Archive for the ‘alternative’ Category

I think the power of touch can be transformative, considering that we carry so much trauma within the body.

I also think there is a lot of power in our denial of touch– it says a lot about the depth of our hurt that we cannot allow someone to companionably or compassionately hold us, caress us.

I never used to have that problem– denying touch. I would crave it, and I would find it. I never questioned how much my need for touch was actually destroying my ability to be intimate. I went about finding touch in the wrong way– acting out sexually, when what I needed was compassionate and healing  touch.

So I ended up completely abhorring touch, and denying it to myself. And I wonder, is that behaviour any healthier? I am depriving myself of a basic human need.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-trauma-touch.htm

http://culturemagazine.ca/activism/the_liberating_power_of_gentle_touch.html

I have been doing tons of work, by myself, and with others, to help integrate body and mind. It’s been working so well so far, I feel less PTSD symptoms, I’m less reactive, less stressed, I don’t have violent nightmares anymore (or dream at all).

Yet– I know I have to add in therapeutic touch to help give me a boost. It is the one thing I am not working on. I still shy away from other peoples touches, and feel uncomfortable getting hugs. I’m beginning to feel that some focused touch on my back would be particularly helpful, as I store a lot of trauma there, as well as my face, and who knows where else. I think it would be especially beneficial to my detox process. As well as give me the building blocks for emotional intimacy (something that has always made me cringe).

I have a massage appointment in another hour, with the same woman who does BodyTalk with me, so I know for sure she has some experience with (emotional) trauma and it’s physical effects. The idea of a focused touch on places where I won’t even touch myself has me stressed, to say the least. But it’s too late to back out now– I have been avoiding therapeutic touch for several months now, and have never had a massage with the goal of releasing trauma… I would just dissociate for the hour. Not healthy.

So, wish me luck 🙂

Stay safe ❤

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I have been doing a bunch of research, now that my brain is working more optimally. I’ve been trying to figure out the root causes of (complex) PTSD, and the disorders that can mask it or go along with it.

This is what I found (please note that some of these theories, while increasingly accepted as fact, are not accepted by all doctors):

Mitochondrial Dysregultation. Our mitochondria, when operating optimally, is the energy source of a cell. A dysfunction can show up as cognitive dysfunction, attention disorders, and memory problems. Stress makes this reaction worse (PTSD, anyone?), and makes the person more likely to be depressed, have chronic fatigue, bipolar disorder, panic disorder (PTSD, anyone?). Autopsy’s have proven these mitochondrial dysfunctions. In mouse-studies of mitochondrial dysfunction, the mice had bipolar symptoms, altered states, and turnover of monoamines (believed to be connected to depressed states). Mitochondrial dysfunction caused monoamine depletion, leading to mouse mood-disorder.

It boils down to ratty neurons, dysfunctional mitochondria, and brain damage (inflammatory response in the body).

Pro-inflammatory cytokines can induce depression. Elevated cytokines have been reported in depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, migraines, and chronic fatigue (common ailments to those with PTSD).

Anti-depressants have been shown to cause inflammation, and to damage mitochondria, regardless of the anti-depressant’s mechanism of working within the body.

Bipolar disorder has been shown to be connected to Metabolic Syndrome.

Fructose and lactose, when malabsorbed within the body, react chemically to Tryptophan, a serotonin precursor, degrading it, and leading to lower levels of serum zinc and folic acid. (Depressed people on a low-fructose diet were shown to improve 65% within 4 weeks).

Relative Hypoglycermia as a cause of Neuropsychiatric illness (article by Harry M Saltzer, M.D.), linked to bipolar disorder, psychosis, anorexia, obesity, exhaustion, fatigue, cold limbs, and muscle/joint pain. Found that if blood glucose dropped to such low levels, the body can produce bizarre side effects, such as psychosis.

Psychology Today: Could soda and sugar be causing your depression?

Gut and the brain: “Fix your gut, and you fix your health”.

Anti-depressants cause serotonin to remain on the synapse: that can cause serotonin burnout (the reason for having to rotate through anti-depressants, they stop working eventually). Anti-depressants do not make serotonin.

All your neurotransmitters come from amino acids. You get amino acids for eating protein (think meat).

70-90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. Ingesting carbs releases serotonin to help move food along, but does not build serotonin (can lead to problems). Does create a feeling of satiety, which can lead to carb addiction. Solution: increase healthy fats and eat meat.

Tryptophan is a serotonin precursor, as is 5-HTP. Vitamin D also builds serotonin (sunshine!), and a deficincy can lead to a mood disorder.

Feed the deficincy, thus feeding the body. You are not suffering from a medication imbalance! No chemical imbalances have ever been unequivicaly demonstrated for any mood imbalance. Med’s work due to psychological effect (psych times).

http://emediahealth.com/2011/07/27/abnormal-cortisol-levels-depression-anxiety-and-ptsd-are-signs-of-long-term-abuse-and-psychological-trauma/

http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2011/11/depression-beyond-chemical-imbalance.html

http://www.pointofreturn.com/gut_health.html

So how do you help this situation?

Compassionate body mindfulness, movement and breath can help. Eliminating processed foods, simple carbs, sugar… Increasing healthy fats help cravings (such as coconut oil, ghee, lard…). Talk-therapy, body-mind integration.

6 components to healing: Safety! Self-regulation; self-reflective information processing, traumatic experiences information integration; relational engagement; positive affect enhancement.

Signs of healing: your inner critic (the abusive “voices) shrink and lose dominance, allowing your own voice to shine through more often; increased ability to relax – resisting overreaction to triggers; Trusting in your intuitive response; Asserting your own needs; Self-compassion, -soothing, -protection.

http://www.palace.net/llama/psych/herman.html

http://ptsdawayout.com/2011/09/12/c-ptsd-healing-emptying-the-amygdala-one-breath-at-a-time/

http://ptsdassociation.com/ptsd-coping-strategies.php?Trauma%20and%20The%20Spiritual%20Path-12

One more thing (K, maybe more then one):

Complex PTSD is often misdiagnosed as bipolar or borderline disorders. The symptoms of the C-PTSD can be masked by medication, thus making the misdiagnosis seem valid. However, the root of the problem (the real issue- trauma) remain untreated, as does all the other symptoms of C-PTSD (shame, guilt, repeating trauma patterns…).

A genetic predisposition to Borderline Personality Disorder is unrelated to trauma. BPD can, in these cases, be interchangeable with Complex PTSD.

Human beings are not inherently broken. All cells renew themselves within the body– meaning that the imprint of trauma on the body/brain can be healed.

Stay safe ❤

{Let me just preface this by saying that this is my opinion only, and that I am only doing what is right for *me*. I am acting with the blessing and supervision of my therapist, and while I am not a professional, I spent a very long time researching to make sure that my thinking was heading in the right direction}

In the last several weeks I have been in the process of reducing and eliminating my medication with the hopes of becoming med-free for the first time in 14 years. Just to put those 14 years in perspective, I am 24 years old. I have been heavily medicated since I was ten.

A couple weeks ago, I was once again upset and resentful about being dependent upon chemical compounds (a feeling that overcomes me quite often). This time though, my thoughts took a different turn —

I started thinking about my development. It really hit me that I had been severely limited by the addition of heavy medications at 10, only to continue taking them for the next 14 years.

It started out because of an injury in school during gym class, a hockey puck to the knee. The swelling and bruising was normal. But the immense pain was not. Tests showed nothing. My doctor suggested I was “acting out” to keep from going to school. Other doctors suggested it was all in my head and that I needed psychiatric help.

Eight months went by before I had a firm diagnosis– that my pain was real, and I was not faking it.

Things continued to deteriorate– at school, I was ostrasized for being different. At home, I just shut myself up in my room and retreated. My parents took me to the “best experts” in the country….

At 10, I was declared clinically depressed due to the chronic pain, and thus suicidal. That I *needed* medication.

Typical of modern-day health care, no doctor ever really tried to get to know me, or figure out what was the cause of my pain (abuse). It was simply accepted as fact that pain made you depressed, and therefore, I was depressed.

I spent several months out of the next few years in hospital getting treatment. Meanwhile, my diet was abismal, consisting of hospital pizza and pasta. So of course my weight weight up, making me even more withdrawn and isolated.

To say nothing of the dehumanization of actually being in hospital.

Fast forward… I was 16, and deteriorating once again, after having a good year. On even more heavy medication. My first serious relationship has been going on for a year, and for a year I have been abused. Both my ex- and I were put on accutane at this time, and he became even more rageful and vengeful towards me, while I turned my anger inward and became completely unresponsive, almost catatonic. My parents brought me to emerg, and I was placed in psychiatric care for the summer.

This started a pattern. I learned hospitals were safe– even with “crazy” people. He could not touch me or harm me anymore while I was locked away. I felt better, I did a lot better. Of course, everyone continued to insist I was depressed (my habit of cutting did not help– again, turning my anger and rage inward).

Fast forward… My parents take me to visit various mental institutions, and there is talk of putting me away. Frankly, I’m not sure I care much. I never had freedom to begin with, so why would being locked away matter? At least I would be safe.

Fast forward… I am diagnosed as bipolar. Something I now believe was result of being placed on so much medication that ruined my gut and brain (plus the shitty diet, I think at this time, I was anorexic, and making sure I got less to eat then people in countries of famine– yes, I actually did the research). Finally, something broke and I became psychotic.

What I never mentioned to any “expert”, was all the abuse, and the abuse I was experiencing before, during, and after this psychosis. After all, it was my fault right? Boys will be boys, and all that crap…

Of course, the “experts” knew I was abused, that is the kicker. They could tell. Some pressed me on the subject, some mentioned it, trying to be subtle. But they all knew.

Fast forward… I am… 20? 21? I have attempted suicide yet again by overdosing on my pills, which I have failed to take for two weeks, having collected them instead. Oddly, while my mind is confused and muddled, it is no worse. I still overdosed. I was not trying to die. Never did I want any of my attempts to result in death. I just needed something to change. And I did not have the tools at the time to fix myself. So I did the only thing I could think of to get to a safe place and recollect.

In psych wards, I was always polite, well behaved, and friendly. I was being looked after and safe. That made me happy.

Anyways, my mental health is not something I like to discuss normally. I realize how my actions looked from the outside looking in. I acted like someone with a serious brain imbalance.

The last several months I have been doing a bunch of research… I have been compiling evidence that someone like me can be healed through proper nutrition (orthomolecular medicine). But since it is only me compelling me to act, and no one else helping me out, I had to actually implement change on my own.

Change happens in an instant, but getting to the momentous shift can take forever with the thinking and hesitating, and analyzing.

On sept 25th, I was raped again. And I used that as a catalyst to change.

I forced my brain to focus on what I was researching. To assimilate the knowledge I was reading and to actually process it. Finally, it started sinking in. And my thoughts, which would usually peter out if getting too complex, actually clicked. The cycle I am in is killing me, my health is failing me, and my quality of life sucks.

So I did an overhaul, I revamped my diet first, started getting more fresh air, put things into play to ensure that I slept at night peacefully. I created a good support system around me. I really opened up to my therapist. I got better.

I started questioning my diagnosis. I’ve long accepted that my fibromyalgia pain is my body’s result to trauma. But could the bipolar be as well? I did more digging.

I found out about damaged gut flora, and how it can create physical and mental problems within the body that can manifest as both fibro and bipolar. (google “GAPS”– gut and psychology symdrome).

I started to believe that my symptoms were a result of nutritional defitency. That my mental state was the result of long-term heavy drugs used to control mood. The side effects sometimes “create” illnesses like bipolar. I also learned that my painkillers could be making my pain worse. I also feel like the real source of all problems is trauma. Help the trauma and I help myself.

Everything built up until I decided to simply wean off. I informed my psychiatrist, told my general practitioner, and explained in depth to my therapist, who completely understands, and is amazed at the progress I have been making.

A week and half ago, I started tapering off oxycontin. Yup, same stuff that people sell in the street, snort, crush, get high off of. I’ve been on it for at least the last 10 years.

I am now on day 3, being completely and utterly medication free. Here are my observations about myself:

I am at peace. My mood disregulation is gone. My complex- PTSD symptoms have all calmed down. I smile randomly throughout the day. My mind is clear. I am capable of complex thought process in a way I never have been before. There is a spring in my step, where as before, I walked about as fast as my cane-using 80 something yr old grandmother. I feel a desire to do things I have not done in forever, or have been too triggered to do (like listening to music).

I actually feel hope for the future. Trying to start a business while being unwell just was not feasible. I’ve now come to discover just how bogged down my brain was due to medication– I could not function as a “normal” person– no focus, no concentration… I have drive, but had little motivation to propel me into action.

I have an appt set up with my p.doc this week, and I hope I sound coherent when I explain my reasons for getting off meds. He has always taken the stance that taking them is up to me, and only me. But it would be nice to have his support, like I do my therapist. I am also doing a 17wk group therapy for abuse survivors. I am doing BodyTalk, where I am connecting mind to body, which is helping me heal in leaps and bounds, instead of tiny baby steps. I have an appt this week too with a naturopath, with whom I hope will guide me in the correct direction regarding supplementation, and diagnostic testing (I suspect some hormones might be out of balance, possibly candida…which of course contributes to the mess my body is in). It’s a lot of specialists I have been committed to seeing, but I figure if I do the work now, I will benefit sooner, and for longer.

I am still in detox from oxy, but the worst is over. The miserableness of the last week and a half has lessened to mild unpleasantness. It is thrilling, because my baseline pain levels are lower then normal.

Stay safe ❤

Lately I have been listening and paying attention to what my body has been telling me. And I have been analyzing those messages.

I believe the body holds onto trauma. And that my body has beyond reached it’s threshold to withstand anything has come to a halt with my body screaming in protest.

At times it feels like my body is falling apart, with the various aches and pains, the sheer physical and mental exhaustion, the insomnia, the edema in my feet, the weight fluctuations… Then there is shoving aside all the hurt and pain and grief into tiny compartments to ignore and pretend they never existed, paste a smile on my face, and pretend everything is alright, and go on being a ‘positive’ person.

I started using essential oils to augment my therapy sessions and to help with the chronic pain my body is feeling. I started out with the essential oils in my skin care products, but realized that EOs (essential oils) good for wound healing, will also be good for physical and emotional/spiritual wounds. With a bit of research, I realized I was correct. I have been using a 10% dilution of Immortelle EO on my decollete (which corresponds to wounds of the heart, which is also the source of my physical pain), as well as Lavender EO to relax my muscles and mind, and Spruce Hemlock EO, more for the physical pain, rubbing some on the places of my body that hurt most, as well as a dab on my chest, which helps with stress related emotional pain (like PTSD). {This is what works for me – if you decide to use EOs, do a bit of research, and do so with caution, as I am not a professional}

Today I also started doing BodyTalk therapy. It was a pretty incredible experience which felt like a bit of a cross between biofeedback, emotional freedom technique, and intuition. The therapist has me doing visualization exercises at home in which I imagine bandages being ripped off my body, and another in which I imagine repelling mosquitos from my body.

The first exercise is multipurpose. My posture tends to curl in on itself, and I never really thought about it, but it’s a protective mechanism, making myself smaller against potential predators. As well, it is more comfortable as my back in always in pain. My weight is also a “bandage”, protecting me, and arming me. So by stripping me of my “armor”, I get down to my essential self, and can deal with the emotions that come up.

The second exercise is more interesting. I was described as a kind of “host” body for parasites (abusers) to leech onto. Something in my physical chemistry is attracting this parasite, through no fault of my own (perpetuating the cycle of abuse in my relationships, which is true, I have never had a normal relationship). So by repelling mosquitos, I am, in effect, stopping that cycle. That is the thinking, anyways, and I am willing to give it a go 🙂

She also intuited that the pain in my lower back came from the lack of support from my family, and she made the pain better. In fact, she made all the pain in my body better.

It was weird, I had feelings of grief and sadness and dirtiness and guilt and that false happiness, all cycling within me while she worked. Even now, while I write, I can feel the grief trapped in my chest, like a tangled black mass of poison choking me.

I will be going back next week, and I cannot wait to find out how it will help. I have tried alternative therapies before, but never approaching it from healing the pain of the abuse first, as opposed to all the healing all the other symptoms first.

Stay safe sisters

 

I grew up loving fairy tales. My mom tried to make them more politically correct when reading them aloud to me, but that did not keep me from an overexposure to fairy tale depictions in movies, in books (once I learned to read), in toys…

I believe that fairy tales are not only harmful to young ladies mental health, but detrimental to their well being.

Let me explain:

Fairy tales fill us with visions of happily every after. With women who are incapable of rescuing themselves from difficulty and must rely on a man to do so for them. Then they wind up together with a bunch of kids. Cue happy music and fading sunset.

What is wrong with this picture?

First off, I honestly do not believe in a happily ever after such as portrayed in fairy tales. The original tales were gory and awful and did not end happily at all. They were later sanitized and rebranded.

Women are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves from tragedy. Not only that, but waiting on a man to rescue them can be even more harmful then helpful. The man who helped rescue me from the life as a trafficked prostitute ended up reviling me and attempting to murder me.

Fairy Tales convince women that as long as we keep the peace in the home, everything will be okay. As long as we are quiet and submissive, we won’t get hit, we won’t get raped, we won’t be condescended.

This is brainwashing.

I’m not saying Fairy Tales are completely to blame. I think society as a whole has a lot to answer for when it comes to Domestic Violence.

But you have to start somewhere. Create your own Fairy Tales. Read alternative ones, where the woman is the hero and needs no man by her side.

How does a former prostitute and abuse victim fit in again into the real world?

This is a question I am still working on answering since I started asking it a year ago.

Last summer my ex strangled me, and I had a near death experience. I heard celestial music before everything went black. I saw the bright light. And once I went through the light, I felt God’s love surround me. Words cannot describe how comforting that light and love was. I felt accepted, and truly loved exactly as I am, for the first time since I was a child. Honestly, I wanted to stay. Why would I want to return to the cold, harsh world of pain, when I could stay and be loved so completely? I heard God’s voice, and He told me not yet, it is not my time just yet. That’s when I woke up on the ground, and the music faded.

Is it weird to be thankful for an event that momentarily ended your life? I am. I am so thankful it happened. That was rock bottom for me. It forced me to face the fact that the man I love(d) almost murdered me. And so I made a pact with myself to change my life.

Things are more normal now. My life does not revolve around whichever abusive monster I am with. I am not in a constant panic, constantly breathless and trying to calm my rapidly beating heart. I am no longer forced to think a certain way, to associate with certain people, to dress or weigh or appear in a manner pleasing to my abuser. I no longer have to suppress myself. I am no longer forced to commit acts that kill my soul and degrade my body.

Yet still I struggle with the feeling of “normalcy”.

There are times when I feel so shamed due to the past that I cannot breathe. And I wonder if those around me can tell. If they can somehow sense that I am unclean.

But then I remember that if God can love me after all I have been through, there is no reason why I cannot accept myself.

So I try. I feel awkward and ungraceful with “normal” people – like when I am in school, or applying for a normal job. But I continue on. I keep trying. And I know that there are a few people, those who know my story – they accept me.

Basically, it is a matter of how I carry myself, portray myself, and project myself. No one knows my secrets but me.

As long as I hold my head up high, shoulder back, bearing proud… There is no reason why I cannot fit in.

I’ve been asking myself how one can stand to celebrate important live events when they have been made to feel subhuman.

Even having made a complete 180 from the person I was back then when I was abused and enslaved, I still struggle with feelings of self-worth on important days of the year – holidays, birthdays.

For the most part, I avoid holidays. I used to feel guilty about this… I would be the only family member who was glaringly absent. But the truth is, I do not fit in. And if I am even more honest – the reason I do not fit in is because my abusers made sure I would always feel like I stick out like a sore thumb.

I’m now unapologetic (mostly) when I avoid important events. I would rather look after my own health and well-being then risk a set back.

I had even become pretty good at avoiding my birthday. I would not answer the phone, or tell friends of the impending event. I would not announce it on any social media I took part in.

Come to think of it, I still don’t.

My goal in celebrating the day of my birth seems to be a bit different then my peers who are also in their 20s.

I am not looking to get drunk (I quit drinking), I’m not looking to smoke any illicit substances (ditto), I do not want to go clubbing (I love to dance, but have been assaulted in clubs before… Not my idea of a good time). I don’t want a huge celebration, or even a small one.

I’m not sure I want anyone other then myself to acknowledge the day by doing anything.

So how do I celebrate a day that once brought me more misery then usual?

I focus on good things.

I count my blessings. I reflect on how far I have come, and how far I still want to go, and review the steps I have to take to get there.

I do something to pamper myself. I made plans with myself to order some skin care items online. Self-care shows me I am worth taking care of. Who needs a man when I have myself?! 😉

I might ask a couple of my close friends out, maybe for coffee, maybe for lunch. I usually wait for friends to contact me, as I feel I would be bugging them if I *dared* asked them to do something with me, instead of wait for them to ask. This is the remains of the voice of my abusers. But I’ll attempt to overcome it.

I look forward to a peaceful birthday. I am thankful to be single. I am thankful to be free. I am thankful I am happy. I am thankful for my support system.