Amygdala

Amygdala: A pair of organs in the brain that, among other things, act as a thermostat. In the head of a person with PTSD, the needle is stuck in the high anxiety position. We relive the trauma over and over again, through nightmares, and through avoiding anything that we know may trigger the memory and the emotions. When we don’t have nightmares, it’s because we have trouble sleeping, because we can’t stop thinking about the trauma. We re-experience the fear and anger we went through during those events in our lives.The amygdala works overtime in people who have PTSD. We lose interest in things that we used to enjoy, and have difficulty trusting others. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Among the more common things are suicidal thoughts, aggression and irritability, avoiding places and anniversaries related to the incidents. Flashbacks, triggered by smells, sounds or emotions. Dizziness, chest pains, headaches and gastrointestinal distress. Some people carry these things around their entire lives.

This is me in a nutshell, basically, and it makes me so tired and emotionally worn out. But at last the various aspects of my health, both emotionally and physically, are coming together like pieces of a puzzle, and I now know what I’m dealing with: PTSD. What’s crucial now is to have goals to work towards, big ones or small. Right now I want to find something I can enjoy, learn and really feel that ‘I can do this’.

It takes so little to trigger the feelings. A while ago I saw a little girl who was picking flowers in a field, as we were driving by. It instantly brought me to tears, because it reminded me of my Inner Child who loved to pick flowers. I remember how I proudly offered to my adoptive parents those neatly arranged little bouquets from my tiny hands. But they weren’t good enough. To them they were garbage, and they simply threw them away.

I remember feeling happy when I picked those wild flowers in the field, my heart bounding with joy when my friend blew dandelion seeds at me, and how we blew on dandelions together and made wishes when the seeds flew away on the wind. Two girls from two different worlds; she was as light as the day, while I was as dark as the night. But we became soulmates, and still are today. It’s strange how tiny things can stir the feelings so that they become huge waves from the soul in an ocean of sore and raw emotions, that can send you instantly back in time to earlier stages of your life, making you relive all those horrible moments of fear and anxiety as, in my case, a little child.

I remember how I used to hide, so I wouldn’t be a burden or remind my adoptive parents more than I had to, that I needed food, clothes, even clean ones now and then, or perhaps a chocolate too, if they weren’t too drunk or too angry at me. I remember loud, angry voices, yelling, the sound of doors slamming, swearing, ugly, evil words at me or at my adoptive mother. How I used to lie in my bed at nights, look at the moon and wish that I could run away and never come back. I remember the feeling of having been beaten, how hurt I was, though mostly on the inside.

I was afraid of my adoptive parents, who really ought to have been my protectors. They caused me so many issues that are still with me as an adult. So my brain is always on high alert, afraid that something bad may happen at any time, and I’m constantly exhausted by it. My common sense knows that I should be able to turn the anxiety off, but my emotions, my instincts and my inner child don’t, so my body is working overtime. PTSD is all about what happened to me, not what’s wrong with me.

Signing off for tonight.

~ Khara

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4 thoughts on “Amygdala

  1. Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    Another great post from our fellow adoptee at Indigo Child Khara, this time on PTSD, the adoptee version.
    Some of our flashbacks and memories are from pre-verbal times, cannot be expressed in words but arrive just the same to be dealt with.Many of us have all or some of these symptoms and all have to be managed for most of us on a daily basis.
    I can put my hand up to most of these including the gastro-intestinal problems which have been with my all my life in one form or another and for which I’ve just had surgery. I blame the instant weaning, followed by near starvation which my amother always seemed to find an amusing story indicating her lack of domestic abilities.
    Nightmares? Oh yes, every night of my life, except for the blessed relief of recent post-op time when I was so medicated it did me the wonderful favour of switching them off for a time.I came out looking as if I’d had work done on my face, had a long holiday or dropped ten years!
    Khara has found her way of managing what happened to her, as we all must do if we are to live a life with any kind of satisfaction and achievement of goals.It is a technique I have found very successful personally. The size of the goal is unimportant, in times of great difficulty it can be something as simple as getting out of bed, taking a shower or paying a bill! Letting the tears flow freely is also something of an achievement for some of us who have suffered greatly and learned not to cry as children.
    Thank you Khara for sharing your thoughts again and for the elegance of your writing.

    • I am happy I am normal in this adoption land:) though I felt like an outsider all of my life. Thanks for kind support:)

    • Hi Khara, I can relate to your PTSD, your feelings, and right down to the picking flowers. I painted a girl in a field picking flowers a couple of years ago because I never picked flowers for my mother, because my mother ripped up pictures I drew for her earlier on when I was very young. I titled it For Mum, because my mother hated me, and I wished I could be like other kids and have been able to do just those simple things and feel safe. Im sorry. It really does suck.

      • HI
        Thanks for commenting, I got a lump in my throat when I read what you wrote about your mother.So sad, its strange that what hurts most are those simple episodes when I was happy for a moment as a little girl, and I got yelled at and beaten for not being good enough in the eyes of my aparents. Something was always wrong, even my poor presents I made at school were not good enough for any occasion. It really suck!!! I still crie when I think about it thoug.

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