Posts Tagged Hypersensitivity

Quest: B Causes C, Cognitive Restructuring

I’ve been quiet for a while now because I’ve been so busy reacting. Weeks ago I left off in therapy and in my last post, working on memory of the last (or first, however you want to look at it) trauma of the 3 traumas I experienced that I haven’t addressed. The past 6 months have flown by faster than I’d ever want my life to go. My memory problem keeps popping up. What was 6 months ago feels like yesterday and what was yesterday feels like days ago.

We remember that a major PTSD treatment goal is to integrate dissociated trauma material with associated memories so that the fabric of our memory becomes like one continuous memory. The problem is that traumatic memory doesn’t mesh with the way we want to look at the world. The dissociated memories often contain misinterpretations and inaccurate conclusions that were formed under great duress, while strong emotions and arousal continue to interfere with processing.” – Cognitive Restructuring Chapter, The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook

Every day I am making unproductive thoughts. I still stay “I’m sorry” too often. I still make decisions within split seconds in order to “protect” myself. The Chapter on Cognitive Restructing addresses a lot of the automatic thoughts and distortions that I am dealing with day in and day out.

A —-> B —–> C

A is the Activing (or upsetting) event. B is the Belief (or automatic thoughts) that we tell ourselves about A. C is the emotional and physical Consequences (or arousal).

I can think of several situations in the past few weeks where I have done these things.

  1. Flaw Fixation – Fixation on what went wrong
  2. Dismissing the Positive – Discount positive things, as if they don’t matter
  3. Assuming – Mind reading, jumping to conclusions, and fortune-telling (or what I call anticipating what will happen and trying to prevent a negative outcome except you have no control over the situation)
  4. Catastrophizing – making things much worse than they actually are
  5. All-or-None Thinking – or Black and White Thinking
  6. Shoulds (Should Haves) – “I should have done this better…” “I must be strong”
  7. Making feelings facts – I don’t know if I have this problem since I still have a hard time even expressing my feelings in the first place though I have really made an effort to
  8. Overgeneralizing – “Things always go wrong”
  9. Abusive Labeling – “I am the only moron who didn’t do this right” which I said tonight actually
  10. Personalizing – Seeing yourself as more responsible or involved in a given situation than you really are. I do this at work ALL the time.
  11. Blaming – I don’t do this one either and think I’ve talked about it in a previous post because I have a real pet peeve with people not taking responsibility for their own mistakes. I own up to my mistakes even when I am not really responsible (see Personalizing).
  12. Regrets – “If only I hadn’t…” In therapy I still catch myself doing this in regards to my marriage and divorce on why I didn’t know I was in an abusive relationship earlier and leave it much earlier, even before marriage.

So now that I torn myself down more, how do you fix this? Which I’m sure everything I’ve worked on is not to be thrown away. But, apparently I need a refresher course in this.

1. A Daily Thought Record

You know those “Things That Bother Me” posts and reflections I do? And the Babel-fish cartoons? Yes, those are good for this. But, I need to dive a little deeper. What are my thoughts? How much do I believe in them (rate them)? What have I distorted? Then be more self-compassionate. What would you say to a friend if they had said or thought these things?

The next chapter is on Confiding Concealed Wounds, which talks a great deal about Trauma and Avoidance, something I have discussed a lot. “People might find ways to avoid the topic by staying occupied with trivial distractions such as work, cleaning, or exercise.” I know I can be guilty especially of the exercise and talked a good amount about. But, this is for another day. Good night!

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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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Struggle with Disclosure and Uncertainty

One thing I have been struggling with since I am no longer in an abusive relationship and have grown significantly in decreasing my social anxiety and expressing myself is when it is appropriate to disclose something. Reading about the DISC personalities of people with high Influence scores, I can identify with this exact problem:

“By their nature, High-I’s are extremely trusting and ingenuous. Their desire to be open with other people can lead them at times to reveal information or express feelings that more staid types might prefer to keep hidden. For this reason, they are sometimes seen as lacking in tact.” – http://www.discusonline.com/udisc/i_influence.html

I don’t really consider myself trusting, but maybe I am more so now. What I don’t understand is why I choose to tell people information about myself. For example, with inviting SuperBetter allies, I’ve realized I made a lot of friends uncomfortable by sharing my history of being a domestic violence victim and that I am trying to work on things I recognize as needing improvement. Some co-workers also know a bit about this history and I think they’d rather not know as well. At the same time, I feel angry at myself for sharing something personal with people as well as feeling angry at them for the way they seem to act after I tell them, not being supportive, not asking me how I am doing, not reciprocating by opening up with things that they are working on too.

Last night I had a dream that I think was dealing with this issue. I dreamt I was looking at houses with my family. I liked the first house we looked at, but for some reason, maybe cost, it was out of the question. That house had a lot of light and an open floor plan. The second house we looked at, the whole downstairs, especially kitchen was very dark. The upstairs had this gigantic attic that was really a hardware store. The backyard was strange. It was more like a courtyard mixed with golf course. The grass was very light green and almost fake looking like turf.

I think I was walking through these houses and backyard to deal with emotions and feelings I’ve been repressing for some time, including when and what I should and shouldn’t disclose to people. Earlier this week I broke down after I heard someone talking about marriage. I know a lot of people who are getting married and are having children this year. I keep having people ask me if I want to get married again and if I want children. I really haven’t been able to get to why it bothered me so much. Part of me feels like I still feel like a failure for ever getting married in the first place with such an abusive person. Part of me feels as if I will never get to be married to someone who is so loving and caring. Part of me feels like everything feels so uncertain. And for a person who loves change so much, that’s an odd feeling to have.

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