Diary Entry 17 September
The entries below were made over the last couple of months, as I read a self-help book. CPTSD: From Surviving To Thriving by Pete Walker.
2 August 2020
I'm already finding the ideas incredibly helpful. Too much to break down now but it really is helping with my recent efforts to stop seeing myself as intrinsically defective. The emotional flashbacks section was really well put, first time I have understood the concept. This understanding was followed by "Ah! So that is what is going on with me!" The book is also helping me to begin to feel... (whisper it) as if I maybe starting to like myself a little!? It has also introduced me to my new favourite word, 'parentdectomy'
12 August 2020
Have carefully read through chapter 6, the four F's about three times. I found it hard but helpful to recognise that I often lead with the fawn response. Not something that I wanted to believe about myself, but true. I felt good to recognise how far I have come in being able to utilise different four F's in day today life. Some are still less than nuanced reactions
but the chapter has given me a map to work from. I uncomfortably recognise the flight/freeze response, described as working to exhaustion, vegging out and then throwing yourself back into work on recovery. I want to think more about this. Chapter 7 is equally meaningful to me. I will read that a couple of more times before moving on.
24 August 2020
I've read chapters 7 & 8 multiple times. Chapter 7 was strongly connected to chapter 6, chapter 8 is Emotional Flashbacks. It has given me so many ideas of how to self-soothe. Applying some of the lessons from this chapter to the section on Self-Medication allowed me to explore a feeling and the associated self-destructive response. Today, I didn't overeat as a response to a strong and frequent emotion [abject loneliness]. I think I now have a handle on this emotion and, after addressing a few further instances, can place it in the solved category. I think the method used is applicable to many future scenarios. Today was a victory thanks to Pete Walker & me.
26 August 2020
I've now read chapter 9, Shrinking the inner critic.
On first read, I thought the idea of getting mad at the inner critic was a bit silly.
My big takeaway has been learning to differentiate between my CBT type inner critic of "I can't do it", "It will be a disaster because it is me", etc. and what seem to be the fundemental assumptions that those predictions are based on. I am incompetent, I'm mad, I am useless, I am shameful, I am ugly, I am weak, etc. The first set of criticisms emanate from my distorted logic and I have been somewhat successful at managing those by contesting the logic. The second set do not emanate from me but are the words of my bullies. They are well worth becoming angry over. Identifying them as originating outside myself, and using anger at the originators as the hook to dismiss them, seems to be a promising route. Before today, these assumptions were, not unnoticed but not seen in the same light. I look forward to using this new understanding to make that abusive internalised bully shrivel up and die.
8 September 2020
Chapter 10, The Outer Critic.
I was smugly confident that I didn't have an outer critic. I was wrong. My main takeaway has been that I have a voice that assumes everyone I don't know well is a bully waiting for an opportunity to violently or verbally attack / humiliate. I suspect this voice is what supports my fear of others and my fawn response. A really good realisation. Now I can see what is going on, I can address it
11 September 2020
Re-read chapter 10 and engaged in some painful reflection. My outer critic does more than the above post. For the last few years, I have been fighting my tendency to pigeon hole people. If my first impression is negative, the outer critic labels everything about them as negative. This goes beyond labelling others as dangerous. Part of me has internalized the hierarchy I perceived as a child. I have friends I care for and respect, but I treat some people with a distinct lack of respect, in the same way my inner critic mercilessly judges myself as being less than others. I subconsciously look down on some people who exhibit characteristics that I am ashamed of having had in the past, or characteristics that I an ashamed of having now, or have shamed myself out of, as being less than me. This is an unwelcome surprise, I pride myself on being non-judgemental. Understandably, I have bought into the ranking of myself by bullies and am subconsciously applying it to myself and others. Happily, I do not apply this to friends. I do apply it to some acquaintances & some colleagues, unless they are clearly friendly and non-threatening. It is clearly a maladaptive safely behaviour. A response to my belief that others are dangerous until proven otherwise. As outlined in the book, this traps me in a negative cycle. I see some people as too good for me and myself as better than others, leading me not to engage with either type unless they make an effort. In some situations, I also take things too personally and feel disproportionate anger to others. This chapter has made it clear to me that I am transferring old assumptions and old anger onto new people. The above behaviour causes me emotional pain and considerable interpersonal problems. I am pleased that this chapter has caused me to reflect and reevaluate how I view others. I am pleased that I can see my hidden judgements and ranking of people. Now I can work to remove this psycho-social millstone.
11 September 2020
Chapter 11 is on grieving the losses.
It also recommends the following 3 part article https://www.google.com/search?channel=fs&client=ubuntu&q=sanctuary+web+the+grief+that+dare+not+speak+its+name+part+1
4 techniques are recommended.
I can feel anger about how I was treated and I am practising this feeling, trying to make it habitual. It really helps!
This one is beyond me for now, but I remember how cathartic crying was when I was a child. I will work on it when the support group restarts.
Have achieved this, connecting with the emotions, during counselling. I want to try outside of counselling, at an appropriate moment, with a trusted friend. Identifying and connecting with my emotions is the culmination of years of work. I feel so much less tightly wound, so much better as a result.
Again, this has been the culmination of years of work. Again, I feel so much better as a result. The exception has been the sadness and overwhelming sorrow I have been feeling in recent weeks. I'm not certain what is going on. I'm hoping that this sorrow represents my grieving process.
Another excellent chapter, not least because it gave me an understanding of what grief is. It also gives a purpose to grief and sets out an endpoint for grief work.
17 September 2020
Chapter 12 - Managing Abandonment Depression
A lot of this chapter was familiar to me. I did a Mindfulness course some years ago and therapy has taught me to sit with and explore emotions. What it did do is help me to identify my own self abandonment. It is clear to me that my next step in recovery is to re-parent myself. Not just with a compassionate, valuing and accepting approach, but also by disciplining myself in a nurturing way. ie. Enforcing a regular bedtime and creating other habits that are good for me. This chapter also me feel a little guilty about not routinely engaging in Mindfulness for a few years, I know it helps me and I want to create a habit. This chapter also reminded me that I have never fully engaged with Mindfulness. I have used it for relaxation but I have ignored the bit about embracing and exploring thoughts and emotions that insist on attention. I sneakily used mindfulness techniques to push these thoughts and emotions back down instead
Seems like a good idea to fully embrace regular Mindfulness practice.
I've also read the remainder of the book, although useful, there is nothing else that I feel moved to share. I want to read through the book again, this time with a highlighter. Following that, I will move on to the next book on my list.