Serious PTSD sufferers live with an elevated nervous system, some underlying agitation is always present.
For me, the fight or flight exploding was like getting shot in the solar plexus, intense, an electrifying jolt.
Those are the easy times to know the condition of our nervous system.
Bringing more awareness to my inner world, I have noticed a few things.
First, my baseline activation is higher, my nervous system has more agitation at rest than a normal person.
I have learned my nervous system, or anxiety level can be raised to an excited level without me recognizing it consciously.
When intrusive thoughts are active, then I notice my agitation consciously. I guess it needs to reach a certain intensity before I become aware of it.
Being sensitive to smaller levels of activation helps us navigate PTSD much better.
An elevated nervous system depletes our energy, wears on our emotional stability.
This is the mechanical, the physical part of PTSD that we can learn to calm.
They teach Navy Seals to handle fear (high anxiety), their fight or flight mechanism, using their breath, focusing on elongating the exhales.
Yes, slow focused breathing can dissipate adrenaline and cortisol while activating our parasympathetic nervous system, the breaks, bringing calm.
I have learned that fear, it’s physical embodiment, our adrenal stress response (fight or flight mechanism), contains no fear.
Fear is added by our thoughts. I choose to focus on the body sensations, taking my breath into the middle of the agitation or unrest.
While hiking with my chronic pain, I would summon my fight or flight mechanism to fire, then use the Adrenaline and Cortisol for my workout energy.
While handling my fight or flight mechanism everyday hiking, I became more familiar, more comfortable with that intense feeling.
The more we know about our nervous system the better.
Now I do not fear my chronic pain or my fight or flight mechanism firing.
If you weather the storm sitting quietly, motionless, focused on your breath, your confidence and power will grow.