, childhood abuse has stolen.

Any differences you are aware of?

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Be a Thought Detective

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Can you follow your awareness back to its origin? How big is your awareness?

Can you visualize yourself sitting on a couch watching TV? Can you add a rerun of yourself from last week as the show playing?

Observing the thinker, with practice you can see you sitting on the couch.

Can you watch your mind, be aware of your thoughts. Who is the person that is aware of those thoughts? Not the thinker, we are observing him/her over there.

There is a separation between me and the thinker, we are not the same.

Is that guy in the rerun real? Some people on that television have been dead for decades. Does that TV bring them back to life?

Bringing awareness to our thoughts, uncovers the raging river, rapidly flowing through our consciousness.

60,000 thoughts everyday, one every waking second, how and why do we choose the scary ones, the negative ones, or the ones that are unworthy over the happy, kind ones?

We only choose a small percentage each day.

Experienced monks have trained their minds to let all those thoughts pass on by.

Emotions rarely uncenter them. They exist with their minds living in the current moment, void of random thought. For the most part they direct thinking when they need to, otherwise they are in observer mode.

Thoughts and emotions are partners, they choose which emotions stay and which ones go by by. Without random thoughts to latch onto, negative emotions learn to stay dormant.

Think what that must feel like for us.

Awareness uses all our senses plus intuition in one dimension, then past awareness of danger is prioritized.

Be a detective, awareness is your vehicle.

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Dissociation again

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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.

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My two cents: Dissociation is the king of all PTSD symptoms, it is where trauma fuels itself and takes over large pieces of time.

Conversely, PTSD has a difficult time functioning in this present moment, when we are focused.

It is simple, not easy, in fact our biggest challenge Childhood abuse brings to our doorstep.

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Sharing my personal stuff

https://markmanson.net/

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There was little sharing of personal abuse when I started this blog. I rarely wrote about specifics, did not feel safe enough.

I have mixed feelings about sharing as I do now. If it helps others, I support that part.

Then, times like now, I am shocked to see my pain in print.

We can massage a lot inside our heads. I can look in the mirror and take off ten pounds, but a photo taken later that day will put it back on.

I can convince myself things are not that bad, but reading my post, scared me. Things suck for me as I read.

My pain is undeniable, my attempts to minimize my PTSD drops away with my own words in a post.

In a way it makes me more determined to change it.

One thing I see in my posts, I always pick myself up and go back at it.

I do not expect to heal but I expect to be out of PTSD pain.

That would be happiness for me.

Some would say that is not asking much, but some of you know, we would do almost anything to be free of PTSD.

Happy Healing!

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do you take daily action to improve?

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I have had success helping some improve from their PTSD.

They hear the same words as everyone else, why do they take action, while the rest never quite get it together.

There is a drive, an energy, a purpose in the few that have the ability to take risks, facing what scares them.

I have been able to mentor them, it is satisfying, I value what we share as special.

I have no clue how to inspire the other 95%.

My words fall harmlessly around them without influence.

The best are those who are desperate, at the end of their rope.

They have decided to make a change, they just need a direction and tools.

I light up when someone like this approaches me.

There is an energy and bond we share, I can even trust this relationship.

To witness someone sit quietly and face a sexual assault that has terrified them for years, is almost spiritual.

To witness the courage and healing that ensues is magical.

You can almost see that burden, that heavy weight drop away.

I would encourage everyone to take some kind of action everyday to heal.

Eat the elephant one meal at a time

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Healing takes massive change in our behavior

https://markmanson.net/

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I have made massive changes in my life to improve from childhood abuse.

Thoughts are treated like air, useless for the most part.

Those 60,000 thoughts that arrive daily, I try to allow all to flow on through.

Emotions are ephemeral, transparent and fleeting now.

Thoughts and emotions along with anxiety ruled my world for many years, that has changed.

My awareness is a main actor on life’s stage, finally.

Do no harm starts with the guy looking back at me in the mirror. No derogatory self talk or unworthiness is tolerated.

My nervous system has become my friend, an enormous change.

I am much kinder to myself, more accepting, more loving.

My gratitude grows as I battle.

I am not afraid of traum anymore.

It is still there and takes a toll from time to time.

Guilt and worry haunted me.

They have lost great power but survive.

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