Going through trauma is a terrible thing for anyone. But it doesn’t end there.
The trauma lives on , in the mind of the victim. During the traumatic event or time frame, the person’s brain is put into severe overload. The fear center, called the amygdala, is left on too high for too long.
When the traumatic situation is ongoing for a long period of time, the amygdala can get “stuck on”. It is like the on and off switch gets broken. The” fight or flight” mode is only designed to be on high alert for a few minutes, in order to survive a threatening situation.
People in long term trauma situations include military people in a combat zone, people living in domestic abuse and childhood abuse. There are many other examples and I do not mean to leave anyone out.
When we are subject to severe threat to our body or our mind, for an extended period of time, the amygdala in the brain malfunctions . It no longer knows how to turn off.
The brain is attempting to protect us by having our body prepared for a fight to the death or to run for our lives.
This state of ” fight or flight” is not meant to be endured for long periods of time. People with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) have to endure the extreme fear alert of their brains , even when there is no immediate threat of danger.
The brain perceives everything as a threat. It can no longer tell what level a threat is. Anything that triggers a memory of severe threat , takes us right back to the feelings of the original trauma.
Of course , life is full of all types of threats. There are threats to our job. There are illnesses and physical conditions that can threaten our health.
We feel threatened walking to our car in a dark parking lot. A phone call from our ex abuser is a legitimate threat. These kinds of “real threats” can be severely traumatizing to the PTSD brain that had already been injured.
PTSD is a difficult thing for people to understand , who have not experienced it. It is hard for PTSD sufferers to get help and support from loved ones. The more support we can find the better we will heal.
Our support may come from unexpected sources. In cases where there is no family support and friends do not understand, the person may need to reach out to others. There are closed groups for PTSD on facebook. I belong to 2 of them.
There is blogging . Yay ! My favorite source of external support. And there are some other sources on the internet like Tumblr which has live mental health support. Please feel free to put any internet support groups you want to share in the comments below.
Then there is support in the “real” world, like therapy and groups. I have found that wordpress is my best support. But that is an individual choice and is based on my personality and situation.
In many cases, someone will need more than one support place, in order to create a network of support for themselves. Especially during certain phases of the healing process. Personally, I was in a sort of denial of how bad my trauma was for a while and i repressed feelings for many months.
So at the point things started bubbling to the surface and interfering with my ability to manage my life, I was able to find wordpress and that helped me.
Any thoughts about when you started your healing process and if there was a delay, are welcome .
My bedroom door is open. Someone came into the room and they did not close it when they left. Being that I called out of work due to a tummy ache, Yuck ! I really do not want to come out from under these soft blankets and close that door,
My preteen daughter has her music playing too loudly and the open door is sending the teenie bop beats right through into my otherwise peaceful, quiet space.
So, I did something which I do from time to time….
I tried to close that bloody door with telekinesis! I put out my hand, hopefully, and sent all the powerful telekinetic energy I could muster, towards that blasted door.
Hang on. I am going to to try , one more time…
I am very pleased to announce to you all….. This is very exciting….
The amazing news is that…….
Oh, crap. I guess the news is that I have not given up. One day I will do it ! I will practice and then I will do it. There will be an amazing announcement and then you will all know that I have achieved my superpower.
Coming soon, to a WordPress Blog near you….will be the news feed…There will be a grand announcement and it will go something like this….
Hold Onto Your Hats ! OR Your HEADS!.. (whichever is more likely to fly off… )
Annie! That’s right ! Our beloved sister Annie….. poet of the Realm of WordPress, in all her infinite wisdom and super-fantastic power … has closed that damn door! Yes ! You heard correctly folks! Annie has closed that door and did not even have to get out from under her fuzzy blankets or call across the apartment for a random kid to close the door for her!
She just reached out her marvelous hand and told that door to close. She sent the energy of “Close the Darn Door” into the air and POW! Close it did!! Yay! Yay!
Crowds of anxious and very nosy, gossipy spectators are gathering outside, beneath Annie’s bedroom window. One of our correspondents has reported than Annie dropped some water balloons on the heads of the gathering crowd.
Annie then called down to the nosy crowd. She told them that she currently has her children filling balloons with mustard. So, everyone should back away from the house, if they know what is good for them! The voices in her head told her to splash them with mustard and then possibly …cold pea soup…or mashed potatoes.
Crazy Annie ! I don’t think she would really bomb the crowd with mustard. Do you???
We will be closely monitoring this breaking news for you. We anticipate a new amazing feat within the next few hours.
Sources have informed us that Annie is planning to stay in bed all day, therefore, she will be telekinetically making a sandwich for herself (secret informers tell us that it will be roast beef and swiss on whole wheat) . Then she will float said sandwich through the air, from the kitchen and if all goes well, it will land PLOP! right into to Annie’s eager hands. Annie will never leave the bed.
Updates are expected within the hour. We will return after these important messages…”
Yeah, so that is my dream. I have been trying for years. Everytime I drop something on the floor, I hold my hand out and tell the thing to rise up into my hand. I don’t know why it has not worked yet, but I have not given up.
This should be a lesson to all of you. When you have a dream, you should hold onto it. Hold onto it until it comes to fruition. That way you will end up like Crazy Annie, sitting in her bed, with hand outstretched to the bedroom door. It still has not closed, but I have the heart of a fighter. And so should you !
You may never accomplish your dream, but at least you can type up your fantasy on WordPress.
One of my favorite fellow bloggers was lamenting the human condition yesterday, as I am doing now. But maybe if we can all become superheroes then we will not have to put up with our human shortcomings anymore. Better yet, we will just throw mustard balloons on the people that are annoying us. 🙂
This post is dedicated to Nekaaar , who is a wonderful human and writes wonderful ramblings that inspire and make me smile. It was in lieu of putting a comment in her comment section of her recent post.
My sweet lady, I will call her Rosalie, always cries when I leave work for the night. She also gets upset when I leave to go for my dinner break.
I always have known that she likes me there and that she is sad when I leave. But it was not until tonight that I finally realized just why it is so traumatizing for her. Now that I realize it, I can make it better for her.
A visiting nurse came to see Rosalie today. Rosalie took an instant shine to her and felt very safe with her. The time came for the nurse to leave and poor Rosalie was holding her by her jacket and not letting go. She was crying and begging her to stay.
The nurse and I both tried to reassure Rosalie that she would come back to see her tomorrow. Rosalie said “no she won’t. She has to stay here.”
After the nurse left , I told Rosalie that she would be back tomorrow. Rosalie then said something that has never occurred to me before. She said “No she won’t. How will she find me again? How will she find her way back?”
That is when the realization came over me. Rosalie does not know where she is. She used to have a home and now she does not know how to get back. She does not know where that home is. She could not find it, even if we gave her the car keys and let her go.
She is so lost in time and space that she assumes that everyone else is too. The fact that the nurse happened to find Rosalie today, does not necessarily mean that the nurse can find her tomorrow.
Poor Rosalie feels so lost that she does not think anyone else knows where she is either. She does not understand that other people can find their way home and then back again to find her.
It was a great moment of realization to me. In her world, she is lost. She has no idea how she got to this place where she lives now. As far as she can tell , it is a lost place that no one can find.
Her family does not come to see her, so she must think they are lost and cannot find her too.
So. when she is crying at the end of my shift when I leave, she is truly afraid that I will not be able to find my way back to see her again.
So then, I explained to Rosalie that the nurse and I were good with finding our way home and back to her again. I told her that the nurse had found her way here today on purpose and could find her way home.
I explained to her that I had found my way to see her many times. It was not an accident that I ended up here. I assured her that I know how to get to where she is and that I would never lose my way to her.
This seemed to help. From now on, I will remind her that I know how to get to where she is.
I will not lose her. I love her very much and will find my way back to her every time.
It reminds me that we all live in different realities. Our experiences form our perceptions and our feelings.
When we try to understand people by looking at their situation from our reality, we cannot truly have full compassion for them.
In order to understand, we have to listen and see that their world is different from ours. That includes the world they perceive in their mind. It is the only reality they know.
People who have been abused, people with PTSD, people with mental disabilities and people who are very poor have a very different reality than others.
It is true for many situations including people who have sick children, people who live with chronic pain, eating disorders, alcoholism and addiction.
In order to have true compassion we have to know that others see and feel things differently than we do.
The winter is coming
Like a trigger from hell
The memories flood me
My dreams are not well
Of what it was like
Under your tyranny
Torment and strife
You captured my choices
Opinions you punished
Your opinion alone
Was allowed to be wielded
Your ways were so perfect
My ways were wrong so wrong
My thoughts and opinions
Could never be voiced
Punishment was imminent
Judgement and shaming
Retaliation was swift
If I did not obey
Kindness eluded you
Judgements were harsh
No appeals to the judge
No simple mistrial
You ruled without mercy
No allowance for defiance
Your rules defied reason
But reason was a luxury
You didn’t allow
Your rulings nonsensical
With severe consequence
I froze in the winter
Heating oil was denied
My money you stole
Demanded your rights
I suffered in cold
But you were okay
Vodka and beer
Warmed you all day
I still feel the cold
It chills my poor bones
The memory haunts me
Till I feel alone
Sleep Apnea affects 4 % of Americans. About 1 out of 4 middle aged men in America suffer from Sleep Apnea. Studies suggest that memory impairments can occur from disrupted sleep.
In Sleep Apnea, the sleep cycles are disrupted by periods of difficult breathing. In a new study by Dr. Andrew Varga, at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, subjects had impairments in their spatial memory from disrupted REM sleep cycles.
After a night of improper REM sleep, the subjects had difficulty remembering the placement of items and what they did with things the day before.
The REM stage of sleep is the Rapid Eye Movement stage. This is the deep sleep where we have dreams. The REM stage of sleep is critical for the body to repair any tissue damage from the day, such as muscle microtears. It also has to do with processing memories.
A person with disrupted REM sleep may forget where they placed the car keys the day before and have trouble remembering where they parked their car. Another consequence of incomplete REM cycles is inability to focus and pay attention.
There are 2 different types of Sleep Apnea. They are Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea. The causes for the 2 types are different but both of them cause difficulty breathing during sleep and periods of waking up in the middle of sleep cycles.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea has to do with the airway becoming obstructed. The muscles in the throat becoming too relaxed and causing a narrowing of the airway. The brain will become aware of low oxygen levels and force you awake to reposition yourself.
Usually people do not remember these brief periods of waking. Every time someone wakes up for a few seconds, it disrupts the sleep stage they are in.
The brain and the rest of the body are not able to finish what they are supposed to do, during that cycle. There are certain repairs and regeneration of tissue that naturally occur during REM sleep.
The 2nd type is less common. Central Sleep Apnea is caused by a problem in the brain. The brain is supposed to send signals to the lungs to breath.
The brain of person with Central Sleep Apnea, fails to continuously send the signals properly. The lungs will simply stop doing their job. The body and the brain will fail to get the necessary level of oxygen, which will cause the person to wake up.
Again, with this type of Sleep Apnea, the person will awaken just long enough to be able to breath properly again. Someone with Central Sleep Apnea may wake up with shortness of breath.
Men are twice s likely to get sleep apnea. It is most common in men 60 or more. Being overweight contributes to your risk as well as having a family history of Sleep Apnea. Certain medications are possible contributing factors, such as excessive use of muscle relaxers.
Central Sleep Apnea can occur with people that have heart disease or have had a stroke. It can also be a co-morbidity with neurological disease like ALS.
People that have Sleep Apnea can have morning headaches and depression. Some people have an increased frequency of urination.
If you have extreme tiredness and sleepiness during the day along with any of the other symptoms I mentioned, you may want to see your doctor. There are treatments that would reduce your symptoms.
They also could check you for other types of sleep disorders and medical conditions that could be causing the constant fatigue and tiredness. There are mental illnesses such as depression that can cause some of these symptoms as well as other physical disorders.