mindfulness. How does it help you?

I just learnt realised I have severe PTSD where I regularly have tremors, flashbacks that cause me to disassociate for hours sometimes days, sometimes resulting in short term temporary psychosis.

Its very hard for my husband and son to watch me go through. He wants and tries to be supportive having to take time off work to look after our son during these episodes because sometimes I have to be hospitalized when they are severe and psychosis takes over.

When I disassociate get stuck in the time and place of the trauma. I become a different person. No empathy, a dark personality, vindictive, hateful, angry, on super high overly defensive, as well as deeply depressed, and scared. I get stuck in the past. I want to but can't pull out of it and be part of the present. I lose control of my responses, acting like I am in experiencing my past trauma. I push my son away literally, so he stumbles almost falling backwards, and I aggressively say get away from me, (because I am terrified, and I dont want to hurt him more than that) and my husband has to take over taking care of him during these episodes when my son asks for cuddles or wants to help me feel better because he can tell something is wrong, and I regret these actions afterwards, but I can't stop myself at the time, because I am so stuck in fight or flight trying to survive through the episode. Then the psychosis begins...

Along with new meds My trauma therapist wants me to practice and log my mindfulness sessions a few times every day.

She says I need to practice this to help myself prevent, or lesson these severe PTSD episodes.

I am struggling to do it as a stay at home mom, who does most of the housework, and cooking, with a 1 and a half year old.

I guess I can do a few minute sessions when my son naps, and after I put him down to sleep at night.

I can't imagine how I would find time for this with a newborn, while looking after my 1 and a half year old son.

But this is so important to me because I don't know how else I can help myself become better, and reduce my PTSD. I want to be my best healthiest self for my family.

EDIT ----> I started having my miscarriage of our 2nd This Saturday during one of these severe PTSD episodes. I don't know if the PTSD episode triggered the miscarriage. or the miscarriage and drop in hormones from said miscarriage triggered the PTSD episode as I am not 100% which one started first. I thought i might be miscarrying when the PTSD episode began. Either way I am heartbroken, and feel devastated that one of these severe PTSD incidents may have triggered the miscarriage. I remember before my dissasociation feeling terrified and thinking "I need to miscarry. I can't get through this" Next thing I knew I was miscarrying...

this is really hard, and feels scary.

Has anyone else here tried mindfulness and found it helpful?

I already do notice my thoughts and emotions as they come. I can tell my husband an episode is coming before it does so we have maybe an hour before it starts to really get badand about 4 hours before it fully blows out into psychosis. But nothing I think, say, or do in that hour before it really begins stops it from happening. Then I end up in the hospital in psychosis for 2 weeks. I try to control my thoughts, focus on the moment, meditate, focus on my 5 senses, think logically, and remind myself that it is ok to feel this way, I was ok then, and I will be ok now, in that hour before it really starts but in the end I always end up in the hospital with body tremors in psychosis. I don't understand how practicing more mindfulness will help? I need something logical realistic I can do in that first hour to prevent it from blowing out into full blown psychosis. But how am I supposed to do this? I cant just drop everything and focus on myself. I have a 1 and a half year old to look after too y'know? I can't just neglect him while I try and prevent a full blown episode. I don't understand how staying in the present using my 5 senses will help? I know what's real and what isn't during my psychosis. I can tell which thoughts are intrusive and not my own. I can feel the disconnect and change in my personality. No matter how hard I try to be in the moment using my 5 senses and logic I can't pull myself out of it. Do I need to use mindfulness somehow before the hour before it begins? to prevent the warning its going to happen so it never happens at all? That doesn't make sense. If I don't know its coming how can I use mindfulness to prevent it? Or do I not understand how the mindfulness is supposed to work, and am not doing or using it properly?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I'm so sorry you are going through that and I'm sorry about the miscarriage.

When I disassociate get stuck in the time and place of the trauma. I become a different person. No empathy, a dark personality, vindictive, hateful, angry, on super high overly defensive, as well as deeply depressed, and scared. I get stuck in the past. I want to but can't pull out of it and be part of the present. I lose control of my responses, acting like I am in experiencing my past trauma.
This reasonated so much with me. And is where I am at.

Your T is saying similar things to mind. She says it's practising these things. It takes time.
Reminding myself that this is in the past. The threat and feelings are not real now. They don't exist now. They are in the past. She said to focus on breathing (which is hard for me to do as when I'm in that state I can't bear to be in my body). Or if that is hard, then focus on things in the room.
It's so hard when the feelings are overwhelming to bring yourself back. I suppose it's learning to do it before it gets overwhelming.
Keep trying?
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
mindfulness is my single most important psychotherapy tool. how can i ply therapy tools to symptoms of which i am unaware? like all of my other therapy tools, it took me considerable time and effort to become skilled with the tool.

you mentioned two of my meanest obstacles to effective use of this tool. 1) trying to predict the future. 2) control.

I can tell my husband an episode is coming before it does so we have maybe an hour before it starts to really get badand about 4 hours before it fully blows out into psychosis.

in my own case, this "fair warning" all too easily turns into self-fulfilling prophecy, especially when the love of my life participates in the fulfillment. living in the future is even more dissociative than living in the past. at least the past is on record. the future facts are unavailable. we don't **get** to know the future. with mindfulness, the focus is on the here and now. this minute and no other. let it be okay when you drift from the here and now. simple awareness is enough. itsy bitsy baby steps.

I try to control my thoughts, focus on the moment, meditate, focus on my 5 senses, think logically, and remind myself that it is ok to feel this way, I was ok then, and I will be ok

the less control i exert over my thoughts, the more control i have. a visual meditation i use for this principle is hang-gliding. i've never actually done hang-gliding, but was blessed with a brother-in-healing who was an avid hang-glider and he provided me with first rate descriptions of the dynamics of wind currents to enable the meditation. you don't get to control the wind. you only get to be aware of the currents as you ride your hang-glider across their lifts. the less control you exert over the wind, the more control you have as you guide your glider through the currents. the wind is very much in the here and now. the last current is gone. the next current cannot be predicted.
 

Sideways

Moderator
For me, mindfulness tends to be critical maintenance (keeping myself stable, less chance of episodes) rather than crisis management (dealing with episodes when they occur). I use grounding when I'm having an episode, which is very similar to mindfulness (some people feel it's a form of mindfulness) because I find it easier.

But using mindfulness regularly very definitely reduces my SUDS, and so helps reduce my episodes (keeping my stress cup empty). Practicing regularly also makes it heaps easier to bring myself back to the present when I'm having an episode - like training for a marathon so that you can run better on the day.

For me, the trick with practicing mindfulness is to keep it simple, and keep it short. I use washing the dishes in the morning (5 mins) as a daily mindfulness activity, because I know it's easy for me to get my mind completely focused on all the aspects of here and now when I'm washing dishes. Getting the grime off, what order am I washing them in, how hot is the water, etc etc. I consciously direct my mind to only focus on those things, but it's a task that my mind naturally likes to think about as it's occurring. I can switch off other thoughts easily.

Another approach (and man, I've had a lot of Ts share approaches to mindfulness!!!) is this video below. It's definitely in my Top 5 most helpful therapy vids ever (plus super short, and easy to watch!), and gives a super simple way to practice moments of mindfulness without it being a major stressful exercise. He talks about 'meditation', but the exercise he explains is very definitely also a form of what western therapists refer to as 'mindfulness'.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
Mindfulness is the ONLY thing that helped me stop dissociating. And it's the only thing that has helped me with intrusive thoughts.

I think most people who have not trained in mindfulness don't really understand it. ALL it is, at its core, is being aware. That's it.

I try to control my thoughts,
It's not this. When you're mindful, you *notice* your thoughts and then you let them go rather than grabbing hold of them and making them more than they are. I used to have horrible, intrusive thoughts about death. So, I would think "my mom's gonna die some day," but I wouldn't just stop there. I'd then go on with (something like) "oh my god. I can't lose my mom. What will I do? I don't have any other friends." And that would build and build until I was so anxious and angry that it'd take me days to recover. That's a mild example. I also had *very* frequent intrusive thoughts surrounding one of my traumas. And rather than just acknowledging the thought, I'd build on it, catastrophize, and again...I'd be such a mess that I couldn't function.

What I do now (well, some of the time) is I notice and acknowledge the thought, then let it go. My response then to "my mom is gonna die" is now "yep" or "there's that thought again about death" and nothing more.
I cant just drop everything and focus on myself. I have a 1 and a half year old to look after too y'know? I can't just neglect him while I try and prevent a full blown episode. I don't understand how staying in the present using my 5 senses will help?
So here's the thing. You don't have to drop anything to be mindful. You can be mindful doing *anything*. Doing the dishes, picking up after your kid, sitting on the toilet, taking a shower. I love to practice while doing dishes or taking a shower. What does that look like? In the shower, I feel the water and how it connects to my body, smell the soap, etc. Doing the dishes, I notice textures and temperatures and colors (of the dishes) and the sounds of the water. What I DON'T do is plan a meal or worry about what I'm going to wear to work or think about how awful I feel a lot of the time.

Don't get me wrong; it takes practice. But honestly, I'd be dead if I hadn't learned about mindfulness.
 

Friday

Moderator
I already do notice my thoughts and emotions as they come. I can tell my husband an episode is coming before it does so we have maybe an hour before it starts to really get badand about 4 hours before it fully blows out into psychosis. But nothing I think, say, or do in that hour before it really begins stops it from happening. Then I end up in the hospital in psychosis for 2 weeks.
Any chance this only happens when you’re pregnant?

Because there is a condition called ‘antepartum depression’ &/or ‘antepartum psychosis’ that’s hormone driven.

In my family it starts early in the second trimester, and then happens every day -usually at approximately the same time- for a few hours, until we miscarry or give birth. But there are all kinds of patterns, my family is simply genetically predisposed to a very particular pattern.
 

DharmaGirl

MyPTSD Pro
Mindfulness saved my life. When I feel an episode coming on, I ground myself by seeking out all the blue colored things in the room, then another color, etc. You could make this a game with your toddler. The book that really changed my ability to stay in the present was

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay PhD (Author), Jeffrey C. Wood PsyD (Author)​

I hope it can help you too if you choose to use it.
 

caroline_13

Confident
I just learnt realised I have severe PTSD where I regularly have tremors, flashbacks that cause me to disassociate for hours sometimes days, sometimes resulting in short term temporary psychosis.

Its very hard for my husband and son to watch me go through. He wants and tries to be supportive having to take time off work to look after our son during these episodes because sometimes I have to be hospitalized when they are severe and psychosis takes over.

When I disassociate get stuck in the time and place of the trauma. I become a different person. No empathy, a dark personality, vindictive, hateful, angry, on super high overly defensive, as well as deeply depressed, and scared. I get stuck in the past. I want to but can't pull out of it and be part of the present. I lose control of my responses, acting like I am in experiencing my past trauma. I push my son away literally, so he stumbles almost falling backwards, and I aggressively say get away from me, (because I am terrified, and I dont want to hurt him more than that) and my husband has to take over taking care of him during these episodes when my son asks for cuddles or wants to help me feel better because he can tell something is wrong, and I regret these actions afterwards, but I can't stop myself at the time, because I am so stuck in fight or flight trying to survive through the episode. Then the psychosis begins...

Along with new meds My trauma therapist wants me to practice and log my mindfulness sessions a few times every day.

She says I need to practice this to help myself prevent, or lesson these severe PTSD episodes.

I am struggling to do it as a stay at home mom, who does most of the housework, and cooking, with a 1 and a half year old.

I guess I can do a few minute sessions when my son naps, and after I put him down to sleep at night.

I can't imagine how I would find time for this with a newborn, while looking after my 1 and a half year old son.

But this is so important to me because I don't know how else I can help myself become better, and reduce my PTSD. I want to be my best healthiest self for my family.

EDIT ----> I started having my miscarriage of our 2nd This Saturday during one of these severe PTSD episodes. I don't know if the PTSD episode triggered the miscarriage. or the miscarriage and drop in hormones from said miscarriage triggered the PTSD episode as I am not 100% which one started first. I thought i might be miscarrying when the PTSD episode began. Either way I am heartbroken, and feel devastated that one of these severe PTSD incidents may have triggered the miscarriage. I remember before my dissasociation feeling terrified and thinking "I need to miscarry. I can't get through this" Next thing I knew I was miscarrying...

this is really hard, and feels scary.

Has anyone else here tried mindfulness and found it helpful?

I already do notice my thoughts and emotions as they come. I can tell my husband an episode is coming before it does so we have maybe an hour before it starts to really get badand about 4 hours before it fully blows out into psychosis. But nothing I think, say, or do in that hour before it really begins stops it from happening. Then I end up in the hospital in psychosis for 2 weeks. I try to control my thoughts, focus on the moment, meditate, focus on my 5 senses, think logically, and remind myself that it is ok to feel this way, I was ok then, and I will be ok now, in that hour before it really starts but in the end I always end up in the hospital with body tremors in psychosis. I don't understand how practicing more mindfulness will help? I need something logical realistic I can do in that first hour to prevent it from blowing out into full blown psychosis. But how am I supposed to do this? I cant just drop everything and focus on myself. I have a 1 and a half year old to look after too y'know? I can't just neglect him while I try and prevent a full blown episode. I don't understand how staying in the present using my 5 senses will help? I know what's real and what isn't during my psychosis. I can tell which thoughts are intrusive and not my own. I can feel the disconnect and change in my personality. No matter how hard I try to be in the moment using my 5 senses and logic I can't pull myself out of it. Do I need to use mindfulness somehow before the hour before it begins? to prevent the warning its going to happen so it never happens at all? That doesn't make sense. If I don't know its coming how can I use mindfulness to prevent it? Or do I not understand how the mindfulness is supposed to work, and am not doing or using it properly?
Meditation has helped me immensely.

You just start where you're at.

E.g., you're supposed to sit up straight and be alert, etc.

I give myself permission to lay in bed while exhausted and meditate, if that's what I feel like. There are times where I'll sit up straight, too.

Meditation really clicked for me about a year ago when I had never gotten it before.

It's helped me face my deepest fears. Wayne Dyer said, (something like this): All of people's problems come from an inability to be alone and quiet in a room.

It makes sense to me.
 
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