Mindset and it's Role in Grounding, Trust, Reducing Hypervigilance, and Self-Compassion/ Self-Forgiveness

I have found that common grounding suggestions aren't particularly useful for me, except cold water, physical help, and to a lesser degree breathing and animals, and the mental :STOP SIGN". But it occurred to me, when I can't think (only react), what does help is a belief I have chosen when in a calm state of mind- based on evidence. If I can remember it, or read it, or remember to read it, or hear it when I am triggered I can shortcut reacting.

Not sure if this works for anyone else, but I think I realize a lot of re-enacting (or intrusive thoughts/ images) for me also go back to feeling guilt and shame. So I think it's trying to change the ending (well it is, but..), more so to change my part and therefore change the ending. And for the situations that were out of my control it comes down to more avoidance. But even that has beliefs I hold behind it when I am in a non-triggered state. It's not just "I am an adult", it's this isn't the same person. And some people do things others wouldn't. Or, perhaps I have help now. And it's not all a Secret.

Does anyone think the roots go back to self-blame, guilt and shame? I recall a psychologist having a way to re-tell the story until details that changed the perception and mindset of what was possible/ in the person with ptsd's control changed (the guilt and shame reduced). Seems to make sense to me. I guess the perception of what was possible/ feasible changed.

I think I first noticed this when I realized the feeling of 'safety' and 'trust' were connected, but trust is my choice, I am required to trust or not, or somewhere in between. If I can trust I can forget about much about lack of safety, and when triggered I only have to remember this is trustworthy. Something unrelated (counting blue things, for me for eg, ) doesn't help. I need one concrete intellectualized belief.

Similarly, being able to let go of guilt seems to never have had enough 'reason', but now I have a reason. So I don't think about it the same. Acceptance but it's something else. Forgiven also equates to 'over'. But forgiven doesn't (can't) be earned, just accepted.

Does anyone relate to this? (I apologize if this is in the wrong forum). I'm sorry I can't really express it more clearly quite yet. Thank you for any thoughts.
 
I know this post wasn't really clear, but I think I found 2 examples that might help: first, I learned as a kid stop-drop-and-roll if (you) caught on fire. One time when it happened as an adult, I had to think to use it. I use Stop-drop-and-roll type of thinking comes to me sometimes now as soon as I can recognize I'm triggered, even if I don't know why. The not knowing why is actually an important factor I think. I recognize my body's reaction, and start to try to mentally stop the presses from escalating. Especially not to assign a current meaning to it, i.e. not look for evidence I'm justified. Just to say though I'm usually not yet in a position to counter it or reason against it as much at that moment, only the basics.

The second example I can think of is trust/ safety. It occurred to me how much evidence is sufficient? It would be an endless requirement if I
allowed it, especially based on my body, is there increased vigilance as a baseline, for me? (Probably.) Are there 'cues'? (Hearing things from far away, exaggerated startle response, etc.) So it sounds like turning my brain off (being blind to realities around me, because they could always change), but I think for me it's just choosing what/ how most people are at most times, though again I'm choosing based on evidence and it takes me longer to be satisfied it's sufficient evidence. But now I just say to myself, Nope, don't go there. Just remember who and what is trustworthy. (Some others probably aren't, that doesn't matter, that is normal life.) Not that it is easy though. But I don't think much can change unless I change it for myself. Comes from having to rely on small cues and feelings, I guess. And it's not comfortable to do but I think more accurate and more rewarding to accomplish it. 'Feels' better and also more fair to others. And less like repeating the past.

I have had a bit of 'success' with it lately, some things are becoming more neutral, so that gives me a bit of hope it is possible.

Also, sometimes it's just uncomfortable, so approximation is still progress. Like, not 'always' sitting at an exit or where I don't know what's behind me. That kind of thing. I think it's a process also of really graduated exposure too. But with intent and knowing it's ok, it isn't easy, but it won't change if I am always choosing the more comfortable. But usually it's less what's around me than what's going on internally.
 
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M

Maude

I have found that common grounding suggestions aren't particularly useful for me, except cold water, physical help, and to a lesser degree breathing and animals, and the mental :STOP SIGN". But it occurred to me, when I can't think (only react), what does help is a belief I have chosen when in a calm state of mind- based on evidence. If I can remember it, or read it, or remember to read it, or hear it when I am triggered I can shortcut reacting.

Not sure if this works for anyone else, but I think I realize a lot of re-enacting (or intrusive thoughts/ images) for me also go back to feeling guilt and shame. So I think it's trying to change the ending (well it is, but..), more so to change my part and therefore change the ending. And for the situations that were out of my control it comes down to more avoidance. But even that has beliefs I hold behind it when I am in a non-triggered state. It's not just "I am an adult", it's this isn't the same person. And some people do things others wouldn't. Or, perhaps I have help now. And it's not all a Secret.

Does anyone think the roots go back to self-blame, guilt and shame? I recall a psychologist having a way to re-tell the story until details that changed the perception and mindset of what was possible/ in the person with ptsd's control changed (the guilt and shame reduced). Seems to make sense to me. I guess the perception of what was possible/ feasible changed.

I think I first noticed this when I realized the feeling of 'safety' and 'trust' were connected, but trust is my choice, I am required to trust or not, or somewhere in between. If I can trust I can forget about much about lack of safety, and when triggered I only have to remember this is trustworthy. Something unrelated (counting blue things, for me for eg, ) doesn't help. I need one concrete intellectualized belief.

Similarly, being able to let go of guilt seems to never have had enough 'reason', but now I have a reason. So I don't think about it the same. Acceptance but it's something else. Forgiven also equates to 'over'. But forgiven doesn't (can't) be earned, just accepted.

Does anyone relate to this? (I apologize if this is in the wrong forum). I'm sorry I can't really express it more clearly quite yet. Thank you for any thoughts.
I identify!
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
What's helped me is realising:
The feelings will pass (because when I'm super triggered I am just frozen in that feeling and I forget that it will be different again)
That the feelings are a younger part of me.

Both have been so super helpful at keeping a part of me in reality, or coming back to reality quicker.

Parts work has helped so much with it. Not becoming blended with the triggered part and still having adult me in control a bit. As long as I have my adult mind set available to me, I can manage to bring more of adult me back. And recognise what is happening for a younger part. So yes, mindset really helps. But building that awareness of what is happening.

I don't think I am as sophisticated as you in terms of breaking it down to the precise feelings as guilt and shame as I think I still struggle to identify what those feelings are. T often asks if I am feeling those. So that's food for thought for me.
 

shimmerz

MyPTSD Pro
I use Stop-drop-and-roll type of thinking comes to me sometimes now as soon as I can recognize I'm triggered, even if I don't know why.
Hi @CoolBreezeonahotday . I am hoping I am understanding what you are saying and will mention some things that have worked for me. If it isn't helpful, - sorry 'bout that!

If I am understanding this correctly, your body is doing shit that you don't always want it to do when triggered. If this is the case, boy can I relate to this. I feel like when we drop, the core problem is (trauma wise) we feel we can't get away. I have a couple of questions.
1. If you could get away - how would you do it? Stop, roll and run? Just Run? Walk? Crawl? Hide? Are there emotions getting in the way of this? (Feeling like you are being rude? Fear of nowhere to go? etc)
2. If you absolutely can't imagine yourself getting away, could you help someone close to you get away if they were in the same position? What would you do to help them? Grab them and run?

EFT and Matrix Re-imprinting are really good at leading down the pathway of imagining new responses.

Just remember who and what is trustworthy.
What I have learned is that everyone is trustworthy. You can trust a liar to lie. You can trust a thief to steal. You can trust an honest person to be truthful. So many people attach trust to some sort of virtue. No. Trust is a pattern that we recognize, good or bad - and humans being humans are 'trustworthy' in many different aspects by nature. I think the idea might be to look at trust as a 3D object rather than a 2D one. In your circle, who can you trust to be/do what? Can you trust a noise that is far away less likely to concern you than one right beside you?

Massive amounts of cognition I spent on hypervigilance. It was exhausting. The more exhausted I was, the more hypervigilant I became. It was an endless cycle. Situational awareness is good. Hypervigilance. Exhausting and counterproductive. You can trust that. ;-)

Back when I was being terrorized, I felt I had to wear a hoody to not be seen by my stalkers. Problem was it got to June. I was dropping when I went for walks with my dog. My dog was a big red dog. I am tall. Every noise sent me crashing to the ground. I met my shaman around that time. She did some rounds of EFT with me on the hoody. I don't even recall the day I walked outside and wasn't wearing my hoody. I just noticed one day that I wasn't obsessed with it anymore. Now on the opposite end, I was still being terrorized. So was it a good thing I wasn't wearing my hoody anymore? lol. Clearly the hoody wasn't helping if I was being terrorized. My hoody was the representation of my safety. It was not ACTUALLY keeping me safe. So I was obsessing over it. Until I wasn't. Sometimes what we trust to be safe for us, is really just our own delusional thinking because we can't cope with the reality that we are in real danger in the moment.

Are you in real danger in these moments?
 
Thank you @Movingforward10 and @shimmerz both so much. There is so much I could touch on but am just rushing for work. I will come back.

@shimmerz yes relate to much, and love your explanations. Oddly in 'real' trouble I freeze or feel totally depleted (of energy).

As @Movingforward10 and you said, whether I recognize exactly what I feel or do feel I need to run (i.e. whatever negative feeling), by the stop-drop-and-roll analogy I just mean, if you've ever had the unfortunate displeasure of needing to use it, it is like: stop-think- do (what is necessary). In a good way I mean, if I feel ~funny/ scared/ should leave/ triggered, I now think: stop-triggered-don't react- stop again-remember one reason it is safe to not react. (Like you both said, feelings pass (eventually) and trustworthy (good or bad) is still trustworthy. And if it's good or neutral, or I can recall one reminder why it's good or neutral to stick with that as the 'think/ thought' part.

OMG, relate so much to the 'safety precautions' being so wearing and counter=productive @shimmerz ! 🫂
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
My PTSD lies to me.
It lies all the time.
It tells me to be scared when I shouldn't be.
It tells me everything is negative and bad.
It tells me I should be frightened.

Grounding takes me away from there.
It gives me evidence of the lies.
It takes PTSD's power to lie to me away by stating the truth.
It gives e space.
Space to think and reason.
Space to see the lies.
When I see the lies I don't need hypervigilence anymore because everything isn't an emergency and a danger.

As for self compassion - that is related to the PTSD lies.
To getting caught up in the negative input.
To remind me that I need to take time to get grounded before I end up where I know I don't want to be.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
But it occurred to me, when I can't think (only react), what does help is a belief I have chosen when in a calm state of mind- based on evidence. If I can remember it, or read it, or remember to read it, or hear it when I am triggered I can shortcut reacting.

i call this, "affirmations" and it works for me, by whatever name. i often write my affirmations of the day on my arm so that i will be reminded at random moments throughout the day. other times i write them on a slip of paper which i carry in a pocket and pull out for review, as needed.

whatever the tool, i am not afraid to customize and worry even less about whether it works for anyone else. every case is unique. what matters is whether or not it works for me.
 
Yes @Freddyt I know you are correct. I guess what I've realized is I have to use a different method to ground. Which is ok. And to realize that even if or when what I interpret is not inaccurate, it needn't necessarily predict disaster to come.

And also that a commitment to a positive belief before I even begin remains enough irrefutable evidence for me in the moment when tempted to react otherwise.

I really like calling it an affirmation @arfie as it is positive (even if I can't do conventional affirmations). I used to say I'd write stuff on myself too! 😊

I guess it's just like making accommodations in the way that works best for each of us. Same intention, just different ways and means to go about trying to achieve it.

Thanks to all. 💙
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
I have to use a different method to ground.
I don't know its that as much as realizing when you need to ground and taking a moment to do it until it's like a habit. A really good habit.

It helps you get away from being flooded all the time. Then you get to learn that when you thought @Friday was nuts saying things like hypervig are tools that they are indeed tools. That when you can ride the horse rather than get dragged behind it it's all different and you can add them as tools in your toolbox....
 
Yes I agree entirely @Freddyt . I know there's even an article on here I am sure I read and must read again about using triggers for healing.

And great analogy, I remember learning to ride (English) and struggling to relax enough to get in to the groove and feel balanced in a gallop. Prior to that I felt like it would be a miracle to not be thrown off, very much not in control and like a piece of popcorn on his back. (And supposedly I was a 'natural' but the horse was huge and I felt at the time like a failure who couldn't get it.) I had to find a rhythm. Yet jumping came with zero effort, I felt like one and stuck like glue because I was in time. Yet we did jumps at a gallop. I guess I could really focus, get in a groove.

I think similarly, for me it still does come back to changing how to ground. It might be just me, my weird mind, but I have a mind that thinks often on more than one track at the same time. So on a regular given day, I can be doing a task and assessing it and making decisions, like procedural memory from something I routinely do (say gardening). But going with what I find there as I go. But also notice what the neighbour is doing, saying a prayer but at the same time thinking of something on my mind that bothers me or is a problem, and pivot as I do it and speak to the neighbour. But as I'm speaking to the neighbour I may still be saying the prayer in my head AND thinking about the problem on my mind. I will laugh with the nighbour, but I still while doing this notice a black car and someone with a red hat behind us to the left, with all the rest still going on in my 'head'. Then I will remember what the neighbour said, still be thinking about the problem, probably thinking about new problems, but have no idea where the I left the garden pruner, or I forget where I was in the prayer, or it takes effort to start working again, I almost feel like I have to decompress (and I wonder is the black car still there?? 😠). I don't know how to better describe it in a way that could make sense to anyone, because I never knew this wasn't how it is for everyone. And it is like that for me most of the time I'm awake and almost regardless of what I'm doing.

So while I am pushing my feet into the floor, or counting blue things, or sensing the pain in my shoulders and neck and back, or saying to myself the alphabet backwards, and breathing 4 square, I am still thinking, running a bit of a dialogue, and having a self talk about what I've noticed is 'amiss'. The only thing that actually grounds me on the spot is pain, or sometimes extreme threat, or danger (eg scalding hot water), or that is shocking (ice cold water). I personally wonder if nicotine, as a stimulant, I find grounds me because it forces me to focus on 'less' than what I think about without it?

Needless to say, I find it a relief to feel I have a belief I believe, and to be able to check extra thoughts and thinking and worry at the door. It doesn't mean alarm bells won't go off, but if I can reorient to that memory I don't so much manage the triggers with any need for logical argument in my head, so much as ~'Nope, doesn't apply/ not accurate'. So in a sense it is identifying it as a lie. I think it is a bit of a substitute for simply trusting my own judgement, because I know trusting my own judgement when flooded +/or vigilant isn't necessarily accurate. In the past I could never have done that. I think the response has to begin and end with me, whether I choose to believe the lies as truth or see the lies as lies. If anything, I think it's a combination of that (a fundamental belief/ mindset I can recall or be reminded about) and a way to practice mindfulness combined that I am finding helpful.

Hope that makes sense.
 
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I just meant to add, I noticed something strange too, if I say something 'out loud' to someone (trustworthy), it doesn't bother me the same. Or there is feedback and most specifically the level of fear (when applicable, which is usually always which is either evident to even me or is at the core) reduces markedly. I'm not sure if it just changes the way I think about it, or I don't feel alone with it, or because I've never had it, or what/ why this is so Idk?
 
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