Heavy metal, gut bugs, the brain and profound healing

I’m doing heavy metal detox…intense. Rarely mention it because people don’t understand how insane it is. I can feel metal leaving my brain.

Metal hangs out in biofilms  with infectious agents…as this comes out so does decades & lifetimes–via ancestral lineage — of emotional crap.

Virtually no support during this process, really…not that I’ve found anyway because most practitioners are woefully misinformed…

Some people do have some experience with metal and infectious agent toxicity but no one knows how to handle those labeled with “severe” mental illness.

The intensity of what comes up and through that must be processed simply blows the minds of most professionals of all stripes…

That’s why they lock us up…few know how to hold space for us without going into ugly, controlling shadow shit that further traumatizes us.

Anyway…blah. I speak mostly to the wall, I’m sure.

( I’ve been doing it for several years in baby steps…this year it’s taking on steam…it’s a nightmare AND the most fascinating thing I’ve ever done.)

Frankly, what the professionals don’t understand is how little we know or understand about what is really happening-makes them dangerous

The only way through this is by learning our own bodies and selves so intimately we become one with nature…

We are dealing with the mystery of life and being and nothing less.

(I learned to take care of my own body by reading and experimenting with dozens of different ideas from different sources — most of which all believed they had the RIGHT way to do something even though many were hugely contradictory. This is the reality on the ground. We MUST learn to trust ourselves because we’re all different and NO ONE has all the answers. Helping others, therefore, means simply supporting them while they learn to do this because we do not know what is right for another human being. My experience and ideas are shared only as a little piece of reality as experienced through my body and nothing more. Take what works and shed the rest.)

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The concept of “possession” is hardly far-fetched when one comes to understand the nature of microbes in the body. We are, indeed, possessed

Every bug inhabiting our body is a living thing with a manner of consciousness. Some of these bugs affect our consciousness in profound ways

To mock the idea of “possession” as simply primitive and foolish shows our own lack of understanding of, well, science.

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*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care.  Really all doctors should always be willing to do this as we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

It’s become clear to me that whenever it’s possible that it’s helpful for folks who’ve not begun withdrawal and have the time to consider a carefully thought out plan to attempt to bring greater well-being to your body before starting the withdrawal. That means learning how to profoundly nourish your body/mind and spirit prior to beginning a withdrawal. For suggestions on how to go about doing that check the drop-down menus on this blog for ideas. Anything that helps you learn how to live well can be part of your plan. That plan will look different for everyone as we learn to follow our hearts and find our own unique paths in the world. Things to begin considering are diet, exercise and movement, meditation/contemplation etc. Paying attention to all these things as you do them helps too. The body will start letting us know what it needs as we learn to pay attention. 

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

People (often) don’t need help. They need love. Acceptance.

People (often) don’t need help. They need love. Acceptance. Space to discover who they really are.  Practical “help” might come in the way of providing actual needs like food, water, and shelter…but for the interior journey–holding space is far more important. Also, providing support so that expression of that interior journey can be manifested however the person taking that journey needs to do that in the safest way possible. Telling people what to do whether it’s relatively subtle or whether its explicit force doesn’t provide a healing context.

Always love these words by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen:

Helping, fixing and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul
.


Serving is different from helping. Helping is not a relationship between equals. A helper may see others as weaker than they are, needier than they are, and people often feel this inequality. The danger in helping is that we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them; we may diminish their self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity or even wholeness.

That is the true sense of service: recognizing every human being as peer. I don’t like the word peer as used in the mental health field because it is, once again, divisive. Every human being has “lived experience” and we are all deeply equal. Until we embrace egalitarianism and non-hierarchical regard for every human being on the planet we will remain a troubled and sick people. This isn’t to say I don’t sometimes want to  engage with people who have similar experiences to mine. It holds a special delight for sure. But what happens to those labeled as peers in the mental health world far too often is that they too are relegated to “mentally ill” category and not taken seriously. We are all one…those labeled and those not labeled. And the truth is those not labeled are often “sicker” than those who are labeled. Read: Everyone is Mentally Ill

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

Email to yet another misguided professional

Some of you will remember I have a series of emails I’ve sent to perpetrating professionals of various sorts. The collection is called Letters to my Shrink but now includes a couple of medical doctors and various sorts of therapists etc. The below letter is to a craniosacral therapist who also has a doctorate in naturopathy that I just recently went to specifically for craniosacral therapy as it’s a modality I’ve had very good experiences with. One of my closest friends that I’ve been friends with for decades is a craniosacral therapist and she learned on me back when she was studying. From that point on it’s always been a modality of deep healing for me…

I also want to mention that I have a regular craniosacral therapist who has been one of the most profoundly healing people in my life. The other professional that’s been incredibly helpful is also a massage therapist. Two body workers. Completely untrained in mainstream psychology but very very clear on how trauma becomes embodied. I’m very grateful to both of them and love them very much. I have many lovely and healing people in my life and still, I find myself falling into these patterns. I ask myself, what is this about? And I meditate deeply on that as well. As I’ve said many times now these dynamics of harm involve a dance…I too am involved and as I become aware I can learn to avoid the dynamic altogether. It’s happening but clearly not all at once. See: the mental health professionals who perpetrate against us  (and no, this woman wasn’t a mental health professional, but this dynamic can happen with anyone in the helping professions.)

I went to a new person because my craniosacral therapist has a three week wait and sometimes I just want a session right now. This woman was actually very skilled at the body work but seemed very challenged when it came to respecting my boundaries and actual needs.

As I said a couple of days ago in another post: The perpetrating healer should be an archetype that’s routinely discussed in circles of any kind of helping professional. All of us who work with people will find the perpetrating healer within us, actually.

**NOTE: in spite of this not being a pleasant way to heal, this process of coming to awareness in this manner while paying attention to my experience and then being able to speak it to others (first to her who perpretated and then to you my readers)…is actually very healing. So, here is to continued healing always and turning the bad to gold. This is alchemy in the works! As I said in this video we who are diagnosed with so-called mental illness are often alchemists who are not being appropriately supported: 7 yrs off psych drugs: a message to those labeled by psychiatry  

This is the latest in a response to an email asking for a review of services. I’ve changed the woman’s name:

To: the owner and Anna,

Your email asked that I review your services. It said:

If you were not 100% satisfied with your experience, we’d like to make it right. Please send us a private message HERE and let us know your thoughts.

I am an advanced meditation student and teacher and among other things I offer nutritional and meditation counseling to thousands of people around the world. (but even if I was not those things my perception of my own needs should have been respected and they were not)

When I signed up for craniosacral with Anna, that’s all I wanted (that and just being able to speak my experience so that the craniosacral might be directed at that). I did not need either meditation guidance nor nutritional counseling.

I have an extreme form of chemical brain injury which has left my brain in neurological chaos—this in spite of years of several hours of meditation and other spiritual practices every day and an extreme overhaul in every aspect of lifestyle (including diet). I was once bedridden and non-verbal for a few years. Through no help from any health professional I rose up out of that bed and while doing that I documented it and now, as I said, I work with 1000s all over the world. My work is internationally recognized and I have multiple awards for the website in which I write. (again, my sense of my needs should be respected regardless of such accomplishments and in fact my work is largely advocating for folks who do not have such accomplishments but still deserve the same respect)

I also have a couple of very accomplished spiritual friend/mentors who recognize my path and see that I don’t actually need advice. One of these people participates with the Dalai Lama at MIT and Yale in their consciousness studies department — he gets wired up and his brain is studied because he’s recognized in academic circles as being one of the most advanced meditators in the world. He is a friend of mine.

So, was I explicit about all of that?…no not really, it’s not something I go around talking about in my local community, but I didn’t avoid talking about what it is I’ve done and accomplished either….I made many references to my work while talking to Anna.

The fact that I might need to be “somebody” — to stand out as accomplished, in this instance, is a huge part of the problem. I didn’t talk about this stuff in my session because it doesn’t matter at all! My needs, as someone who has a trauma history and is paying for craniosacral, should be all that matters in this context. Those in service to others need to meet folks there. I advocate for others and thus I’m doing what it takes to be heard.

I needed craniosacral therapy and found that Anna is wonderfully gifted at craniosacral. She helped me very much with that and so when she couldn’t actually respond to what I needed in the 3rd session and started lecturing me about nutrition which I most assuredly do not need it was pretty painful given it was a retraumatization of how I got injured to begin with. My brain injury is a medically induced injury and the entire medical field denies that 10s of 1000s of us has been harmed this way. What Anna did, of course, was much more subtle, but it continued the pattern of the “healer” who does not listen and has their own agenda. Karma at play? Yes. Still it needs to be addressed.

When I told her I do not need nutritional counseling that all I need and want was the craniosacral and also to sometimes talk about my very bizarre experience (which continues to reveal great truths as I heal every day…slowly, yes, but surely) she apparently couldn’t do that. All I did when she started making inappropriate nutritional suggestions (in that I am well studied and nothing she said was new in the least bit and I was paying for the time wanting cranial sacral) Yes, I signed up for cranial sacral. That is all I wanted and more importantly what I NEEDED. So all I told her was I did not need her advice … and well, that really didn’t go over well at all.

She seemed to need to tell me what to do and what’s worse she made a lot of assumptions which threw me for a loop because I actually thought that when she sat quietly listening and giving me affirmative responses of various kinds in prior sessions that she understood the neurological issues I faced…maybe not understood because I really don’t think anyone can…they’re too bizarre and off the charts…still I thought that she could intuit the severity and what my life is like but it’s clear that was a fantasy on my part and that, of course, is on me.

It is lonely being in this weird body and so I do still often feel like I need more people to “understand.” Frankly this experience has led me to let go of that fantasy which I can be grateful for…still my work is also in part calling out this sort of stuff in those who find themselves in the helping professions and so I’m writing to share my experience since your business requests reviews and given I cannot give a good one I figured I’d share this directly with you.

While I don’t really think there is any making things right…this happened and I’m sorry I don’t feel comfortable at your establishment anymore. I loved it. Used the sauna quite a bit and just LOVE the decor and atmosphere…it’s such a lovely and peaceful and healing place and I really loved going there whenever I did sauna…

Anyway, this email feels like what I must do to finish my own healing around this shit because, yeah, it’s shit.

thank you very much,
Monica Cassani
Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

More:

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For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

short and sweet: 6 brutal truths (parts)

Once we’re adults we cannot expect another adult to fix the infantile parts of ourselves that were never appropriately nurtured by our parents. Healing is about becoming conscious of those parts and then learning to reparent those parts for ourselves. No one else will ever know what all the little hurt children within us need. We’re the only ones who can hear those parts and tend to them. This is the biggest reason the mental illness system fails. It pretends to be a parent and further infantilizes it’s adult clients. Until it understands how to support folks to trust themselves and thus empower themselves it will continue to cause further harm.

See: working with subpersonalities and parts

Psychotherapy at it’s best supports people in this sort of process. The fact is, however, that many therapists have not done this sort of work for themselves and nothing like this sort of thing ever starts to happen in any given “therapeutic” relationship. When it does it’s fantastic and the fact that it does happen is why there are many very enthusiastic adherents to the psychotherapeutic process. The fact is a relationship with a therapist can also be retraumatizing and that means folks who have been harmed in such relationships often find other ways of healing after such an encounter.

See: Message to those with psych diagnosis

Also, to be clear, no one can do anything alone we do need others and we are all profoundly interconnected. Psychotherapy offers this sort of support when professionals actually know how to do it and how to reach folks. There are many other ways of doing the work as well and not everyone is destined to find their healing with the support of a psychotherapist. We all have different ways of finding support
sometimes it involves psychotherapy and sometimes it doesn’t. I think among those harmed in the system many find other just as profoundly healing ways. There are as many ways to wholeness as there are human beings.

Another clarification. Psychotherapy means many different things to different people and the goals of different sorts of psychotherapy can be very different. Many sorts of practices don’t even pretend to do anything resembling what I’m talking about in this post, so it’s not realistic to expect any given psychotherapist to have a clue how to help do this sort of work. This is why in the end I go back to trusting yourself
as we become conscious our process will unfold and bring us to whom we need to interact (professionally or otherwise).

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The video posted below inspired this post. Ultimately, for better or worse, the video speaks to the truth (not particularly eloquently nor with grammatical precision either, but it’s short and sweet). We can’t rely on anyone in the end and we do need to learn how to count on ourselves. This doesn’t mean we don’t need support and that we are not also deeply interdependent. I am a big supporter of social justice of all kinds, for example, and don’t feel this is in conflict with that. Still it’s good to understand certain basic facts and work towards accepting them and learning to be strong in a very difficult world while we strive to make it better for everyone too. I wouldn’t say it exactly as they do but I still appreciated the basic sentiment.

The world can sometimes be a brutal and cold place. Although we think it’s also a matter of perspective, thing can seem pretty rough in your life at times. We understand. But when things aren’t going exactly the way we planned them, do we prefer a sugar-coated lie or the brutal truth? Which one of these will make us better people and which one will help us learn and continue to grow and expand? You got that right: ironically, it’s the brutal truth that will make us get up and go on. The more open we are to seeing things for what they really are, the faster we’ll mature and the better human beings will become. (from the youtube page)

More for consideration:

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs (learning to live well) visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

Questions, answers and musings on the healing process…

Responses to emails etc. that have to do with my healing process.

When asked about my healing process in a health group I’m part of:

I’m in an intense recovery process from a severe chronic illness with brain injury and auto-immune stuff. I practice a form of surrender to the body which means I’m in constant mindful attendance to it as I heal. The brain injury is marked with severe dysregulation which is slowly becoming regulated. I do that by responding deeply to the body and having no expectation about what it actually needs. It’s a deconditioning process among other things…a lot of what we hear in health circles have nothing to do with us in particular because we are endlessly variant. So learning to attune to what is resonant and needed for this body is the healing process for me. See also: Monica’s story: the aftermath of polypsychopharmacy

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a question from a reader I don’t know personally and my response:

Monica. I need something for anxiety. What do you recommend?

** I don’t recommend anything in particular. We’re all totally different and I have no means of knowing what you need. You can look at some of my posts and see if they speak to you in any way…and then do like everyone has to do and find your way to your particular collection of things that bring healing to you. Here is the subject page for FEAR — I consider anxiety to be a variety of fear…and working with it that way is helpful for me. In fact I don’t use the word anxiety for myself really…it’s a clinical term that obfuscates what it really is in my mind. See posts on FEAR and ANXIETY here. Remember, everything matters so tending to your whole being (body, mind, soul) remains important.

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and lastly, some thoughts first shared on twitter:

Psychiatry as widely practiced is a nightmare and grossly and dangerously reductionistic. That said, our bodies matter. We are biological beings too…

the anti-psychiatry crowd often wants to dismiss the importance of becoming *embodied* – a healthy body is a healthy mind

so we’ve got psychiatry on one hand saying it’s all biological, but poisoning the body further…which is pure insanity. Yes, completely insane. Psychiatry is an agent of more insanity, not less. And considering that we might also consider: who is actually mentally ill?.

but then we’ve got people who want to say the body doesn’t matter at all…that somehow we are separate from the body. This too is travesty. Our bodies remain our temples and need to be honored as such. Western medicine (and not just psychiatry) routinely poisons the body and further ingrains illness by suppression.

Allowing the body its expression and learning to understand and respond — this is where I’ve found healing…and after decades of doing the opposite it’s no easy thing. It may never be an easy or painless thing but it’s far preferable to shutting it down and ignoring its cries.

See:

SEE ALSO: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HEAL?

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****it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well-educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care.  Really all doctors should always be willing to do this as we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up It’s become clear to me that whenever it’s possible that it’s helpful for folks who’ve not begun withdrawal and have the time to consider a carefully thought out plan to attempt to bring greater well-being to your body before starting the withdrawal. That means learning how to profoundly nourish your body/mind and spirit prior to beginning a withdrawal. For suggestions on how to go about doing that check the drop-down menus on this blog for ideas. Anything that helps you learn how to live well can be part of your plan. That plan will look different for everyone as we learn to follow our hearts and find our own unique paths in the world. Things to begin considering are diet, exercise and movement, meditation/contemplation etc. Paying attention to all these things as you do them helps too. The body will start letting us know what it needs as we learn to pay attention. For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

 

Dissociation- On finding the way home

By Jon Keyes

shadow

I was talking with someone recently who talked about hearing voices for much of her life.  She talked about how the voices had started when she was young and had been through extreme suffering at the hands of her father.   While he abused her, her mother neglected her and she was left feeling deeply in pain and also utterly alone.  Thats when a kind woman’s voice came through, a soothing sound to tell her she was safe and loved in the midst of the torment.  At these moments she would disappear in her mind to the safety and kindness of this woman’s voice.  The outside world would be blotted out and she would retreat into her own world.  She told me she thinks she made up the voice at first, to find someone who would be there for her at her worst times.

At another time, I sat with a woman who had been so deeply abused as a child that she could not escape the psychological and emotional effects and would frequently “go away” as she described it.  It began as momentary “vanishings” where she would disassociate and time would pass without her noticing.  The shock of the memories was simply too much and she would subconsciously exit, leaving her body behind as her spirit wandered away.  At the point that I met her, the “vanishings” had overtaken her.  She could not go out into the world of banks and buses and grocery stores without frequently “going away.”  I saw her sitting at a table and when I walked over to her I noticed she was rocking back and forth slightly with her eyes closed and fluttering.  She indeed wasn’t there- and I spent a few minutes sitting with her until she returned.  I gently called her name and said I was nearby if she needed anything.  It can be hard to know what to do at these moments.  For many, touch is an utter taboo as it can cause the person to be retraumatized with horrible memories.  But in that moment, it felt somehow okay to connect to her in that way and I reached out and she took my hand and held it firmly.  That moment of connection helped soothe her and soon she was able to return.

She said that when she was out in the world and she disappeared in this way, eyes closed, rocking back and forth in a stuck frozen stance, inevitably someone would call 911.  People were scared, afraid of how to interact, afraid that maybe she was going through a seizure and needed medical care.   Because she went through this process again and again, sometimes everyday, she was unable to work, unable to easily mediate the outside world.  It led this deeply intelligent and kind woman to often isolating, and staying shuttered in a private lonely world.

In both her case and that of the voice hearer, the heart and mind had found ways to protect the person from unimaginable sorrow, from the horror of having one’s closest family breach sexual and emotional boundaries, destroying faith and trust in a few evil acts.  Disassociation becomes an act of reestablishing safety, of protection, of deep care for the individual who is suffering.  Some pain cannot be withstood and we leave, we go away.

I also work with people who are coming off of psychiatric drugs and the report of dissociation, derealization and depersonalization are common threads.  In the case of benzodiazapenes such as xanax or klonopin, the drugs alter neurochemistry to create pleasurable and sedated feelings.  When the drugs are stopped  the body is no longer easily able to adjust to create its own neurochemical pathways that elicit calmness and pleasure.  The body revolts and becomes highly charged and sensitive, easily overwhelmed by the pressures and confusions of a modern world.  In essence one of the only ways to manage this intensity is to “go away”, to literally retreat to one’s home and to one’s bed to escape the intensity, and sometimes to escape through dissociation, disappearing in spirit if not in body.  Again, the body speaks its truth, helping us to manage and traverse frightening emotional experience.

But the path of leaving, of going away, is also scary in its own right.  There is a loss of control, a loss of agency, an inability to stay grounded and present.  Often the therapeutic tools for managing those extreme states involve working on “coming back”, focusing on the somatic expressions of slowly breathing, touching and seeing what is around the person, using the five senses and reconnecting to the surroundings.  Other techniques include creating an internal matrix of safety, a sense of inner calmness to manage intense triggers and memories.  Essentially, the path of working with dissociative states is to find the way home-  through reconnecting with the body, the place that has been deeply violated.

Finding peace with the body can be a long journey.  Those that are working on finding a way home often explore changing their diet and working with modalities such as yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, herbs, EMDR and EFT.  These are ways of building strength and resiliency, of rebuilding the foundation from the ground up, of integrating and processing the deepest levels of sorrow but also transcending these places of fear and shame to come out again, to breathe and shine, to remember their underlying wholeness and holiness that underlies all nature, that can never be breached, that can never be taken away.    Sometimes we must go away to protect ourselves.  But when the time is right,  the path home is available to us all.

jonJon Keyes is a licensed professional counselor working in private practice at Hearthside Healing in Portland Oregon. Jon also has worked part-time in an inpatient psychiatric setting.  Jon is interested in exploring alternative and holistic ways of helping people in emotional distress and crisis.

More by Jon Keyes on Beyond Meds here

 

More related:

 

The body knows: trauma and the body

I’ve posted several times now about Bessel van der Kolk’s work.

Below are some quotes from his book ” The Body Keeps the Score,” that Laura K. Kerr selected. She is currently reading the book. I look forward to her writing on her thoughts about the book when she completes it. She writes wonderful posts on trauma related topics on her blog.

A selection of quotes from “The Body Keeps the Score:”

If we look beyond the list of specific symptoms that entail formal psychiatric diagnoses, we find that almost all mental suffering involves either trouble in creating workable and satisfying relationships or difficulties in regulating arousal (as in the case of habitually becoming enraged, shut down, overexcited, or disorganized). Usually it’s a combination of both. The standard medical focus on trying to discover the right drug to treat a particular ‘disorder’ tends to distract us from grappling with how our problems interfere with our functioning as members of our tribe.

and

Isolating oneself into a narrowly defined victim group promotes a view of others as irrelevant at best and dangerous at worst, which eventually only leads to further alienation. Gangs, extremist political parties, and religious cults may provide solace, but they rarely foster the mental flexibility needed to be fully open to what life has to offer and as such cannot liberate their members from their traumas. Well-functioning people are able to accept individual differences and acknowledge the humanity of others.

and

Mainstream trauma treatment has paid scant attention to helping terrified people to safely experience their sensations and emotions. Medications such as serotonin reuptake blockers, Respiridol and Seroquel increasingly have taken the place of helping people to deal with their sensory world. However, the most natural way that we humans calm down our distress is by being touched, hugged, and rocked. This helps with excessive arousal and makes us feel intact, safe, protected, and in charge. Touch, the most elementary tool that we have to calm down, is proscribed from most therapeutic practices. Yet you can’t fully recover if you don’t feel safe in your skin. Therefore, I encourage all my patients to engage in some sort of bodywork, bet it therapeutic massage, Feldendrais, or craniosacral therapy.

and

Some psychologists have hypothesized that EMDR actually desensitizes people to the traumatic material and thus is related to exposure therapy. A more accurate description would be that it integrates the traumatic material. As our research showed, after EMDR people thought of the trauma as a coherent event in the past, instead of experiencing sensations and images divorced from any context.

and

Every major school of psychology recognizes that people have subpersonalities and gives them different names. In 1890 William James wrote: ‘[I]t must be admitted that 
 the total possible consciousness may be split into parts which coexist, but mutually ignore each other, and share the objects of knowledge between them.’ Carl Jung wrote: ‘The psyche is a self-regulating system that maintains its equilibrium just as the body does’ 
. Modern neuroscience has confirmed this notion of the mind as a kind of society. Michael Gazzaniga, who conducted pioneering split-brain research, concluded that the mind is composed of semiautonomous functioning modules, each of which has a special role.  — (read Laura K. Kerr’s post)

More about Bessel van der Kolk’s work on Beyond Meds:

bodyAnd a collection on the general topic Trauma and your body

Link to the book on Amazon: The Body Keeps the Score — By Bessel van der Kolk

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page.  

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

Restoring the Body: Yoga, EMDR, and Treating Trauma

Trauma really does confront you with the best and the worst. You see the horrendous things that people do to each other, but you also see resiliency, the power of love, the power of caring, the power of commitment, the power of commitment to oneself, the knowledge that there are things that are larger than our individual survival. And in some ways, I don’t think you can appreciate the glory of life unless you also know the dark side of life. – Bessel van der Kolk

That was from the below interview from On Being:

bodyHuman memory is a sensory experience says psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. Through his longtime research and innovation in trauma treatment, he shares what he’s learning how bodywork like yoga or eye movement therapy can restore a sense of goodness and safety. What he’s learning speaks to a resilience we can all cultivate in the face of the overwhelming events that after all make up the drama of culture, of news, of life.

Listen here:

 

More posts that feature Bessel van der Kolk:

More on Trauma and PTSD  and 

See also: Professional denial is a form of retraumatization

●  The Body Keeps the Score (part 1)
●  The Body Keeps the Score (Part Two) — how trauma changes us

Link to the book on Amazon: The Body Keeps the Score — By Bessel van der Kolk

About Yoga and the Vagus Nerve

yogaBy Gopi Rao

Sometimes we refer to our instinctive wisdom as “gut feelings.” Maybe we don’t know why we feel the way we do or how we know the answer to a question. We just do. Some of us chalk it up to instinct or a sixth sense while others discount the phenomenon altogether. Could there be a scientific explanation? The answer may be the vagus nerve, a physical link to the mind-body connection.

What is the vagus nerve?

The vagus nerve starts in the brain stem and goes all the way to the colon. It returns sensory information from the throat and the intestines to the brain. According to researchers, it is, in fact, the internal eye that connects the mind to the body.

How is the vagus nerve related to Yoga?

The vagus nerve literally activates the parasympathetic nervous system – the mechanism that controls involuntary actions and affects mood. Doctors sometimes implant vagus nerve stimulators into patients with treatment-resistant depression, but a Yoga practice can produce some of the same effects.

Researchers at U. C. Berkeley question whether the vagal nerve bundle is also the body’s center for compassion while alternative health practitioners more often associate it with the chakra system or Kundalini.

How does Yoga stimulate the vagus nerve?

‱ Asana (Poses)

We know that Yoga postures activate the parasympathetic nervous system by massaging the organs, improving circulation, relaxing muscles, and quieting the mind. They not only serve as moving meditations, but they also prepare the body for meditation during Corpse Pose.

‱ Pranayama (Controlled Yogic Breathing)

When we breathe deeply and slowly, we stimulate the vagus nerve. Although breathing is a part of poses and meditation, it is also a limb of Yoga in itself. Techniques range from simple to complex, but most are easily learned.

‱ Mantra (Chanting)

The vagus nerve controls physical functions in the throat, larynx, and ears – the area known as the throat chakra. (The vagus nerve may also be responsible for the proverbial “lump in the throat.”) Chanting or listening to chants energizes nerves in the throat area and releases blocked energy.

Imagine a pill proven to release neurotransmitters, promote feelings of good will, release tension, and improve health. We would be standing in line to buy it. Why not try Yoga instead?

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first posted at Aura Wellness Center 

first published on Beyond Meds a year ago

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