Posts Tagged ‘trauma’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjPqsDU0j2I

I spent a few weeks wondering how to continue this blog, mostly because I have nothing really to complain about. No pressing issues either really, that I find I must write about lest I explode.

But then one night I caught up with friend back in Canada, who said to me that there is no word really, for the change that’s happened. Not a victim, not a survivor, but something more. I remembered also the moto (?) of my blog: Learning to thrive… I think I’ve gotten to that place where I can honestly say I am.

So… I’ll continue this blog from there. An update:

I’m almost done the ulpan program (learning hebrew) on the kibbutz after 5 months. I decided to stay here in Israel and apply for citizenship. I’m looking into doing a year of volunteer work (instead of the army, which I’m not obliged to do, since I’m 25). I’ve also returned to singing, and have as a long-ish term goal to study voice in university.

I’m in love. A fact I’ve deliberately kept out of my blog the last few months so I won’t jinx it. He’ll be coming here too.

I also discovered Israel has a winter season. I had scoffed at the Israeli idea of winter. But I’m currently huddled in fleece pjs and sweater. I’m still cold.

I’ve also discovered capability that I didn’t have previously – Its not a big deal to work and learn six days a week. I have no money, and that’s also not a big deal. I’m in a new place, with a new culture and new language and the threat of war.

And I find myself extremely happy.

 

Free choice. Something that I really didn’t have for most of my life. Whether it was from doctors, being overly medicated, being pushed into choices due to disability, to being dictated to by a multitude of abusers. One would argue I never had to make any real decisions of my own.

I say ‘sure‘ in response to most things. My ‘sure‘ is not an agreement, but neither is it a disagreement. It is a neutral yet polite and positive response to something I have not yet made my mind up about. And it may very well take me a long time to make my mind up, because I like knowing my choice comes directly from me. I dislike any hint of being pushed in a direction I am uncertain I want to go in.

However, sometimes it borders on ridiculous. I answer ‘sure‘ as if I still am somewhat expecting a violent reaction from others. Which, to be honest, I am. There is a tension still there when a decision to be made is directed to me.

And yes, it is a lot easier to just let someone else make a choice, and go along with it. Which is what I typically do. And which is what I can’t really do here in Israel, where people really know their own minds and voice it.

I’ve even been told that being here is good for me cause it’ll force me to learn to make choices for myself. Which I completely agree with. But it is a statement that also makes me feel very much like a child.

Meanwhile, it is my choice to be indecisive about a lot of things. I choose to take time to make my mind up about things.

I was thinking about this cause it’s been really hard and draining, the last several weeks. I had a moderate freakout which lead to a shared cigarette and buying makeup and earrings for the lobe piercings I retired long ago. Which really isn’t a big deal on the surface, but in my mind it was the first step back into oblivion.

However, smoking made me realize why I stopped in the first place (it’s really yuck. I had to decontaminate myself afterwards). And wearing makeup does not make me look like a whore. Nor do multiple earrings.

Which made me look at why I kept thinking like that, and realizing I’m still internalizing J’s abuse long after his exit from my life. I just figured he was right: I was a whore, therefore I looked like one. So I tried to eradicate any lingering ‘signs’ (weight, clothes, hair, appearance, everything). Which is ridiculous. And brings me back to choice. Perspective too, since anyone who is human could be a ‘whore’, and what does that word mean anyways? Cause it’s really not applicable to me, despite what I lived through (circling back to choice).

Anyways.

So I essentially said fuck you in my head, and hoped he got the message, wherever he is. And went late to class this morning just to put on some makeup.

I did my nails too.

🙂

I’m going through old CDs. I had to climb over piles of clothes (fell into them too, like falling into a messy and smelly cloud. tons of fun) to find them, dusty and hidden next to a stereo system that hasn’t been used since there was clear ground on my floor (clear ground meaning I could actually use it). That was maybe 3 yrs ago.

Anyways. I’m loading it all onto itunes, and then my ipod… The reason this mundane chore (of sorts) is so cool is that this is music I typically would have freaked out over.

It’s a mixture of Israeli music I grew up, and dark gothic/metal music. Both equally triggering for various reasons. The Israeli stuff would remind me of all my failures, my guilt, my shame (real or imagined, didn’t matter). The dark stuff… well, this is what I listened to in high school, where I was abused, committed for the first time into a psych ward, ramped up my self-injury, stopped eating, overdosed in school and got politely kicked out and sent to an alternative high school… etc.

So ya. These CDs have been collecting dust.

The pain associated is just gone. I remember, when I hear this music, images come to my head… Like having to get a pass from the hospital to sing and record music for my brother’s Bat-Mitzva. Having to get a pass to attend the event, where my asshole bf was invited. Which ended with my curled up in a ball outside crying in terror. Which ended with me back in the hospital, weirdly relieved. And completely crippled with the thought that I had ruined the event for my whole family. And completely ashamed at knowing everyone was aware of my brokenness.

One of my fav songs. My creativity is inherited. I got my voice from my dad’s side. I can hear my grandmother singing when I hear this. Makes me want to cry.

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 ❤

Why is it that people often blame victims for crimes they did not commit or consent to?

People want to believe in a just world. This world view makes day to day life easier in a harsh world. After all, good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people… right?!?

Wrong!

So what happens when people are confronted with the reality that bad things happen to good people? That these tragic events could be not avoided once you have been trapped by an abuser?

It is easier to believe that the victim brought on the violence onto themselves, rather then believe that we are not invulnerable, that it could, in fact, happen to any one of us so easily.

It does not help that the “public face” of abusers is often charming and affable. They are typically seen as nice, kind, and caring people. To better hide their evilness, some have good standing in the community, and manage to get people on their side and liking them easily.

When the rose-coloured glasses are shattered, it is hard to believe that such a “fine, upstanding citizen” of the community could do something so horrific to a “loved” one. We do not want to believe that our judgement in another was so incredibly wrong. It is simply easier to deny, and then blame the victim.

This drives the silence that victims tend to keep – out of fear, shame, guilt… If the victim blames themselves, why not other people blame her as well?

In Toronto, a police constable warned university students not to dress like “sluts” if they wanted to avoid rape… Excuse me?!

This is a new type of victim blaming… A sort of victim-in-waiting in which women are constantly supposed to be on guard.

The message that “boys will be boys” is severely damaging as it takes the blame completely off of the perpetrators shoulders. The myth that women are the source of men’s happiness also perpetuates victim blaming.

So what to do about it?

Listen to the person who has been victimized. Be compassionate, and let them talk if they need to, or just let them be, if that is what they need.

Make it clear it is NOT their fault

Often victims of violence will do things that make them feel they will be less of a victim, no matter how irrational the action is.

I cut my hair that used to go down to my waist because I figured it was a liability. Men could easily subdue me by grabbing my long locks, and they did. Cutting it made me no less of a victim, however.

I lost and gained weight to make myself less appealing. However, that also did not work.

Changing the way I dress – same deal.

This shift in perception is called a trauma-based worldview. This means that our sense of invulnerability is shattered, as is any sense that the world is a safe and just place to be. Some of the affects – being less trusting, and more weary of others, more cynical – I do not necessarily think is a bad thing (in small, rational doses).

Being a victim of violence is ALWAYS the fault of the abuser. We cannot control the actions of others. But we can make it clear to those that would blame us that it is the abuser who is at fault.

Speak up, silence is deadly!

Stay safe