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I am Afraid All the Time
June 10, 2007
4:37 pm
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Worried_Dad
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I don't have social anxiety--I am pretty happy and charming in groups, not bothered by public speaking or performing on stage...

It is more non-focused anxiety.

I didn't used to be this way.

I think it is a lingering PTSD effect. Probably partly caused by death of neurons in my amygdala, hippocampus and medial corpus callosum.

June 10, 2007
5:45 pm
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bevdee
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Hey WD

I think it is a lingering effect of PTSD, too. Because I wasn't like that before, either.

I'll describe mine. It started about 14 years ago, when I was with Lucifer, the abuser I lived with. I worked 2nd shift, and each day when I awakened, I waited to see what kind of mood he would be in. You know- to see what kind of mood I was going to be allowed to have.

After I left him, even though he was far gone - 180 miles away- I awakened each day with the same feeling. Here is what I noticed at the time and described to my therapist. It was this dread, and when there was no imminent danger to attach it to, my mind cast about until I could fixate it on something. Anything.

Sometimes I would think about things that had happened to me at work the night before - like some innocuous statement made to me, and build around that. Since I had been in a pretty bad car accident a few months before I left Luc, I let trips in the car consume my thoughts. I would sit and plan my routes so that I would not have to make a left turn across oncoming traffic. Gosh, I was scared of everything for a couple of years! I left him almost 11 years ago, and the waking anxiety still happens, especially if an alarm clock awakens me, and if I am not in REM sleep. It's not as intense now. It seems to have diffused quite a bit, but it depends on how threatened I have felt recently. You know what I mean?

Could you tell me or direct me to the resources that would tell me more about this? - "I think it is a lingering PTSD effect. Probably partly caused by death of neurons in my amygdala, hippocampus and medial corpus callosum."

See- I just write all my anxiety off to my diabetes- when I get hungry and my sugar plummets, I am anxious and spacy or mean- because I always wake up hungry. But sometimes when I am awake, it still happens after I have eaten, and then I get heartburn!

When I had my little nieces overnight, I would marvel at the way they woke up so happy and smiling. It seemed a miracle to me. 🙂

June 12, 2007
10:27 am
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nancee
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I have an all new 'afraid' going on this week. I don't know if it's because I have been ill most of the past two weeks and have been home much of the time, but now that I am back at work every day I feel very uncomfortable and edgy. I don't feel relief until I walk into my apartment at the end of the day. I feel secure at home, however, something strange is that I have practically moved all activity into my bedroom. I have a huge tv in my living room but I snuggle up in bed and watch my tiny tv. I hardly eat because I don't want to have to go into the kitchen. My laundry is piling up because I don't want to leave my bed. What is wrong with me?

June 12, 2007
11:14 am
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sleepless in uk
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I have lived for so long with this knot of fear in my stomach that I only notice it on the rare occasions when it is absent. If for instant my h is away on a trip or when I am away from him myself on a trip. Otherwise I have what I describe as a ball of anxiety in my gut, it blunts any feelings of pleasure, and interferes with my ability to properly relax and enjoy life.

I understand the waiting each morning to take your cue about what mood you will have that day.

It sucks.

I am planning my escape but it scares me to see that even years later, for some, those feelings of unidentified fear are still so apparant. So if I get out, will i still be plagued by fear I wonder?

June 13, 2007
1:53 pm
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thewall
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WD,

Talk about your fears and anxiety with a therapist. Journal them. Here. or in a journal. The more you purge it out the less intimidating and controlling they become.

It helped me to talk it over with a therapist over and over again. Same story a million times and a million different ways, it seemed. But I needed that and to hear things I already knew, and things I didnt know for sure. Sometimes we're like that,,,tell me something I know deep down. Make me hear it in your voice, not mine. It just makes it more real if someone else says it too, ya know?

That was the best thing that helped me. I also journaled alot.

June 15, 2007
12:26 am
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WD, is it self-guilt of you not doing something you tell yourself your should have done? Thats what it is for me nowdays. Every day I come back from work and am full of hope that today is the day I'm going to work on my business but every day ends and I've done nothing. Its really bad and its eating. Plus, I'm not working out, I dont like kids. I cant imagine how some people can do everything and still be happy. Here I am. ah. Oh well. Atleast I'm hopeful for the next day. I have hope every day.

June 15, 2007
6:12 am
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Worried_Dad
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Hi Guest,

It's nice to hear from you after all this time.

Thanks.

Yeah I can think of lots of "reasons" for anxiety.

I am pretty sure the actual reason is brain injury though.

June 15, 2007
12:46 pm
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thewall
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There are meds to help with that. Left untreated, it can only get worse. Check into it. You might be surprised

June 15, 2007
5:58 pm
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Robert123
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How did you injure your brain WD?

June 15, 2007
6:52 pm
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WD

"Incomplete understanding terrifies me."

Thats ok. Take comfort from the fact that no one understands anything completely. Its impossible to understand anything completely. There's always something more to understand about anything, just like, there's always more details to what you see under a microscope. Just understand something and then say "bleah, alright whatever, yea".

June 15, 2007
8:59 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Abuse causes brain injury.

June 16, 2007
6:44 am
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sleepless in uk
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Do you reckon?

I know it causes a skewed way of thinking, and I know it affects the way we deal with day to day life. But bain injury?

Do you reckon?

June 16, 2007
8:58 am
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thewall
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Sleepless,

It does if you get hit in the head over and over again with a fist or anything else. Such was the case with me but I was one of the lucky ones. Concussions but no brain damage.

thewall

June 16, 2007
9:21 am
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red blonde
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Maybe the more abused we have been in our childhood and adulthood that we survived, the more terror or fear we have felt. The more terror or fear, the more adrenaline we produce or produced, until it has become an 'addiction' to the adrenaline rush. We have a difficult time trying to stop the production of adrenaline because we became hypervigilant. We are 'on guard' all the time, we are 'afraid' all the time.

June 16, 2007
6:54 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Yes, brain injury.

Neuronal cell death.

Even with just verbal abuse.

There are two possible mechanisms.

One has to do with the fact that high concentrations of stress hormones, like cortisol, can be cytotoxic.

The other theory, which is my personal theory, has to do with natural selection and developmental biology. I'll tell, if you like.

Best I can tell, the job of science is not to answer the question of "does verbal abuse cause brain injury?"

The question is :"How does it cause brain injury?"

June 16, 2007
7:55 pm
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thewall
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Its a wonder I even have any brain cells left then.

I always found it intersting that cortisol causes fat storage in the stomache area. Frustrating. No wonder I always look like I am 4mos preg. 🙁

June 17, 2007
12:04 am
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lovinglife
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Hi WD~ I'm cruising around AAC tonight and found your thread here...I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts whether they’ve been entertaining or informational.

Interesting statement: 'Abuse causes brain injury' ...I'd love to hear your personal theory on this as I believe verbal abuse - abuse- causes a type of non-impact brain injury.

Semi-related here: My oldest son served overseas a few years back. When he got back on US soil his head/thinking was a little messed up...he wasn't the same. After much pleading from me to go into the VA to get some help (aka an anti-depressant or something) he did. What convinced him to do an un-cool thing as soldier (admitting your head needed some help after the fact and then taking meds to counter act/help heal) was how the doc explained when living for a year and a half under constant emotional stress (my opinion is emotional stress doesn’t need a time period of a year and ½ to do some real damage and that emotional stress comes in all shapes and forms) is that his brain was continually firing something off (perhaps ‘that something’ is in your theory). Also to me it just makes sense that a brain under stress could do some damage in there and change - thus a type of injury.

Perhaps why it would seem odd to use the word 'injury' to the brain when speaking of verbal abuse or emotional stress (which are pretty much one in the same) is how many think of the word injury - "Injury is damage or harm caused to the structure or function of the body caused by an outside agent or force, which may be physical or chemical." . Wikipedia

One doesn't need a physical force to the head to cause a difference in its functioning.

June 17, 2007
12:06 am
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lovinglife
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figures I'd screw up my post when attemping to use what I learned over here on this side! .... sorry bout' the bolded mess... think its from an old brain injury to be honest ; )

June 17, 2007
2:01 am
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truthBtold
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WD,

I agree with you completly that abuse does indeed cause brain injury.

Wouldn't it be so validating to see actual brain scans about this? Not unlike an x-ray that shows a broken bone - you know?

God, this is what I hope that some incredible break-through in medical technology will FINALLY be able to show.....scars on the brain as one poet put it!

Funny that I read this thread because twice - in two different books that I am reading recently refer to a book entitled "Molecules of Emotion" by Candnace B. Pert which address this.

Are you familiar with this book?

It has been my understanding that when a person experiences depression for so long - that indeed atrophy sets in to those parts of our brains you alluded to associated with pleasure....dare I say hope?

Scars on the brain...as shown on a brain scan...we can't be too far from that now - I would think...and I would give a big, giant sigh of relief to see it manifest in a diagnostic form - much like you would like too~!!!!!

So that we could say to the world....see what happens when you berate your child and knock him down time and time again....this is the PHYSICAL results of your actions....here in balck and white and shown upon these brain scans!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am with ya!

June 17, 2007
2:08 am
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truthBtold
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p.s. - I am reminded of one of a scene from one of my favorite movies: The Shawshank Redemption" in which Morgan Freeman narrates....."terrible thing to live with fear."....you know?

I love this movie because it shows the Tim Robbins character serving time for a crime in which he did not commit - but has to endure MILES of climbing (and gaging) through nasty smelling shit in the sewer lines to finally break free - and of course there is the picture on the poster of this film - where he FINALLY reaches the end of all of this crap - sheds all of his nasty clothes and it cleansed by the rain......THIS is the image that keeps me hanging on sometimes!!!!!!!!!

June 17, 2007
9:07 pm
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Rasputin
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"Maybe the more abused we have been in our childhood and adulthood that we survived, the more terror or fear we have felt. The more terror or fear, the more adrenaline we produce or produced, until it has become an 'addiction' to the adrenaline rush. We have a difficult time trying to stop the production of adrenaline because we became hypervigilant. We are 'on guard' all the time, we are 'afraid' all the time."

RB~ You really hit the nail on the head with this piece of wisdom! How true and applicable is this in our case, we abused people. No wonder we freak out when someone less healthy resents us. Hypervigilance, oversensitivity to noise, getting startled are all but sings of PTSD.

June 20, 2007
11:35 am
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truthBtold
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To WD and everyone else here on this post:

I just found out today about a wonderful book entitled: "Emotional Brain by Joseph LeDoux" which primarily centers around the biological workings associated with fear.

Also, there seems to be an extension to LeDoux's work as outlined in another book" "Affective Neuroscience by Jaak Panksepp."

Anyone here familiar with either?

June 20, 2007
5:55 pm
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sleepless in uk
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No TBT I'm not familiar with them, but maybe I should be.

I just know I am almost always afraid and it takes it's toll

thank you

June 22, 2007
11:42 am
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truthBtold
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sleepless,

I think that thing that I am just recently learning is actually to EXPECT & ANTICIPATE FEAR - both from myself and others as I try to move towards a healthier and happier place.

That to me, seems to take a little of the edge off...and dispels some of the emotional charge......so that FEAR is just not some sort of whirlwind of emotion I have no control over and am caught in the middle of ....but to realize, yes, I am fearful because of this or that and that it makes perfect sense for me to be fearful in that way......

(Does that make sense?)

June 23, 2007
7:53 pm
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sleepless in uk
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It makes perfect sense. I think I have avoided pinpointing that which makes me afraid because I get so panicky when I try to confront it.

I have recently tried to analyse the roots and causes of my fears and sometimes they seem so abstract. But of course they aren't really.

But some of the triggers may be so far removed from the actual root of the fear that I become confused and caught in the whirlwind of emotions that you so perfectly describe. And that makes me uncomfortable and panicky so I try to avoid it.

I think I will try to get hold of 'Emotional Brain'. Thank you for the recommendation

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