Posts Tagged ‘MINDFULNESS’

How PTSD and Emotions Like Worry Are Connected

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By Matthew Tull, PhD

PTSD and Worry

“Several studies have found that people with PTSD may be more likely to worry than those without PTSD.

Why do we often see excessive worry among people with PTSD?

Well, PTSD is associated with high levels of anxious arousal, as well as other strong emotions.

In addition, people with PTSD may have difficulties identifying healthy ways of managing these intense emotional experiences.

Therefore, given that worry may temporarily bring down arousal and can distract people from more emotionally distressing topics, people with PTSD may worry in order to obtain some relief from their distress.

In fact, one study found that desires to avoid emotions explained the association between PTSD and worry.

Unfortunately, as with other emotionally avoidant coping strategies, this relief will be short-lived.

Because the anxiety is not really being addressed or processed, it will only come back and sometimes stronger than before.“
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My two cents: Worry is connected to fear, survival mode, and PTSD.

Worry helps spot danger, in a way my subconscious uses it to protect me.

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Old age and PTSD

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At 70, therapy has been productive, however, the residual trauma combined with my dysfunctional brain wiring brings suffering.

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It is all emotional but powerful, mostly abstract, and always confusing.

I fight for free parts of my day, space where PTSD thoughts fade for a while.

I do not trust the universe, the unknown, or what else could happen today, tomorrow, or next week.

I am old and weak now, the mirage of being healed has long passed me by.

It has been a driven life, grinding through decades without direction, running from something deep inside.

Deep attachments have been few, as fear and distrust made relationships shallow and dysfunctional.

Covid and old age have given my PTSD enormous power over the last two years.

Life changed instantly and drastically when my PTSD exploded during a family crisis over a decade ago.

It wears you out, even if you are brave enough to take action and improve.

It’s never-ending, the thoughts never stop, and the pain never leaves for good.

How do you stop a brain wired to spot danger, set up to worry for protection?

Therapy never rewired my brain.

How much rewiring is possible?

Do they even know?
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Many more stressors are happening

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I wonder how PTSDers navigated life during the Civil War or the great depression.

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It seems as if the world and America have come unglued.

Covid has changed everything, our political upheaval has such vitriol, and now Roe v. Wade will bring fervent protests and violence.

If you have a dedicated meditation practice, you realize we are on this journey in harmony not competition, our path is to give and help others less fortunate.

It’s inclusion, we are all equal human beings. What a novel concept we have forgotten. Let’s clear out the homeless, they are not real people.

The intensity of hate, racism, and violence saddens me.

Where are the peacemakers and true leaders?

One side hates the other side and vice versa, as an eye for an eye leaves us all blind and lost.

Do you see more happiness, kindness or more healing in this current climate?

If you have PTSD, this turmoil heightens your distrust and fear, life becomes narrower.
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PTSD: our inner world is a Battlefield

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Being aware of my internal world, spotting the negative undercurrent, the danger, exposes some of my daily battles.

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Worry arrives early in the morning, before the sun is up my consciousness is greeted by perceived danger.

During my morning meditation, the unrest enters my consciousness.

When you slow down, focus on the breath, letting thought evaporate, the undercurrent is exposed and inflamed.

It takes special tools to let it go, to be able to come back to now, to my focus.

I avoid things that carry danger and worry as much as possible, now.

Other times it can be white knuckle exposure therapy, tiptoeing into perceived danger, feeling about to explode, or faint.

Some things are just too painful to be worthwhile, crowds and people ignite my distrust, and it is a arduous ordeal that leads to more isolation.

We avoid it differently as PTSD ages, as we slowly heal certain areas.

My fight or flight does not erupt for triggers but my intrusive negative thoughts have taken over carrying my danger.

The time and energy spent dealing with all this turmoil are enormous.

My internal world as you can see is a battlefield.

It is a war created by childhood abuse.

Old age has either weakened me or PTSD has gained power or a combination of both.

There are many pitfalls to combating this mental illness, the chance of self-medicating to stop the pain, the chance of becoming a victim, or the chance of self-harm.

Giving up brings real danger, real consequences.

Be strong, discount the noise, and keep swimming upstream.

Life has always arrived at a fervent pace for us, always too quick and with way too much danger.
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Fear and worry arrive before Thought

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My kid brain was always grappling with fear, worry, and doubt, always receiving negative feedback from my caregivers, always anxious, and on edge.

This made a lasting impact on early habits, the fear must have been off the charts to emblazon such a permanent trait.

Worry, doubt, and fear were my dominant emotions, I hid back then, trying to avoid failure.

I find myself at 70 becoming aware of this negative river flowing under the surface, in my subconscious.

It is all abstract, the mind’s pattern of thought, our neural network, what comes out of the ether.

What’s the point?

To attempt change, awareness is the first necessity.

How do you change that which precedes thought, and consciousness?

My fear and worry show up before thought.

So far my successes have come from discounting the fear and worry after they enter consciousness.

I am at a loss to change my worry and doubt in my subconscious, sort of changing the wiring of my brain.

At 70 is that even feasible.

Healing starts with awareness.
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“Buddhas Brain”: the Self

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“Thoughts, feelings, images, and so on exist as patterns of information represented by patterns of neural structure and activity.

In the same way, the various aspects of the apparent self—and the intimate and powerful experience of being a self—exist as patterns in the mind and brain.

The question is not whether those patterns exist.

The key questions are: What is their nature? And does that which those patterns seem to stand for—an “I” who is the unified, ongoing owner of experiences and agent of actions—truly exist?

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Or is self like a unicorn, a mythical being whose representations exist but who is actually.”
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My two cents: Follow any thought, the concept of “I” back to its source and you will find a mirage.

We create “I” from our childhood, what we think of ourselves combined with how the world treats us, then we roll it all together and call it “Marty” or “I”.

“I” is a creation, a magical being we invent for identity.
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Mental Illness: Depression claims another life

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The Associated Press
Wynonna Judd, left, and Naomi Judd

Naomi Judd, of Grammy-winning duo The Judds, dies at 76

Naomi Judd, whose family harmonies with daughter Wynonna turned them into the Grammy-winning country stars The Judds, has died. She was 76.

Her daughters, Wynonna and Ashley, announced her death on Saturday in a statement provided to The Associated Press.

“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” the statement said.

“We are shattered.

We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public.

We are in unknown territory.”

Rick Hanson: The Brain

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“The brain is the primary mover and shaper of the mind.

It’s so busy that, even though it’s only 2 percent of the body’s weight, it uses 20–25 percent of its oxygen and glucose.

Like a refrigerator, it’s always humming away, performing its functions; consequently, it uses about the same amount of energy whether you’re deep asleep or thinking hard.

The number of possible combinations of 100 billion neurons firing or not is approximately 10 to the millionth power, or 1 followed by a million zeros, in principle; this is the number of possible states of your brain.”

Equanimity

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“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.”

Eckhart Tolle.
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My two cents: I strive for equanimity.

Shaila Catherine describes it like this;

“Equanimity is steady through vicissitudes, equally close to the things you may like and the things you do not like.

Equanimity contains the complete willingness to behold the pleasant and the painful events of life equally.“
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Let it go to voicemail

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“When the past calls, let it go to voicemail, believe me, it has nothing new to say.”

– Unknown –

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My two cents: A motto to live by for PTSD sufferers.

The past holds suffering for us, it is the freeway of pain.

The present moment holds opportunity and freedom.

The past triggers me.
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