C-PTSD from on-going Mental Trauma

The psychologically traumatized brain takes unusual action to protect itself from further trauma. It adapts and activates emergency systems in order to protect the victim from danger.

The fight or flight system begins to behave differently. It adapts. Chemicals that should be flooded into the body for a few minutes during an immediate threat, begin to circulate like soldiers doing rounds.

Unnecessary functions slow down or turn off. The memory functions malfunction. The system overloads. The hippacampus part of the brain fails to properly integrate memories into the long term boxes of the brain.

PTSD happens because the constant overload of cortisol disrupts its normal function. Flashbacks cannot be differentiated by the brain from immediate threat.

Threat is everywhere. That is what the brain has learned. It adapts to the perception that the environment is unsafe. The nervous system goes on high alert.

Ongoing events of threat continue to keep the adaptation occuring. The brain learns not to be normal. Normal functions do not allow for such heightening of perception and the senses.

The senses become more alert. Every loud noise sends adrenaline throughout the body. Shadows on the fall cause the blood to pump faster from the heart and into the exremities.

Breathing becomes faster to bring more oxygen into the brain. The brain must be alert. It needs to process very quickly, at a moment’s notice.

Unexpected danger creates unacceptable odds. Danger must be anticipated. The senses can notice the slightest change in the blood pressure of the enemy.

Connection with the enemy is like a twisted dance for survival.  Any change in the emotional state of the dominator must be sensed before it can be seen.

Executive function falls in performance. The brain adapts. It sacrifices normal day to day brain functions, for heightened survival functions.

The entire nervous system is systematically disregulated by the enemy. The brain fights back. It must adapt.

Integration of memories and events becomes blurred. The line between reality and imagination becomes dangerously thinner and thinner.

The enemy is present all the time. Even when he is not there. Constant hypervigilance commands the body.

Sleep is no longer restful. Full sleep ststes are dangerous. They leavr the victim vulnerable. Sleep deprivation further interferes with the brain’s capacity to perceive reality.

Flashbacks occur simultaneously with new incidents of abuse. Now “traumatization” and “retraumatization” happen intertwined.

PTSD is fully lit throughout the nervous system and the brain. As new terrors at the whim of the monster cause more trauma which will result in PTSD later on.

Emotion goes into shock. Reality becomes arrested and only exists inside of the abuse cycles.

There is no safe way out. Every option is turned over in the brain. Looked at upside down and backwards. And yet….the scenarios play out upon the mental stage and end the same way.

Sometimes the perception of reality of the victim dances close to psychosis. The brain adapts. Organizational systems are nearly shut down. Processing and regular thinking is severely slowed.

This is brain fog. This is darkness. This is how the brain adapts to ongoing, constant imminent danger. Danger just around the corner.

The system becomes toxic as high levels of cortisol and adrenaline are continuously doing their rounds. Making sure the victim can run…freeze….hide…or fight back.

Highly Sensitive People are Scapegoats

Our perceptions about what we see and hear are influenced by the beliefs we hold. Sometimes feelings come up about what we think we know to be true that do not seem to match what is happening.

There is an incongruence between our rational thinking brain and our feelings. When this happens, we want to resolve the difference.

The tendency is for us to repress any feelings that do not logically fit the situation. Most of us have been conditioned to believe what we see and hear, over what we feel.

This conditioning is like a computer “program” that has been installed into us from an early age. Depending on your family, you may have been taught to keep your feelings to yourself if they do not match what others want you to feel.

Even what we see, and the meanings we attach to what we see, is influenced and interfered with by this programming. Many of the core beliefs you hold did not originate from your own mind.

Any feelings about yourself which are negative were programmed into you. Shame and feeling that you deserve to be blamed for things was programmed into you.

Not listening to your own feelings was programmed into you. People that perceive things very differently from the rest of their family are often forced to alter their perceptions.

Society tends to discourage allowing your feelings and intuition to guude you. If you were brought up in an emotionally abusive environment then you were trained that there are consequences for trying to have your feelings validated.

Highly sensitive people are scapegoated by abusive families. They are often criticized or mocked by society. The pain of being rejected can make highly sensitive people shut down emotionally.

Highly sensitive people, empaths and anyone who perceives the world differently than they are told to, are treated harshly by many others. The ones who like the status quo to remain in place, without being tampered with, highly dislike anyone pointing out faults in the system of thought that are being maintained by the group.

Many people are able to go along with the crowd, even if it involves a shared psychosis…meaning that someone created a narrative that is not true and told everone that is was true….and out of fear of rejection, everyone followed along. Over time peoplle who blindly follow others, begin to trust that their own perceptions are not real.

You cannot see anything that conflicts with your core beliefs, if those beliefs are firmly wired into your subconscious brain. You will only see, hear and perceive things in your environment that make sense with your beliefs.

It is not the conscious beliefs that really drive us, but it is the subconscious beliefs. Your subconscious holds certain things to be true and others to be either impossible or highly unlikely.

In emotionally abusive, and otherwise abusive households, the child that resists accepting the narratives that the abuser creates, is scapegoated and told they are “difficult” or that they are mentally disturbed. No one acknowledges your perspective or the fact that your feelings matter.

Maybe you grew up only to find yourself in situations with toxic people, that played out this scenario of you being invalidated and unheard over and over again.

You were programmed to see these things as proof that there is something wrong with you.

There isn’t anything innately wrong with you. Your heightened perceptions about the feelings and intentions of other people are a gift. A gift you may have cursed a time or two…..but a gift nonetheless.

The more you try to act like and be like other people, the more miserable you will be. Highly sensitive, empathic people have a strong need to be authentic.

You must embrace your authentic self without shame. You do not have to feel weird or out of place.

There is an impor purpose that only you can fill. You can learn to tell the difference between what you “are supposed to” perceive, and what you actually do perceive.

Listen to your feelings and let them guide you.

My Top Favorite Self Care Behaviors

self care

Self care is part of self parenting. If you have C-PTSD from childhood abuse, emotional trauma, or neglect, then you were probably not taught to care for yourself.

If your emotional needs were regularly discounted then you were trained to ignore your feelings about being uncomfortable, and taught to hide those feelings. You were not able to get what you needed to make your environment feel safe and comfortable.

If your parents did not make an effort to care for your need to feel safe and comfortable, then you were programmed into discounting your own comfort needs.

Everone has the need to feel comfort, safety and pleasure. It is not selfish to have these needs. It is normal and it is part of the survival instinct.

As an adult who came from a narcissistic pareny or otherwise dysfunctional family, you have to learn how to parent yourself now. …Not in the same way you were parented as a child. But in a nurturing, compassionate way.

Learning thow to care for yourself will allow you to have more energy and patience ti share your love with other people.

Love the loving. Maintain behaviors of self love and then show compassion to people who have the capacity for love and empathy. Do not waste energy trying to change unloving people.

So here is a list of my top 10 favorite self care ideas. Please share your own favorite ideas in the comments below.

1. Wrap up in hot towels from the dryer. You don’t have to be doing wash at the time. Just toss 2 or 3 nice towels in the dryer and dry them on high, for 10 or 15 minutes. Then wrap up in them.

2. Cover yourself in soft blankets. Buy one special blanket that has your favorite texture. Running your hands over pleasing textures can calm the nervous system, similar to petting a soft furred animal.

3. Take a warm shower or bath. You don’t have to wait until you need to bathe. Hot steamy showers have a healing effect and calm the nervous system. Submersing yourself in a bath of warm water will help you be mindful of the present moment.

4. Listen to music that makes you feel empowered. Your favorite music has a direct effect on your nervous system and will generate dopamine and feel-good chemical responses.

5. Petting and playing with your favorite kind of animals. Animals are living spiritual beings. Different people are drawn to different animals for different emotional and spiritual energies that these animals have.

6. Water has healing properties. Drinking clean water…swimming in water… and being near the ocean, stream… or a beautiful sparkling lake…all have spiritually uplifting possibilities.

7. Creating your perfect sleep space. Your sleeping area needs to be a calm haven of nurturing and soothing quality. Alter your lighting with red or other colored light bulbs in a table lamp. Add soothing sounds and textureus. The colors should be ones that are important to you and have an affect on your nervous system.

8. Uplifting words. Read or watch videos by people who inspre you. Your self esteem should feel boosted after spending time with a message that energizes and validates you.

9. Learn to say NO, without feeling obligated to make them agree that your reasons are valid. Being afraid to say NO to people will cause you to be forced into situations that deplete your energy and your self esteem.

10. Create things that are inventive, artistic, authentic or unique. Draw, color, craft, write a poem, sing in your unique voice, write, create a new yoga routine, rearrange items in a unique way, decorate a box, add fringe to your lampshade with a hot glue gun, change the laces in your sneakers to colored ones, make a beaded bracelet, plant some flowers, choose your favorite material at JoAnne fabrics and lay it on your table for a table cloth, buy a bag of buttons at the craft store and sew them onto your tops and jackets, add some coloful garnishes to your dinner plate….explore….create…don’t worry about comparing your creativity to others….be yourself!

 

 

Depression, Loneliness and Invisible Illness

Depression and loneliness can exist together, but they are not exactly the same thing.

Loneliness is something experienced by all people at some point but it is not always accompanied by depression.

Usually loneliness is thought of as occurring when people are alone,  but this is not always true either.

Some people experience loneliness in combination homesickness , when they are away from familiar people and surroundings. They can feel this even when there are people around.

Other people feel like they do not fit in and this leads to lonliness with people around. Some people feel more lonely around groups of people than they do when they are by themselves.

There are other circumstances where people experience lonliness with other people around. Some of these circumstances tend to cause a co-existing condition of depression and lonliness.

People with invisible illnesses like chronic pain, chronic illness, and mental illness often feel both lonliness and depression. There is a feeling of disconnection from others when someone cannot find anyone that can relate to what they are going through.

Toxic loneliness is something that happens to people that cannot tolerate being alone or cannot tolerate bring without an intimate partner.

Ross Rosenberg coined the term “pathological loneliness” when he was doing research with his clients that suffered from co-dependence.

He discovered that one of the reasons so many people go back into abusive relationships is the pathological loneliness.

Both the terms toxic loneliness and pathological loneliness refer to this intolerable pain associated with being alone.

Usually the abusive partner lures the victim back in with false promises that things will be different. The victim who is suffering from such severe emotional / mental distress from being alone takes their chances and goes back.

In the mind of the victim, the pathological loneliness and the depression that goes along with it, is more painful than the abuse was.

People with codependent personalities usually developed pathological lonliness as children from neglect and abuse.

Depression can also develop out of childhood abuse. This can be any type of abuse, including emotional and psychological abuse. People that were abused as children often have complex post traumatic stress disorder as adults.

C-PTSD can involve depression, anxiety and sometimes pathological loneliness. There are often internal mental tapes that play inside their head that repeat negative things.

Being alone can make the internal dialogue louder. Thoughts of worthlessness, shame and failure play over and over. These tapes are implanted in the subconscious during childhood by others.

Many people with C-PTSD do not realize that they have actual trauma that is the same as PTSD which was caused at multiple ages and multiple circumstances.

Many people who have mental illness like depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder had chaotic, traumatic, abusive or emotionally devaluing childhoods.

People with depression have organic differences in their brains which can be seen with brain scans like an MRI. Certain parts of the brain that are supposed to light up to show activity, do not light up.

Depression can also co-exist with anxiety disorders. The sensations of imminent threat that occur with PTSD and CPTSD, can be felt alongside of depression and loneliness.

Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate one feeling from another. It can be helpful to people to be able to identify what sensations they are feeling.

Sometimes looking at the feelings and figuring out what is based on current circumstances and what is from early programming can help.

People with disorders of depression often feel lonely because they are unable to find people to understand their illness. Being disbelieved and invalidated can open up old wounds from childhood.

Some people are unaware that they had any abuse or emotional trauma because it happened at a very young age. The brain stores memories differently before the age of five.

Conditions like depression and toxic loneliness are no less painful than other illnesses. Unfortunately many people are not empathetic about invisible illnesses.

Your reality and your experience with suffering is your own, and it is valid. Healing can begin with validating yourself and being open to the root causes of your feelings. 

Coping with PTSD and Anxiety Disorders

If you have PTSD or an anxiety disorder, some days you have to take breaks between your tasks. Different people are triggered by different things and becoming overloaded can result in a complete meltdown or panic attack.

Pushing through your day without a break to calm yourself will drain you. It can take a lot of energy to do errands and activities, when you are being exposed to triggers in your environment.

Being sleep deprived can add to your anxiety. It is important to find ways to get enough rest and sleep. If anxiety keeps you from sleeping well at night, your body and your brain may require naps during the day. Self care is important.

If you need breaks between doing things, try to think ahead to plan enough time to take them. Be gentle and adaptable with yourself.

You are your own best advocate. Draw boundaries when you need them. Think of how you would treat a friend in circumstances like the ones you are in at the time, if your friend also suffered from PTSD. 

Sometimes it gives some perspective to think of what allowances and flexibility you would offer someone else. Looking at yourself from an observer point of view can help you gain some perspective and design coping methods for yourself.

Sending love and healing energies,

Annie💕

 

Emotional Wounds

Depression is a serious illness that reduces the quality and length of people’s lives. If you suffer from depression you probably feel very alone because the people around you do not understand.

Having your serious mental health disorder minimized, disregarded, or disbelieved can make the feelings worse. Over time negative emotions that are repressed will manifest themselves into mental disorders and eventually physical illness.

There can be more involved at the root of depression than people realize. Most sufferers of depressive disorders, and anxiety disorders, have old emotional wounds from childhood that were ignored and not tended to. The inner child is fractured and left in an unsafe place.

Feeling unsafe in the world, is rooted in childhood neglect of emotional needs. You did not have to be physically beaten in order to sustain serious emotional wounds as a child and a teenager.

If your feelings were minimzed, especially during traumatic events like divorce, alcoholic parents, violence in the home, poverty, dislocation or other things where you felt powerless….then you were left being taught that the world is emotionally unsafe and that you had to repress your feelings about that.

It does not go away until the inner child is recognized and nurtured. The fractured parts of you are crying to be heard. Continuing to ignore, shove down and minimize the inner child will further traumatize you.

Society wants you to shove down your feelings and stop being a baby. But what if the infant was never loved properly or cared for in a way it felt safe?  Time does not remove that infant part from you.

You are not separated from your younger selves. They are a part of your entire being. It all needs to be validated, including fractured child parts that were not loved in the way they needed to be.

It is no wonder that after years of being told to move on, “leave the past behind you” that you now have serious depression illness. It is the same as a Soul Sickness.

We are made of different perceptions and realities. Our emotional and spiritual realities are very important. Putting on a mask every day, and ignoring those parts of you will lead to severe depression and anxiety disorders.

Any pain in the body, or the mind is always telling you that something has been neglected. There are no amount of pills that will fix the Soul Sickness.

Your brain looks for ways to replay out scenarios from your childhood that were neverresolved. You will continue to find yourself in circumstances, and with people that bring up the old emotional wounds.

You have to find ways to connect with, communicate with and comfort the inner child , so that they feel heard and safe.

*for more info, articles, affirmations, and info about coaching for Soul Sickness, narcissistic abuse, hypnosis and NLP healing…please join the mailing list at gentlekindnesscoaching.com

Namaste,

Annie

Light in Darkness

Step lightly and tread a gentle path

You never know what you are walking on

Until you are mindful of it as you go

Listen and see with watchful eyes

Your heart will speak the truth

Be open to seeing more than others

Tell you is around you because

There is always much more than

Your eyes can see if you rush

Breath in your surroundings to perceive

Without biases , without assuming

Things are what you are expecting

If you assume what is there…then

That is what you will see….

Presupposition can murder the senses

And dull your ability to see truth

Sometimes more beautiful than

The others can perceive it to be

And other times darker and more sinister

But see what you are able to see

Never allow others to do your seeing for you

Or give meaning to things without your consent

Your perception becomes your reality for the time you are perceiving it to be

You must see what you need to

And not let others influence you in a way that distorts your truth

Or tarnishes your vision

Walk gently and look freely

Choose your own meaning and feel your emotions

Your spirit is resilient but the mind can be interfered with …

If you are not mindful

Walk gently for you know not where you are walking

Or what you are stepping on

Unless you are aware as you go

Create your own manifestations, and build your own bridges to walk over the water

Until you can walk upon the water with faith…

And without fear

Do not bury your feelings or let others minimize them

Do not allow others to discount what you feel and what you know

Walk softly but speak the truth loudly when it is necessary

And speak the truth gently if it is harsh o

Have compassion when no one around you does

Believe in what is right when others turn their back

Always believe in yourself especially when others shun you

Believe in your intentions when others try to shut you down

What you see and what you feel is yours …and yours to value

Stand up when others have fallen

Stand up when others try to make you stay down

Live with kindness and speak with truth and light

If you let the darkness make you hard to see

The ones who need your light cannot find you

Your light is very important to the ones lost in the dark

Let fear be comforted by truth …

Not the truth of darkness…

But the truth of the light that is within you..

The light that sometimes barely breathes and flickers in the dark

But cannot be extinguished

By anyone

Let your light comfort and inspire

Allow it to flicker like a flame…

Next to fear and sadness

To give them hope

Your light is always within you

Even in the darkest of times

When it is hard to see

No matter how small it may seem at times

Your light has great power and strength

Compassion will flame the fire

 

Touch is a fundamental communication between people. It allows us to communicate compassion better that words or facial expression.

Touch is the most important element of bonding and compassion between humans.

There are neurochemical effects of skin to skin touch. Compassionate touch is critical for the brain and the body to be healthy. We need human touch to be well.

We need  human touch in order to have good mental health. People who are touch deprived can develop mental illness.

People with mental illness can become worse from a lack of pleasant  physical touch.

Compassionate touch reduces stress hormones, including cortisol. When someone touches your skin in a pleasant way, it makes you feel calmer and safer. Anxious feelings  can be reduced and your nervous system can be calmed. 

People deprived of pleasant physical touch  can develop high levels of stress hormones.

High levels of stress hormones on a regular basis will cause a condition of severe anxiety disorder. Depression is often a condition that goes hand in hand with anxiety disorders.

“When a person receives a pleasing touch, the hormone oxytocin is released in the brain. Oxytocin is linked with human bonding, socializing and maternal instincts. It helps alleviate anxiety and fear and is critical in trust-building. There is even a specialized part of the nervous system in our skin, known as tactile C fibers, that is specialized to pick up compassionate touch.” Pracha Touch

Physical touch can promote healing in the body and reduce the likelihood for disease and illnesses.

This includes both physical and mental illnesses. Insomnia can be relieved by the hormone balancing effect of skin to skin touch that is pleasant.

Some people with mental illness may have been touch deprived as infants and as children.

There is research about the necessity of touch for proper development and growth.

There was research by John Bowlby and Renee Spitz, during WW II, about the effect of touch on infants. Infants that were orphans, living in institutional settings were not held by the caregivers.

The lack of compassionate touch caused a 75% mortality rate. Also, the infants had a lower weight and length than infants of the same age. They did not develop properly due to the lack of being comforted. The compassionate touch of the mother is comforting to an infant and reduces fear and anxiety of the baby.

Babies need to have their nervous systems regulated by the mother. Infants do not  have the capacity to regulate their own nervous systems. Infants even regulate their breathing with their mother’s breathing. Babies that sleep with their mother have a dramatically lower incidence of infant death syndrome.

If the baby forgets to take a breath, the mothers breath on the baby’s face will cause the baby to draw in a breath. The baby will be calmed by the sound of its mother’s heartbeat.

“In some of the most dramatic new findings, premature infants who were massaged for 15 minutes three times a day gained weight 47 percent faster than others who were left alone in their incubators – the usual practice in the past. The massaged infants also showed signs that the nervous system was maturing more rapidly: they became more active than the other babies and more responsive to such things as a face or a rattle.” Daniel Goleman New York Times

The United States is one of the most touch deprived countries in the world. In studies, we come up second to England

In the 1960s, psychologist Sidney Jourard, studied the conversations of friends in different parts of the world. He observed friends as they spent time together in a café.

In England, the two friends touched each other zero times. In the United States, there was an average of 2 touches during the conversation. But in France, the frequency of touch was 110 times per hour. And in Puerto Rico, the friends touched each other an average of 180 times!

It is possible that the mental health crisis in the US has something to do with the fact that we are a “No-touch” culture.

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