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Resource Recovery from Chronic PTSD - how I did it



Dec 27, 2019
Disclaimer: I am not fully recovered from PTSD. I don't think it's ever possible. You juts learn to manage and minimize your symptoms, and change your thought patterns to allow you to live more healthily. Nevertheless, i want to share my story of recovering from PTSD in case others find this information useful. This is definitely not as scientific as it could be but I am hoping it will still be somewhat beneficial to readers.

Backstory: I grew up with two violently tempered, neglectful, narcissistic, and all around abusive parents. When i wasn't being terrorized by them i was largely left to fend for myself, and did not socialize properly growing up. I like to tell my friends now i was "raised by wolves", as i think that captures the hostility and desperation of my upbringing.

My parents would regularly beat me, verbally trash me, and emotionally abuse me to no end. Everything was always my fault, they never had to admit to any wrongdoing, and i was constantly being gaslit about why i was struggling so much with them. I attempted to run away from home several times (always found and brought back) and even called the police a couple of times when i was younger. Social services never took an interest in our case and i never got any outside help with what i was dealing with at home. I grew up thinking i would die very young, which is probably something a lot of you can relate to. At sixteen they basically left me to fend for myself and i got involved in street crimes to help put food on my table.

It wasn't until i was well into my twenties that I began to learn how my own outward expressions of anger, rage, aggression, sometimes sadness, hopelessness and despair, all had their roots in how I was treated growing up. I began to see even things like what i expected of friends and relationships as a compensatory measure to adapt to my circumstances. A physician by the name of Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk wrote a very helpful book titled The Body Keeps the Score. This first opened my eyes to a condition known as Chronic PTSD, where the PTSD comes not from singular events but a sequence of traumas that continually make you feel like your life is in danger. Pete Walker has written similar books about this topic that are perhaps a little more accessible than the Van Der Kolk title. Both have videos on youtube you can watch to get a general sense of the idea.

Symptoms: I had frequent, recurring nightmares and night terrors. My sleep was totally shot to shit cause i would wake up every 90 minutes drenched in sweat, heart pounding, with a serious sense of dread and fear. I would dissociate regularly, and i was overly sensitive to certain stimuli that i thought represented danger to me. I manifested hypervigilance about virtually everything that could be a threat. People knocking on my door would freak me out, because it reminded me of my parents banging on my door all the time when i was growing up. I would have emotional flashbacks that would totally throw my whole day off course when they hit. I also had no ability to cry, due to repressed emotions.

Treatment: The Veterans' Administration suggests Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as a first in line treatment for your PTSD symptoms. It may take weeks for you to notice improvement, but the efficacy rate is up to 78% at least according to one study (Carlson et al., 1998). I found a therapist near me who was trauma-informed and trained to do EMDR, and i began on a several months long journey of working through my past traumas and trying to reduce my symptoms.

At the same time, i also began to microdose LSD (including during certain days of my EMDR sessions) as a means of lifting my mood and giving me better access to my emotions. If you search for it you will find a lot of information on microdosing LSD, but the general schedule is 1 day on 2 days off. I think this microdosing played a HUGE part in how quickly i responded to and ultimately how responsive i was to EMDR.

Results: I started noticing improvements in my symptoms and general disposition within a few weeks of this combination of LSD and EMDR. After 2-3 months of this, i discontinued the LSD and EMDR as i felt i had exhausted its potential in the moment. I continued with another treatment program that was breath-work oriented and that too helped greatly with my symptoms, particularly my hypervigilance and overall stress. I think this stuff falls in the line of Kria Yoga, and i did a very simplified version of it combining stretching/yoga with breath work, and gentle reflection on my thoughts and reactions to things.

I was screened for PTSD symptoms before my EMDR treatment began, and again at the end after my secondary treatment program. I demonstrated a massive reduction in most of my symptoms, and by the end barely qualified for PTSD. Anecdotally, i feel much better about most of those symptoms, and overall my outlook on life became a lot more positive in spite of dealing with the nightmares and whatever else was left over.

Discussion: I am sure many more people qualify for CPTSD than we are aware of. Trauma is something that we have kind of tucked away in our societies, and only in recent years do we see a more mainstream awareness about this. California's first Surgeon General, who incidentally has a Ted Talk about Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma, is hoping to introduce trauma screening for young children at school. This can have massive positive impacts on the overall well being of our society - especially when one considers that people who experience trauma tend to be more likely to traumatize and harm others. In addition, one of the primary things to note about Trauma (and Adverse Childhood Experiences in general, as coined by Dr. Vincent Felitti in his groundbreaking ACE study) is that they have future health costs as well - risks of mental health issues, addiction, heart disease, etc. are all increased by exposure to these negative experiences.

What worked for me may not work for everyone, but I would be remiss not to mention all of the above to the folks here. I am sure many of us are struggling to recover from our own traumas still, and hopefully a post like this will help those looking to heal.

TL,DR: I grew up in an abusive household and it led me to develop Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. EMDR and microdosing LSD were extremely helpful in alleviating the bulk of my symptoms, while breath work, yoga, and general downtuning of my physiological arousal also helped me make strides in my recovery.
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