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Messages - Scout

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The Cafe / pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« on: August 13, 2019, 05:18:12 PM »
Hey guys! I posted this to a reddit page, but wanted to get your perspectives since you know a lot more about where I'm coming from, just knowing what CPTSD is.

I'm having a lot of trouble either focusing on or enjoying things I used to love. Drawing, art, crafting, and especially movies and television. Drawing and crafting require a lot of concentration and resilience, both of which have been in dire supply lately, but the problem with movies and television is that everything is so horribly sad, violent, or depressing.

Take that sweet little Disney film, Tangled--loved it when I saw it in my 20's, but now see her as a barely-surviving long term trauma victim of the narc stepmom. Waaay triggery. Many entertainment media are sneaky like that, and are actually incredibly violent, sad, or bleak.

I'm looking for things (including books) with the vibe of the movie Stardust--just a pleasant, regular movie with good scripting, decent acting, and good production quality. Or, if lacking any of those, just a feel-good movie that isn't faith-based or slapstick silliness.

Other movies I liked a lot: Cloudy with A Change of Meatballs, the first animated one ("Steve! Gummy Bears!"). I also enjoyed Failure to Launch (bc Bradley Cooper, Terry Bradshaw, and Kathy Bates are so great in it), Wedding Crashers, and for some reason You, Me, and Dupree. Practical Magic was a good one, and the Harry Potters and Lord of the Rings were good before I watched them way too many times. I tried to pop in LoTR again and the orcs were an instant turnoff.

I have a lot of triggers right now, and I'm looking to avoid:

--Any animal violence. At all. No dogs looking for dead Richard Geres, or Zooey Deschanel drowning kittens because she's too poor to pay for their vet bills. (I read on one forum the Golden Compass is good, but then read that a polar bear whacks off another polar bear's jaw and there is a lot of animal CGI violence.)

--Any real-feeling human violence. (Example: Big Little Lies is well done, but I can't get through it because it's too real. Silver Linings Playbook is supposed to be good, but I don't know how serious the mental institution stuff will get.)

--Avoiding dark comedies, as they are often more depressing than dramas.

--Shows or movies that seem okay at first but then turn on you. (Ex--Downton Abbey and Selfridge's seem fine at first, but then it's all blood, violence, PTSD, etc. in the later seasons).

I hope you guys will understand where I'm coming from with this request. I don't want to just avoid all triggers, but I need to create more safe spaces and learn that I can safely enjoy things again.

General Discussion / Re: Empathy and revenge
« on: August 12, 2019, 12:12:41 AM »
Revenge comes from anger. And anger is a reaction to injustice, or the epic wrong of being wronged.

When you get down to it, it's really about being hurt. Revenge is just the t-shirt the hurt is wearing, if you think of hurt as a body.

Offer yourself compassion. Lisa A. Romano has a good video about telling your story as if you were telling it to someone else--completely, not holding back. And then you reread your own story, as if it were someone else's, and that helps you not only have a witness, which we all needed and generally didn't get, but also to access compassion for the person in the story--which is you.

I feel the wish for revenge (how I see it, is justice) in waves. It is not a fair world, and I know they will not be punished for what they did to me. But the thing that actually helps is countering that with understanding and ceaseless compassion for yourself. Revenge, all that anger, does not help us in the end, because it is not productive. Compassion for ourselves is part of how we heal.

So feel that feeling--hoo boy, feel it--but then ask it what's really at the center. It will always be hurt. Tell yourself your story and find that compassion. Over time, as you practice, it grows.

You can also whack the crap out of a pillow or scream at the top of your lungs in a locked car. I'm a big fan of hard exercise because I can process that rage as output energy. But mostly, the compassion stuff.

(PS, I don't know if any of this is right for you, but it's all I can give you. I hope you find healing.)

General Discussion / Re: ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?
« on: August 11, 2019, 11:59:37 PM »
Thanks for the responses, guys. I esp. appreciate the suggestion about walking, as that's always good--even if you don't "feel" better, you're doing something positive for yourself. I do like exercising and have not been able to for a few days.

I just went to a swing dancing class for an hour, and I'm a beginner, so I focus a lot on what I'm doing. And now I feel better all around, looser and more like my real self. So maybe that's one trick--do something else really absorbing, and maybe the panic will forget itself?

And PS, when I say panic, I don't mean five alarm freakout--more like a 3 or 4 out of 10, but it goes all day long. And, yes, it is exhausting and draining--and extremely frustrating. I'm trying to have more mindfulness and just notice the feeling, not beat myself up about it. And this is big progress--I mean, I used to just feel this way but let it run me ragged, not say, "I feel panic. I feel panic." But where I am right now, labeling does not solve it. And I don't want to just ignore it, because if that was a solution I'd be all better by now! (Ha. Ha, ha.)

One thing I'm learning is that I'm pretty intelligent--which I was never allowed to think or say before, and even now I feel funny writing it--and maybe that's part of why swing dancing (and being new at it) worked for me--I'm fairly good at or have more or less mastered all the activities I have at home, whereas the dance class focuses all my energy on paying attention to something else, then copying that brand new thing.

I'd still love to know any coping or simmering tricks other people have figured out for themselves, when bad feelings get big and you just can't place the source to resolve them. The CPTSD Workbook by Schwartz says people often have lingering somatic sensations because of trauma that occurred before they could form accessible memories, and I think that could be one of my issues. I would really, really not be surprised if my mother did awful things to me as a baby or very young child. There were lots of horrific stories she loved telling me about me being poisoned, almost drowning, and worse--all potentially deadly, always with her stepping in at the last moment as a savior and Perfect Parent instead of neglectful mother who put her small child in extreme danger. Basically, she would have been fine with me dying so she could play the martyr parent forever. If these were the stories she loved to tell me, I now wonder about the worse ones she probably held back, the ones she told no one.

All that to say, it's a comfort that these feelings are coming from somewhere real, the animal brain that remembers but doesn't have pictures or words. That it's not my fault that I feel panicky or itchy all over sometimes, that it is not a personal choice or a personal flaw.

My biggest focus is wanting to heal those feelings, and just not knowing how.

General Discussion / ceaseless panic--what do you do to fix it?
« on: August 11, 2019, 09:37:39 PM »
I have been having one long, incessant panic attack--All day. The mindfulness I've been practicing tells me I'm having a long panic issue, but I don't know what to actually do about it. I've been productive--I made myself practice having fun (since having fun has been hard or impossible lately, I call it "practicing having fun," which lowers the bar). I sorted some things in my office. I drew a picture.

But the panic, oh my God, the panic.

Two minutes of a mindfulness meditation helped, but not for all that long, and I can't sit around and meditate all day. Plus, the relaxation of meditation is having its own weird consequences--like after, I freak out about how zoney I feel (if that makes sense). I think it's too much oxygen or something, so I'm trying to ease in, not do 25 minutes like that one time and I felt high as a kite for an hour after and it was actually scary.

I had such a good, actually okay day yesterday, and then there was a trigger explosion when we thought we might drive 26 hours to see my husband's family (and the friends I think of family, who I thought I might never see again since we moved far away two years ago--not one person has visited). And we ended up deciding not to go, and I think going was just an excuse for me to do what I always do, which is transform the panic I always feel into some big activity.

But I do not want to feel this way, this constant, driving panic.

What do you do?

New Members / Re: taking steps, so help me--and hello
« on: August 09, 2019, 01:33:18 PM »
Thanks for the kind words of welcome, guys.

Introductory Post / Re: Doing well, not doing so well
« on: August 08, 2019, 08:10:21 PM »
I write this because I just started it today, but the app seems helpful (for me). Mindfulness Coach, it's free. It seriously lowers the bar on stillness, has a lot of good (but succinct and not overwhelming) info and instructions and tips, and specifically helps me because there is a lot of stuff about the struggles of mindfulness and PTSD. It's made by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, but so far seems to be written by intelligent, compassionate people who get where we are.

It's like meditation, but lite-lite-lite, very bite-size, and much more understandable and manageable for me.

Don't despair. You can do life. You can.

Introductory Post / Re: Doing well, not doing so well
« on: August 08, 2019, 04:53:44 PM »
I identify with this. A lot.

A lot of times, I feel like I am simultaneously in awesome balance and totally flailing. I feel like a circus performer doing amazing things before a crowd on a high rope, all glitter and guts, but inside I'm living some kind of distorted nightmare that no one sees. And eventually the nightmare bleeds through, and I go completely dark.

I really, honestly thought I was okay--for real okay--until about two weeks ago when I started sobbing while playing a video game about a bunny whose mom dies. And then it was like it was all back, after all my hard work, and I was at ground zero again.

I know there are answers to this, and that we are capable of healing. We will get there.

One thing I've been trying the last two days that actually works for me is what I'm calling Stillness. It's basically meditation, but I find that word intimidating, so I keep striving, all the time, continually, for inner Stillness. And that helps me see when things are going out of control a lot sooner, and then I can work on that Stillness again. If you think about it, Stillness is the opposite of fight or flight, and that's what we never learned. What our bodies never learned.

So I guess to say... You are not alone in your alone-ness. I feel this way all the time, like an alien. But I think connection is possible, and connection to ourselves is possible. We weren't taught it, but we can learn it.

Hang on, and feel your feelings, and cut yourself lots of slack.

Sending you awkward CPTSD leaning-over from three feet apart gentle shoulder slap hugs,

New Members / taking steps, so help me--and hello
« on: August 08, 2019, 04:45:57 PM »
How does one begin a post introducing oneself to a forum you are only in because you are profoundly wounded, lost, scattered within yourself?

I guess one begins by saying hello.

So, Hello.

I am 35, female, and was--well, let's sum it up with one blanket word: abused. I am the only child of narcissists, and I'm sure now either sociopaths or psychopaths (does it even matter, between those two?). For years after I cut off contact, I was certain one of them was going to try to kill me, but then I realized they never would--because they don't care. They never loved me, and don't care that I'm gone. And that's been a tough one to process, especially when you add up all the other CPTSD fun.

I've always gotten along best with cops or veterans--the fellow wounded, the fellow haunted, who have dwelled in * and understand. Sounds awful, right? Well, I also love rainbows and glitter, and none of my friends, the few I have, know who I am. I always befriended people like my parents, and that means I have no people. I live in a secret society of one, or so I thought until I found Supernormals by Meg Jay. Thank you, Meg Jay.

I am relieved that CPTSD is finally a diagnosis, but struggling with the lack of resources and information about it, and struggling more with that good 'ole Complex PTSD workbook--you all know the one--that keeps saying "talk to your therapist about this" and "grow in group therapy" that.

I live in a sparse state that has few, if any, resources for this, much less community for it. I know we're everywhere, but I can't find us. So against my own wishes that I stay off the computer, because I'm on it all day and I so want to be part of the IRL world that constantly scares and disappoints me, I am reaching out to try to find people. Through the computer.

Hello, computer. Hello, people.

You can call me Scout. And maybe sometime we can call each other friends.

To us,

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