Monday, August 22, 2016

PTSD ~ re traumatization (personal journey)

I have PTSD.   I have managed to have it under control for 10 years now until recently when I was re traumatized by several people.  I attempted to set strong personal boundaries and there was a lack of respect for those when I did by not one but 4 different people of which 3 were quite deliberate.  I have now spent the past 9 weeks regaining the ground lost by the re traumatization.

  I write here to help me measure not only my progress but remind me when things feel slippery again.  This is a place for me to keep the bits and pieces and that is what the following is is bits and pieces for me.

I struggle but I also think I am doing quite well under all the circumstances I have found myself in recently (over the past 11 months especially.)

I will survive and thrive!!  I am not going to be defeated and killed by this.

People who do not understand PTSD and yet are around someone who has it would be wise to arm themselves with facts and info so they can have a positive relationship with the person unless of course they do not really care about the relationship.

People who have recovered/learned to appropriately cope with the PTSD and symptoms are not so fragile that they can not sustain lasting and solid relationships.  They simply may be more assertive on their personal boundaries which may include finding ways to remove themselves to a distance to feel safe from time to time.  They know when they need to assert boundaries which include removal from volatile situations.  Forcing them to over ride those boundaries or over riding those boundaries for them deliberately is not only unfair but has the potential to re traumatize.  It is known as a toxic situation and a person with PTSD knows toxicity by others is something they need to remove themselves from quickly IF those people refuse to listen to the boundaries being set.

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Relationships, Trauma, and PTSD

Trauma survivors who have PTSD may have trouble with their close family relationships or friendships. Their symptoms can cause problems with trust, closeness, communication, and problem solving, which may affect the way the survivor acts with others. In turn, the way a loved one responds to him or her affects the trauma survivor. A circular pattern may develop that could harm relationships.

PTSD is diagnosed after a person experiences symptoms for at least one month following a traumatic event. However symptoms may not appear until several months or even years later. The disorder is characterized by three main types of symptoms:

Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.
Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma.
Increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered.

Once you have been traumatized, and then re-traumatized by triggering situations, you feel generally unsafe and there is a natural tendency to want to retreat…back up your steps and run for cover.

People with PTSD can be re-traumatized by people who do not understand, and by people who are more concerned with their own agenda than really understanding.

When someone with PTSD has certain triggers, and explains those triggers to someone, it is important that they are validated and respected. If someone wants to care about a loved one with PTSD, they need to really listen to that person, when they talk about what triggers them.

*A person that intentionally uses your triggers against you is dangerous to your mental well being.

But then there are people who just don’t want to listen to or respect your boundaries. Your perceptions are not of an significance to them.

Everyone has personal boundaries, but people with post traumatic stress disorder can suffer severe re-traumatization when a loved one does not honor their trigger boundaries.

The fight-or-flight mode is activated by the amygdala. If the brain perceives a threat, even if that threat is not real, the amygdala will send chemicals into the body like adrenaline and cortisol.

 The feeling in the body of a “perceived threat” and a real threat is exactly the same. The same physiological responses occur, including blood pressure elevation, and feeling of extreme fear and the feeling that you have to act right away.

Once you have asked someone not to do certain things which trigger you, it is a terrible feeling when they still continue to do them. It feels very violating, and only serves to break the trust bond.

Relationships need to be based in trust. Intimate relationships, as well as friendships and family relationships have to feel safe. If one person does not feel safe, then there is a lack of understanding and a lack of trust.

Without both parties feeling safe, the relationship will break down. People with PTSD can find it difficult to trust again, after others have invalidated them about their symptoms.

Sometimes someone will disbelieve you, minimize your trauma, or accuse you of trying to manipulate them with your explanations about your trauma and your triggers. This is very painful and re-traumatizing.

People who have PTSD or C-PTSD from abuse were invalidated as part of the abuse process. Their emotions were minimized, disregarded and made fun of.

To have someone close to you minimize your PTSD, or disbelieve you is re-traumatizing. It gives  the victim into an emotional flashbacks or actual sensory flashbacks.

You can only tolerate being traumatized and re-traumatized so many times.

People with PTSD need understanding and validation.

They need their loved ones to be sensitive to their triggers, and to pay attention to what the person asks and needs.

Otherwise. the relationships cannot continue in a way that is safe for the PTSD sufferer. The person with PTSD will shut down and crawl inside of themselves. No healthy relationship can be sustained without safety for both people.

Monday, August 8, 2016

perceptions are made of what?

Perceptions are built out of experiences.  It is why the older we get the more complex, vivid and too often hardened perceptions can get.  Then throw in that we humans (yes indeedy me included) are biased when told a story from one perspective after the fact, for that does indeed affect how we relate to others.

No two people have the exact same experiences even if they have been together in a particular experience.  The cliche, there are 3 sides at the least to any given event ~ his side and the other side and then the middle, unbiased side comes out of a basic understanding that perceptions and perspectives are naturally tainted by the teller's experiences all inclusive ouver his/her life span
It would seem on the surface that perceptions are what taint the world viewed by more than one making it difficult to get to 'the bottom' of anything.

If perceptions are different for every single human according to their own 'lenses of experiences' then it would surely seem that repeating stories told by one or the other to a third person is not the truth in full.  It is good info to know that we might apply such to take more time to fully understand the person that 'we are talking about' or 'who we are talking to or with'. ( I am reminded about my lessons on gossip and refraining from such.)  The source of so much miscommunication and disconnection that is the human suffering within a human life.

I find a take away, after much meditation, that my perceptions can become easily distorted if I do not keep in mind what goes into making perceptions.  I am reminded that if I struggle with my own perceptions then causing me misfired communications that has to be the case also for others.  Armed with that I am able to increase empathy and compassion some more and that for me is more personal growth which in turn I hope to use to build better relationships.  It also allows me to forgive myself and try harder to assess my perceptions as they mix into the NOW/the current unfolding.

I am trying to do better than 'yesterday' by applying lessons learned.  That is the best I can do with what I have NOW.

Have a great day on purpose.  Pass smiles for miles.

(see poem here: 'my eyes only'   )

Friday, August 5, 2016

Character and Integrity ~ over seen by LOVE

"Character before integrity yet both go hand in hand.
Develop your character and understand it then apply integrity to live."

Someone I love is in the grips of several narcissists/sociopaths (persons).  It hurts to watch from the outside knowing full well there is nothing I can do to break those sick bonds and 'save' the person.

I have been in that situation and I know NOW that it takes the strength from down deep inside, where forever the soul and heart are one, to escape and then not succumb again to another narcissist or the same ones over and over again.

Sadly now when the person I love tries to unknowingly draw me into the drama of those narcissists I have to lay down extremely strong boundaries that then I am accused of not loving the person.  That could not be further from the truth ~ MY TRUTH!

I will lift them all up from a distance ~ I will be vigilant to not allow myself to be drawn back down into that huge black hole to lose my self ~ my character and integrity ~ again.  It certainly would be counter productive and render me unable to be a good friend to others!

"In the morning, as dawn spread up through the curled edges of the earth, I found myself fully awake again connected to my heart and soul, aware that my core was intact,  that in this day I could do what I say and say what I do and keep the two aligned from the source of LOVE inside that flows from every corner of the universe.  I go to my heart where LOVE always resides and I listen so very carefully, for Love truly is my guide be it tough or gentle its qualities have certainly been tensiled by fire to survive ~ it always will, for you see ~ LOVE always wins!"   ~KateyB

Have a great day on purpose.  Pass smiles for miles.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

12 days later....20 days left

I have definitively lost my patience for alcoholics, narcissists and politicians.  None of those entities seem to understand moderation let alone consideration and kindness for others or even a general respect for the health, safety and welfare of self and all others.

Summers are supposed to be for fun, beaching, vacaying, leisurely coffees that last til noon and evening wines that include thoughtful conversations that have some depth and breadth.  I may have missed summer.  If I was willing to totally blame myself I would first decry introversion has overcome me again, but that is not all true.

I am working very hard to maintain an underlying gold thread of joy that is not dependent on surrounding circumstances.  The buoys of hope thrown out to me keep floating too far ahead for me to grab but I remind myself that an attitude of gratitude keeps me minimally tolerant and treading above some sort of whiner status.  After all, I do have food, clothing and a roof over my head as well as some very kind, loyal and caring friends.  Indeed I am blessed.

School starts in 20 days.  I miss the kids and their great ideas and lively energies.  Infectious they are and I can use that infection.

I have not accomplished all I had wanted this summer due to a few set backs.  What gets done gets done.  As for the stack of books and the journals ~ I have whittled those down a little bit.

Writing has also taken a back seat as I hosted visitors and held some hands of grief.  I think human connections are important as long as they are not harmful to all involved.

I will become a little more regular on my blog posts when back into the schedule of school and the early morning solitude with coffee and meditations.

How has your summer been?  Gardens grown?  Friends met and enjoyed?  Travels?  Share.