A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘brain’

Why I only see the bad in me…..

On my last post, someone asked this question and I thought it is an excellent question. I knew the answer but I went and did some research anyways. Here’s the question:” Why is it I know all I did wrong and think of nothing right? or see mistakes, not successes?”

When humans first roamed the earth they were given a very basic nervous system called the limbic system to protect them. It is a genetic piece of work that still is within us. The system is our warning system that something is wrong and to do something about it. It is fear radar. I have written before how this all works. Through time, the brain became more evolved and we developed the capacity to override the limbic system by learning in reality what is harmful. For example, we know a hot stove can hurt us, but only if we do certain actions like touch the burner. We do not walk around and every time we face a stove, we go into a panic mood or better known as fight, flight or freeze. Unless you hate to cook.

But children who are raised in trauma based environments face a different learning sequence that changes how they react to things as adult. It is not a failure in the child, it is actually another mechanism put into place to protect the child. It appears that genetics predisposes us to develop in certain ways. But our experiences, including our interactions with other people, have a significant impact on how our predispositions are expressed. In fact, research now shows that many capacities thought to be fixed at birth are actually dependent on a sequence of experiences combined with heredity. Both factors are essential for optimum development of the human brain (Shonkoff and Phillips, 2000).

I often wondered why my reactions to things seemed so much over the top. I am very sensitive. I have learned to accept this part of me as a gift, along with the desire to learn to live in peace with it. I am definitely prone to hyper arousal. I would go off and very little would sooth me even if I knew cognitively that things were not as bad as I was making it out to be. When children are exposed to chronic, traumatic stress, their brains sensitize the pathways for the fear response and create memories that automatically trigger that response without conscious thought. These children have an altered baseline for arousal, and they tend to overreact to triggers that other children find nonthreatening (Child Trauma Academy, n.d.).

We all have voices in our heads. And those voices are the echoes of conversations we have heard before since infancy. Many can override negative voices through affirmations and other verbal training. They can change the imprints of negativity. However children who grow up in violent or chaotic homes are too busy trying to survive. Consumed with a need to monitor nonverbal cues for threats, their brains are less able to interpret and respond to verbal cues, even when they are in a supposedly nonthreatening environment.- if a child’s caretakers are indifferent or hostile—the child’s brain development may be impaired. Because the brain adapts to its environment, it will adapt to a negative environment just as readily as it will adapt to a positive one. But if a child’s caregivers are unresponsive or threatening, and the attachment process is disrupted, the child’s ability to form any healthy relationships during his or her life may be impaired (Perry, 2001a).

The question is why do some people only hear the “bad” in their lives? I do not take compliments well. I always am waiting for the other shoe to drop. It is my parents voices I hear which is totally unfair since they are both long gone. Why can I not move on? But if the early environment is abusive or neglectful, our brains will create memories of these experiences that may adversely color our view of the world throughout our life. Explicit memory, which develops around age 2, refers to conscious memories and is tied to language development. Explicit memory allows children to talk about themselves in the past and future or in different places or circumstances through the process of conscious recollection (Applegate & Shapiro, 2005).

This study goes into the effect of long term negative environment. It explains that the brain continues to grow and develop with whatever stimulus the child is exposed to. One way that early maltreatment experiences may alter a child’s ability to interact positively with others is by altering brain neurochemical balance. Research on children who suffered early emotional abuse or severe deprivation indicates that such maltreatment may permanently alter the brain’s ability to use serotonin, which helps produce feelings of well-being and emotional stability (Healy, 2004).

This was an excellent study to help understand the long term impact of childhood trauma and sexual abuse. More and more information is coming out on the long term effects which will help with acceptance. But the most important acceptance is self-acceptance. Based on this study and others, the situation is daunting. If you are chemically and physically wired for hyper-arousal, self-deprecation and negativity, how do you overcome it? Can you overcome it?

Yes, I believe so. All humans have neuroplasticity, which means our brains will create new neuropathways for life. The process slows down as we age. And it takes more than just verbal input. You have to train the body as well to not react to stimulus incorrectly. You have to learn your triggers. You have to learn what is safe. And by that I mean feel within your body, mind and soul what is your place of safe. And you have to forgive….forgive your predators because if you do not, you are still giving them power. And you have to forgive yourself when things set you off course or upset you. This process takes a lot of work and I honor any who keep on trying because I know it is hard. Just as the child who repeated falls when learning to walk, they get up and keep trying. So goes our lives. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

From:

Child Welfare Information Gateway ISSUE BRIEF. November 2009, Understanding the Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development

 

You get what you ask for?

Backyard

You get what you ask for. This is a common theory that if you put out a positive energy, you will receive positive things back. I am not sure if this really true. But I am willing to believe it or would rather have it be the truth. I have fallen back into an old trap of finding the “ugh” instead of the “ah” in my life. I am very cyclical and since I know this, I just try to ride out the ugh wave. It does help me to write. It seems to be a natural flow. Ah follows ugh and ugh follows ah. The past couple of days seem to be dipping now more to the ah.

Except yesterday. We got hit with a rotten snow storm. This is not unusual for my upstate New York…. And I mean real upstate New York, not Poughkeepsie. I came down so hard and fast that they could not clear the roads. I do not like driving in blinding snow and I do not like driving in rush hour. Both occurred. People were stuck left and right, off in ditches and perpendicular in the roads. I waited at the bottom of a hill for people to get unstuck while these crazy-ass four wheelers decided to go around me and make a bigger mess. But I got home. Granted I got stuck in the driveway and by the time we unstuck me I was a mess. The result was a screaming night of cramps in my legs, feet and abdomen. Terrible.

But today was another view of how gorgeous the snow can be. The roads were cleared and cleaned and I do not mind that everything is dressed with cottony puffs and drift  skirts and diamond necklaces of ice.

But as far as getting what you ask for…. It is an interesting theory of the Law of Attraction. Likes attract. So if you put out bright and glowing happiness, it should come back in spades. I am not sure if this is not just brain washing, but it is a wonderful idea. It cannot hurt to be more positive anyways.

When I was going through my divorce, I saw my reflection in a window of a store. I look beaten up and I was. It was not a great time in my life and I wore it like a gown of doom. This shroud of despair precipitated my demeanor, announcing my failure. I was walking in our little town at a farmers market. I decided to plant a smile on my face and proceeded to walk around in the crowd. The reaction to my smile was either people walked further away or they smiled back. And when they smiled back, it made me feel wanted and accepted again. It worked like the best tonic. Not only did my smile tell my brain that all was well and it released happy hormones, but the gentle smile of people who had no reason to smile at me made me feel connected again.

I have a dear friend at work who is the most caring person. Her world fell apart these past months. Her husband was injured, TBI and now is out of work, waiting for disability to kick in. However, he has been suffering with horrible sickness causing other issues like him being unstable and falling. Her aunt fell and broke her hip. Her son’s dog had a terminal illness and will need to cross the bridge soon. She carried on like a trouper at work. She just started back to school to get her RN, and started the program with Anatomy and Physiology, one of the toughest courses. She had just gotten back to work after cancer surgery on her thyroid in September. To talk to her you would never know her plight. On Monday, on the way out of a store where she stopped to get a cake for one of her staff’s birthdays, she fell. She broke her shoulder and tore her rotator cuff. Now where is the justice in that? And there is no way this woman attracted this mess. But there was some good in it as she is home with her husband and able to take care of him. They are letting her work from home, so she gets a paycheck. But she is carrying on and finding what peace she can in all this.

I am reminded that when I think I have issues, there are people out there who REALLY have issues. I am blessed and I know it. So I am going to focus on the ah’s, even when I am up to my ass in snow.

little tree

 

Altered States

painting 11-2014

It was nice to have some time off. I did have to work on Friday and the lack of personnel at work made for a quiet day but I got a lot done. From somewhere in my head, I got this idea that I needed to revisit a hobby I used to have. I stopped because my hands no longer worked well. But it came into my head to find my old stuff and haul it out and take a try.

I thought I knew where the fairly large box would be. I went into the garage and faced a  pile of boxes and stuff. I ended up spending about two hours cleaning up the boxes of things we kept to donate, and then never did. Unfortunately I did not find what I wanted but the garage is organized again.

I then called around to see if anyone carried the supplies and was told from one of our largest hobby shops that no one in the area carried them anymore. I was very disappointed but persevered and did find them at a big chain arts and crafts store nearby. We went and found them on sale so I bought a bunch.

I Love to pain little houses and things that you use to make a Christmas village. My friend RH showed us a picture of one he set up and it inspired me. I did a series before for a friend. I gave her a new house every Christmas for about ten or more years. She has quiet a nice village. I also did ornaments and other things. But I stopped doing the painting because it hurt my hand.

All this blog chatter is nice, but not very important. What I want to share is what I discovered. I spent about two or more hours painting yesterday. I had on Christmas music that was gorgeous and filled the house with harps and strings. It was lovely. I was totally occupied with my painting and I realized something and this is what is important.

My breathing was slow and steady; much like it is when I meditate. My brain was quiet. No chatter and what-if’s. That is very important. It takes a lot to really quiet my brain especially when I am stressed. I realized I was so deep into my concentration of tiny paint strokes that I had become totally calm. No wonder I enjoyed this hobby so much. It was an oasis of tranquility. It connected me with a place that I struggle to find in my life.

There was no guilt attached to just sitting there and paint these little houses because I had decided it was a worthwhile endeavor. I was being creative which is a great esteem builder. I am very good at this. I stopped after about an hour and just sat there and paid attention to my body. The ever present pain was very mild. I was hunched up a bit but it was ok. The calm was pervasive and totally encompassing me. I paid attention to it and “printed it.” I am working on a theory that I need to retrain my brain to know calm as the most desired state instead of the hyper arousal and stress normally coursing through me. But it is hard for me to do because it is not present naturally. My natural state is to be on guard all the time. This activity defocused my outward senses, deactivated the constant fear and created a presence of safety. It created an altered state.

My theory extends that the more I find these activities to create this calm presence the more it will become natural for me. People like me who go through life on guard all the time need to retrain the brain to let go. For years, people have told me this… “just be…let go…clam down”. I tried to explain once to someone “how can I feel safe when I do not know what that is?” It is hard to comprehend that natural for me is like being a mouse in a world of cats. I have lived like this for most of my life.

My theory extends that the more I get to a state of calm, the more the issues I face like pain and obesity will also abate. I believe my pain is created partially because I always have my muscles in a crunch. My normal state is with my shoulders up, my leg muscles clenched and my hands in a ball. My food processing stops or overreacts. Either way it is not normal. I have too many hormones that occur naturally when someone prepares for fight or flight. These chemicals create inflammation which creates pain. The pain stops me from moving and not moving creates stiffness which produces pain and on and on it goes. And when I do not move, I do not burn calories. It is a viscous circle which I want to stop. Just dieting does not help because my body reacts like someone who is being deprived (which is the basis for diets) and holds on to calories even more. I gained weight when I was on Weight Watchers. And that circle of shame just adds to the situation.

As I continued to paint, I thought back to the time when I did this before. There was a lot of nasty stuff in my life, but I had found things that kept balance in my life. Slowly, many of the things I did lost their zest as I tumbled down into the black hole that became my life for a while. After my divorced and I moved into this house, I now realized that I had removed myself from a very bad situation, and mentally there was great relief. But my body had become so used to being afraid that it had become engrained. I rebounded by becoming very sick. None of this is my fault. It took me ten years to understand this. It will be my work for the rest of my life to heal from all of this history and teach my body that is just that; history.

Call it day

It was such a bad day that I have to laugh at it. It did not start out funny at all. Matter of fact is was terrible.

I am very tired. I am between medications and so I have no relief for my PsA. It is completely taking advantage of the situation. Seem you can build an anti-body to the drug, in my case Enbrel, and render it useless. And for almost $400.00 a pop, that’s pretty wasteful if it does not work. I had been on Enbrel for eight years. For a long while I could go a month or more between shots. But it quit working. I am waiting to try Simponi and it should arrive tomorrow. I am scared of starting something new. It costs $1800.00 a pop but you shoot only once a month. Actually, I wish it all would go away.

I was very upset to begin with from the day before. I had been to my in-laws. I will not go into the details but I ended up waiting on everyone. I was on my feet way too much. I spent the morning cooking at my house and then we took the food over. And when it came to eat, they forgot me…. FORGOT ME…. and I ended up with sitting on a corner of the table with no food but a piece of turkey. It triggered all sorts of memories. But I stifled it or I should say stuffed it. We got home and I went to bed. When I got up this morning, I was still very outraged and pissed.

I did not want to go to work either. The day was supposed to be sunny and warm and it was. But I was going in. I was sitting with my cat, who likes to visit in the am, while I was looking at my morning email. I was scritching her under her chin and I felt something and thought…no way….fleas? She does not go out. We went down to her room and I put her up on the bed in there and combed her. Not an easy thing and as she bites. But sure enough, on the comb was a flea and eggs. I flipped out.

I mean I flipped out. All the pent up anger from the last couple of days and the fear of fleas pushed me completely over. I had one of the worse meltdowns I have had in a while. I am not proud of this and I am not making excuses either. But you have to understand two things.

One: I hate this disease. I hate the slow and insidious progression of it. It will win eventually. I am a fighter but this wipes me out. It takes all my strength to act normal. I do not want people doing for me. I want to be able to move and take care of things. Not only does the pain get me, but it zaps my energy. I am trying to hold on to how good I felt in remission for eight years and I believe I can get back there. But it does piss me off when people just expect me to take care of everything. I guess I could blame myself because I rarely ask for help.

Two: I hate fleas. I meant HATE. They make me itch just thinking of it. I had a neighbor whose house was infested. I went to feed her cat and came out of the basement with my legs covered in fleas. It was completely gross. Since then, I have a real thing about them. This summer we came home to our doggies having them. I went nuts with laundry and cleaning and bought $75.00 flea collars. I got it fast enough and they remained clean. I just took off their $75.00 collars (I had to cut them off so there are ruined) after we had a week of freeze and snow.

I was so freaked out that my stomach let loose and I got sick. I decided to stay home as I knew it was not going to get better. I was going to clean and do laundry. I decided to go to the pet store and get a collar and flea spray for the house. About half way there, I got sick again. I went back home.

I was sitting at my dressing table and my eye glasses just broke. They broke right in half at the nose piece. There is no saving them. They were very expensive and not supposed to break. They are titanium. I just sat looking at myself in the mirror with these two lenses dangling on my face.

I finally felt strong enough to go to the store. In my rush to go and get back, I left the door to our bedroom opened. I got back after spending over $100.00 on flea stuff. I went to change and found the door open. I knew what to expect. The little boy dog peed on the bed.

While making meat loaf for dinner, I realized that the can to the bread crumbs had never been opened. I asked my husband to help since my hands were covered in ground chicken. He dumped half the can in. I just looked at him.

Now all of this produced a very unpleasant day. I had several bouts of crying. I think I just need to release all the fear and anger I have about feeling crappy. I hate feeling crappy. And I hate feeling scared that someday I am not going to be able to walk. Unless you have really experienced something like this, you will not understand. There is no cure for PsA. It will win unless they find a cure in my lifetime. But it is not going to get me easily.

But in reflection, I am going to laugh because it was so unbelievable. I am laughing at my bewildered face in the mirror with the lenses dangling on my checks with only the ear pieces to hold them. I had an old pair and found them. They actually were clearer to see out of. I guess I needed new glasses anyways. The flea situation seems to be under control. I did seven loads of laundry, but it is done and I do not have to worry so much. Everything the cat sleeps on is washed and sprayed. Most of it spent drying in the sun so it will be safe. The doggie’s beds were clean, but I sprayed the beds and set them outside to dry in the sun too. I was washing the bedding on our bed anyways, so the little pisser got it before and not after. That was good too. The meatloaf came out ok. But it will be better tomorrow when I put it chunked up in sauce.

I did get a chance to sit out in the sun for a while today. While I sat there, I made a promise to myself to not put myself in the situation like I did with his family ever again. This is not the first time by any means they have taken advantage of my kindness. His parents are still alive and so for them, it is ok. But when they leave this world, the rest of them can kiss my ass. And yes I hurt a lot as I did too much today. But I got a lot done, so I am ok with it.

Someday the uglies get you. I want to move past all this and get back to feeling like my old self. I usually am very energetic and so to lose my gusto makes me very angry and frustrated. It does not really help to not move, but that is the result. So I am grateful for the options I still have. I am grateful I had a sunny day to do wash and clean out the kitty’s room. I know she hates the collar but she likes the attention. She is in quarantine for a while. I am grateful the dogs remain bug free so far. And I am very grateful for bedding freshly washed and dried in the sun. I am so grateful I am going to go join them. Here’s hoping tomorrow will be better. Night all.

Shake, rattle and roll

Have you ever seen an animal run around like crazy or shake its fur in a series of ripples? If you own a cat or dog, you have witness this and maybe did not know what your pet was doing? My cats used to charge around the house and it seemed to be nonsensical when they did it. Our dogs also do the running thing outside. They blast out the door and run as fast as they could until spent. This is called discharge, and it is what healthy animals do to get rid of stress. Animals also shake to rid themselves of pent up energy and often in dispensation of a serious threat. We can and should do the same thing. But we do not and then hold on to the stress which builds into PTSD. Sound simplistic, but I am a firm believer in this process. The book I am reading by Peter Levine goes deep into this and there are many others who follow this process as part of their therapy. But how do you do it and what if the trauma was many years ago. This is the basis of somatic therapies and body work.

For today, I am going to share one of the things I do. I am a work in progress. But I want to see if anyone else does similar things so please share. I got away from working on this and practicing my healing work. It made a difference in how I feel and for the better.

So this morning, and unfortunately it is a rare opportunity, I lay quiet in my bed. The first thing I do is become aware of my surroundings. The house was very quiet. My husband was asleep softly breathing (again, rare as he can snore). The little dogs had already got up to go out and had climbed back in for a few winks and snoozes. The cat was fed and asleep in her room. No one wanted anything from me. This is a crucial feeling. You have to be able to completely relax. If I think someone wants something from me, I do not relax. This is part of my bag that I carry. It is very, very hard for me to completely relax. But if do not, the next step cannot happen.

I then go inward. I feel what it feels like to be me. If you do not mediate or do not understand “go inward”, this can be confusing. I find many teachers of healing arts like yoga and meditation just automatically think everyone knows what this means. So to explain; for me, and that is my only point of reference, it is like a separation of body from mind. Think of having a shell and you are almost a complete separate entity housed within. Be in the darkness and sense the protection of your body housing you. Much like you can sense you outside bubble, your body space, it is a perception. There is no physical line of demarcation, it is all sensed. You are separate floating within this housing vessel called your body.

So once you get that feeling down, take a stroll around your body with your mind. Pain might pop up. Focus on the pain and in your mind, send it energy to feel better. Some say send it love, some say light. Whatever works is what is important. Think of your body as your child and you are a parent sending soothing comfort to your child’s boo-boo. This should dissipate the soreness. Really feel whatever comes up and then let it go. If it seems to get “brighter” with pain, breathe deeply and calm. You are relaxing. When I get a flare when I do this, I send light to it and I focus on the strength of the light, and not the pain.

This, by the way, was not a process I did over night, I have been working on this for years and sometimes it still does not work. When I first started doing this, I used to lay down when no one was around. I had an older dog that would not bother me so I had quiet more often. I would crawl into bed and slap on headphones with music to help calm me. There is a ton of meditation music out there and you can get it right off of YouTube. Whatever sound you use, it has to be something that does not get you charged up. This is preference you will have to discover for yourself.

Back to calming: Once you are totally calm, comforted and peaceful, print it. Print the sensation in your mind. Be aware and feel it deeply and completely. When you feel you are in a place of complete comfort, tell yourself you are safe. Breathe deep and repeat this in your head. “I am safe.” “This is what safe feels like.” If you feel tension somewhere, breathe deep and relax the muscles that are tight. Keep doing this. What you will probably start to feel are twitches. Sometimes it’s your feet. They may want to flex and almost feel like they want to walk or ever better run. Let them. My feet twitch, but they do not run. This is very indicative for me of the trapped sensation I often have. Your hands and fingers may flex. Let them. Whatever twitches involuntarily is great. This is what you want. Notice it, but do not stop it. You are not really meditating and need complete stillness. You are discharging. Your legs may flop, your arms may move. It is all good.

For me, once I really let go of my hypervigilance, I shudder. My shoulders go up in a spasm. First time it happened, it scared me. I felt it come up through my body from my gut and snap. It is very quick. I cannot make it happen or to force it. It is a completely uncontrolled body movement. Once I started doing this, it happened often and it did not take me having to lie down. Watching TV would be enough of a numbing to have it happen. Sitting in my garden chair would be enough. It happened in the dentist chair when I was having a cleaning. I allowed it because I knew it was ok and a good thing. I found that when I am in a state of anxiety it doesn’t happen. That is when I have to really pay attention to calming and centering myself.

The other thing I do and I had no idea what it was for a very long time; I have a low vibration that happens to me. When I say low, I mean it is not very apparent. One could not detect from the outside of me that I am shaking inside. But I feel it. It is a very rapid and quick vibration. I used to think it was the pre-cursor of something bad going to happen. The first time I was aware of it was when I was lying in bed, going through my divorce and a bunch of really life altering things. I thought the bed was shaking. I paid attention to it as it happened more. Now I know it was my systems discharging all on their own. Unless we are really aware of our body, which I was not twelve years ago, this might not even be something we are aware of. Again, it happens totally involuntary. I cannot bring it on. What used to scare me but now it makes me smile.

Think about this: The medical practice when someone has been in or witnessed a trauma is to strap them down, medicate them to calm and not allow them to move. It is the worst thing we can do. In surgical recovery, it is common for people to shake and struggle as they come out of anesthesia. When a child is upset and scared, they will shake when they cry and will continue afterwards to shudder as they calm. If you have ever witness something, or scare yourself, and you find yourself wanting  to “shake it off?” Do so.

There are many ways to discharge energy if you are physically able. Running and repetitive exercise is great. Dancing is also good. This helps dissipate energy and flood your body with “happy hormones.” There are many ways to discharge like drumming or even laughing.

But for some of us, mobility is a big issue. This practice that I mentioned above is for someone who is healing from trauma. Body work has to become part of therapy for anyone who is dealing with trauma. There are many forms of somatic therapy and it is finally becoming acceptable. We are discovering that we do not heal well from cognitive based therapy. We need to engage all our senses. We as patients or clients need to be open to this. The more we are involved with this evolution; the world will have to take notice of evidenced based therapies that diverge from CBT. The body is not separate from the brain. We must heal the whole person.

Epigenetics meets Akashic Records

Epigenetics describes the study of stable, long-term alterations in the transcriptional potential of a cell. Some of those alterations are heritable. These epigenetic changes may last through cell divisions for the duration of the cell’s life, and may also last for multiple generations even though they do not involve changes in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism. Noted developmental psychologist Erik Erikson used the term epigenetic principle in his book Identity: Youth and Crisis (1968), and used it to encompass the notion that we develop through an unfolding of our personality in predetermined stages, and that our environment and surrounding culture influence how we progress through these stages. This biological unfolding in relation to our socio-cultural settings is done in stages of psychosocial development, where “progress through each stage is in part determined by our success, or lack of success, in all the previous stages. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

The above information was found on a Wikipedia site and although I do not always find them a completely reliable resource, for this discussion, it works. I just watched a webinar and this topic came up. I have written about it before. But it coincides with something else I am studying called the Akashic Records.  I thought it was a sign post that this topic is popping up a lot for me. I believe in messages being sent to me that say “Oh girly….you need to pay attention to this.” My love of the mystic at times overpowers the science. I love magic yet I crave the logic and concreteness of science. At times in the past, they have been at opposite sides making a big conflict in me.

So what is Akashic Records? The Akashic Records are a dimension of consciousness that contains a vibrational record of every soul and its journey. This vibrational body of consciousness exists everywhere in its entirety and is completely available at all times and in all places. As such, the Records are an experiential body of knowledge that contains everything that every soul has ever thought, said, and done over the course of its existence, as well as all its future possibilities.

Howe, Linda (2006-05-01). How to Read the Akashic Records: Accessing the Archive of the Soul and Its Journey (p. 3). Sounds True. Kindle Edition.

Sounds very woo-woo. It is. My explanation is truly just that, my explanation. The Akashic Records is the place you go to when you meditate or pray. When you hear that voice in your head and it comes up with something you never thought of….well that is The Masters and Teachers and Loved Ones responding to you. And who are those folks, you ask? They are your spirit guides. Some would call them angels; some refer to them as the voice of God or Devine. Who cares what you call it. I am not big on labels. We all have the ability to access these voices, and many people make money off of “reading” these records. I am not going to comment as I am just learning about “accessing” the Records. But…. The thing that makes the Akashic Records so special is that you can supposedly access your history. Again, I am not going to comment as I have not gotten that far to say yeah or nay. But…. Think about Epigenetics.

I love when woo-woo meets science. So if epigenetics says your have cellular encoding which is passed on from generation, why would you not have an imprint in your subconscious that with work, you can access the memory. I have mentioned before that every cell is basically a little body with a brain and nerve and “skin” sensors. So if you carry markers from your past, it would make sense that you would be influenced or predisposed to reactions from trauma from past lives. I think you would also be predisposed to pleasure. Think about something that a sibling and you have completely different reactions to. For example, everyone in your family loves the water. You grew up on a lake; you never had an incident that would cause you to be fearful like falling in or being held under. You swam like a fish until you were in you late 40’s. Now, you hate the water and have a real fear of it. My guess is in a past life you may have drowned. And the interesting thing is, you may not have become fearful until a certain age and then all of a sudden, you won’t go over your head in water. An explanation could be you drowned when you were 40 in a past life.

So in reference to the idea we develop in stages, is there a possibility of a trauma genetically imprinted from a past generation to demonstrate at the same time in the current host?

And the Akashic Records would correlate with that hypothesis. According to what I am reading by Linda Howe, she says we follow a genetic line from the time we are first created. The ancestry continues for ever. Within each ancestral line we are giving a complex riddle to solve. That riddle is our purpose for being here. Each time we are reborn, the purpose remains until we fulfill it. And the purpose is usually total acceptance, harmony and love….unconditionally all the time. Not too many people actually achieve that type of purpose. No one comes back with total recall from a past life. But there are signs. An example would be, let’s say…… if Jesus was at dinner one night in this time period and some guy came up to him and kissed him. He probably would get a chill up his spin and wonder why that tweaked him so much. But then, he got it right the last time around, so he is probably genetically elsewhere now. The Records are supposedly accessible to help guide. But there is no concrete answers given like, “you are here to create a new medicine that stops cancer.” However, you can get clues to help guide if you ask the right questions. For example, you could ask should I go to Hopkins and study medicine or Harvard to learn to teach. I only wish I had those choices. I am going to explore my thinking more on this as I read.

I know a friend of mine is doing ancestry discovery work on his family. He was able to have tests done that showed genetic markers that placed his lineage to a geographical region. It was funny because before he started all this he felt deeply rooted in a time period and location. It resonated with him. When he first began his work, the indicators were heading to another territory that was not where he thought his family was from. As he kept digging, he ended up where his heart always lived. He is a seasoned meditator and I am sure that have been many conversations from his Masters. He also has many traits that I am sure come from his ancestral line. He is a warrior as have been many of his ancestors. But he also suffers from PTSD and I wonder if he is also genetically predisposed to that as well.

One of the things I have not gotten to in the book is that through working in the Records, you can heal trauma and incidents from your past lives. I am sure that this seems out of the question for some. But then, it is only recently that the field of neuroscience has blended with psychology. So who knows what the future brings. As bizarre as the Akashic Records may seem, these types of questions may someday bring resolve to so many.

 

 

Letting it all hang out…..

So much of my writing on this blog has been a bit negative, lately. I thought I would take a different approach tonight and share some thoughts on some if the things I have done to help myself. I believe in GOOD therapy and working with professionals. But the truth is we have to help ourselves. Please understand that I do not have all this working all the time. I am only suggesting things I do to get through.

My number one way to find relief is something we learn as an infant. I cry. I get to the point where I feel things building and building. So instead of releasing a torrent of unintelligible words, I cry. I find a place either in my bedroom or in my chair and I just release. Sometimes my sobs are pretty loud and it is hard to stifle and get relief. So I don’t stifle. The point is to release. There are days when I have built up so much crap, I just let the tears fall. The act of deep breathing when you sob helps to calm. There are chemicals that are flushed out of the system within the tears themselves. “The other chemical found in emotional tears is leucine-enkephalin, an endorphin that reduces pain and works to improve mood.” There is also a correlation to hormones produced by women which is why women cry 4 times more than men. Crying is actually very healthy for you. http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/crying1.htm

Another favorite way to find relief and this was taught to me by my AAT therapist and is called Reflexercise. It is very simple and can be done and should be done often and anywhere. Basically you drop your head slightly, turn to one direction that is natural, (we all have a direction we turn towards most) and relax your arms and let them drop. Bite your tongue and breathe deep for a while. 30 seconds makes a huge difference. If I am building a stressor up and I am not alone, I bite my tongue, relax my arms in my lap and gently breathe. Just do not close your eyes. No one knows what I am doing and I do it often in meetings. BTW, focusing on this will calm you if someone is in your face.

fall chairs    If I can, the best mood altering thing I do is get outside. I have a chair on my deck facing my garden. This is my sacred space and I spend as much time as I can there. I come home and retreat there immediately. My husband has found this to be really a great thing to do so now we sit together. Usually the dogs are out there and it gets me out of my head and crappy mood. I also end my night out there, especially in the summer. I will sit out there as long as I can even if I am bundled up and under blankets. I have a tree that faces me and has a face on it. We often chat. (seriously, he is very wise) I meditate out there and I often in the warmer weather fall asleep in my chair.   Elgin

Another thing I do is let the Light scrub me up. I stole this process from a book I read and cannot remember the name. Basically it works like many chakra meditations. You calm and ground. When you are ready you “open” the 7th or crown chakra. I envision this light streaming in and once inside, it turns into scrubbing bubbles and I think it all over the interior of my body. It slowly makes it way down and out my feet leaving room inside for clean new Light. This is very nice especially when you are feeling the old oppressor of not being worthy. Out with the old stale crap and in with new bright hope.

In my office I use three incandescent lamps instead of the fluorescent. It creates a calming light that is warmer and does not buzz. I feel less “disturbed” under soft lighting. I have pictures I took of my animals and my favorite spot on the St. Lawrence River. If I turn one way in my chair there is a picture of the spot in the bright sunlight and if I turn the other way there is one at sunset.

There are many things to self-sooth. I am not very good at tapping. I found tapping aggravating and I do not like any percussion like movement on me. It is not hard to figure out why this would be. I did find that stroking my face when I am upset is soothing, but looks utterly ridiculous when done in public.

There are a lot of external resources to help with calming. Music for me is a biggie. I love to sing and when I sing along with my music, the breathing calms me. Singing was a huge part of my life and I know I want to get back into it more. Playing music is also a calming resource. I played recorder for a while. Any hobby helps too. I love to shoot photos. The act of passion when you do something you love is very soothing for the soul.

So there are many more things. But it is somewhat warm outside tonight and my tree, named Elgin in honor of a feathered friend, waits. Soon he will be slumbering and I want to catch up before he leaves….I might be barking up the wrong tree, but he is usually rooted in the process of getting me grounded. TREE talk….(((((smile)))))

Please share your techniques with me.

The Cycle Completes

And the circle completes it cycle. That is how I was feeling today. After I wrote last night about this situation with my step-daughter, I felt a bit of relief. I find writing is a great method for me to purge and cleanse. There is a definite cycle that people quite often employ who are survivors, suffer with PTSD or have had a heightened constant negative experience (which is a fluffy way of saying a crappy time of it). One of the reasons I like writing, other than being able to share and teach, is that it maps out the cycle for me. I know I am usually in the height or coming down depending on what I write. I do not share well with conversation.
So let me explain. Think of yourself driving along in a car in a dessert area. There is nothing but flat terrain and little change in scenery, except a mule or two. Is this not the epitome of life, especially the mules? You are driving along on autopilot, disengaged from the sensations of the road, the occasional breeze, the monotony of the sand and the absence of an oasis of shade or water. All of a sudden, you blow a tire. You expect it because it is part of life. But you have had tires blow out way more than the normal person and once or twice, you were almost killed because you could not steer the car. It is nothing you have done like buying cheap tires. You are just genetically predisposed to blow tires.
So this event should be something you can handle. But because it has happened so often and with different outcomes, you react violently. Perhaps one time you were stranded in the snow. Maybe once you did not have a spare. More often, someone saw you being vulnerable and took advantage of you. One time you were robbed. One time you were in a very bad part of town and you were alone. That one time you were raped.
But on this road trip, you are actually prepared with a spare. You know how to change the tire. The weather is nice and the road is empty of traffic. You have mace and you have a cell phone. You should feel safe.
But it does not matter, because your body, mind and soul have been trained to react to the worst case scenario. You immediately become hyper-vigilant looking for predators. Your body goes into a pattern of flight, fright or freeze. For me, I become immobilized. And when this happens, I also get very angry. And the combination causes me to tense up my muscles and then that causes great pain. This is the first part of my cycle and from what I have studied, it is not uncommon.
Before I started working on all this, the period of being heighten after a trigger could last for a while. The cost on me physically has had a huge impact. I could not think clearly because my thinking wiring was being rerouted. That caused frustration and fed into the anger. The physical turning in of my body was another indicator. My legs turn inward and I curl my toes in, much like an infant does when frightened. My whole body curls inward. I keep my arms and hands very close to my body most of the time and I slouch terribly. Take a look around and you will see this is a classic posture for many people. I bet if you asked them there is a story attached. We of course do not do that. But health care providers should be aware of it.
It takes awareness to move out of this pattern. That is what writing does for me. There are a ton of things people can do to move onward. I also employ meditation and sitting as much as I can outside to get grounded. I found that trying to explain myself does not work well at all. There is a gap that does not get closed with talking about things. But by putting my thoughts down on paper I can rearrange things most times to make sense. I am often reminded about my inability to articulate clearly. I laugh, but in truth, it really hurts. I wish I could be garrulous and loquacious when speaking, but I physically cannot when I am either excited or agitated. I also find I do not remember what I have said and that is sometimes frightening. I find when I write, I often look back and think I wrote that? But then there is proof.
At some point, there is a coming down from the heighten experience. When I was going through therapy, this cycle was so pronounced, I called it a face plant. I would come off this high (and I use that loosely, because it is not a pleasant feeling) and I would crash. Sometime the crash left me desperate and very depressed. Think of a sine wave. For every up there is an equal low. Eventually these highs and lows became less. A “normal” person would bounce back faster and have less distance in the poles. I still bounce but not for as long and not so dramatically most of the time.
Back to the road trip and the blown tire: I have exploded into a series of nonsensical profanities that makes sense only to me. I may pound on the steering wheel causing me to hurt my hand. This reaction will continue for a while. Eventually, the reality of the situation will set in and I will do what I have to do. This often happens in a disengaged state. I shut down and function in a zombie like state. My posture is curled in and I present a defeated appearance. When I am in a conflict with someone else, I acquiesce in order to move on. This is also the time where I would engage is self-flagellation. (I originally wrote the word self-flatulation and laughed. Pure Janese!)
Slowly, and usually through some form of purging like writing, I settle back down. This would be when I changed the tire in my scenario. Hopefully it would be successful because if not, the cycle would not complete and escalate right back or even become worse. If I do calm myself in some manner I usually find clarity. I usually can see the resolution. I often marvel at how apparent it was and why I had struggled to find it. And it is because there is truth in the saying of not thinking clearly in the eye of the storm.
Often, after something happens and I go through a cycle, I end up at the end holding on to guilt and shame. This is a huge topic and not for tonight. I will end with my gratitude for those who have taught me methods of getting back to solid ground quicker. I would love to hear from others what works and what has not for them. I think it is imperative that people who have gone through similar transitions share so that we can support better and more effective treatment for people who have gone through developmental trauma or have PTSD.

The sisterhood

little girl

Tonight I took a journey of sorts. I went looking through some of the new readers who have read my blog and have a blog of their own. It breaks my heart to see how many women out there have a story which starts once “upon a time there was a man, boy, cousin, uncle and even father” who crossed a line. One reader pondered if their young pairing bothered the other person as much as it did her. She wondered if he even remembered what happened. That struck a chord in me tonight. A dissonance chord.

I thought about my situation and my past. I remember the last time I spoke face to face with my ex-husband many years ago. We were in the process of dissolving 27 years of marriage. I will never forget the shame I felt. I felt shame… for what? But he had honed his skill to turn the ugly in our marriage to be my entire fault. He even told someone I made him break his hand when he smashed it into a wall. He did not tell them that he missed my head by less than an inch. He justified so much of what he did as either I deserved it or it was a reaction to the issues in his life…. In other words, not his fault. I am sure if questioned today, he would have no regrets and no memory.

I remember my father sitting in his bed at the hospital telling me, ME….the victim of something that at that time I had an incomplete memory of, that he had no regrets. No shame or sadness for beating the crap out of me and my sister. No ill thoughts about any of the things he did to me. Because he was so drunk then, did he not remember? Did this exonerate him if he did not remember? It took me 48 years to remember it completely myself. If I really push the issue, can I prove any of it? Does that mean it did not happen?

Or sitting across from my brother as he glibly tells his story of success and after money making success. He looked through me as if I did not exist. Maybe I don’t. If I am not there, can what he did actually ever of happened?

I read what other women thought and spoke of in their words…. Some were full of rage, others were sad. Some were lost and others were finding a healing way. But there was a spark in most that said I will fight on. I will win over this. I will find me, I will feel me.

I will be.

Enough said for tonight.

Namaste, my sisters.

what is a trigger?

The fact that the cell membrane and a computer chip are homologues means that it is both appropriate and instructive to better fathom the workings of the cell by comparing it to a personal computer. The first big-deal insight that comes from such an exercise is that computers and cells are programmable. The second corollary insight is that the programmer lies outside the computer/cell. Biological behavior and gene activity are dynamically linked to information from the environment, which is downloaded into the cell.   Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D.. The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles (Kindle Locations 863-866). Kindle Edition.

I purposefully started this blog with this piece of information. The book, the Biology of Belief was very eye opening for me. I read through and understood about half of what he was saying. My intentions are to go back and reread this, but currently I have a few other books going. Dr. Lipton, a cellular biologist, was radical in his thinking. He left the exalted chambers of academia to live on a Caribbean island and wrote this book. It is a little high end for vocabulary, but his discoveries of the cells power is amazing. For those who believe in mind, body and spirit, it is a good read.

What does this have to do with this blog? Triggers! This is a phenomenon very common to those who have PTSD and developmental trauma. Unless you have it, it is hard to understand. I have heard several times in my life: “why do you just change?” If it were that simple, I would and so would the thousands who have chronic trauma related issues. This is not a choice. If a therapist tells you that it is, run for the door.

What is a trigger? Each person has multiple triggers in their lives. There are smells that trigger hunger and smells the trigger revulsion. Same nose smells them all. What makes the one smell pleasant and the other not pleasant? The memory attached to it. I love the smell of pine for example. It reminds me of the Adirondacks, The River and decorating the house for the holidays. These are all pleasant places or times that I felt safe. There are smells that trigger the opposite.

Light is a big trigger for me. I am very sensitive to light; the brightness and color of light. For example, the fading crimson light of sunset will often trigger me if I am not careful. There is something about the shadow and color that sets me off if I do not focus and keep myself in the present moment. It takes conscious effort to be aware. Why would this particular light bother me? I had to really analyze this as this has been a factor for a very long time for me, since I was very young.

Every night, my parents at 5 pm would stop their lives and sit down to have cocktails. It was without fail. We children were excommunicated from the area and left to our own devices. The room would fill up with the stench of cigarettes and later cigars. One cocktail would follow another. When I was very young, it was not so much an issue as my brother and I were fed earlier by my mother’s live in. As time moved on, this ritual lasted longer and longer. My father would drink and turn into a monster. And the hard part was it was not all the time. Sometimes he would be fine, and other times he would explode into a rage for no reason. My mother would catatonically sit on the sidelines and allow his irrational behavior to run its course. I did not realize at the time she was protecting herself.

Two things this light symbolized for me. The exclusion brought on by the ritual of cocktails. There was such a feeling of isolation and rejection stemming from their choice of alcohol over their children. And the fear of what drinking would do to my father. When we moved and I was the only one at home, they would get so tanked that they would not stop. Often, I would have dinner on my own, go out for the evening with my friends to come home to either the monster or having to help them get to bed. Needless to say I did not bring friends home.

The tricky part of triggers is we often do not know what they are. I can be going along in my day and realize that I am not breathing well. My chest will get tight and I cannot take a deep breath. I will have no idea what set me off, but something did. It can be as apparent as an argument or it can even be something I overheard. But sometimes, it is just the environment. And that is where cellular biology comes into play.

Think of the cell as a little person all on its own. It has a brain (nucleus) and it has a body with multiple parts that produced respiration and osmosis of sorts and creates energy. Surrounding the cell is the cell membrane which is like our skin…..which of course is made up by cells. “Each eukaryote (nucleus-containing cell) possesses the functional equivalent of our nervous system, digestive system, respiratory system, excretory system, endocrine system, muscle and skeletal systems, circulatory system, integument (skin), reproductive system, and even a primitive immune system, which utilizes a family of antibody-like “ubiquitin” proteins.” Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D.. The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles (Kindle Locations 345-346). Kindle Edition.

This is important to understand because triggers are sensed. They can be attached to a memory which will indicate whether it is a good trigger or a bad trigger. As we proceed through our day, we are assaulted with so much information that if we were to pay attention to it all we would be immobilized. So we tune out. I should say our thinking brain tunes out. The cells on our body do not. So we may feel uneasy without realizing where it is coming from. Have you ever walked into an empty room and felt creeped out? I have. There is something that was there or may still be and I cannot perceive it cognitively, but my little cell brains can. And when that happens, the little cell brains send a signal to the nerve highways and send the non-apparent threat up to the reptilian brain. It reacts and sets off the limbic system and opens Mr. Amygdala who then sends off all sorts of chemicals and then I feel crappy. AND, I have no clue why.

Think of how often this can happen in the course of a day. The part I will get into later is that this reaction or trigger grows exponentially. In other words, simple things set us off more and more. And because we end up being triggered continually, our system is flooded with chemicals that create inflammation and disease. Chronic pain is a common symptom of developmental trauma and PTSD.

This is in part why I had to take a mental health day this weekend. My pain level is out of control. My body is telling me I need to calm down. I had to take myself out my normal environment of work and interactions. It is not how I can live, but the respite was good. Unfortunately, the resurgence in the world of grocery shopping yesterday produced a heightened sense of over stimulation and increased pain level again. But the one day was worth it.