Reactivated Trauma in Senior Citizens (Interview, German)

„Hinhören – ohne das Trauma zu beschwören“. Ein Interview mit Prof. Gereon Heuft, UKM Münster

Source: „Hinhören – ohne das Trauma zu beschwören“. Ein Interview mit Prof. Gereon Heuft, UKM Münster – Alter und Trauma – Unerhörtem Raum geben

Here’s an interesting text about crisis prevention and intervention in the context of care for the elderly. Unfortunately, it’s in German, hope, GoogleTranslate can do a half decent job translating.

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14 Things Highly Sensitive People Absolutely Need to Be Happy

14 Things Highly Sensitive People Absolutely Need to Be Happy Continue reading

Where Does Your Mind Go When Your Body Is Near Death? On Post-Operative Delirium, Near Death and The Brain (mild trigger warning)

In deep delirium after a catastrophic heart attack, my subconscious ran wild

On Postoperative Delirium

Source: Where Does Your Mind Go When Your Body Is Near Death?

I just came across this interesting read on Medium.com, where the author pretty vividly describes the effects of post-operative delirium that he suffered following a major heart attack and a stroke, landing him in an emergency surgery situation and ICU following the former.

Upon reading it closely and more importantly, carefully examining the interpretations of these experiences provided by one of Mr. Costello’s doctors, I can’t help but conclude that post-operative (partial and temporary) coma, delirium and near death experiences are but one and the same, mitigated by a still partially functional brain or parts of the brain being in the process of resuming “normal” functioning. Whatever share of “mind” is left or comes around will go at lengths in piecing those bits together to form a somewhat coherent story. Because that is what our brains do: They take whatever stimuli and events come in and process them in such a way that they form a coherent narrative, a story, if you will, which is apt to put the self, the mind, the ego at ease, and the former for mere reasons of healthy biological function in the context of navigating life in this world (for reference, see this and this and maybe this, too). You might call it a standard mode of operation for anyone  who is not in a “vegetative” state. So far, so conclusive (at least to me).

For the past years, I’ve logged hundreds of hours of reading about, listening to and watching videos of accounts of people who have had an NDE, experiences with paranormal phenomena or post-mortem communication with late relatives. (the related sources behind those links are just a very small sample of the vast amount of reports, articles and books I have read on the subject, including experiences from so-called “psychonauts”, who willingly underwent substance-induced altered states of consciousness. Again, the linked source just one of many sources). In addition to that, my own uncle shared some of his post-operative delirium after medically induced coma and both following a fairly dramatic emergency surgery and the former required to save his life after an early morning motorcycle accident with major impact on his left lower leg, which almost got severed and ultimately and unfortunately had to be amputated. I felt strongly reminded of his narrative when reading Mr. Costello’s account of what he went through following his emergency heart surgery.

While facts, locations, personae obviously differ for reasons of differing biographies, a pattern becomes visible to me which seems to hold true for both stories (and possibly others from other patients): There are actual bits and pieces of real events that patients remember and that seem to have occurred during brief periods of lucidity, while there are other “sensations” – for lack of a better word – that the mind seems to make up in order to “fill the gaps” between those real events and the supposed times of semi-consciousness or even temporary coma. To me it appears as if the “restarting” brain seemed to try and resume above mentioned “standard mode of operation” while still dealing with the effects of physical trauma and plain physical malfunctioning as a result from the surgery. (And in the words of Dr. Page in above linked article, “It is the physical trauma of major surgery, rather than the effect of anesthetics or sedatives, that triggers delirium.”)

When holding my own “NDE” at age four against those examples, interpreting it in terms of above sketched hypothesis becomes a bit more difficult as the nature of it neither matches the bulk of – largely positive -NDEs nor the pattern of post-surgery delirium. I guess, the most likely explanation would be an adverse reaction to anesthesia being used at the time. (when carefully examining the medical use of nitrious oxide on wikipedia as well as its use for recreational purposes, I can’t help but conclude that the dissociative effects of this substance induced the experience I had after inhaling it and after having it forced on my face by the nurses preparing me for surgery; very unfortunately I have never been able to firmly establish exactly which anesthetic had been used on me at the time. Zeroing in on it by way of excluding those anesthetics no longer or not yet in use, there is strong indication pointing to nitrious oxide vs. ether or chloroform, both of which are unlikely to still have been medical practice at the time of my surgery). But I guess, I’ve started to digress here.

Bottomline: From carefully reading, hearing, studying all accounts of non-standard states of consciousness, either induced by way of a (psychedelic, anesthetic) substance or by traumatic events, I am personally arriving at the conclusion that they all are attempts of the brain in coping with major trauma to the body and more specifically a major impact on its nervous system. For reasons of my left brain hemisphere obviously dominating over the right one and as a result being the constantly questioning type, all these accounts of “spiritual realms” never sat right with me. Moreoever, I’m a strong proponent of Occam’s razor and following that principle, even if there was a spiritual realm of some kind, those “explanations” never gave me much clue on the pragmatic side of things and pertaining to questions of how best navigating day to day life and integrating those extreme experiences undergone so early into my life. Seeing them for what they most likely turn out to be, i.e. the effects of a substance on my perception, feels like the best way of eventually making sense of a very non-ordinary state of consciousness. Humor me, if so inclined….

Update/P.S.: I think this concludes my “spiritual quest” as in: Call off the search.

Familienstreit: “Es ist wie Liebeskummer, nur schlimmer” | ZEITmagazin

Wenn erwachsene Kinder den Kontakt abbrechen, lässt das Eltern fassungslos zurück. Doch oft haben sie die Signale überhört, die der Funkstille vorausgegangen sind.

Source: Familienstreit: “Es ist wie Liebeskummer, nur schlimmer” | ZEITmagazin

Unfortunately, above article is written in German as it appeared in a publication where I live and come from. In a nutshell, it describes the dynamics in (emotionally) dysfunctional families – like mine. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they publish this on Christmas Day – of all possible other days in the year. Christmas, after all, is a holiday that sees families come together as one, most often at their parents’ home. However, there are those like me who need to put as much distance between themselves and their bio family for reasons of self protection and – ultimately – for reasons of getting a chance to heal.

It is a bit of a lengthy article for me to translate myself, so I can only hope that Google Translation service can make sense of it as it nails the unhealthy interactions in emotionally dysfunctional and repressive families to a T as far as I’m concerned and telling from half a century of personal experience with that (not to mention countless ill-conceived and unproductive therapy scenarios that ranged from “waste of time” to personal “ground zero” and getting retraumatized in the process). I do remember a moment – I believe it was some time in 2008 – that I let my sister know that I would see to a restraining order should home folks dare to contact me against my express wish not to. Events leading up to this position included shenanigans like e.g. claiming they had placed a missing person report with police in my area and claiming to have overheard me on my mobile phone that had somewhat miraculously switched itsself on while safely resting in my vest’s chest pocket with no pressure whatsoever on the keys and additionally secured by a mechanism that would require two non-adjacent keys to be pressed at the same time to unlock the keyboard. While I admit that it isn’t entirely impossible for this to happen, after careful consideration and trying to assess the likelihood of such a thing to happen, I must conclude that they had lied to me about that missing person’s report. To be safe, I called local police and inquired as to whether or not they such a report and whether anyone was looking for me. Very unsurprising it turned out that no such report had been placed, not with the local nor any of the nearby police stations. I believe it was then that I decided “enough is enough” and told my sister, whom they always involved in such trickery, that she had better gotten the message across to them that I no longer wished them to contact or monitor me in such ways. Revisiting that moment, it is blatantly embarrassing to see the degree of dysfunction becoming apparent in those actions…

In any case… reading that above linked article, sadly I have to conclude I’m one of those children who need to have as much distance between themselves and their bio folks for no other reason than to protect those bits and pieces of one’s personality that went somewhat unharmed or less tampered with. I guess, I had known this about 10 going on 12 years ago, but it apparently took another decade to fully sink in. If only I knew where to go from here. It often feels as if I had exhausted all my options.

Mind-Body Connection: Free Resources

National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM) offers free mind-body connection resources. Learn brain training for free and get other mind body connection resources.

Source: Mind-Body Connection: Free Resources

Somehow I happened across this resource, apparently from a newsletter subscription and I’d like to pass it around as I think it offers great (free) resources and seminars as to understanding and addressing symptoms in the aftermath of trauma, commonly referred to as post-traumatic stress (PTSD). I myself am not too convinced of prolonged exposure-approaches or those based on CBT/DBT, but as I saw Bessel van der Kolk on the team as well as Dr. Peter Levine as a contributor as well as Dr. Stephen Porges, whose work takes the focus more to the domain of the (autonomous) nervous system (which I think is where trauma responses “live”), I was becoming more interested and so far, I find the information valuable and useful for anyone dealing with PTSD (and/or complex PTSD).

Viewer’s discretion is advised as with all things “exposure”, there’s always a risk of getting triggered.

Huachuma (San Pedro Cactus) — Healing The Spirit And Body – Reset.me

via Huachuma (San Pedro Cactus) — Healing The Spirit And Body – Reset.me.

It is becoming very evident to me that I have to undergo these sacred treatments using plant medicine, if I want to rid myself of yet-remaining, residual aspects of early and later trauma in my years of childhood and upbringing and with their outcomes wreaking havoc on my psyche – and hence life – to this day. I can almost put my own – cognitive – “fingers” on the places, where I’m still damaged and hurt – but can’t seem to get past those remainders all by myself. I had catalyzing experiences that came close to getting access to those very deeply rooted layers of inflicted pain and resulting damage, but I haven’t managed to resolve them – probably mostly for reasons of not having had an opportunity to integrate the experiences afterwards. By integrating I mean, talking it over with someone who carefully listens and takes an interest in seeing me process my emotions brought to the surface. Since I can’t have access to conventional trauma therapy, it seems the above – along with hopefully getting accepted into a MAPS.org phase III-study on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in late 2016/2017 – is my only option left. Wish me luck, if so inclined. (I know, I have written about this and said this before… 😉 )

Q&A With An Underground Healer Risking Their Safety To Provide MDMA Therapy – Reset.me

Q&A With An Underground Healer Risking Their Safety To Provide MDMA Therapy – Reset.me.

I soooo wish, I could call that person and discuss an appointment with her… For my readers suffering from (C-) PTSD, this is a must-read. MAPS.org hope to have MDMA-assisted therapy legalized by 2021.

For the nutshell version of Somatic Experiencing© as developped and applied by Dr. Peter Levine, treat yourself to this:

Tapping The Vein – LSD Psychology & The Structure Of The Unconscious – YouTube

via Tapping The Vein – LSD Psychology & The Structure Of The Unconscious – YouTube.

As it’s becoming more and more obvious that I’m very very unlikely to ever find help in the conventional medical/therapeutic system (for reasons too numerous to detail), I seem to turn to the unconventional and even illegal realm of medicinal treatment in order to get to continue to navigate this earth plane. Because my life got stripped of everything that should make life worthwhile to continue.

So, this “morning” over my usual coffee, I happened upon another interesting article on Amber Lyon’s reset.me-platform and found the above linked young man, whose own project called “The True Light of Darkness” is the follow-up of a two-part book about his a) research into and b) sharing of experiences with psilocybin mushrooms and the insights and behavioral modifications gained from that. In the context of this work I came across this video, where he talks about “COEX Systems”, a term coined by Stanislav Grof in his book LSD: Doorway to the Numinous: The Groundbreaking Psychedelic Research into the Realm of the Human Unconscious. Right away it strongly resonated with my own somewhat jiggery introspection into the root cause of my own trauma and strife with ongoing emotional pain that won’t let up one bit so far (despite my very committed efforts and some help from a compassionate therapist).

There are more and more experienced and legitimate researchers and therapists coming out of the closet of conventional in-the-box-thinking in regards to so-called “mental” illness – a misnomer IMO – and their causes and how to address them. Just recently, I linked to a video with Dr. Gabor Maté, who clearly identifies trauma as the root cause of all kinds of addiction according to his experience with thousands of patients he has treated.

As far as I’m concerned, I don’t seem to have other options left as to tap into the realm of psychedelics, most notably psilocybin, in order to continue my own path. Because frankly speaking, it’s come down to either this or …. in the very near future as the pain has become utterly unbearable and conventional options fall away one after another.