Archive for August, 2012

Lab Tools & Equipment for Getting Better from PTSD

I realized the other day that I have been playing SuperBetter for over 6 months now since the end of February and beginning of March 2012. This morning I was reflecting on all of the tools and Quests from SuperBetter, the workbook Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence, and working with my SuperBetter allies and therapist, that I’ve used to work on PTSD and was thinking, hey, I should create a toolbox or to be more appropriate for my SuperBetter Hero who is a scientist, “A Summary of Laboratory Tools and Equipment!” So here goes.

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Summary of Laboratory Tools and Equipment (to Get Better from PTSD)

PTSD / Trauma Symptom Lab Equipment, Tools or Methods to Use
Anticipation

Hypervigilance

  • SuperBetter MindMaster PowerPack
  • Be aware of being hypervigilant
  • Be aware of my expectations
  • React instead of anticipate
  • Broken Babel Fish Quest – Read about it in my post here
Supposed To Beliefs

Expectations

  • Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence workbook chapter on “Supposed to” Beliefs That Lead Women to Stay or Go Back
Dealing with Conflict

Avoidance

  • Deal with conflict instead of avoid it
  • Make Quests to do things I’m avoiding like go to the dentist, say “Excuse me”, go to a place to make new memories I associate with my abuser
Negative Self-Talk
  • Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence workbook chapters Feel Better by Changing the Way You Talk to YourselfThe Power of Nonnegative Thinking
  • Track your Negative Self-Talk – see my posts here and here
Assertiveness

Self-Advocacy

Self-Compassion

Body Image

  • SuperBetter The Mood Elevator: Ground Floor PowerPack
  • SuperBetter Being Awesome PowerPack
  • SuperBetter Better Than a Chill Pill PowerPack
  • Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence workbook chapters on Self-Advocacy: An Overview and Initial Self Assessment and Assertiveness, Aggressiveness and How to Take the High Road
Stress & Muscle Tension
  • SuperBetter Stress Buster Power Pack
  • Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence workbook chapter on Managing Stress By Controlling Muscle Tension – See my post on this chapter here.
Anxiety

Isolation

  • SuperBetter MindMaster PowerPack
  • Quest to Ask for Help
  • SuperBetter Social Resilience in 5 Minutes a Day PowerPack
Guilt
  • Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence workbook chapters How to Get Rid of Your Guilt  – See my post with my results here
  • Talk with a veteran or other domestic violence victims with PTSD and their experience of how they overcame guilt (this can be via an online chat, in person, etc.) – It helps!
  • Forgive yourself – This will happen!
Nightmares
  • Remember: Nightmares are just reminders of the types of people and behavior you need to be wary of – Read my post on this here

I’m sure I’m missing some tools, but can always add them in later, or new ones as I learn about them.

What things have worked for you to get better from PTSD? What do you want to try? What are the biggest obstacles you are facing?

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My Scientist Hero’s SuperPowers

In playing SuperBetter you can play whatever Hero you want to be to get better. I had picked a great scientist.

But, to make it a little fun, I was lately thinking of the X-Men and Jean Grey. Kind of a scientist of some sort and for some reason she was always my favorite character in the X-Men.

I was trying to think how Jean Grey’s super powers could relate to getting better from PTSD and here’s what I came up with:

Super Power As it relates to getting better from trauma
Telepathy
  • Awareness of being hypervigilant
  • Awareness of my expectations
Telekinesis
Phoenix Force grants the ability to:

Travel unaided through space

  • Resilience!
  • Ask for Help
  • React instead of avoid conflict
      Psionically manipulate matter and any form of energy
  • Keep Positive
  • Do my power ups on a daily basis, especially:
  1. Running, biking, or swimming
  2. Spending time with friends

 

      Create powerful “cosmic” fire
  • Overcome anxiety
  • Manage stress through muscle tension exercises and breathing
  • Deal with nightmares

 

      Resurrect from death and manipulate life energy in others
  • Practice Self-Compassion
  • Practice influence – optimism, relate to people
  • Spend time with friends and family
      Manipulate timelines
  • Overcome Guilt
  • Witness your experience
  • Live in the Now
  • Stop Negative Self-Talk

This was pretty fun to come up with. 🙂

Who would you be and how would you use your super powers to meet your goal?

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Expectations, Hypervigilance & Internal Conflict

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Last weekend I dealt with a very irate person. It was a very hot weekend and I also heard about a lot of other violent events from
the weekend. I noticed this week I was a lot more hypervigilant as a result. I understand that this event came as a surprise to me and it’s perfectly rational for me to be worried about my safety concerning this person. Their behavior was pretty violent and extreme.

This week I also noticed I had a lot of internal conflict. This is a very new experience for me because in the past, I have always let others make decisions for me or not had any opinion or preferences of my own. Everyone else and their needs had always come first. Being hypervigilant from the event with the irate person last week, I wondered if I was just being hypersensitive to other people, that I asked in therapy, “Is this what normal people go through? Always having these internal conflicts and decisions to be making?” To my surprise, it is. The fact that I’m having these internal conflicts where I want to express my needs is proof that I am getting better from post traumatic stress! While that should be a relief, I’m finding it’s really tough to be dealing with these things. But, what’s also strange is how I’m feeling a lot less concern than I used to with expressing my needs, opinions or preferences. Because I’m often now thinking, well I have every right as anyone else right? And if I make someone upset, well maybe I don’t want to go then or maybe I’ll just do this on my own, and etc.

In therapy, we’ve been talking a lot about expectations, which I think has a tie into my hypervigilance. I am often having expectations of people without really being aware of it. For example:

– At work, I expect my coworkers to be respectful and professional as I am. This is not always the case. Some situations at work have arose that have made me uncomfortable. While they may see these things as a way to open up or break the ice, I saw them as disrespectful and bullying. I think it is a lot clearer what my expectations are and what I need to feel comfortable.

– Have you ever read the 5 Love Languages? My ex-husband was very good at fulfilling “Words of Affirmation”, but not good at showing me he really cared. My new partner does not do that. Instead he shows me he cares and loves me through “Acts of Service”. It took me a lot of time to adjust to not hearing the words of affirmation. But, once I came to understand how my partner shows me he loves me and cares, I was able to adjust my expectations and be a lot happier.

– With friends, I expect that we should share experiences and things about ourselves. If I open up to you, I expect you to open up back. When this doesn’t happen, I don’t feel comfortable around people. I feel closer to some of my friends more than others. I also am finding I become wary of spending time with people who do not reciprocate. I’m finding I need to adjust this expectation. Different people expect and need different things in their friendships. People are also at various spaces in their lives and sometimes we click and sometimes we don’t.

With hypervigilance I’m always being attentive to what others are thinking or feeling, but don’t realize that I am often having similar expectations of others. I am learning how to be aware of my expectations and when I am being hypervigilant. This way I can adjust my expectations when I need to, or stand up for what I need, and enjoy my relationships with people with a lot less anxiety.

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Quest: Broken Babelfish Cartoon

Quest: Broken Babelfish Cartoon

I had set this Quest a long while back, actually at the beginning of starting to play SuperBetter. It has now been 6 months that I’ve been playing SuperBetter and finally sat down and did this quest for a few scenarios in my life where I have been hypervigilant. It didn’t exactly come out like I envisioned it, but I did it! And it has helped me become more aware of situations where I am hypervigilant and misinterpret what people are saying and actually mean and have a much better understanding of why I do it, which I’ll talk about in a future post on Expectations and Hypervigilance.

Here was the original Mission / Quest:

Mission #3: Help Fix My Broken Babel fish – Every other week

This mission got turned down already! But, I think it would still be fun.

I have what I like to call a broken Babel fish. I hear people say something and think they mean something else, which is usually something negative. I almost see drawings being involved here with what was said, what was heard, what they really meant. Then I’d figure out why I thought they meant something negative and stop doing that. This is something we could do once a week or every other week.

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