Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature

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lonewolf

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Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« on: March 09, 2015, 07:39:36 AM »
Hello everyone,

I'm wondering if others here have experienced increased EF triggers once they started delving into learning more about CPTSD? I have found in the last few weeks that I am getting triggered fairly frequently. But today, for example, has been especially so since I started reading Pete Walker's Complex PTSD. Even just reading the words "abandoned" is setting me off into memory land. I see my T for my first session of EMDR tomorrow, so I'm feeling safe more or less. But I'm also annoyed since it's 1:30 am and I'm still up, feeling anxious and not sure how to self-sooth so I can get some sleep for work tomorrow. I did have a bath earlier, ate a healthy meal and I'm now having a cup of herbal tea. I'm so used to shutting myself off from these old emotions /disassociating that the spontaneous nature of all these feelings/crying/memories is highly disconcerting.  :'(

Just needed to say that out loud. Planning to finish my tea and climb back into bed. I sure wish I had a puppy to hug.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 07:41:30 AM by lonewolf »

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keepfighting

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Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 08:12:04 AM »
Hi, lonewolf,

just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in experiencing this. Sending you a cyber hug in lieu of a puppy  :bighug:.

I had to read Walker's book in small portions because of the many EFs I had. Even now, rereading it, I take long breaks in between in which I exercise, go for a walk, read a non-triggering book - that kind of thing....

A bath, a healthy meal and some herbal tea sound very nice and comforting. It's great that you're taking such good care of yourself! One thought just occured to me: Those are all things to make a grownup feel comfortable. If your EFs have triggered your IC (Inner Child), then maybe something that would comfort the child you might be helpful to restore your sense of wellbeing in/after an EF: a cuddler, a bit of chocolate, something like that.... For me, if the IC  is 'activated' and disturbed by an EF, grownup strategies alone don't work well enough; I have to pay attention to my IC pain as well.

I hope your session with your T will help restore your sense of safety and wellbeing again.  :hug:


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lonewolf

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Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2015, 08:37:42 AM »
Hi keepfighting,

What a wonderful response. Thank you so much (and for the cyber hug too!).

I like the idea of reading Walker's book in small portions and then taking a long break with a walk, game, yoga, etc. Really good advice. I've always been such a "good" student  but with this material I probably need to take a more sensitive approach.

Also, wow, I would never have considered a grownup comfort versus an IC one for EFs! Now that's a game changer and very insightful. I'll have to give this one some deeper consideration so I can come up with some strategies that are more suitable to IC pain.  :hug: to you. A lifesaver.

Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 09:50:56 AM »
I second what keepfighting suggested. Back in autumn, when I found out about CPTSD, I dived into the material head-first, and pretty much nosedived into... not sure what it is, but I haven't been sleeping too well, I got a lot less done, a lot of Freeze response type things...

Now, I'm dipping into a book, and then I stop reading before I've reached my limit. And I take some time to do other things. Also, it's turned out to be helpful if I consciously de-stress my life. Basic things like drinking enough water, getting some exercize, tidying up (because clutter stresses me), eating proper food. Dealing with one's past turns out to be something one had best brace oneself for. Which makes sense, considering that this same past has given us CPTSD.

I'm hoping you'll be able to sleep better soon. All the best.  :hug:

Keepfighting, thanks for the point about IC-comforts. It wouldn't have occurred to me at all, but it makes so much sense. Yay for OOTS synergy!  :cheer:

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pippapop

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Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2015, 12:31:08 PM »
Hello Lonewolf, I agree with Cat, since ive been working through the posts on this site and every other scrap of info I can find on cptsd ive also been finding the emotional roller coaster has started up again. My T thinks the learning and reading is good, I had worried it was doing more harm. But I now think its doing me good, the 'stuff' has to be dealt with. Keep looking after yourself and keep reading at a pace you can cope with. Hang in there! Maybe I should take my own advice too, Lol.

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C.

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Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2015, 09:17:53 PM »
I had a bit of an "aha" on this topic recently.  I used to feel mildly irritated with the CBT strategies of forcing coping first, like positive self-affirmations, self-care, etc.  It felt like the cause was being ignored or somehow not validated.  Then I realized that those who've developed treatment strategies know that we all need some serious self-care tools ready when we do the hard work of recovery.  It is triggering, it is painful, it's complex.  So I've been grateful that I did develop those self-care strategies.

I'm just recently learning to pace my recovery.  As an "A" student I too wanted to just focus in and go through all of the material and steps.  Due to a job change I finally have the time, so I could probably put in 6 hours a day...but that's too much for me.  I've found that 1-2 hours per day is enough and the rest is dedicated to self-care, work, parenting, personal hygiene, and home hygiene.  It's plenty!

I read the first half of Walker's book and now I'm focusing in on a workbook (ASCA).  I love Walker's book, but found it so dense with material that it's like I need to break down some of the chapters and topics into manageable steps for me.

I celebrate your self-awareness and reaching out to the group here.  The personal journey is unique on one hand, and balanced by support on the other....

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lonewolf

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Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2015, 03:36:35 PM »
As always, such good advice from folks here.

Pippa, emotional roller coaster is the perfect analogy for this process of what I am now calling discovery/recovery.

C, I like the idea of 1 to 2 hours a day devoted to CPTSD learning because otherwise it can truly overwhelm. I want to get better but it won't happen in one day and crippling myself with the triggers isn't a good idea as I still have to be functional in order to take care of myself (work-wise). Walker's book is very intense and I haven't managed to read that much yet, even!

I will say that I had a bit of a breakthrough on Friday after doing my first EMDR session with my T. It's only one piece of a bigger picture, but it was the most problematic bit, which is my mom. My T told me that sometimes it can take many sessions to neutralize the "trauma" but in my case it will likely be only two. I was shocked at how well it seems to work for me. I'm still thinking about how to describe it here. At the session, the intensity of distress re: my mom (as the traumatic event itself) was 10. By the end of the session it was 2. Crazy. Also, I've had a few weird experiences since Friday where it's like my brain is unclogging and revealing new pleasant memories. Bizarre.

Of course, this is only the beginning of a much larger process. I also did a few other things last week, which included cutting off my family again to stop the triangulation crap with my mom and siblings. I also took a weekend break from "discovery" and just relaxed at home. I'm including yoga for at least 20 minutes per day and that seems to be a good daily practice for me.

Thank you for all the support.

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Abandoned2x

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Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2015, 10:22:38 PM »
It's helpful to hear that I'm not the only one having a bit of trouble with Walker's book.

It is clearly immensely helpful, but lately in working on it, I've had EFs or moments of incapacitating social anxiety hit me out of nowhere.

I guess it's like a bad chest cold, though. It's hard to find yourself hacking all the time, but this crap has to come out so it can stop festering and infecting us.

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seasaw_

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Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2015, 11:57:26 PM »
Similar experience here, in that my emotional status is less stable the bigger fraction of my time goes to recovery and healing time.  My T helped me by pointing this out, too.  It's important to balance recovery work and the rest of one's life - working on the old stuff while continuing to build the new stuff.  This is hard time me because, honestly, I feel almost unable to begin anything new at all right now.  I'm at level: macaroni collage in terms of confidence, attention span, and energy level these days.  But she has a point... I can't ONLY be thinking about what happened with my mom and in my childhood; I need, as she called it, behavioral activation to get my brain to start pumping that dopamine and other good stuff that reminds me that I do enjoy some things.  That's I'm, gulp, good at some things.  I hate that that's so hard to type write now.

I recommend the book 'the language of letting go' by melody beattie', not sure if that comes up much on this board.  We talk about it quite a bit on my home board :)

hugs.

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lonewolf

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Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2015, 03:51:48 AM »
Great posts!

I've just started delving into Walker's book again. I had taken some time off from it. It triggered me AGAIN. I am finding all of this terribly exhausting.

seasaw, I really liked your comment from your T saying that it is good idea to balance the recovery work with the positive/building new life work. Why is that so hard to do? I started doing yoga, it felt good, but then I stopped. I bought Nancy Drew books for my IC but I haven't picked them up from the store yet. Why do I keep putting it off? My EMDR sessions are really helping to lower my distress levels, but then I still have to figure out how to move forward.

I used to pretend that there was nothing wrong with me and now I am constantly reminded how messed up I really am.  :stars:

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seasaw_

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Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2015, 04:54:04 AM »
I bought Nancy Drew books for my IC

I love this!!


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lonewolf

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Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2015, 06:50:17 AM »
Lonewolf, I get that too. Nice things I can do for myself, and then somehow I put them off. Now, I'm not at all sure about this, but my working theory right now is: I got taught that any attention is bad attention. Anything that draws attention to myself also draws emotional abuse to myself. Anything REAL that I show anyone will only give them more ammunition - and their barbed comments and smirks are only going to hurt the more because it's hitting something REAL. So, ironically, the very things that are most "me" and that would please my Inner Child - those are the very things I learned to hide, hide, hide, hide, hide. Or to just stop doing them altogether, that was safest. Whenever I think about playing the piano or painting or buying myself some book I'd like, there's this strong reflex that tells me "oh dear me, no, don't EVER do that, it'll just give them ammunition, don't take that risk, not just now".

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seasaw_

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Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2015, 06:08:48 PM »
Lonewolf, I get that too. Nice things I can do for myself, and then somehow I put them off. Now, I'm not at all sure about this, but my working theory right now is: I got taught that any attention is bad attention. Anything that draws attention to myself also draws emotional abuse to myself. Anything REAL that I show anyone will only give them more ammunition - and their barbed comments and smirks are only going to hurt the more because it's hitting something REAL. So, ironically, the very things that are most "me" and that would please my Inner Child - those are the very things I learned to hide, hide, hide, hide, hide. Or to just stop doing them altogether, that was safest. Whenever I think about playing the piano or painting or buying myself some book I'd like, there's this strong reflex that tells me "oh dear me, no, don't EVER do that, it'll just give them ammunition, don't take that risk, not just now".

This subject is so hard for me. 

For me, it's like, play time, anything that's just for fun, is like I'm just effing off again.  Why am I not in university getting degrees and makin' careers?  Singing is one of my passions - I used to study opera - and I would LOVE to get back to voice.  My T right now is even telling me to do something for myself, 'behavioral activation'.  Just to get out of the house and be around people and do something that feels good.  But I feel like any a)expenditure of money is irresponsible b)recreational activity is a waste of time c)fun is something i don't deserve because all i've done so far is 'goof off' and it's time to buckle down and start doing something with my life. 

but if part of the treatment for what i'm dealing with right now is to have fun.... *?!?!

Re: Increased EF Triggers from Delving into CPTSD Literature
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2015, 09:20:38 PM »
I have that same mindset you mentioned. Don't spend money, fun is a waste of time, fun is something you earn if you've worked hard.

I once read an article about growing up poor, and they mentioned these very same attitudes. It makes kind of sense, I guess. If you're broke, you don't earn money; you can't afford fun; and if you do afford it, it's as a reward for hard work. My family had enough money, but my parents were the first generation to not be poor. So that mindset was probably passed down to us.