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Dissociation Question - Why Don't I Panic When Others Do?

Discussion in 'Anxiety, Panic & Hypervigilance' started by piglet, Jun 13, 2006.

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  1. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Bear with me people. I am very confused after trying to explain how some things trigger me off whereas other things don't, at least, not in the same way.

    It seems that when I am in a position to defend myself or integrity I dissociate, switching off the feelings side of me, I think due to the anxiety or panic that builds. I don't really notice the change. I then tend to be very direct with people, which seems to be interpreted as being unkind or unthoughtful towards someone else's feelings. Afterwards, getting back into "normal" mode (I think) I will try and offload to someone, but I don't tend to choose the right people to speak to, thus causing myself further problems.

    In other circumstances, such as dealing with a fight between students or a 1st aid emergency, I am very clear headed and calm when other people are running around panicking. This makes me a very good person to have around in an emergency, cos I usually get things sorted very quickly with the minimum fuss. As a result, in my job, students will seek me out when they have a difficult problem, as they know I won't react unpleasantly towards them - I listen and respond in a calm way. I then report to the relevant colleagues as per policy and everything is fine. I don't feel the need to offload - in fact I have been harassed to see the counsellor after one serious incident, when in fact I had suffered no ill-effects at all (it will be very hard to beat my own life experiences). Colleagues on the other hand were really not coping very well.

    Why don't I react this with other people - family, colleagues etc. Why am I fine with students and people I don't know????? I just can't explain it, but I know there is something significant in it that is related to my particular manifestation of ptsd.

    I tried to explain this to someone today, but clearly just sounded completely loopy, which obviously has not helped my situation :crazy-eye
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Piglet, you hit the nail on the head, and you asked a very good question that has a very easy answer.

    The answer is, we with PTSD view things very much in black or white. What this means, is that when your confronted with an emergency situation, because of the chemical imbalance within your brain, the fight or flight (black or white) kicks in. An issue that arises doesn't affect we with PTSD on an emotional level as it does with those without PTSD. The reason for this is because our own personal emotional level is so clouded with our own trauma, it makes it quite difficult for us to feel what we should feel.

    Because our brains have been rewired as such, to think black and white, when we see a problem, we respond, with little to no thought about any other concerns, we just see "black or white", "fix it or die", "do it or don't", "react or stand back", etc etc. You can put many many two words together that compile the same sense as black or white thinking.

    When faced with an issue that is not on an emotional level to yourself, your brain merely performs the basic functions of black or white thinking, and has no room or scope for other processes, such as panic, fear, failure, hurt, etc etc, all of which a person without PTSD can process, because all these other emotions are within the "grey" area of thinking, the area in which our brain has buried, being the same area in which we need to recover as part of our healing process.

    An example: a student of yours falls down some stairs and breaks their leg. There is you, and another teacher present, both with the same training. The person falls, breaks their leg severely, and is screaming in pain. The other teacher (without PTSD) immediately responds on an emotional level that the person is in pain, thus their brain begins processing emotions caused by that persons pain. Your brain has disregarded the screams of pain, and only processes the problem (black or white), being the broken leg from falling down the stairs.

    Now, lets say the the bone has protruded from the leg, thus the person is now bleeding heavily from that extruding break. The teacher without PTSD, now views blood, thus their brain is now processing even more emotions, ie. this person could die, this must be so painful for them, how are they still alive, etc etc etc. Your brain is still saying the same thing, has disregarded the screams of pain, has disregarded the extruding bone and blood and only processes the problem (black or white), being the broken leg from falling down the stairs.

    Your brain is allowing you to process less, without the emotion, and gets to the problem at hand. The other teachers brain is clouded with emotions, feeling and attempting to find the training you have both been taught. Your brain is still thinking in black or white, and goes straight to the training and puts your body into motion to "fix" the problem at hand.

    What may then happen afterwards with yourself, is when your brain has slowed down from "fixing" the problem, it may then cause you the same distress the other teacher felt immediately, though yours will most likely be much worse because of underpinning symptoms of PTSD, or more to the point, much higher intensity emotions when your brain is allowed to process those previous thoughts.

    This is very much related to how our brains react, and how we only see black or white. Your not personally at a stage yet to see grey, though even when you do get yourself to that stage again, it will never be the same as someone without PTSD, and you will always go into fight or flight, black or white thinking styles when pressed with a situation.

    When you introduce someone, or something that is closer to an emotional level within your life, this is when you can move to the opposite scale, or more importantly, the "flight". Your brain shuts down, as it can't cope with emotional attributes that are closely related to your trauma, or your brain says no, I will not fight, instead I am going into flight mode, and shutting down, running away from this issue, because this trauma is too closely related, or too emotional for me to handle. Fight or Flight is not about just running into things or running away, but it directly relates to how our brains react, ie. we say something whether we should or not (fight) or we shutup and say nothing (flight).

    What you are experiencing, everyone with PTSD experiences at some level, some just worse than others.
     
  4. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    You are definitely on top form at the moment Anthony - ever thought of being a teacher? :)
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    I have my moments. Its more just about fixing you, and others who are not at a point within their PTSD to help. My doctors and therapists always said to me, you can't help someone else if you need help yourself. I always think about that whenever giving advice or hopefully some point that may help another. If I am not well enough on a given day, and don't give advice. Most of the time though I am functioning pretty well, so I can learn and help others.

    Teacher? Not a chance in hell. I would string them up and be in jail, I have no doubt about that at all. I could probably cope with early childhood, but definately not late primary school, secondary or tertiary education students. The lack of maturity would definately see me inflict pain and suffering on someone who rubbed me up the wrong way.
     
  6. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Young kids are worse - they puke on your shoes and pee their pants! At least the teenagers just grunt and swear at you - no bodily fluids involved - apart from excessive spitting. And they are hysterically funny at times.

    "The wild rabbi is chased by many predators"

    Laughed my head off for ages with just a simple typo!
     
  7. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Wow, that is creepy. I mean I never looked at it like that, I just figured I was a bad mom for not having empathy. My son steps on a nail all emotions shut down and I just get it out and fix it, when he came in from a trip with my husband, I reacted and did not have emotions, took care best I could but knew he needed stitches everyone else was freaking out... I do what I can to fix them and the crying is blocked out. I always would "crash" later. It is like I just turn into a robot with them, panic ensues after all is calm... Seems I have a bit to learn about this. Thanks for the info and site, I am already learning.
     
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