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Archive for March, 2017

If you’ve read my blog you already know I’ve had to deal with chronic sleep paralysis for a large portion of my life. For those who haven’t I’ll give you a brief history.

 

It started when I was under the age of nine. I don’t actually know how young I was but I was old enough to remember it. Of course it was traumatic so it’s no wonder I remember. That first episode took place while we still lived in the house in Orange County. I don’t recall having any more episodes there but it’s possible I forgot. I do remember them being what I call chronic sometime after moving on the boat.

My dad said he had them as a child as well along with vivid nightmares that he sometimes would end up sleepwalking with. So, I’m not sure it was actually sleep paralysis for him or not. But I do know sleep paralysis can lead to very vivid nightmares. I was also a sleep walker but that was not attached to the sleep paralysis episodes for me.

Through out my teens I had the most episodes of sleep paralysis. My mother discovered that it often happened after she and my sister had a fight, which was often. So she suggested the two of them make up before going to sleep so I wouldn’t have the “attack”. And when I say attack, I mean “demonic attack” because that is what she believed it was. She thought that because I was being targeted because I was the youngest and most vulnerable.

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So, most my life I dealt with sleep paralysis as though it were demonic attacks. And as you’ve likely figured out already, that idea makes them so much worse.

 

For those who don’t know what sleep paralysis is, I’ll explain real quick. It’s when the chemical in you body that causes you to not act out your dreams doesn’t recede in time so you wake while it’s still present which means you are temporarily paralyzed until it finished receding. The best way I know of to handle it is to relax and let it finish receding. It’s a time you can use to just chill or even play with it. While in that state you can also lucid dream. Since you are still in a dream like state you can fly, jump high, and do whatever amazing thing you like cause there are no laws of gravity and so on to stop you. Fighting it wears you out, it’s better to relax.

When you’ve had years and years of dealing with it as demonic oppression it takes more than a notion to just relax and enjoy the ride. I’ve had to have talks with myself and help myself get out of the nightmare and not fight and take it easy and maybe have some fun.

By the way, I didn’t know the science behind it till a few years ago. Although I stopped believing it was demonic attacks, I really had no idea what was happening so it was still pretty scary.

 

As a Christian who believed in demons and believed it was demonic attacks , naturally I dealt with it from a “spiritual” aspect. I used my beliefs in Jesus to “overcome” it. Although I was harmfully misinformed I did learn a great deal from these terrifying episodes. Some of the lessons were actually very helpful in real life. But, like I mentioned before, I’ve written about this before and this blog is about my latest experience.

In my twenties and thirties I rarely had sleep paralysis but I did experience it from time to time. After leaving Christianity I still automatically reverted to my religious way of dealing with it. It was a life time habit. Those things don’t just go away. When I have several not far apart from each other I stop dealing with them religiously and do what I know is better and  more effective. I don’t really enjoy it most of the time though. There’s been some exceptions. When I don’t have it for long periods of time I revert to my default settings of fighting it with religious ideas. However, my brain always has a conversation with me about it in the dream state and reminds me that I no longer believe in such myths. It’s actually always quite an interesting conversation I have with myself. Lol! Once I do fully wake up I find it very interesting and entertaining, and I usually learn something new.

Okay! So, here’s my latest sleep paralysis experience.

It happened about three nights ago. I was dreaming about something and in the dream I laid down to rest. While laying there I felt a presence start to lay on top of me, a freaky scary presence. This is a common start to sleep paralysis for many people, btw. Even folks who are not spiritual.

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My automated system came online so I called out to Jesus to help me. Then I heard a voice challenge me by reminding me that I didn’t believe in Jesus. I playfully challenged back, “Yeah, but he was a nice guy!” Not that I believe in him, I was having fun challenging the voice back. Of course the voice was my own, and I do challenge myself awake, so it’s no surprise that I would do it in my sleep state as well. Than Satan was brought up. I shrugged and said I didn’t believe in Satan. I than started singing a fun church song. I was challenged about that as well but I ignored the challenge. I decided that as long as it made me feel better it didn’t matter. Singing has always helped me deal with fear. It gives me courage and helps me think things through.

And thinking is exactly what I did. I thought about hypnotism and how people use the “one, two, three, wake up” method to bring people out of it. I wondered if that would work for me. I decided to give it a try and right away started the count. While counting my mind reminded me that one had to be told to do it first in order for it to work. Not that I’m an expert, I’m far from that… Or am I? Lol!  But I was already in the count so I finished it with the “wake up”. When I finished I felt a jolt on my right side by my eye area as if that area had dislodged from the paralysis. I’m not saying it did, just that that’s how it felt.  So, this time I told myself that when I counted to three and said “wake up”I was to wake up. I counted, I said “wake up,” and immediately my eyes opened and I was fully awake.

Yeah, I was actually shocked. But happy. It was just so strange yet cool. The science behind it? Well, I’m sure there is some but I don’t know what it is yet. The brain is so very interesting. It’s possible anything would have worked because maybe the paralysis chemical had already receded. Or, maybe not and there more to it. Even if it did receded already, waking one self from the dream state can still be difficult. Possibly the hypnosis thing worked for that.  I’d love to know! I’m sure there are folks that will still try to attach something spiritual to this. To them I will “smile and wave” and keep learning the real facts instead of the alternative “facts” .

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I don’t look forward to trying it again. I don’t look forward to having sleep paralysis period. Though I know one can have fun with it, I have too much baggage, lol. It’s more than just dealing with it, it’s also dealing with my past which makes it tasking. But, I do enjoy the stuff I learn and experience when they are over. It’s really quite interesting.

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I thought this pic was funny. And funny thing about it, after mentioning to my daughter that I had a sleep paralysis episode she said it was likely due to the cat sleeping on me. The cat didn’t actually do that, but it’s still funny.

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Blog started Sunday 3/12/17.
There’s a lot of abused folks out there. Even the ones that have healed and are doing fine often still have triggers. PTSD isn’t just a military thing.
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Religion is a common cause of stress disorders. While it provides hope for some it causes both mental and physical harm for others. Well meaning people often make the matter worse. They think they are reaching out to people offering them hope, and while this may help some, it actually does the opposite for others
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When you “share” how great your god is and all he’s doing for you and those around you with people who have been abused with religion, you are not helping them, you are hurting them. You are pushing the trigger button over and over. Then, you wonder why they are so angry. Anyone who’s “buttons” are pushed over and over and over again will most likely “blow up” or as folks like to use on atheists, become angry.
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Normally I’m all about coexisting. I understand there are a lot of folks out there who hold onto their religion for cultural reason and community reasons and many who feel they need it. I’m fine with all that as long as it’s not causing any harm to anyone. However, this evening if religion were a person I would have murdered it.
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Blog continued Thursday 3/16/17.
Although I’m over it and back to my version of normal, I haven’t forgotten. I can still feel the frustration. I’m just not angry right now. But the issue is still an issue.
Although I suspected the kids and I likely have PTSD, I never really faced the issue. That is until Levis psychiatrist let me know, with out me ever mentioning it to him, that the kids and I have it. I was surprised at my reaction, after all I should have been prepared for that. But I wasn’t. I think I was actually avoiding it and he made me face it. It didn’t feel good. I even cried. Later I laughed. Talk about a slew of emotions. Even after laughing I wasn’t happy about it, I was frustrated. It just felt so unfair. Not just for me but more so for my kids.
I do know from experience that as difficult as it can be to be diagnosed, it has the great potential of having more benefits than not. Once you understand why you or your family members or friends act and react a certain way you can move on and learn how to work with what you or they have and improve and use the talents that may come with it and help others and get the help you need from services and such. The big benefit is understanding why you do, feel, and think the way you do. Understanding yourself really makes a big difference in healing and improving.
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So, this Sunday the acknowledgement of the PTSD did help me understand my emotional reaction to the previous days. From Friday all the way through Sunday I was affected by other peoples religion. One was a friends Catholicism and the other was my moms United Pentecostal type way of being.  Neither of them meant me any harm and I love both people. One was just trying to please her parents by being where they wanted her to be cause they were out of town. Going to mass and or church can be more superstitious than going because you need encouragement, community and wisdom.
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As far as my mom, she attempted to leave me texts about what god was doing through her. I may be wrong, but I felt intent, not just sharing and conversing. Like maybe she read or saw something I posted and wanted to try to “fix” me. I had posted a few atheist meme’s on my Facebook wall, so that could be it.  When she learned that only one of her text went through she decided to just tell me all about it on a phone call. It was a very long dialog about how god was using her and speaking through her and answering her prayers. The result? Hallelujah! I’m now magically “saved.” Thank you Jesus! I now know, again, that everyone else in the world that believes and has the any “evidence” and hope and “proof” and all from their god(s) is wrong. Us European type people are the only right people on earth. Our religion is correct and every one else is wrong. Our god is superior and everyone else is a myth. Yep, it doesn’t matter that everything in the Bible was taken from different religions, nope, it’s all true cause a bunch of white men said they were empowered by the holy ghost and so it’s true even when it’s proven not to be. So, praise the Lort! I’m just gonna throw common sense and being awake and aware out the window and trade it in for the shackles and nonsensical rules and regulations of a god who can do anything and every thing and knows all but won’t feed the masses of starving people, not even the starving babies in their mothers arms who are so malnourished their bodies can’t produce any milk. Now there’s a good idea! I mean, after all, it’s clear in Genesis that we are not supposed to know  “the knowledge of good and evil”, cause if we did we would realize that man made gods, not the other way around.
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Let me set this straight, in case you are getting my drift incorrectly. I Was Not Mad At God. I can’t be made at him/her/them. Why? Because I don’t believe him/she/they exist. Who was I mad at? People and their superstitions! And the poisonous ideas they shove down your throat, nose, ears and even up your butt, thinking they are helping you.
Folks, it’s not helping, it’s hurting. You hurt people with your religion and then you wonder why they are angry when you are responsible for triggering them. But no, it can’t be your fault, you were just sharing the love of Jesus. It’s got to be them, if they only would listen and give their lives over to your god then they would be set free from the things oppressing them. Dude! Stop, you are the one oppressing them. You want to help them? Than stop with the religious vomit!
I want people to heal too. I want them to recover and lose their “buttons” over time.  I am aware that pushing their buttons over and over doesn’t make the buttons go away, it makes them worse and adds to them. Maybe there are some exceptions, but the majority of people will not get better this way. Become aware of the fact that a person may have been religiously abused and back off with trying to feed them your beliefs. You can be friends with people with PTSD. You can love them and you can help them. I am not writing this blog about how to help them at this time, I’m just writing to wake folks up to the possibility that their religious “help” may be doing more harm than good.  There are a lot of good online articles out there about how to help people without using religion.
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So, back to last weekend. By Sunday night I was angry. I get frustrated and depressed at times, but anger isn’t something I usually feel for prolonged periods of time. So I was curious about myself and why I felt so angry. I realized it was a PTSD reaction, that my buttons had been repeatedly pushed, the PTSD had been triggered. So I let myself let it out. Not on anyone, but alone, in my car. I had a good couple hollers while driving. No one could hear me so no police were called, lol! I just had to release some tension. I didn’t feel awesome after that, but I do think that’s when I started to recover from it all. The next day I was grateful that I didn’t have to work. I felt like crap till late afternoon. I think the stress of the previous days physically took a toll. But like I mentioned, I felt better as the day progressed. By the evening I felt fine so on Tuesday I was ready and good to go for work.
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I know my mom loves me. I also know she gets caught up in her head, we all do at one time or another. I don’t mind hearing an occasional tale of how “god” has done this or that. It brings her happiness and I’m glad for her. But to go on and on and think it’s gonna convert me is just plain annoying and when I’ve already had a tasking couple of days, it’s harmful. My mom isn’t alone in this way of thinking and acting, not by a long shot. Which is why I am writing this, maybe someone will care and understand and make the changes because it not only makes sense, but because it’s love.
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I would like to add that how I felt doesn’t describe how others with PTSD may feel. How it affects people can differ. Even our own reactions and feelings can be different for different circumstances. And some folks do find comfort in religion and religious ideas. It’s just good to not assume or think cause it helps you or you’re told it does that you should use it to “help” others.  Be careful and don’t assume. This blog barely touches on what PTSD is and what religious induced PTSD is. (Also known as Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS).)It would be kind of you to research and learn more about it. Most likely you have and will have friends, family and associates that have it.
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If you or someone you know is suffering from religious trauma or maybe just needs someone nonjudgmental to talk to, here’s a web site to a hot line that has people ready to listen. Just click here-
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