Panic attacks, dissociation, and my son’s anxiety issues.

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Geometries by M.C. Escher

 

My son, who already suffers from OCD and ADHD (both diagnosed) tweeted this the other night:

I just had one of the strangest things happen… and it was the scariest experience of my life. I just had a Depersonalization/Derealization episode. It was SO FUCKING TERRIFYING. I thought I was gonna wake up in the ER or never sleep again.

Then later:

Other than OCD, ADHD and depression i have no psych disorders i know of. That shit LITERALLY made me feel like i’d lost my grip on reality and self.

The next day:

I’m going to the emergency room.

A few hours later:

Guys, if anything happens i love you all. Absolutely terrified in the waiting room rn feeling like death.

Late last night:

I got released. They gave me an anxiety pill. It was officially diagnosed as an anxiety attack.

Today:

Looking into therapy. my anxiety is getting REALLY bad.

As his mom, of course I was alarmed by these tweets.  But, as someone who used to suffer from panic attacks just as debilitating during my 20s and 30s, I KNOW HOW HE FEELS!  Panic attacks suck, and the type that involve dissociation are absolutely the worst.   For me, the dissociation usually involved derealization (feeling like your environment was unreal) but sometimes depersonalization (feeling like you’re disconnected from the world or like you’re not in your own body) too.

The panic might be hereditary.  His father suffers from anxiety attacks too.   I used to have exactly the kind of panic attacks he describes — always some kind of dissociative hell where I felt like everything was a dream and the people around me suddenly looked very frightening — either robotic or demonic.  Sometimes they looked like wax figures or seemed like they were being run by machines, and the environment itself became very surreal and dreamlike.  Sometimes it looked like a cartoon or two-dimensional.

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Museum installation by artist Peter Koler

During the worst attacks, I used to feel like I was literally outside of my body, and that really freaked me out.   I actually would have trouble controlling my body.  I remember once this happened to me on the subway in New York (which is scary enough as it is!) and I literally had to run off the train as soon as it stopped and ran into a corner and started whimpering.    Sometimes I used to have to bite my hands to feel “real.”   There were a few times I actually drew blood from doing that.    These dissociative episodes felt just like a bad drug trip, and I’ve had a few of those too.

I suffered from my first dissociative panic attack at about age 10.  I was playing outside in the early evening in the driveway and suddenly I felt like I wasn’t in my body.   But I wasn’t able to find the words to describe the feeling, and when I tried to tell my mother about how “weird” I felt, she had no idea what I was talking about and said I was being overdramatic and imagining things.   Eventually it passed, but from then on, every so often I’d get that weird feeling again.   As I entered my teens and twenties, the attacks became worse and more frequent.   They eventually tapered off when I reached my thirties and I haven’t had a full blown panic attack in years.

In my case, the episodes may have been due to my generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or possibly from C-PTSD and/or BPD.    I don’t think my son has BPD, but he likely has PTSD or C-PTSD (his father is a narcissist and we had a very toxic marriage when the kids were young, which I have described elsewhere in this blog).   OCD can definitely cause a person to have anxiety or panic attacks, and I’m sure having ADHD just exacerbates the tendency.

I talked to him tonight for a while about this, and suggested some mindfulness tools that have helped me.   I think CBT could help him with this.  Thankfully, he has health insurance with his job, and has set up an appointment to see a therapist.  The emergency room gave him a short term prescription for some anti-anxiety meds (not benzodiazepines though).   But there are many things he can do to help himself too.

He has never sought therapy for his anxiety or OCD because he’s been able to deal with it  on his own until now, but he does need help with the panic and dissociation.   He also admitted his new job is much more stressful than he expected, and he is already looking around for something else.

If you pray, please send your prayers his way.  No one ever died or went crazy from a panic attack, but as someone who’s suffered from them, I know they can certainly feel that way when you’re in the midst of one!

*****

Further reading:

Derealization and Depersonalization in BPD and NPD

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The ultimate dissociative experience.

Death is an uncomfortable subject for most of us, but at some point, we are all going to have to come to terms with it. Here’s a post I wrote a while back describing what that process is like for me.

Lucky Otters Haven

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Death isn’t something I like to think about, much less write about.  In fact, it’s my biggest fear (outside of the death of one of my children).  Oh, I know all the pat arguments and rationalizations that it’s not so bad–death is a part of life, death is nothing to be afraid of, if you’re a good Christian you will go to Heaven and there will be no fear, nothing at all will happen so there will be no fear, even the idea that death is beautiful.

I woke this morning, as I often do, thinking about how much I fear my own death.  I think this is a little obsessive-compulsiveness on my part, and probably something I should talk about more in therapy.   The mental health field has a name for the irrational or excessive fear of death: thanatophobia.    So far I’ve only talked to God…

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I feel like I’m about to snap.

I’m not handing all the bad news well today, especially now that I have to worry about a major hurricane possibly hitting where my son lives next weekend.   All my C-PTSD and BPD symptom are triggered — dissociation, hypervigilance, obsessive monitoring of the weather/news in general, physical symptoms (fatigue, headache), snappishness, mood swings, isolation, feeling helpless, and intense anxiety are all symptoms that have returned and threaten to overwhelm me.

I recently quit therapy because I felt guilty about not wanting to talk about anything but the political situation, but dammit, it’s so triggering and I take it very personally, given my background of abuse.   So I might have to go back soon.

I’ve been busy on Twitter (I’m meeting a lot of fellow #resisters there and it’s how I get the most up to date news).  Today I just had to sound off.    It was just stream of conscienceness venting.   It feels good to get all this off my chest, even if no one was really paying attention.  (Read bottom to top).  

I chose my new Twitter user name because it makes me laugh and I need all the laughs I can get.   Gallows humor does help.

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Always waiting for the other shoe to drop…

An older post that I’d forgotten I wrote, but I think people will be able to relate to the traumatic experience I describe here.

Lucky Otters Haven

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I think I made a kind of breakthrough in my therapy session tonight. For years one of my problems has been this overwhelming fear that something bad will happen to one of my kids. (I don’t like to even say the D word because I irrationally believe if I say it, I’ll somehow make it happen, by putting it out into the universe or something).

Of course all parents worry about their adult kids, especially when they know they’re out there somewhere in cars, which we all know are dangerous hunks of metal capable of the most ghastly and gory deaths you can imagine and operated by countless idiots and drunks on the road who can’t drive. I think my apprehension about something bad happening to my adult children edges into OCD-type territory though, because of how overpowering and pervasive these thoughts are, intruding where and when they are not…

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That “off” feeling in dreams.

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Have you ever tried to explain something that can’t be explained?   Well, this subject came up in my post from last week about my subway dream (I have a lot of subway dreams even though I haven’t lived in a big city in many years ; vast-house dreams probably come in second — my dream houses seem like they go on and on for miles).

Most, if not all, of my dreams have that weird “off” feeling about them.   I don’t know how to explain it at all. It’s very strange, but not necessarily unpleasant.   It’s a kind of flatness but it’s not really that either.   Maybe “otherworldly” but that doesn’t really describe it either.   It’s not really an emotion, though it is kind of a “mood.”

My dreams aren’t especially surreal, except for that weird “mood.” Most of my dreams take place in rather boring but realistic locations — like vast houses or subways, or city streets at night.   I don’t dream about fantastical creatures, demons or fairies, or fantasy realms.  My dreams are prosaic: peopled by real people, or by no one at all.    Sometimes I dream about being in space — and in those dreams, the universe seems even more infinite than it actually is.   I don’t know how to explain why or how I feel that way either, since real space is freaking huger than any of us can imagine.

Sometimes though, everyday reality in my dreams is experienced as somehow enhanced — the grass in a field is greener, the house I’m exploring is endless, the streets I wander at night are more ominous, the mountains in the distance are higher.   But that doesn’t really explain the weirdness either, though it may be a part of it.

It’s not that the dream content itself that’s weird (because usually it is in some way, though you might not realize it until you wake up), because even the dreams I have that take place in everyday places or where nothing really strange happens still have that “off” feeling about them.

On rare occasions, during dissociative episodes (derealization), I get that “off” feeling about reality, and everything becomes very dreamlike.   I haven’t had that experience in a while, but when it happens when you’re awake, it’s extremely unpleasant.  Not so much in dreams.

What the hell is that “off” feeling?   I’ve searched Google and found nothing about it.  Does anyone know what I’m talking about?  Is it just me who experiences this or does everyone?   I don’t even think I can find a graphic for this post that captures that feeling so I’m just using a picture of a person sleeping.

*****

ETA:  I just saw this under “related posts” — I wrote about this same thing almost a year ago.  Oh well.  I still wonder about it.

The Weirdness of My Dreams

“This could never happen in America.”

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But it is.

I’m talking about the increasing feeling of unreality and foreboding under this new administration, run by a sociopath that even ten years ago wouldn’t have had a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming president.

I sat, frozen in horror on election night, as I watched more and more states turned red, even states that have traditionally been blue.    I was upset, but I tried to talk myself down, almost convincing myself for a short time that maybe a Trump presidency wouldn’t be so bad.

But the days since his inauguration have been horrifying — and there have only been 7 of them.   One week of a four year reign.

Every day seems worse than the last.   As a nation, we seem to be on the fast track toward fascism, circling around  a looming black hole with little to no chance of escape.   Trump has been compared to Hitler. This is not hyperbole.  The comparison is being made even by intellectually respected sources who don’t usually stoop to sensationalism and fearmongering (or Godwin’s Law) to make a point.   If you doubt me, Google “Trump – Hitler.”    The similarities in both the men themselves and the tactics they are using to rise to power are chilling.

I’ve tried to stay away from the news, but I can’t.   I feel compelled to watch.  I know what this compulsion is:  it’s hypervigilance, a feeling I’m very familiar with.    I no longer feel safe here in America.   I feel like America no longer stands for what it once did, and its Constitution is being undermined a little more every day.  I am terrified, and feel like I have to scan the horizon for danger all the time.    But now I finally realize how someone like Hitler was able to rise to power.  I always wondered how that could have happened.  Now I know.  Along with the horror and feelings of dissociation, is a feeling of helplessness.   It’s incredibly triggering for someone already suffering from C-PTSD — only now it’s on a nationwide, maybe a worldwide, scale.

I can’t come home anymore and just relax.  Nothing is normal anymore.   I feel this NEED TO KNOW what Trump did or said.  During the day, I feel the same undercurrent of fear and hypervigilance I felt being raised by, and then married to, abusers.    And, like being married to an abuser, I never know what to expect.    With each new day, Trump seems to be getting bolder.  His outrageous comments, executive orders, lies, and hatred seem to know no bounds.   I’m very afraid.   I don’t think it’s exaggeration to admit that as a nation, America is in deep shit.

There seems very little that can be done.  We’re careening toward civil war, the removal of any civil liberties or even the right to protest, blatant discrimination and profiling of immigrants from “targeted countries,” even the possibility of nuclear war.   Information that has been freely available to the public is now being silenced, and facts are being denied.  We have a president who truly believes climate change is a myth and ordered the removal of climate change information, smack dab in the middle of the warmest winter on record — beating even 2016, which until this year held that record.

We have a president who lies constantly, who uses Orwellian “newspeak” to his own and his supporters’ advantage,  twisting language so that “lies” are now “alternative facts” and criticism and balanced reporting is “fake news.”    There’s no need for me to list all the insane, hate filled, and untrue things Trump has said, and all the unbelievably heartless and stupid things he is attempting to do, or wants to do.  He only seems to care about keeping his false self inflated, not at all about the American people or the country he’s systematically gutting from within as he claims to “make it great” again.   He is normalizing racism, sexism, authoritarian rule, and even the use of torture on immigrants under the guise of “rejecting political correctness.”

The man’s obvious malignant narcissism makes it possible for him to obsess over the small size of the crowd at his inauguration and then lie about it, and actually have the gall to order an investigation (paid for by the taxpayers) as to why was he didn’t win the popular vote.   Wah wah!   I guess winning the presidency wasn’t enough.   The man is an emotional ticking time bomb, and we should all be very concerned right now.

But I didn’t write this as a rant against Trump.   I don’t hate him because he is a mentally ill person who should never have come within 1000 yards of the presidency.   We allowed that to happen because of our complacency and apathy — and the way we have come to worship those who attained material wealth, no matter how they attained it.     I’m writing this because I’m scared to death. I know I’m not alone.   Every day I grow more afraid.  For all its faults, I never felt unsafe in this country before.   Like everyone else, I guess I took it for granted.  There were certain things that just wouldn’t happen in America — but they are happening now. Blatant fascism is becoming the new normal.   Things that would “never happen” are now more likely to happen than not.

Nothing can be predicted anymore.  Anything could happen.  There’s a new feeling of uncertainty and foreboding–and that awful helplessness–I never felt as an American.    There’s also a surrealness, a sense of dissociation and unreality.    It’s similar to the way I felt after 9/11, only this time it’s not an isolated event; it’s something that’s actually happening and will only grow worse if a miracle doesn’t happen, and soon.  This time we aren’t being brought closer together;  it’s a paradigm shift that will tear us even further apart.    Divide and conquer, is, of course, part of a malignant narcissist’s agenda to gain even more control and power. If 9/11 caused Americans to suffer nationwide PTSD,  a Trump presidency will cause a nationwide epidemic of C-PTSD.

We are so screwed.

Why Scientology auditing is not at all like traditional psychotherapy (part 2).

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Credit: “Trapped in the Closet,” South Park episode about Scientology.

 

In Part One, I wrote about how Scientology and the related Dianetics (a “therapy” technique started by science fiction writer L.Ron Hubbard) came into being, and why Scientology is so opposed to psychotherapy or psychiatry and regards Dianetics as a much better “technology” (they actually call it that) to become mentally healthy and happy.

But having had experience with both Dianetic/Scientology auditing (during my two year stint with Scientology back in the late ’70s) and psychotherapy, I’m of the opinion that psychotherapy is much better, in spite of Scientology’s claims to the contrary.

 

The cost of Scientology auditing. 

The first problem (and the most publicized one) with Scientology auditing is the expense.   Psychotherapy can also be expensive, but if you have mental health coverage, you may only have to pay a small copay.   Even if you have no coverage,  many therapists are willing to work with you on a sliding scale.  This is up to the  individual therapist, and some are strict about their fees, but others, like mine, only charge what the client can afford.   For me, that’s $40 a session — or about $160 a month.  That’s not a lot more than my utility bills during the winter months.

Scientology/Dianetic auditing prices, on the other hand, are not set by individual practitioners, but by the Church of Scientology itself.   Most of the proceeds do not go to the auditors (who actually make practically nothing), but directly to the Church.  The prices for auditing are extremely high.  The chart below shows that it costs approximately $8,000 for 12 1/2 hours of auditing (I don’t know how old these prices are, but they may be even higher now).  In comparison, if an average session with a therapist costs $150 (a fairly high going rate), 12 1/2 hours of therapy would come to only about  $1,875.    If you want to pay slightly less (but not by a whole lot and in the end, it might prove even more expensive) there is the “training” route up the Bridge.  Scientology training requires you to sign up for and prepay for a series of courses, in which you and a “twin” (sort of like the buddy system) take turns auditing yourselves to the next level instead of by a trained auditor.  In order to get as many people on the training route as they can (and make new auditors who they don’t have to pay), the first course offered (the HAS, or “communications course”) costs less than $20 at today’s prices.    In fact, pricing for the HAS course (Hubbard Apprentice Scientologist) has hardly changed at all since I took it in 1978.    For that price, you think you are getting quite a bit for your money.  You are trained in “Training Routines” (TR’s) which are fun and seem to help you improve your ability to confront other people and communicate with them, but are actually early indoctrination (brainwashing) procedures.

Very quickly though, the prices for both training and auditing become exorbitant.  You will be subjected to a very hard sell by a recruiter, and shamed or even threatened if you refuse (or simply can’t afford to) take the next level to “spiritual enlightenment.”  You will be told to take out loans you can never afford to pay back or to manipulate or lie to family members or friends to get the money.  Or you can “work off” the expense by becoming a slave to Scientology and devoting all your spare time to it.

In addition to the extremely high prices, there are books, checklists, and tapes you are required to purchase–and none of them are cheap.

Here is a partial list of prices (this is only for one part of the Bridge and does not include books and course materials):

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Time theft.

In addition to money, you are also required to sacrifice a significant chunk of your time if you are serious about moving up the Bridge, whether you’ve taken the training or auditing route.   Courses can run 4 – 5 hours a night, 5 or 6 days a week, or even more than that, and straight up auditing can eat up even more of your time, since an auditor is not allowed to end a session until a “preclear” (person getting auditing who is not yet Clear) has a “cognition” (realization).    If a preclear is “enturbulated” (triggered), an auditor cannot end a session, even if it means a session must run all night, or for hours at a stretch.  No breaks are allowed for either the auditor or the preclear, not even to eat or sleep.

Also, if you don’t achieve the expected End Phenomena (EP) in the amount of time set for that particular auditing procedure, you will be required to hand over even more money for additional hours of auditing to achieve that particular EP.   For example, the first step up the bridge on the auditing route is an auditing procedure called “Life Repair,” which is supposed to bring a preclear to the EP within 12 1/2 hours.    But because people aren’t machines, some people may take more time to get to the EP, and will be required to pay for additional hours of auditing to achieve the EP, at non-discounted prices.

Such a time allotment makes it impossible for people to work at another job or have a life outside Scientology,  and this is, of course, intentional.  With most of your time and all your money now devoted to the Church of Scientology, they effectively own you, which makes indoctrinating you and reprogramming your mind all that much easier.

One-size-fits-all. 

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It doesn’t seem coincidental that Scientology auditing is called “processing” and the auditing procedures are called “tech.”   People are treated as if they’re machines.  A one-size-fits-all method is employed, with the auditor basically using a script of set commands or questions invented by Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, rather than a free give and take exchange of experiences and memories that is used in traditional psychotherapy.  No variations or changes to the script are allowed.  If an auditor makes any changes to the “tech” at all or tries to adapt it to the individual, they are considered to be “squirrelling,” which is one of the worst “sins” a Scientologist can commit.

The EP is also a set “cognition” that cannot vary.  In the early stages of “processing,” the EP is usually something related to needing more auditing or training to achieve enlightenment.  For example, in Life Repair, the expected EP is “preclear realizes that Scientology works.”  While the preclear may claim to feel somewhat better, their life is far from repaired — and may be about to get a whole lot worse!   In ARC Straightwire auditing, the expected EP is “realizes they will not get any worse.”  (When will they get any better? That requires more auditing, of course!)  But the auditor isn’t allowed to give the preclear any hints of what the cognition needs to be.     Obviously, failing to get to that cognition will require many additional hours of auditing, which allows Scientology to completely exploit you financially, with few actual results being achieved.  It’s a mindfuck of epic proportions.

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The preclear is connected to an E-meter (a lie detector type of device that measures galvanic skin response) at the end of each session, and cannot be “passed” until they get a “floating needle.”  If they do not get a floating needle, the auditor and preclear must immediately resume the session until a floating needle is achieved.  This can be frustrating and exhausting for both.   In my last post about my own experience, I described becoming so run down from lack of sleep and hunger that I started crying while auditing a fellow student, and got sent to Ethics and shunned until I fulfilled their Conditions by performing certain actions to get me back in good graces with the church (showing “case” [negative emotions] on post is strictly forbidden).

In traditional psychotherapy, there isn’t a set “cognition” or EP that a patient must achieve.  The end result of therapy is a general improvement in the ability to cope with life and feel better about yourself, not a particular set of words that must be said.  You also can’t pass or fail, because results vary according to the person and the techniques used by the therapist are tailored for that particular individual.   Therapists aren’t reading from a script, as they are in auditing.    There also isn’t a certain amount of time that is set in advance to achieve a particular result, which can cause both preclear and auditor an enormous amount of undue stress.

Lack of qualification requirements.  

In Scientology, if you have the money and time, you can become a “professional auditor” in just a few months of training.   While there are definitely many bad therapists who are not at all suited to be working with patients, they are required to have at least a master’s degree and have spent many hours practicing in simulated sessions before being given the green light to set up practice and work with actual clients.   In Scientology, no degree is required, just a certificate that you passed an auditing class.  An auditor doesn’t even have to be an adult.  In many Scientology families, even children as young as 10 or 11 can audit others after they have passed an auditing course.

Empathy as a liability.

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Empathy is not required; in fact, in Scientology, empathy (Sympathy on the Tone Scale) is considered “low toned” and is associated with someone who is ruled by their reactive mind.   Auditing and training removes any trace of empathy or concern for others. Any show of empathy or sympathy for a preclear can result in a dreaded trip to “Ethics,” so even if an auditor feels empathy for their preclear, they are not allowed to let anyone know and must not let the E-meter detect it.    People with narcissistic or sociopathic personalities tend to stick with Scientology and be the ones to rise the farthest in the organization, and for those who have progressed up the Bridge to the Clear and OT levels, there is a shocking lack of empathy and a forced “happiness” accompanied by the infamous blank Scientology stare.

Besides empathy, showing real emotions other than happiness or contentment (except while being audited) is considered “aberrated” or “showing case” or “bank” (reactive mind) and you can be punished for it in various ways, including shunning and even excommunication.   If a false self is present to begin with (as it is in narcissistic people), its further development is bolstered and rewarded.   People who possess empathy and express authentic emotions are either brainwashed or shamed out of them, or they eventually leave the organization.

In psychotherapy, empathy is usually a desired (though not required) characteristic of a therapist.  All good therapists have it.  Therapists who possess empathy for their clients are usually the most successful and their patients are the most likely to get well.  The goal of therapy is usually to help a patient own and be able to better express their real emotions, not deny them or cut themselves off from feeling them.

Auditing is disguised brainwashing. 

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The above quote by L. Ron Hubbard  pretty much says it all.  In Scientology (and all sociopathic groups and organizations), language is often used this way, to manipulate people into believing something bad is really something good, or to convince them to engage in activities they would otherwise never engage in.

The methods used in auditing — set commands, endless repetition, rote questions, no allowance made for free exchange of ideas or real conversation, and a requirement to “pass” each session — are really methods of mind control.   There’s a beginning form of auditing called TR’s (training routines) that is introduced in the Communications course.  TR1 involves sitting for hours staring at a fellow student, and not being passed until you can sit there and show no reaction at all.  A later TR, called “bullbaiting” ups the ante so that you don’t react even if insults are thrown at you or your fellow student tries to make you laugh or lose your blank stare.  Later TR’s involve repetitive actions like walking across the room, touching things, and doing the same mindless actions over and over.  This sets up a preclear for feelings of dissociation, which aren’t recognized by Scientology as being dissociation.

The processes conducted in auditing are really a form of hypnotic suggestion, and are intended to send the preclear into a “reverie” which is really a euphemism for the hypnotic state (Hubbard was extremely opposed to hypnosis, even though hypnosis is exactly what Dianetics processing does).   It’s not uncommon for a preclear to panic or fall asleep during an auditing session. Unfortunately, auditors (especially student auditors taking the course route) are often pathetically untrained and lack any skills to handle an emergency situation or deal with a preclear who keeps falling asleep.

There’s a phenomenon called “exteriorization,” which is Scientology’s term for being out of your body, a much-desired result.   In contrast, the mental health field recognizes feeling exterior from your body as a form of dissociation (specifically, depersonalization) and it’s definitely not something you want to work toward.     I remember once, after hours of TR1, feeling very dissociated and I became pretty freaked out.   I started to experience a panic attack, but fearing judgment for “showing case” in class and being connected to the E-meter made me try to hide my panic, which I can assure you wasn’t easy.  I had to keep staring at the other person and somehow talk myself down while showing no reaction.

Some people, however, enjoy the feeling of exteriorization.  They say it makes them feel high or euphoric.   That wasn’t the case with me, but many people who enjoy that feeling are encouraged to keep working toward attaining the upper levels (OT levels) where you are “exterior” to your body most or all of the time.    Being constantly dissociated is the normal and desired state of someone who has achieved a high level in Scientology auditing, and is also common in ritual abuse and mind control.   No wonder so many upper level Scientologists act so strange!

The Purification Rundown.

There’s a required step early on the way to Clear called the Purification Rundown, which is probably the most dangerous of all the Scientology processes (it’s also used in Scientology’s drug rehab program, Narconon).   While on the Rundown, you are required to take massive doses of vitamins, including Niacin (which is toxic in high doses), and spend 5 hours a day in a sauna, sweating out impurities caused by drugs (both legal and illegal) you have taken during your life (Scientology is extremely anti-drug and that’s one of their major criticisms of psychiatry).   Hubbard believed that all drugs are stored in the fat cells, even drugs such as LSD which have been proven by medical science to be water soluble.

People undergoing the Purification Rundown literally become run down and many wind up very ill.  Several have died of kidney or heart failure .  The Purification Rundown was invented by Hubbard, who was not a doctor and had no medical training.   His ideas about massive doses of niacin and other vitamins was based on his half baked theories about radiation sickness and the idea that vitamins, especially niacin, could cure it.

Of course, if you become ill, it’s because of your engrams being retriggered as a result of the process,  not because of the process itself.   Due to the high doses of vitamins and depletion of vital minerals and dehydration resulting from the constant sweating, many people attain a euphoric and dissociated state of mind that leaves them vulnerable to further mind control.

Conclusion.

In Scientology, you are required to act a certain way, think a certain way (or those “missed withholds” will be found out by the E-meter), and give so much of your time, energy, and money to the organization that you pretty much have no life left.   Without a regular job anymore (because you’re spending all your time working for free for “course credits” or even living on-base at a place like Sea Org), no remaining family or friends (who you may have been required to “disconnect” with if they opposed Scientology or your involvement in it),  no money, and no outside interests (because outside interests might interfere with your progression up the Bridge),  they effectively own you.  You think you’re giving yourself willingly to the organization for your own enlightenment (and that’s what they promise you when you sign up), but nothing could be further from the truth.  The process of indoctrination and spiritual destruction is so insidious you may not notice what has happened until it’s too late — if you ever do at all.  If you want to feel better about yourself and your life, see a regular therapist or pray for guidance — stay far away from this bogus form of “therapy” that can be so seductive at first.

*****

Further reading:  

My Love Affair With Scientology

Looking for a Scapegoat (comments allowed)

I think a lot of us can relate to this post right now. I know I can relate to it. The season really gets me down, but it’s more than that. I can’t pinpoint what it is though. I’ve also been noticing how many others seem to feel like they’re losing their minds or the world’s about to end. Linda Lee has always been there for me when I need her; I know I can’t do much but she needs big hugs and support from her WordPress friends right now, so that’s why I’m reblogging her post.

Since she’s allowing comments for this post, I’m disabling comments here.

A Blog About Living With Complex PTSD

I am not doing well. In fact, emotionally speaking, this is the worst I have been in a long time.

It’s embarrassing…. humiliating…. and humbling to admit this.  I thought  I was so much healthier than this!  I had healed so much. I had learned, and grown, and blossomed, spreading my wings and flying so far…. all those happy, la la land metaphors.

My blog is about HEALING from PTSD, for heaven’s sake!  I have a page posted at the top of my blog entitled “How to Heal  PTSD,” which lists all the different therapeutic methods and self-help books that have helped me immeasurably. And I really, truly have come incredibly far from where I was when I was in my worst, most crazy-broken-shattered-insane condition.

My tablet wants to know if crazy-broken-shattered-insane needs to be added to the dictionary. Uhm….no.

You know what’s weird? You can’t tell by looking at…

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Something new I’ve noticed about narcissists.

empty_mirror_by_dred8667

I received an email today from a reader asking me if narcissists have preferences — that is, do they really have opinions of their own?  An example was used of a man who said he likes a certain TV show, but when asked who his favorite character on the show was, couldn’t (or wouldn’t) name one, as if he hadn’t actually ever watched the show.

Did he really have a favorite TV show, or was he just saying he had one to give the impression he had his own opinions?    The email writer also said that this person changes his mind a lot and seems to tell different people different things which sometimes conflict.  (I haven’t answered this email yet, but my answer will be that I really don’t know if narcissists have their own preferences or not).

This was an interesting question to me, because of something I’ve been noticing lately about narcissists, especially when they (temporarily) drop their mask.   I noticed they seem to have no personality.   Many people have said they seem soulless, but it isn’t really that.  It’s not a question of whether they’re good, evil, or in between.   It’s more as if they’re a blank slate and there’s nothing imprinted on that slate.   I get the impression of a sort of nebulous “white fog” where a person should be.    It’s like a person without a personality, who then adopts a false one to give the impression that they have their own interests, preferences, like and dislikes, when in actuality they don’t have much of an opinion about anything.   Depending on the person or situation, they “change their minds”–so when talking to one person they may like ABC, but when talking to another one, they like XYZ instead (and dislike ABC).

When a narcissist drops their mask (for whatever reason) it’s as if you’re trying to communicate with a blank wall.   They still don’t share their true self with you because they don’t even know who their true self is (if it’s even accessible), so it’s like there’s no “self” there at all.  It’s both unsettling and sad.

I know one who began to open up about their past and get into some some real meat about the trauma they had experienced when young, but then she abruptly stopped, probably because it was too painful or scary.  I can’t get a clear impression of this individual; she shares nothing personal and is more like a shadow than a real person.   She seems to be trapped in a weird no-man’s-land between the shame of no longer wanting to present a false self (she knows she has NPD and is in therapy) but also not having the courage (or the ability) to present a true one either.

It occurred to me this could be some form of dissociation.

The weirdness of my dreams.

dreams-and-reality

I’ve been doing a lot of Google searches about dreams to find out if anyone else knows what I’m talking about, but I haven’t seen anyone else describe this exact same thing, which makes me wonder if it’s just me, or if it’s one of those things that’s so hard to describe it’s just taken for granted as something that comes with the territory of dreams, which are weird by nature.

I’m talking about the feeling or mood that accompanies dreams, not the strangeness or illogic of the actual actions taking place.  In fact, it’s in the more mundane dreams–those that imitate real life or take place in familiar settings or situations–where the feeling is the strongest.   It’s almost impossible to describe.   Things just feel different–not in a bad or good or scary way–but just different.  It’s not that things seem flatter or the colors seem washed out  because my dreams have as much color (sometimes more so) in them as my reality and things certainly don’t appear flat or two dimensional.   It’s not that fantastical things happen either, because in most of my dreams, nothing much happens at all (if anything weird happens, it’s more likely to be of a slightly absurd or random nature than anything resembling a fantasy novel).  It’s not anything you can actually point to in the dream and say, “That’s it, right there!”   It’s a vaguely eerie mood or feeling, but it’s not really an emotion.   I always think of it as a “parallel universe” effect–things can even be the same as they are in waking reality, but you know it isn’t waking reality because it just doesn’t feel the same.   It’s as if my everyday reality were transported to another universe.   All my dreams have this same parallel-universeness about them which makes me able to distinguish them from waking reality–most of the time.

Sometimes my brain makes errors though. I’ve been a little obsessed over the past day or two with two or maybe three memories that I can’t figure out were memories of a dream or memories of a real event.   Complicating matters is the fact that I occasionally experience dissociation, especially derealization, in which waking reality takes on that same odd feeling dreams have.   When that happens there’s nothing much (other than waking up) that distinguishes “dream” from “reality” and that makes me feel a bit insane sometimes.