I am in a new part of healing now. A lot of very difficult work has paid off and I am in a much calmer place in my life. After 7 years of practice I can truly see the benefits of my meditation practice. I use meditation in conjunction with other skills to help myself get through the day with my CPTSD/PTSD symptoms.
I’m not only getting through the day but I have way more calm in my life than I have ever had, both in my mind and outside of my head too. I really wasn’t very good at meditation at 1st. It used to trigger my nervous system into fight or flight. The anxiety was very difficult to cope with. I later learned modification that made my practice easier like not focusing on my breath. The breath is awesome but I couldn’t focus on it or I would have a panic attack.
The act of being calm, sitting still, and peace used to also trigger my nervous system. In the abuse cycle there is a calm before the next instance of abuse. This made me terrified, waiting for something awful to happen. The safety I created in my practice also brought up things because when I am safe I can heal. I would like to report a happy break from the trauma at that point but that wasn’t the case. I still had all the trauma but I was able to see the situation differently.
The shift in perspective allowed me to have more compassion for myself. This is still something I practice and fight with myself about daily but it has become much easier to go into a caretaker mode for myself. The compassion allowed me to take better care of myself and not punish or withhold things form myself for not being productive.
I incorporated a lot of modifications into my meditation practice without realizing I was doing so. I recently read this book: Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing https://amzn.to/3zjMu0p In the book the author reveals that as many as 25% of people trying to meditate experience heightened anxiety and not the calm that they were promised. I know I was very discouraged at 1st but I kept at it and made it work for me. This is a great book if you have experienced trouble with meditation due to anxiety.
I am also going to be incorporating the modifications into my new meditation courses that I am creating this year. As a trauma survivor and someone that had a lot of difficulty with meditation, I know how difficult anxiety is to cope with. My hope is that the information I provide with help another stressed out person looking for relief.
Is meditation a cure all? No. Sadly, it is not the one thing you are looking for that changes everything. It is, however, a useful skill that over time has great benefits. It’s like working out, the more you routinely do it, the more benefits you will see as a result.
I still have periods of depression and anxiety. Since we are still in the pandemic, I am definitely feeling that. It’s an ongoing trauma and life change. It’s difficult to go through but I feel like I am doing better. My self awareness and mindfulness practice helps me to better care for myself. I cannot control the symptoms but I can help myself cope. If you are having a difficult time coping in the pandemic too here is a useful article: https://www.apa.org/topics/trauma/stress
Over time, mindfulness has increased my sense of calm by living in the moment and less up in my head. I highly recommend it for stress and anxiety. Stay tuned for more information about my upcoming meditation courses. I will be sure to link them from this blog when they are finished. Thank you for reading and I wish you peace.