Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

Awake Dreams

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This is a different type of dream, I am awake.

Meditation has allowed “me” to observe “me” from a short distance.

It is like watching a bad movie of my life.

I can see how trauma has highjacked my nervous system and thought process, parts of my mind, in real-time.

Everyone says this awareness and ability to observe me is a great step to wellbeing.

Our mind (Ptsd) operates in harmful ways without safety or well-being considered.

Proof: Hypervigilance, avoidance, and anxiety are detrimental to our health but our mind embraces the negative emotional thoughts that arrive.

We avoid, grow our fear, doubt, and worry to unhealthy levels.

We would quit dissociating into the past and future immediately if it was possible or easy.

It looks harmless, extremely easy from the outside, triggers are benign and invisible to normal people.

Only the physical symptoms are ever noticed by others, we hide our shame, sneak into the corner, avoid the spotlight at all costs.

We want to just blend in, to be normal, accepted, not so different, we feel like an alien at times.

Kids have no way of knowing life will not always be so violent, so demeaning, so awful.

All my skills have not tamed the beast yet, but I can see him operate in real-time.

Any thoughts?

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The invisible Monster: PTSD

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/532550724677841406/

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Yesterday, frustrations boiled over, something invisible, abstract, was dominating my life.

It’s called PTSD, not a birth defect or physical issue, more an invisible vapor that confuses us.

My current real-life is high jacked by trauma memories.

As I share my narrative with a therapist, friend, or in a group, I realize how humiliating living this way has become.

Who wants to be this vulnerable and detached.

Living in survival mode, worry, doubt, and spotting danger replaced feeling safe and attached.

I can not will this mess away.

In my pursuit of a cure, I can observe Ptsd from a distance, operating without my input. He sort of takes over my mind, my thought patterns, and nervous system, sometimes in a split second without warning.

I know these damn memories are 50 and 60 plus years old!

It makes no logical sense. Our defense mechanism has a flaw, it’s called PTSD.

Our defense mechanism, our right amygdala has stored trauma memories from the past.

These stored memories, put away under imminent danger have never gone away.

One trauma event can last the rest of our life.

Certain traumas have ruined lives, they never recover, death would be a better outcome.

That statement is my own, bias as hell but I have witnessed what PTSD has done to people.

In a way, I see our defense mechanism is broken.

Tasked with protecting us, our defense mechanism now torments us.

Look how the apparatus designed to protect us, haunts us.

I am in the middle of climbing out of this hole, it’s scary, depressive, filled with mental and emotional detours.

What lies between us and well-being?

Nothing solid, only some defense drugs and outrageous thoughts.

Somehow, I am going to escape this invisible prison.

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Labels dig us deeper into PTSD

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“When we attach labels onto things that appear in our life, they immediately become a roadblock to directly experiencing the Truth of the thing itself. Our labels impart an immediate bias onto things, which skews our impression, distorting our perception.”

This is a quote from the Kundalini morning group I am part of.

We “PTSD people”, is this our identifying label for life.

I identify with being a PTSD sufferer, ran a mindfulness group to help trauma victims, and currently facilitate this PTSD blog.

My life is consumed with trying to gain well-being against PTSD.

I label others as normal people, my words isolate me more.

Other labels connected are unworthy, flawed, anxious, and different.

We also label others, which places the bias on them.

He is gay, she is a rape victim, and our labeling gets a nasty boost with divisive politics these days.

Look at the names being thrown back and forth by politicians, Twitter has become a battlefield.

We kind of demean others with our labels, place them in a confined box, limiting their potential.

Does labeling myself as a PTSD sufferer limit my chance for well-being?

I know the labels I use are detrimental to my health.

I could stop using so many labels.

Now I see labels are hidden judgments that gain everyday use and acceptance.

This is fertile ground for us to improve.

It is all connected to dissociation, thinking about the past then drawing conclusions.

Guilty as charged, working to drop as many labels as possible.

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Apple Is Working on iPhone Features to Help Detect Depression, Cognitive Decline

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“Company is working with UCLA, Biogen to see if sensitive data like facial expressions, typing metrics could signal mental-health concerns.”

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My two cents: I do not need a machine to tell me I am depressed.

However, this could be a great diagnostic tool for some therapists.

My other concern is Apple having all those biometrics on my privacy and mental health.

I guess they could read this blog and find out way more about me than depression.

What a world we live in.

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Sex and gender differences in post-traumatic stress disorder:

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Full article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5632782/

“Prevalence and type of trauma: The lifetime prevalence of PTSD is about 10–12% in women and 5–6% in men.

There are similar differences between the sexes for (comorbid) disorders such as major depression and anxiety disorders.

PTSD subcluster scores have been found to be increased in women, e.g. for re-experiencing and anxious arousal (Charak et al., 2014).

Men and women experience different types of trauma, both in private life and at work (e.g. police officers, Van der Meer et al., 2017), with women being exposed to more high-impact trauma (e.g. sexual trauma) than men, and at a younger age.

Trauma early in life has more impact, especially when it involves type II trauma interfering with neurobiological development and personality.

Traumatic stress affects different areas of the brains of boys and girls at different ages.

“Acute phase, stress-coping and psychotherapy: In the acute phase, women generally score higher than men on acute subjective responses, e.g. threat perception, peritraumatic dissociation and known predictors of PTSD.

Women handle stressful situations differently and have evolved differentially to support these different behaviours. For instance, women in stressful situations may use a tend-and-befriend response rather than the fight-or-flight response that is often assumed.

Emotion-focused, defensive and palliative coping are more prevalent in women, while problem-focused coping is higher in men.

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Women seek more social support, the lack of it being the most consistent predictor of negative outcome of trauma.

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Women have been shown to benefit more from psychotherapy then men in the reduction of PTSD symptoms.

Psychobiological reactions and effects of oxytocin: Although only 2% of psychobiological research has been conducted in females (mainly rats), sex differences have been shown.

Women appear to have a more sensitized hypothalamus–pituitary–axis than men, while men appear to have a sensitized physiological hyperarousal system.”

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My two cents: “Women seek more social support, the lack of it being the most consistent predictor of negative outcome of trauma.”

We men isolate, I do not trust men or women. My childhood had serious type two violence over 18 years.

Childhood abuse destroys trust, emotionally separates us men, our felt unworthiness reinforces the isolation.

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Unused Emotions: Warning; sarcasm and gallows humor ahead!!

You Can Stop Apologizing for Your Sick Sense of Humor!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/498281146262541482/

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My PTSD symptoms have developed into habits, some emotions have been tamped down, almost buried.

I feel the void watching others interact, watching such trusting and kind emotions surface.

Defenses are down, they display warmth, I am envious, a coldness engulfs me.

I do not feel what they feel? Why is what they do worthless to me?

People laugh out loud, hug each other, seem to absorb great emotional rewards, valuable property. They smile and I guess life is good.

This sharing and community must be happiness. What do they feel?

Memories and terror are absent from their demeanors, their behavior. I do not feel safe, free, exuberant emotions, not in private, not in public.

I have no idea what this abstract thing they enjoy, it seems to fulfill them. Makes me uncomfortable.

They have some special connection, attachment, some secret communication of knowing, trusting. I think they developed this in childhood, the security they feel is also foreign to me.

I have not and do not feel these emotions and never would I trust people like this.

Why have certain emotions been absent from my life? When others have warm inclusive feelings, mine are cold, watching for danger.

Have they not been betrayed, publically humiliated, beaten half to death as a kid?

Oh, I love gallows humor, you have to laugh at what we were born into.

If you do not believe in reincarnation, childhood abuse sucks.

If I ignored my PTSD, did nothing to heal, I would expect to suffer.

Why does my PTSD haunt me after a decade-plus of intense effort?

I navigate life in a narrow alley of confusion, anxiety, and terror, finally absent of guilt.

Words can not explain the emotion of unworthiness at my core.

How could my friends understand my feelings, understand my words, or what my life is like?

How should I look at my life at 70, hope for healing by 80?

Sarcasm and gallows humor. Depression is so serious.

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Why are intrusive thoughts (trauma memories) so destructive?

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Childhood abuse (PTSD) changes life, memories are abnormal.

Our memories are experienced (felt) through the emotional prism of worthlessness, damage, failure, or abuse.

Abused kids feel worthless, flawed, or just too damaged for anyone to love or respect.

My intrusive thoughts carry these sentiments, it makes them powerful and scary. As innocent children, we never understood being beaten, raped or emotionally terrorized.

They are not normal memories, highly charged as Stephen Cope describes, “Sometimes we encounter experiences that so violate our sense of safety, order, predictability, and right, that we feel utterly overwhelmed—unable to integrate, and simply unable to go on as before.”

My whole childhood violated my sense of safety, emotionally which has left an indelible mark.

How are we ever supposed to feel safe, normal? We carry a form of terror that changed the size of certain brain organs and functions.

Our nervous systems do not resemble a regular person’s nervous system.

They do not experience the terror, the hyper-vigilance, the flashbacks, the adrenal stress response firing repeatedly, the intrusive thoughts, the emotional deregulation, the avoidance, and the loneliness of complex PTSD.

Intrusive thoughts have the emotional content we felt when abused, they transport us back in time or bring the past to life.

My intrusive thoughts become a rapid, non-stop assault on my wellbeing. It is part of the vapor my brain brings every day, part of the 60,000 thoughts that cross my consciousness daily.

They never stop or slow down when triggered.

Unfortunately, we carry this abuse with us, whether we improve or falter, childhood trauma will always be with us.

I did not have a choice at birth, I did not have any skills as a child to defend myself.

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I have always been afraid of what will happen next, even on my best day.

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When I look back on my life, my memories carry extreme humiliation and worthlessness, they will haunt me till I die.

We can improve, have brief moments of calm but we will never heal, never be free from PTSD exploding.

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A couple followers get results

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Recently two followers shared therapies that have made a difference for them. PTSD is finicky, what works for one has no impact on another.

My advice is have an open mind, keep adapting, and trying new things. I am grateful for followers sharing their journey.

Marcella Cahill:

“I finally have regulated my nervous system and have found a calmness & sense of peace inside.

Neurofeedback was the final piece for me. I live in Ireland and I do this remotely with a therapist in the states. I’m not sure if you ever tried this but

for me, it has been a life-changer. I experience the world in a completely different way and I finally have a sense of myself. I’m a nurse and had to give up my career

because I couldn’t function and am not looking forward to returning to the world of work. It may be worth a try. Please feel free to email me if you want any info

on it. I always believed I’d find my way out please believe you can too.”

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Laurajane74 wrote:

“This is maybe a little out of the blue…I know you’ve read and studied so much when it comes to this subject (childhood trauma/cptsd) but I want to recommend a book to you, if you’re interested. It’s called “No Bad Parts” by Richard C. Schwartz. It’s new this year, and as I’m reading it I’m finding a new perspective on healing trauma, it’s very practical and helpful for me so far. I’ve read and studied and meditated and been in therapy forever, too. I know how hard it is, and how much I long for a full recovery, or an end to my symptoms…I’ve had good progress the last few years, lots of setbacks, too. I appreciate you sharing your journey and I’ve learned a lot from your posts. Thank you”

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My two cents: The internal family system helped me. Dissociation is a huge issue for us.

Biofeedback did not help me but I would recommend you try it. It is simple and straightforward.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Symptoms

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Mayo Clinic: Ptsd

Symptoms

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event

Avoidance

Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

For children 6 years old and younger, signs and symptoms may also include:

  • Re-enacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play
  • Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event

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This Quarantine is jet fuel for Ptsd!!!!

https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/

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Yesterday, at my grandson’s soccer game, I found myself in a sort of out-of-body experience. A mundane event with no big crowds for an 8-year-olds first soccer game.

How did I become so unplugged from society? I was separate from the small crowd, feeling not part of normal life.

The full crushing impact of this Covid crisis is exactly as my therapist shared with me.

All his trauma patients have lost it.

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Quarantine in America has caused those who suffer from anxiety, Ptsd, or other mental disorders to isolate themselves more, have increased symptoms, increased anxiety, and fear.

Substance abuse and aberrant behavior follow.

Something has happened, paranoia being around people became more real. The government told us other people carry danger.

This reinforces all my childhood trauma symptoms. My perceived danger became real, my government and science told us so.

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Damn, we knew isolation well but never had real danger as a reason, we are now isolated as a country.

Requiring a face mask has allowed us to separate at a level we would have never approached without quarantine.

People feared each other, we kept a six-foot distance, it was impossible to read feelings or facial expressions with a mask on.

This is devastating for our mental health.

On the show “The Good Doctor”, Shawn an autistic surgeon, relates that he is like other people now, no one can read facial expressions.

He feels more normal, quarantine impacts all of us differently. Shawn became more normal and enjoyed it, unfortunately, trauma people suffered and deteriorated.

Real contact or conversations, interactions happened texting or on zoom. Life became remote, even school classrooms went virtual.

Kids need contact, interaction, connection.

This quarantine has changed my grandkid’s life. Who knows what the long-term consequences will be.

Avoidance was mandated, a key symptom of Ptsd was now the law of the land.

An old trauma erupted after 50 years of lying dormant, quarantine reached areas that would have never reached my consciousness.

How will we ever get out of this hole now?

At 70, I feel almost nonhuman, trust has faded more with quarantine.

How did my Ptsd advance to this stage?

Take a look at your symptoms, have they increased in intensity since quarantine?

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