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Trauma! A PTSD Blog

In my  previous video about walking meditation, I spoke a little about meditation in general, pointing out that not all meditation is done while sitting. One can also meditate while walking, and even perform a water walking meditation (not what you may think). In some ways, this is quite possibly the best way to meditate. Walking meditation can be seen as a kind of bridge between classic sit-still meditation and the ordinary activities of our lives.
Active trauma memory - a memory that gets triggered, is intrusive, and is invariably painful - will disturb your state of mind, your focus, your ability to be productive, and any sense of hope for the future you may still possess. Put simply, it alters your present perspective on life, and never for the better. Pushing back against such an assault well may seem impossible, but that does not have to be the case. One management tactic of proven value that almost anyone can use is the practice of cultivating a sense of gratitude.
We perform mindfulness meditation to notice, to be right up against, the mystery of What Happens Next. The more you observe, the more the mystery will grow. If you'll but notice, this mystery will play with you.
Ever been caught off guard with quick and shallow breathing, increased heartbeat, foggy thinking or sweaty palms? Most likely that's because an unconscious thought has gotten loose and is wreaking havoc in your body. Your PTSD symptoms were triggered, and you couldn't stop your body's response, and none of that is your fault. But you can reduce these bodily responses by becoming more mindful of your thoughts.
We know that trauma affects the brain. Science has proven that. Yet, have you ever had someone say to you any of these things: "PTSD isn't real; it's all in your head." "Just get over it already!" "Only veterans get PTSD." I speak all over the country about PTSD symptoms. Mostly, these audiences are comprised of civilians: survivors, caregivers and healing professionals. Sometimes, too, there are people who have no PTSD connection but have been invited to hear the presentation. Inevitably, whether it's before the presentation has started or after it has finished, someone addresses me to say some variation of one of those three things (on a really awful day, all three!). Why don't people get what it means to struggle with PTSD?
Previously, I proposed that trust of your therapist is necessary if you are to achieve the success you hope for when engaging their services (Therapy's First Obstacle: Trust My Therapist? No Way!). At the least, you hope for reduction of the undesirable trauma and/or PTSD symptoms which bring you to therapy in the first place. You should also hope to regain at least some of what you've lost because of the intrusion of these symptoms into your daily life. Working collaboratively and cooperatively on these important, challenging goals with your therapist is the only reasonable plan for you to adopt if you want therapy to work.
Living in the chaos of PTSD symptoms and post-trauma haze can make you very self-centered. Know how I know that? I used to be like that! It's hard to cope on the inside and still be sensitive to others on the outside. Heck, it's tough to be miserable and do anything that would make someone else happy. One U.S. Marine + One Guitar = Big Impact When was the last time you did something nice for someone else? Last week, on Changing Direction, I interviewed U.S. Marine, Markus Fox, about how his guitar and music helped his platoon during a particularly difficult night in Iraq. They had lost the first two casualties since their deployment and the platoon was very upset. Markus took out his guitar, sat on the back step of a truck and invited the other soldiers to pull up their stools while he played a tribute to their fallen brothers. The results of this simple, selfless act during a time of trauma were enormous. Still, there are a couple of problems with the PTSD self-centered lifestyle. Let's take a look...
Effective psychotherapy requires a substantial degree of trust, which can only occur when the client-therapist relationship feels sufficiently safe to both parties. With victims of psychological trauma, achieving this sense of safety and trust can be a truly difficult barrier to productive therapeutic work. Let's look at some of the reasons for this. But, first - why do this? Because it is all but impossible to solve a problem you don't understand, and this problem must be solved. That this is possible is verified by the thousands of people who have actually done it, each in their own manner, but all in the same general sorts of ways. It is important to see a path to the mountain top, if that is where you wish to be. Let's look at how and why that path can be hard to find.
Radical acceptance means complete and total acceptance of something, accepting reality, and is a key component of Dialetical Behavioral Therapy. Yesterday, I listened to an interview with Marsha Linehan, the creator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). If you aren't hip to the help DBT can offer, you might find some new ideas here.
I'm here to tell you that trauma affects your brain. Even so, have you ever had someone say to you any of these things: "PTSD isn't real; it's all in your head" "Just get over it already!" "Only veterans get PTSD"? I speak all over the country about PTSD symptoms. Mostly, these audiences are comprised of civilians: survivors, caregivers and healing professionals. Sometimes, too, there are people who have no PTSD connection but have been invited to hear the presentation. Inevitably, whether it's before the presentation has started or after it has finished someone addresses me to say some variation of one of those three things (on a really awful day, all three!). Why don't people "get" what it means to struggle with PTSD? Why can't they understand that trauma affects the brain as well as the mind?
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