November 13, 2015 at 9:27 am #87341
My whole life as an adult I was afraid of the threat in the future, about to happen yet. My brain has been geared to preventing the danger in the future, often in the next moment. Afraid of being attacked. Every day, every single day.
I am realizing these very days, that the attack I have been afraid that will happen, already happened.
I didn’t know it. Not really.
I had a short, split of a moment memory this very morning of how it felt. How it felt when I was attacked decades ago, as a child, by my own mother. How it felt: frozen, not moving, not breathing, not thinking, nothing happening inside of me. It was taking time out from living, or being taken for a time out from living. Nothing happening. Terror. There I was sitting. Frozen. Too difficult to endure, the fear, too threatening.
This, this danger is not happening, was what my body and mind were telling me in their frozen state. Nothing is happening. I am not here. There is no me. There is nothing, nothing is happening. Frozen.
And all these years after, morning after morning, recently, I am aware of feeling fear while having breakfast. I want to enjoy the breakfast, but I am scared. Scared, listening to noises around and what they mean. Thinking of the next attack, here on Tiny Buddha, listening to a sound of dissatisfaction, and what there is to follow.
Not knowing it is not about to happen. It already happened.
This is what it means then, removing the trauma from the NOW, happening now to the THEN. It already happened.
If it already happened, then it is done, then it is not happening now.
anitaNovember 13, 2015 at 11:42 pm #87464DernellParticipant
Not to sure” on what you are trying to say?
Please” clarify”… so that I might be able to understand” and respond”…November 14, 2015 at 8:13 am #87477
Before I respond to the content of your comment, I want to ask you if there is a reason you use the quotation mark ” in all your posts out of place, just there and there, ” and again. Is there a reason? If not, is it a typo… it distracts me from focusing on the content of your posts,
As to the content: thank you for responding and for being curious enough to ask for clarification! It is very, very difficult for me to clarify. I wrote it the way it felt. The scientific explanation would be that when you are traumatized in childhood, when you are really, really scared and there is nobody to comfort you, and maybe you are scared a lot of the time, that fear STICKS to your brain in the form of connections between brain cells, neurons. That fear is activated during your life even though you are not in the childhood situation any more. It gets activated AS IF the danger still exists, seeing danger where there is not, and seeing way more danger in situations that are not very dangerous. Someone getting angry at you seems dangerous but it is often not dangerous, for example.
This kind of activation and reactivity is what is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The trauma of the past keeps getting re-activated, somehow, through healing, you relax those pathways and remove the trauma from the present to the past.
Once the memories of the trauma, the emotional memory of the trauma moves locations in the brain, from the Present to the Past, you stop being afraid in the present for what happened in the past.
Let me know if I clarified it for you?
To heal from PTSDNovember 16, 2015 at 2:13 pm #87679SaiishaParticipant
Anita – I really don’t know enough about this disorder, but it just made me sad to read your post – that you felt scared day after day, eating breakfast. Wow – I can’t imagine what that must be like. I can’t imagine you being scared somehow – to me, you come across as confident, clear in your head. It’s a good realization though – that whatever you’re scared of already happened – that it’s over. It sounds like you relive it over and over again, but still, when you remember that realization that it’s over, I hope it helps!November 16, 2015 at 6:05 pm #87695
Thank you, Saisha, it feels so very nice to get your empathy, as I am reading these few lines above, I am thinking, in my whole life with my mother, she never talked to me like that. She never said: “you felt scared… you relive it over and over..” simple feedback, simple feedback and a touch of empathy, how very nice.
anitaNovember 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm #87699SaiishaParticipant
You’re very welcome Anita!November 17, 2015 at 9:57 am #87788LayceeParticipant
PTSD is very difficult disorder and I believe you are very brave to talk about it because many people simply don’t fully understand the impacts it has on daily life. Have you seen a professional for any of this? Did your mom face any punishment for her actions? Are you still in contact with her?
My suggestion is to own what you are and what you do, and to do it a little at a time if you need to. Start out first thing in the morning and don’t stop until you go to bed. Since breakfast is the time of day you mentioned being so difficult, when you wake up and before getting out of bed tell yourself “Right now, I really am fine. I am safe. I am simply going to go to the kitchen/bathroom/etc.” Then when you do that one thing, even simply walking down the hall, tell yourself “I did what I was going to. Everything is fine, I’m right here. Now I’m simply going to..” and keep going throughout your day. This might sound silly and repetitive, and obviously you can alter this to your needs, but one important thing to remember is habit. Treating any disorder, panic, affective, sleeping and so on, requires three things; actual treatment strategies, how much the individual physically and mentally puts into treatment, and usually some type of lifestyle adjustment. If you need to write beneficial sayings, goals, reminders, etc. then do it and place them at your bedside and where you eat breakfast.
If you need a more “forceful” approach try taking on the role of an outside observer that simply does not care and states the obvious, like a stereotypical, loud, football (American football if this helps clarify) coach. This can help in two ways. One, it can help by putting the exact situation you are in into perspective, and it helped me to “yell” at myself like a coach because negative thinking for example was one thing I had trouble changing. So in the morning try something like this when you start feeling scared- “Omg I’m freaking out!’ ‘What are you freaking out for? Are you hurt? No! Is that plate of breakfast scary looking? No, all it is ____, so why let it bother you?! Just finish it and get to your other responsibilities!’ The second thing this might do is motivate you even more to get out of the PTSD hold it has on you.
Just some thoughts for you Anita 🙂
-L.November 17, 2015 at 10:11 am #87790
Thank you so much for your reply. I find it useful, the part about breaking a seemingly small task into parts, which I am doing this very morning, feeling more anxious than the usual. This is a great reminder!
As to your questions, I started therapy in March 2011 and have been committed to my healing ever since, working very hard on it. I am in a much better place now than I have been before, and expecting to be in a better and better place.
I ended all contact with my mother in May 2013 and will not renew contact.
anitaMay 10, 2022 at 1:20 pm #399884
This is the third thread I am bringing back today. This one is from November 2015. In its original post, I wrote: “My whole life as an adult I was afraid of the threat in the future, about to happen… I am realizing these very days, that the attack I have been afraid (of) already happened. I didn’t know it. Not really. I had a short, split of a moment memory this very morning of how it felt… decades ago…
“I am aware of feeling fear while having breakfast. I want to enjoy the breakfast, but I am scared. Scared, listening to noises around and what they mean. Thinking of the next attack… the trauma… already happened” –
My thoughts today, more than 6.5 years later: growing up, repeatedly attacked by my mother, I shut down my awareness of… everything, as much as my brain/ body was able to shut down and still be alive. It is like the world, for me, lost its color and light, and turned a gloomy black and white world, persisting to look that way for decades (with short, far in between breaks of seeing the blue sky and experiencing a pleasant spring sun). My world was generally grey, cold and muffled and very, very lonely.
I was spaced out, inattentive, didn’t notice what was in front of me, clumsy, unfocused, poor memory, couldn’t make connections in my mind… lost intelligence, slow to understand. Couldn’t follow what people were saying, couldn’t follow a movie plot, couldn’t connect details and see the bigger picture, the Story.
Fear took hold in me, tics, obsessions and compulsions (Tourette Syndrome and Tourettic-OCD), later a personality disorder and an eating disorder, and more; these were added to the fear. It is like a ball of fear rolling down a muddy hill (the progression of my life) gathering more and more mud (disorders and dysfunctions) as it rolled down.
To be less aware of the danger I was in (a crazy-looking/ sounding/ acting mother who exploded at me with hostility and histrionic suicidal (and homicidal) ideation and threats for hours at a time), my animal brain/ body shut down its awareness to … everything. To this very day, I fail to notice what’s is in front of me, big things that everyone else seems to notice, like a big piece of furniture or equipment only a few feet in front me, and even though I take the same walk, on the same route, every day for years, I cannot remember what it is that I see during much of the walk. When a person talks to me, I can’t follow what he/ she is saying, not for long.
I am looking outside the window as I am typing this, the sun is bright and pleasant, the grass, ferns and trees are green. I hear birds. The Tourettic OCD, the eating disorder, the personality disorder, the major depression, these are pretty much resolved, and most of the distress in regard to the tics (as well as the frequency and severity of the tics) is gone, all as a result of my intensive healing since 2011. I am a bit more attentive, a bit more intelligent, but I still miss a lot of details and have a difficulty connecting details and seeing the Story. This is why I work so hard when responding to members, I take a long time to process the information (re-typing it, re-arranging it) before answering a member.
My daily life is based on routine, and I avoid new activities. Paperwork distresses me, so I do none of it. I want to, well, I plan to, but I keep postponing it. And there are other things I postpone… things I need to do, like going to a doctor for routine checkups. And so, there is more healing to take place further, every day building on progress made the day before. Like I said before, there will always be more healing, more learning to take place, never an ending to it.
If you are reading this, and want to have a conversation with me, please post here and I will read and reply.
anitaMay 10, 2022 at 2:10 pm #399886
I was wondering when you would make a thread of your own! I didn’t realise there was one around from many years ago. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I very much appreciate the care and attention that you put into your posts.
I am wondering, say imagine that you had no anxiety at all. What would you like to do that you don’t do at the moment because of anxiety?
I think it’s good to work on things that you need to do. But if you could work on things that could enhance your life, that could bring you a lot of happiness.
It sounds like your anxiety levels are quite high on a daily basis? Is this assumption correct?
My therapist explained that PTSD is very much related to avoidance. The more you try to avoid the memories of what happened, the more they insert themselves into your day.
As I have shared before, also something I learned my therapist, the more you avoid activities that induce anxiety, the more fear of them is reinforced.
I’m going to be honest, based on my experiences it can take 6 months to adjust to a new activity that triggers anxiety. Each new activity you add can start the process all over again, though sometimes it can take less time to adapt the more practice with this you get.
Some things that you might want to research. Distress tolerance and exposure therapy. You don’t necessarily have to go to a therapist to practice exposure therapy, you can create your own goals and follow the guidelines at your leisure.
How do you feel when you are very very anxious?May 10, 2022 at 2:30 pm #399887
“I was wondering when you would make a thread of your own! I didn’t realise there was one around from many years ago” – lol, I just counted, there are 40 (forty) threads that I started, all on record.
“I am wondering, say imagine that you had no anxiety at all. What would you like to do that you don’t do at the moment because of anxiety?” – Like I wrote right above, I would do paperwork and attend routine medical checkups.
“It sounds like your anxiety levels are quite high on a daily basis? Is this assumption correct?” – no, like I wrote above, my anxiety levels used to be very high for decades; much lower now.
“You might want to research Distress Tolerance… How do you feel when you are very, very anxious” – I was introduced to, and taught Distress Tolerance when I had my first quality psychotherapy 2011-13. I practiced it for years, this is why I feel significantly less anxious on a regular basis than I used to. When I notice feeling fear, I label it, I say to myself: this is fear, and somehow, the fear (because I point to it and call it by name) dissipates.
anitaMay 10, 2022 at 3:56 pm #399894
If you can tolerate distress and anxiety well why do you avoid these activities?
My point is that even though your anxiety has significantly reduced doing paperwork or going to the doctor can trigger anxiety, in most people without severe anxiety it wouldn’t.
You have made significant progress, granted but perhaps your anxiety can be reduced even more.
Even for myself, I would say that my anxiety is much lower than it used to be. But I still experience anxiety on a daily basis at a level where I would benefit from reducing it further.
The bar for your happiness seems low. Filling out forms and going to the doctor are generally not enjoyable even for people without anxiety. They are needs to be met, namely healthcare, independence and fiscal responsibilities.
The reason I suggested additionally pursuing activities that enhance happiness is because they are inherently relaxing and potentially easier to adjust to. By adjusting to easier activities it can help you become more confident and achieve your other goals.
Which parts of arranging or going to appointments are you uncomfortable with? Are there any things that would make you feel safer? Perhaps a friend could come with you? Are there any advocacy services that can assist with doctors appointments and such?
My advice regarding paperwork is commit to doing a little of it. 5 minutes of paperwork is potentially more bearable than doing the whole thing. How often of doing paperwork for 5 minutes do you think would be a realistically achievable goal? Once a week, every day, twice a week? What are some strategies to relax you that can support you while doing this activity? Are there any services that can help you fill out paperwork?
What specifically causes discomfort regarding paperwork?May 11, 2022 at 11:14 am #399908
The two replies I received above, are teaching me how to not reply to members. I am guilty of producing similar replies to the two I received right above, and this is probably the reason why many of the members who posted their original posts (in their own threads) did not post again following my replies. In this post, I will take advantage this somewhat painful opportunity to learn how to not respond to members.
First, a clarification: I feel comfortable analyzing the replying member’s posts here, because this is my thread, and her posts were addressed to me. I would not analyze a replier’s posts on any thread that is not my own. Also, in this analytical post, I will not refer to what the replier shared on any thread that is not one of my own.
The first 8 posts in this resurrected November 2015 thread were posted back then. The following 4 posts were submitted yesterday, May 10, 2022. In the first post I submitted yesterday, I shared that I suffered from lots and lots of anxiety growing up and onward, but have made significant progress healing in the last 10 years or so, so much so, that “the Tourettic OCD, the eating disorder, the personality disorder, the major depression, these are pretty much resolved, and most of the distress in regard to the tics (as well as the frequency and severity of the tics) is gone, all as a result of my intensive healing since 2011“.
I added that I still experience anxiety, that I am still suffering from anxiety related cognitive difficulties (poor attention to details and difficulty connecting details so to see the picture/ the story that the details connect to), as well as avoiding activities (doing paperwork and attending routine medical checkups) that increase my anxiety.
The replying member started her reply with enthusiasm: “I was wondering when you would make a thread of your own! I didn’t realise there was one around from many years ago. Thank you for bringing it to my attention” – she is thanking me for bringing my personal challenges and victories to her attention, why I wonder. Is she thanking me for bringing this old thread to her attention because she finds strength in it, because my significant healing gives her hope? Let’s see:
“It sounds like your anxiety levels are quite high on a daily basis? Is this assumption correct?” – no word about my significant healing, no word about my different mental health diagnoses having been resolved. She is focusing on the negative, on what I did not yet resolve, not on what I did resolve.
She then goes on: “Some things that you might want to research. Distress tolerance” – she mentions distress tolerance as if I never heard of it, suggesting that I look it up, ignoring that I shared in this thread (and repeatedly in my posts to members in these forums in the last seven years of daily participation) that I’ve been going through healing for the last 10 years and resolved a number of mental health diagnoses as a result. Surely, I heard of Distress Tolerance before, and do not need to look it up for the first time in my life.
I replied to her, saying: ” I was introduced to, and taught Distress Tolerance when I had my first quality psychotherapy 2011-13. I practiced it for years, this is why I feel significantly less anxious on a regular basis than I used to”.
In the replier’s next post, she chose to challenge me: “anita, if you can tolerate distress and anxiety well why do you avoid these activities?” – she is telling me that I cannot tolerate distress well: she is grading my distress tolerance abilities and giving me a poor grade, dismissing my assertion that I made significant progress.
In line with her all-or-nothing distorted thinking, if I still have difficulties, it means I am still sick. In line with her focusing-on-the-negatives-dismissing-the-positives distorted thinking, she is focusing on the negative (sickness, avoiding paperwork, etc.), dismissing the positive (health, no longer fitting a number of mental diagnoses).
The replier then proceeds to argue her point: “My point is that even though your anxiety has significantly reduced, doing paperwork or going to the doctor can trigger anxiety, in most people without severe anxiety it wouldn’t” – she is arguing against my assertion that my anxiety significantly lessened, claiming that my anxiety is still severe, otherwise, I wouldn’t have problems doing paper work and going to the doctor.
Anxiety is a relative thing- I worked very hard and made a lot of progress significantly lessening my anxiety over the last years- this should be good enough, it should be positively acknowledged and praised… not dismissed or diminished.
<p style=”text-align: left;”>”The bar for your happiness seems low” – arrogantly, she is telling me that she knows what my bar for happiness should be. She expressed right here that she is superior to me, knowing better. On what basis… I am not aware of any evidence to her being superior to me, none whatsoever.
She ends her last reply with a question: “What specifically causes discomfort regarding paperwork?“- at this point, I am not at all motivated to answer any questions she may ask me, including this one. I am not motivated to communicate with 1) a person who focuses on the negatives (my inabilities and failures), dismissing the positive (my abilities and successes), 2) a person who argues against me, 3) a person who expressed her perceived superiority over me.
And so, on another one of my resurrected threads from 2015, I ended my communication with this member (“I do not wish to hurt your feelings, I really don’t, but I don’t want to communicate with you anymore. I will not post to you following the submission of this post, whether you address me or not (please don’t). Goodbye… I wish you well!”, May 10, in my Once a Victim- Always a Victim? thread).
I rarely initiate an ending of my communication with a member, but I did so yesterday because I expect that otherwise, the member would have continued to argue against me, focusing on my failures, dismissing my successes, and like a dog with a bone- insist that she knows better and that she is right, and I am wrong.
As a matter of fact, I will be pleasantly surprised if she does not continue to argue and make her point even though in her last post to me, on the other thread, she wrote: “I respect your decision“.
And now, what I am learning from this exchange:
1) When I reply to a member- focus the member’s abilities and successes, not on the member’s inabilities and failures.
2) Avoid these two forms of distorted thinking: all-or-nothing, and focusing on the negatives, dismissing the positives.
3) Do not insist on being right, arguing against a member that I am right, and the member is wrong, chasing the idea of being right like a dog with a bone. The moment I start arguing with a member is likely to be the moment I lose the member’s trust and motivation to communicate with me further.
I may point to a member that he/ she is wrong in regard to this or that (seeing it as useful for members who may be reading my posts in this public forum), but I will not argue, and I will not expect a continuing communication with the original poster after telling the member that he/ she is wrong.
4) Never, ever… never express to a member a perceived superiority over the member (in real-life as well, never… ever!)
Again, I will be pleasantly surprised if this member will be kind enough to indeed not address me further and respect my need for no further communication with her.
In the next post, I will look into the need to be Right, generally (no longer referring to any specific member).
May 11, 2022 at 11:49 am #399910
- This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by anita.
Anita if you don’t want a reply. Kindly do me the same kindness I gave you.May 11, 2022 at 11:57 am #399911
psychology today/ 5 ways to handle people who always think they’re right: “Returning to the question of handling people who always think they’re right, and have no problems telling you so, the Fairleigh Dickson study results suggest that their low emotional intelligence could relate at least in part to one or another form of personality disorder. Therefore, getting embroiled in endless arguments with them is likely to prove frustrating, if not counterproductive”
forbes. com/ why always being right can be wrong: “Always being right can be wrong. It can turn people against you, stifle conversations and ideas, and make people want to avoid you altogether… A recent Accenture study shows the majority of people overestimate how good they are at truly listening. The thing is, if you think you’re always right, you probably fall in that majority. You think you know what you’re doing, so you rush… you don’t stop to hear others out… Don’t do that. Stop and truly listen… Maybe other people won’t change your mind, but if you listen carefully, at least you’ll gain an understanding of why someone may think differently than you… Make it a point to keep an open mind when you’re in a collaborative situation, instead of judging others and asserting yourself as the expert”.
An entry with a heavy touch of Buddhist thinking is in huff post. com/ 5 things much more important than being right: “Inherent in the need to be right is the desire — consciously or not — to put ourselves above others, to make them wrong in order to appease our own insecurities and our ego’s need to be perfect…When we find our minds locked into the need to be right — whether in an argument, a discussion or a casual conversation — let’s call on our hearts to integrate the following five virtues.
“1. Openness We can’t always agree with each other, nor should we always try to. That doesn’t mean everyone who disagrees with us is wrong, or that we’re always right. There’s so much to learn from the ideas and opinions of others when we stay open to listening to them. When we give up the need to be right, we communicate and listen on a deeper level, with more understanding and acceptance, and with less judgment and resistance. This is how dialogues move forward and connections deepen. Also, our openness almost always encourages openness in those with whom we communicate.
“2. Detachment It really is possible to be passionate about what we’re trying to express without being attached to how it’s received… Detachment gives us the freedom to communicate without the pressure of needing to be seen as right. Through detachment, we can find peace with however our comments are received and with whatever direction a conversation takes. Who’s right and who’s wrong becomes irrelevant.
“3. Humility The need to be right is rooted deeply in the ego, and one thing our egos are not is humble. Let’s take a breath and swallow our pride when someone says something we believe to be wrong. We don’t have to prove them so… It’s not about compromising our truths, but about being humble within the expression of them…
“4. Forgiveness Though the need to be right enters all areas of our lives, it’s especially damaging during conflicts with those we love. When we believe we’ve been wronged, we often want to prove to the one who’s hurt or betrayed us just how wrong they are. We want to hurt them back. Instead, the focus needs to be on forgiveness… When the desire to forgive takes precedent, the need to be right dissipates, opening the door for a more conscious and healthy connection.
“5. Kindness Dr. Wayne Dyer famously wrote, “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” We all struggle with the insecurities of our egos, with the insecurity of being wrong. And a threatened ego will almost always lash out… The heart simply loves and accepts whoever is on the other side of the conversation. Let’s operate from our hearts, with kindness”.
- This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by anita.