is there a way to lean a new stress response?

Postby mute » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:20 pm

I have a very bad stress response

when im stressed out I have zero self control
almost no motivation to do anything
and no drive or willpower

I don't know if its hormonal or mental
but as soon as im stressed I have no energy so I stop working out and doing things
also my willpower is completely gone I feel burned out like a dead battery when I try to push myself to do something I feel like my brain is just dead. like when you try to lift a weight on that last rep where theres just no juice left in your muscle.


I see other people having a different and more positive response to stress and I want to change mine if that's even possible
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:36 pm

What are some things that you believe are causing you stress?
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#2

Postby mute » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:19 pm

anything really
the way I respond to stress is actually the biggest problem
its a loop which eventually leads to me crashing and only then being able to move forward but its costing me a lot
health wise

when stress goes away I eat healthier because I don't have insane cravings for junk food
I start being more active because I have more energy
I have better self control because I don't feel mentally drained and unable to control myself

I used to think that I had fear of success but because I would always stop at certain point. im scared to be in the lead for some reason. even though logically it makes no sense to me I think I still follow that pattern and this stress thing is part of my self sabotage that I have been doing for as long as I can rememner
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#3

Postby mute » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:12 pm

I have a lot of issues lol
even though I managed to work out a lot of them on my own reading psychology articles and self help books and pretty much using interwebs
the main ones have been very hard to fix
I honestly don't even know what the real issue is anymore
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#4

Postby Candid » Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:36 am

Have you considered that you might have Complex PTSD? The symptoms you describe fit that framework.
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#5

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:29 pm

mute wrote:I have a lot of issues lol
even though I managed to work out a lot of them on my own reading psychology articles and self help books and pretty much using interwebs
the main ones have been very hard to fix
I honestly don't even know what the real issue is anymore


Have you considered the real issue might be that you are trying to fix your "stress response" by reading? The above paragraph makes it sound like your idea of fixing something is to go surf the web or read a self-help book.

In responding to stress, what responses, i.e. what techniques have you tried?
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#6

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:38 pm

Candid wrote:Have you considered that you might have Complex PTSD? The symptoms you describe fit that framework.


Hi Candid, I know you have provided multiple sources on CPTSD, but I would like to ask a small favor. I was thinking this morning about the actionables. Is the treatment of CPTSD like a 12 step program?

The favor...would you might providing a short synopsis or a few bullet points about the steps used? I would like to get an idea of how, once diagnosed, that CPTSD is addressed. Or is there a link that has sort of a flow diagram, steps, or summary of treatment?
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#7

Postby mute » Sun Sep 22, 2019 5:09 am

a little back story
I have a complete blackout since I was about 6 to about 10 maybe even 11 years old
don't remember much at all not even the timeline of events
one thing that I feel is not right is my parents telling me to stop fighting other kids.
right about that time ( they were very high conflict and it was mortal combat on many occasions, which I thought was normal because all my friend's parents did same thing( Russia in the 90s, people went to work and didn't get paid for several years, or got paid in vodka and candy)
anyway
I feel like part of the problem is they broke my confidence by getting on my donkey for fighting other kids ( how, I don't know maybe they beat my donkey too or just mentally torture me into submission)
they did torture mentally for other things and I hated it but they were "trying to break me" unsuccessfully but it cost both of us a lot.
I feel like me missing that learning process of figuring out my status among my peers really set me back and completely ruined my confidence
and I still feel it because its inside my head. I hate conflict I hate fighting even when I know I can easily kick some dude's donkey I back away to avoid conflict...at a very high price to my confidence.

and this maybe also tied into my fear of success somehow

I didn't just surf the internet I read books articles magazines and anything I could get my hands on (which wasn't much in late 90s and the early interwebs later in the 2000s I got my hands on a lot of good literature and it helped me massively to work out some of the issues but the main one still remains I think.
and I don't know how I can make up years of experiences that I needed to have and didn't
and I don't know if its that problem with my lack of confidence in my physical or mental ability to defend myself or it is something else.

I mentioned drugs because mdma specifically removes that blockage temporarily and I feel right for about a week or two.
but I don't know what it is.

also very intense emotional experience like my ex wife cheating on me did that for few months where I was ridiculously effective at everything and improved my life massively. but then right at the end when I needed to make few more steps I backed down and sabotaged all my progress and took multiple steps back

and its like that every time. right when I need to do those last few steps I back down and **** everything up...
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#8

Postby mute » Sun Sep 22, 2019 5:18 am

the problem with stress though
I do all the things that add more stress like craving junk food and not exercising
instead of hitting the gym and eating healthy stress reducing diet I watch tv and eat garbage
and if I try to force myself to go to gym and eat healthy when im stressed I will crash and binge eat even worse after about 2 weeks.
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#9

Postby Candid » Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:42 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Is the treatment of CPTSD like a 12 step program?

The favor...would you might providing a short synopsis or a few bullet points about the steps used? I would like to get an idea of how, once diagnosed, that CPTSD is addressed. Or is there a link that has sort of a flow diagram, steps, or summary of treatment?


First we need to distinguish Complex PTSD from PTSD simple, which can occur with any traumatic life event. The chief distinguishers in the Complex variant is that the trauma is interpersonal, of long standing, and there is no perceived escape.

In PTSD simple, the sufferer can immediately seek or is automatically offered compensation and treatment. Complex PTSD sufferers typically feel a high amount of shame, therefore do not seek or receive immediate treatment. Where the perpetrator is a parent, most victims continue trying to placate for the rest of their lives.

Further, while those with PTSD (eg. war veterans) may experience visual and auditory flashbacks, people with Complex PTSD more commonly suffer from less intense but longer-lasting returns to the nameless distress and helplessness of captivity (most commonly childhood, where the perpetrator is parent or parents).

There's no 12-Step program for undoing the effects on young brains, or the accompanying self-destructive behaviours. Pete Walker (CPTSD: From Surviving to Thriving) writes as a sufferer who continues having to 'work on it'. His work suits non-academics whose schooling and literacy levels preclude more scholarly work, and who appreciate the empathy and connection in Pete's writing style.

Bessel Van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps The Score, has listed
1 Symptom management
2 Creation of narrative
3 Recognition of repetitive patterns
4 Understanding the connection between internal states (rumination, dissociation, etc.) and self-destructive actions
5 Identifying key traumatic incidents; treatment with exposure therapy, EMDR and body work
6 Practising behaviours appropriate in interpersonal relationships
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/On ... 843be5.pdf

Unless people have the tenacity to continue looking for appropriate treatment, 'symptom management' is likely to be limited to head drugs in doses sufficient to douse all affect. A high number of sufferers are misdiagnosed, mismedicated, and spend time in psychiatric hospitals.

It's my belief that a feeling of connection with the therapist, providing at least one 'safe' person in the sufferer's life, makes the biggest difference. Unfortunately government-funded treatment is time-limited, and private treatment is almost always beyond the sufferer's means.
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#10

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:18 pm

mute wrote: I didn't just surf the internet I read books articles magazines and anything I could get my hands on....instead of hitting the gym and eating healthy stress reducing diet I watch tv and eat garbage


I repeat. You cannot read your way out of the problem.

What stress response techniques have you actually tried?

Your answer is in the word “response”. You do not respond to stress by reading a book about how to respond to stress. You might learn ways, e.g. a certain diet, but then you must actually implement the technique.

Two techniques you should try:

(1) set very small, very specific tasks you wish to accomplish. Each day write down 2-3 very small tasks. This reduces stress by allowing you to focus and allowing you to be 100% in control.

E.g. go to gym, clean my room. Note, there is not even a need to workout at the gym, the task is simply to go to the gym.

(2) Establish and IF/THEN procedure for when you feel stress. IF stressed, THEN walk to the park and refocus. Choose a task from -1- to achieve.

Using the above two techniques you can better prepare for and respond to stress.

There are some people that have very small tasks like “take a shower”, “brush teeth”, or even “get out of bed”. They are in a bad state mentally, so the tasks are very basic. As they learn to take charge of life, the difficulty of the tasks increases slightly, building their confidence and their skills.

You do not sound so bad off. You can set tasks that are more challenging, yet still highly focused.

Stop reading, start doing.
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#11

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:32 pm

Candid wrote:Pete Walker (CPTSD: From Surviving to Thriving) writes as a sufferer who continues having to 'work on it'.


Pete must offer up some tools, right? What does it mean to ‘work on it’? How does that translate into behaviors consistent with thriving?

Candid wrote:Bessel Van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps The Score, has listed
1 Symptom management
2 Creation of narrative
3 Recognition of repetitive patterns
4 Understanding the connection between internal states (rumination, dissociation, etc.) and self-destructive actions
5 Identifying key traumatic incidents; treatment with exposure therapy, EMDR and body work
6 Practising behaviours appropriate in interpersonal relationships
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/On ... 843be5.pdf


I can relate to this more. I’m a fan of exposure therapy. I like the overall ideas, other than -2-. I’m not a fan of creation of a past narrative. There is too much room for false or counterproductive narratives. Creating a future narrative can be helpful.

Hopefully it gives the OP some resources with techniques to try.

Thanks for sharing.
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#12

Postby mute » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:55 am

well I did stop reading. and like I said before I did take action and worked out many things but this has been very difficult to even figure out. I feel like theres something else that is causing this.

because if you think about it, a drug or some very intense emotional experience(when im really pissed off) remove that blockage and make me a completely different person so I know its possible since I have experienced it many times.
but then I calm down and back to regular old me.

like for example right now Im very stressed out and also sick but I almost went out and got some junk food at 10:30 pm
so I stopped and thought about it if I can replace that with having a cup of tea.
which I did.
but I also know that it will cost me later.
forcing myself to have tea instead of junk food that I crave I will end up binge eating or buying candy or some other stupid things to make up for this... and I cant control it when im stressed out.
its like a loop that I cant break out of.
stress causes unhealthy habits to resurface which cause more stress which eventually leads to crash and start over

many people tell me bro you just have to force yourself and keep doing it and it will be awesome... it is not working I forced myself to do things and it all ended up badly( me completely losing control and doing everything I shouldn't do even more and completely burning out emotionally
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#13

Postby Candid » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:32 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Pete must offer up some tools, right? What does it mean to ‘work on it’? How does that translate into behaviors consistent with thriving?


On his website pete-walker.com, he offers strategies for the following
Emotional Flashback Management
Flashback Management
Codependency/Fawn Response
Shrinking the Inner Critic
Shrinking the Outer Critic
Abandonment Depression
Relational Healing
Grieving and Complex PTSD

To me, the most important is the first, containing 13 steps. http://pete-walker.com/13StepsManageFlashbacks.htm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:-2-. I’m not a fan of creation of a past narrative.


In C-PTSD it's essential. Abused infants and young children have to create false selves, false caregivers and false memories (in this instance, of the positive kind) in order to preserve sanity while trapped in intolerable situations. This means that routine beatings and sexual abuses have to be transmuted into "I deserve this" and "it's for my own good", IOW exactly what the abuser is telling them. This is the genesis of self-abandonment and self-hatred, and if it reminds you of Stockholm Syndrome you're right on the money.

The biggest shift in therapy is when the client understands "I did nothing wrong" and "my parent was abusive" -- statements that are readily accepted in words but not so easily accepted by damaged minds. I was 27 when a therapist made a bald statement about my mother, and I immediately came back with verbal defence of her (mother). C-PTSD sufferers defend for so long that by the time someone else nails the problem we've internalised every hurtful remark anyone's ever made, simultaneously dismissing praise as "being polite" "being kind because there's so much wrong with me" or even "sarcasm". These twin behaviours drive away good people and attract abusers (we'll court them, because obviously they see us more realistically), so we've continued adding relational failure all round.

I spent more than half a century looking for what was wrong with me and finding plenty. I knew I had most of the symptoms of PTSD simple but had a complete mental block as to where and why it started, because (investigating my narrative with scrupulous honesty) I knew I'd had the symptoms long before what I considered the first obvious cause. Well after that "bald statement" I was still denying and placating.

It wasn't until 2012 that another therapist (in a very long line) told me about C-PTSD. I haven't been able to find out when it was first described, but it certainly had no name when I was younger.

These days, as you know, I look for the symptoms in others and can't resist pointing the way because diagnosis came too late for me and I have virtually no hope of turning this juggernaut around.

Creating a future narrative can be helpful.


I'd like to know more about that, and how it could work for an exhausted over-60 who gave up applying for paid work two years ago (no replies other than automated ones, and certainly no invitation to interview), whose outer resources are scant but whose knowledge and understanding are painfully clear.

mute, I hope you won't see this as a threadjack and can extract something helpful from it. Richard is quite right that reading without action will achieve nothing except to isolate you. You don't want to end up like me!
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#14

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:56 pm

Candid wrote:
Creating a future narrative can be helpful.


I'd like to know more about that, and how it could work for an exhausted over-60 who gave up applying for paid work two years ago (no replies other than automated ones, and certainly no invitation to interview), whose outer resources are scant but whose knowledge and understanding are painfully clear.


Since 2010, I have a 3-year future narrative that has helped guide my strategic (long term) goals. I update the narrative every 3 months, every quarter.

The first time creating the narrative took the most effort. I reflected on a day, a week of my life that would occur in the future, within the next three years. In doing so, I answered questions such as where I wake up, what is my routine, what am I wearing, who am I with, what goals or projects am I working on, etc.

In my very first narrative, I woke with the sunrise off the coast of Spain. I could see the ocean as I got up and went for a short run along the beach. After, I get cleaned up and head to the market. I grab some fruit and then head to a coffee shop to start my work. My work is online and involves consulting on various projects around the world related to my area of expertise. Much of this expertise is promoted in my most recent book. I'm fluent in Spanish and Mandarin. After the coffee shop I spend time enjoying the local community.

My first narrative was longer, including specific details. It was maybe a full page.

It is now 2019. No book published, but I have created a significant amount of useful content, mainly used in my online course. I'm not fluent in Spanish, but conversational. I'm not fluent in Mandarin, but I can navigate the country. I have not yet woke off the coast of Spain, only Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Indonesia, Aruba, the Philippines, etc.

While my narrative is not 1:1 success, that isn't the point of the narrative. It is providing a story that helps shape what you value, thereby shaping what decisions you make. Using my narrative it has driven my goals, establishing my mobile lifestyle, growing my audience to over 70,000 students and getting me involved in numerous projects related to my area of expertise.

Every three months the narrative takes only 20 minutes to update as I "tweak" details. My current narrative involves some opportunities that have surfaced in Washington DC. Within 3 years, many of my projects will involve providing cognitive tools to 1st responders and helping to accelerate expertise. It is an exciting potential future.

In your case, what does a day, a week of your life look like within 3 years? Have you published your own book on CPTSD? Are you waking up at sunrise? Are you writing, are you providing counseling, are you traveling?

I think the benefit of a future narrative is that it can help shift our minds from past, to present, to future. Not that have measured, but I like to think that 60% of my time is spent focusing on my present, on the actions I can take today, this week. 30% of my time is future focused, looking 3 months and 3 years into the future. I use Sunday's specifically to shift to the future. 10% of time is spent on the past. The past has value as it is from the past we learn, yet the past is experienced so there should not be such a great need to think about the past. The past we lived.

If a person has not taken the time to think about the future, to actually craft and organize a future narrative, it does not surprise me that they would spend maybe 50% of their time on the past and 50% on the present, or maybe even 80% on the past. And why not? If you do not have a future narrative then the future is left undefined, unscripted. And I believe the older people get the more attractive it is to spend more and more time being past, rather than future focused.

For the OP, I think stress can be induced by constantly dwelling on the past and on things that cannot be controlled. The crafting of a past narrative certainly has value, but is it healthy to spend decades constantly revisiting and tweaking and investigating the same memories indefinitely? Might it be that a future narrative helps provide some balance, providing things that can be controlled, e.g. working out, no longer binging on food, etc.

Granted a future narrative can induce stress as well. If you have a negative future narrative where the world will end in 12 years, that can be very stressful. But, a future narrative is much more flexible and can be controlled to a much larger degree than a past narrative.

Wow...didn't intend my response to be this long.
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