Vomiting thoughts-Journey to Healing?

Sammyjo

Active Member
Had a strange event last night while having a calm conversation with my husband. My body started shaking almost "violently", kind of like shivers only WAY stronger and I wasn't cold. Woke up exhausted, very shaky and had a very foggy brain. Got in the car to go to therapy and it all got worse. Literally felt like I might pass out (probably shouldn't have been driving). Started some meditative breathing thinking I was having a panic attack. What didn't make sense was why I was having a panic attack.

Got to therapy and told her what I was experiencing and it was in fact a panic attack, she gave me a different breathing technique to try (which worked).

Long story short, if you'll recall, I saw her for a bit prior to COVID because my husband had convinced me that my concern about not feeling loved by him was all in my head and was a self esteem issue. It has been apparent since my first visit that my self esteem is well intact. What she hadn't shared with me is that I have classic PTSD symptoms that she believes have existed since the first time I found out about his P usage.

Of course I've heard of PTSD, but generally in association with war Vets or rape victims (things of that nature). It never occurred to me that it was an issue for me. I am going to share an article (below) about what happens in the brain with trauma. Changes occur, and those changes are most likely why I became violent with my husband that night (of course the alcohol didn't help). It is also the cause of my panic attacks. It is ALSO the cause of hypervigilance as well as going down the rabbit hole thinking. (All of it is self preservation mode.)

SO...of course the next question was "how do I fix it" - Comes back to either getting out of the situation and working to trust others, or working with my husband until he does enough of the "right things" to make me feel safe in our marriage again, which as we all know will take TIME. These things will re-wire the brain to react normally again. In addition the brain needs to "heel" thus the feeling of exhaustion all the time.

We talk a lot here about triggers (for both rebooters as well as SO's) - triggers for us SO's can range from clear to very subtle. A clear trigger would be watching the Kardashians, a subtle trigger would be a look on my husband's face that I use to see when I was suspicious of what he was up to, or the way he used to fiddle with his fingernails prior to going up to "work on his expenses". I know a lot of my triggers, but I have NO idea what triggered this panic attack.

Here is a portion of the article that can be found at https://www.brainline.org/article/how-ptsd-affects-brain

Your alarm system​

Your amygdala triggers your natural alarm system. When you experience a disturbing event, it sends a signal that causes a fear response. This makes sense when your alarm bells buzz at the right time and for the right reason: to keep you safe. Those with PTSD tend to have an overactive response, so something as harmless as a car backfiring could instantly trigger panic. Your amygdala is a primitive, animalistic part of your brain that’s wired to ensure survival. So when it’s overactive, it’s hard to think rationally.

Your brake system​

Your prefrontal cortex (the front-most part of your neocortex) helps you think through decisions, observe how you’re thinking, and put on the “brakes” when you realize something you first feared isn’t actually a threat after all. Your prefrontal cortex helps regulate emotional responses triggered by the amygdala. In service members with PTSD, the prefrontal cortex doesn’t always manage to do its job when needed.

A bad combination​

An overactive amygdala combined with an underactive prefrontal cortex creates a perfect storm. It’s like stomping on your car’s accelerator, even when you don’t need to, only to discover the brakes don’t work. This might help you understand why someone with PTSD might: (1) feel anxious around anything even slightly related to the original trauma that led to the PTSD; (2) have strong physical reactions to situations that shouldn’t provoke a fear reaction; and (3) avoid situations that might trigger those intense emotions and reactions.

System recall errors​

Other common PTSD experiences—such as unwanted feelings that pop up out of nowhere or always being on the lookout for threats that could lead to more trauma—seem to be related to the hippocampus, or memory center of your brain. Your hippocampus is a lot like your computer’s memory that writes files to its hard drive. After a trauma, your hippocampus works to remember the event accurately and make sense of it. But because a trauma is typically overwhelming, all the information doesn't get coded correctly. This means that you might have trouble remembering important details of the event, or you might find yourself thinking a lot about what happened because your hippocampus is working so hard to try to make sense of things.

Debrief/Bottom line​

Your amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus all contribute to the feelings and actions associated with fear, clear thinking, decision-making, and memory. Understanding how they work also might explain why some therapies can help you work through PTSD. For a visual guide to these and other parts of your brain, and more information about them, explore the Center of Excellence for Medical Multimedia’s “Interactive Brain.
 

Jlied

Active Member
Had a strange event last night while having a calm conversation with my husband. My body started shaking almost "violently", kind of like shivers only WAY stronger and I wasn't cold. Woke up exhausted, very shaky and had a very foggy brain. Got in the car to go to therapy and it all got worse. Literally felt like I might pass out (probably shouldn't have been driving). Started some meditative breathing thinking I was having a panic attack. What didn't make sense was why I was having a panic attack.

Got to therapy and told her what I was experiencing and it was in fact a panic attack, she gave me a different breathing technique to try (which worked).

Long story short, if you'll recall, I saw her for a bit prior to COVID because my husband had convinced me that my concern about not feeling loved by him was all in my head and was a self esteem issue. It has been apparent since my first visit that my self esteem is well intact. What she hadn't shared with me is that I have classic PTSD symptoms that she believes have existed since the first time I found out about his P usage.

Of course I've heard of PTSD, but generally in association with war Vets or rape victims (things of that nature). It never occurred to me that it was an issue for me. I am going to share an article (below) about what happens in the brain with trauma. Changes occur, and those changes are most likely why I became violent with my husband that night (of course the alcohol didn't help). It is also the cause of my panic attacks. It is ALSO the cause of hypervigilance as well as going down the rabbit hole thinking. (All of it is self preservation mode.)

SO...of course the next question was "how do I fix it" - Comes back to either getting out of the situation and working to trust others, or working with my husband until he does enough of the "right things" to make me feel safe in our marriage again, which as we all know will take TIME. These things will re-wire the brain to react normally again. In addition the brain needs to "heel" thus the feeling of exhaustion all the time.

We talk a lot here about triggers (for both rebooters as well as SO's) - triggers for us SO's can range from clear to very subtle. A clear trigger would be watching the Kardashians, a subtle trigger would be a look on my husband's face that I use to see when I was suspicious of what he was up to, or the way he used to fiddle with his fingernails prior to going up to "work on his expenses". I know a lot of my triggers, but I have NO idea what triggered this panic attack.

Here is a portion of the article that can be found at https://www.brainline.org/article/how-ptsd-affects-brain
I read a book a year or so ago called change your brain change your life by dr amen, it talked about all kids of brain traumas from addictions to concussions, steps he’s prescribed to help them and different techniques to use. Talks about how some of these things happen and why people sometimes get stuck in the same loops. I found it interesting. Perhaps read the overview of it, it might be useful for you dealing with PTSD.
 

Sammyjo

Active Member
How is it going, SJ?
It's going. Good day, bad days. Couples therapy can't get here fast enough. At least he's not traveling for a few weeks so that helps my brain a bit.

I will say he surprised me this morning by sharing an article he read on CNBC written about the Gottman's (look up the Gottman Method, it's a therapy method) and how they predict whether a marriage will last or not. He noticed while reading the article how he can improve some of our interactions, and as he shared the story with me I immediately realized 3 times in the prior day where he had used these things.

I actually noticed them when they happened (without knowledge he had read the article), for example I walked into his office, and instead of me standing quietly until he had a moment (which often would mean several minutes), he immediately looked up and said "how can I help you?". It was very notable.

Here is a link to the article: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/11/the...gists-who-have-been-married-for-35-years.html

Point to self - he is trying, not just placating (although I do believe there is some of that). He may be slow, and certainly not perfect (who is), but he IS trying. It's hugely helpful, these little things, like reading a helpful article (on his own rather than me sharing it with him).
 

Jlied

Active Member
It's going. Good day, bad days. Couples therapy can't get here fast enough. At least he's not traveling for a few weeks so that helps my brain a bit.

I will say he surprised me this morning by sharing an article he read on CNBC written about the Gottman's (look up the Gottman Method, it's a therapy method) and how they predict whether a marriage will last or not. He noticed while reading the article how he can improve some of our interactions, and as he shared the story with me I immediately realized 3 times in the prior day where he had used these things.

I actually noticed them when they happened (without knowledge he had read the article), for example I walked into his office, and instead of me standing quietly until he had a moment (which often would mean several minutes), he immediately looked up and said "how can I help you?". It was very notable.

Here is a link to the article: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/11/the...gists-who-have-been-married-for-35-years.html

Point to self - he is trying, not just placating (although I do believe there is some of that). He may be slow, and certainly not perfect (who is), but he IS trying. It's hugely helpful, these little things, like reading a helpful article (on his own rather than me sharing it with him).
Awww, that’s good news, thank you for sharing this with us ❤️
 

Jlied

Active Member
It's going. Good day, bad days. Couples therapy can't get here fast enough. At least he's not traveling for a few weeks so that helps my brain a bit.

I will say he surprised me this morning by sharing an article he read on CNBC written about the Gottman's (look up the Gottman Method, it's a therapy method) and how they predict whether a marriage will last or not. He noticed while reading the article how he can improve some of our interactions, and as he shared the story with me I immediately realized 3 times in the prior day where he had used these things.

I actually noticed them when they happened (without knowledge he had read the article), for example I walked into his office, and instead of me standing quietly until he had a moment (which often would mean several minutes), he immediately looked up and said "how can I help you?". It was very notable.

Here is a link to the article: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/11/the...gists-who-have-been-married-for-35-years.html

Point to self - he is trying, not just placating (although I do believe there is some of that). He may be slow, and certainly not perfect (who is), but he IS trying. It's hugely helpful, these little things, like reading a helpful article (on his own rather than me sharing it with him).
@Sammyjo I may have shared this with you before but the Gottmans have an app called card decks and you can use it to spark conversations with your mate, they range from basic questions and can go into sexual conversation into secret acts of service you don’t tell your spouse your going to do. Some of it is just surface level convo, but there are certainly some that can spark a deeper conversation or at minimum get the ball rolling.
 

Sammyjo

Active Member
@Sammyjo I may have shared this with you before but the Gottmans have an app called card decks and you can use it to spark conversations with your mate, they range from basic questions and can go into sexual conversation into secret acts of service you don’t tell your spouse your going to do. Some of it is just surface level convo, but there are certainly some that can spark a deeper conversation or at minimum get the ball rolling.
YES! I forgot about that, and am downloading it as I type!
 

Sammyjo

Active Member
The Importance of WHY - My Perspective (part of my therapy yesterday)

First, I want to say to the hard working rebooters, this is not a personal attack on any of you. It is simply my thoughts on the "why" in my particular circumstance.

The "why" is a huge important piece of information because without the answer to "why" how can we have any level of confidence it won't be repeated. (Kind of laughing at myself as I type that because the reality is, this IS an addiction, and how can one ever have 100% confidence in it not being repeated.) Additionally, we are told it isn't about us - if we could understand the "why" it would be easier to believe that it is not about us.

I suspect for my husband the answer is as simple as "I didn't care what you thought, I was being a selfish SOB". It started as his private pleasure, perhaps for stress release and became an addiction. I think initially it was some form and combination of "my body my choice" and "what she doesn't know won't hurt her". I think he can't come up with this answer because it's too hard to admit to himself. Overall he is a very good man, helpful, kind and generous, with great integrity, and admitting that he was so far off base in an area of his life (our marriage), and to the person that is supposed to be highest on his priority list creates too much conflict in him. Something along the lines of "I promised to love, honor and cherish my wife, instead I honored my dick and cherished millions of other women, and in the process devastated her."

The reality is none of us are perfect. We all hurt each other from time to time. When we do hurt each other we step back analyze why we did what we did, apologize and try not to repeat the behavior - AND it's easier to not repeat the behavior when we understand WHY we did it in the first place.

This is where I think it is most important for the addict to "man up" - this is where you REALLY own it, when you can truthfully tell us why, whatever that "why" may be. And that's when the real healing can begin.
 
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Sammyjo

Active Member
I just posted this on another thread and thought it should be in my journal.

The thread was about wondering if our past happy times were actually happy or a fake. This was my response:

Been there done that.

Changed my wallpaper on my phone from him to a flower in my back yard, took down every picture in the house of us having a seemingly happy moment together. Each picture felt like a lie. It made me want to break things so I took them down.

I've considered putting them back up before but instantly knew I wasn't ready.

It's been 8 months, and when I started typing this response I realized I can now put them back up, and I did, and it made me smile. I hope this feeling lasts. The one thing about this betrayal is that it IS a roller coaster of emotion.
 

GBS

Well-Known Member
Hi SJ. The “why” - we’ve been chatting about this on my thread. But two cents more. Finding out the why is quite a challenge for an addict I think. One needs help to do it. In the end when you piece together the “why” I think it helps me/the addict because we can see how and why we won’t go back. Mine is childhood related and my therapist said most addicts will find the answer way back. But you have to unpack a lot of shit to find it. The unpacking, if you tell your partner, is like getting undressed in the high street. Not easy. No one said it should be. Does it help my wife? She says it “helps” but it doesn’t complete the jigsaw. You’re still left wondering if the cause is ok as an explanation - and it isn’t a justification…..so you have seemingly got all the pieces, but the jigsaw can’t be finished……DOES NOT COMPUTE.

I am saying that I am not sure if the “why” is the answer. It’s part of it. You’re (plural) still left with why did he choose this path over me? We addicts would say why do heroin junkies steal money off their parents to get their next fix, then they turn to crime to get their fix, then it spirals. Don’t blame me, judge, it‘s heroin’s fault. Sorry pal, off to the cells with you - laters! There is the horrible but left in the middle of explained hurt, but it still hurts. I am not sure at that/this point the addict can do anymore except be totally accountable, totally honest from henceforth, and empathetic and understanding for the rest of our days. If trust comes back with those cornerstones then there’s a future, but if the addict can’t keep his side of the bargain and the hurt partner can’t slowly believe the new world is here…..then perhaps the race is run.

I think good people (both addicts and partners) can do it. It’s really hard work which is fair on the addict and unfair on the partner, but I have come to the conclusion that this is what’s required. Oh…and communication.

Keep going lady. Be strong, I know you are.
 

Sammyjo

Active Member
First couples therapy today.

1 hour (actually 50 minutes) just isn't long enough. Feels like all we did was rip open stitches.

Husband minimized a lot. I clarified some of the minimizations.

Next therapy in a week, then miss a week due to travel.
 

Jlied

Active Member
I’m happy to hear you made it to your first session, I’m sure the first few are going to feel like that, only advice I could give is trust the process, these people study these topics for a career. In my eyes, the fact that you two went is progress all it’s own.
 

Sammyjo

Active Member
Having a bad day. Birthday is coming soon, and it's hitting me hard (never had an issue with birthdays before). Started making the coffee and tears started streaming just thinking about "celebrating" my BD. Pretty sure I'm going to have a pity party with a good cry today. It's like turning a year older has created more pain (just as I was feeling like I was on more solid ground). I'm back to feeling like how in the world can my husband still find me attractive after flooding his brain with all those young hot bodies and beautiful faces.

I keep telling myself I look great for my age - it is no consolation. I keep telling myself that I am a good person with a great soul, that I am smart, kind and blah blah blah. It is no consolation.

We are going to a nice restaurant for my BD and I don't feel like celebrating, I just feel like crying.

We are heading to Vegas soon (business trip for him and I'm meeting up with my BFF of 50 years). Been trying to figure out what to pack to look good, and I caught myself in the mirror and looked like an old lady trying to keep up with the 18 year olds, or as I phrased it to my husband - a 70 year old hooker. Early next year we head to Aruba for 2 weeks - then I get to deal with bikini and thong clad girls.

I was online yesterday looking for a new winter jacket, and the images were killing me - young girls in short shorts with crop tops, some in underwear, sitting with their legs spread modeling a WINTER JACKET. WTF? I can't even buy a winter jacket without reminders.

Sigh. I just need a good cry today and a hug from someone who understands, but I have not and can not share this with my friends.

I guess I'm grieving the loss of my youth. How silly and superficial that seems, but it is ripping my heart out right now.
 

ImBroken

Member
@Sammyjo - sending you a virtual hug. I understand your emotions, can’t relate specifically, but I understand where your mind goes. Another inequity brought on by media, thousands of years of objectification, etc. - Its so twisted - I wish I could give you the relief your brain needs - but I can tell you that you are brilliant and have helped me - I have relied on your story and your wisdom…the rest is all window dressing. Sending that big HUG!
 
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