If you've been following me over the last few weeks, you know that I introduced the idea of incorporating the Principles of War as a means of dealing with PTSD. In doing this, my hope is to help you achieve a deeper level of thought about how you might go about choosing methods for your healing. By introducing a single Principle of War, in a series of posts over the next several weeks, I am giving you a new set of criteria that you can use to evaluate the possible courses of action that you choose for your healing journey.
I realize it may sound a bit counter productive to use war principles for healing an anxiety disorder, but allow me the opportunity over the next few weeks to expand this thought and see if this might apply to you or someone you know that might be working to rid their life of this disorder. If you continue to follow this series, you can save time with future posts by going directly to the bold text highlighting the week's highlighted Principle. This week we look at the principle of:
Security - Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage
If you've been following this blog for the last six weeks you've probably, like many skeptical warriors, been waiting for the opportunity to see if I can really string all the Principles of War together to work for post traumatic stress disorder. With only 3 Principles remaining, I can assure you that I will accomplish that end. With that said, let me now say that of all the Principles of War, Security is going to be the toughest to achieve. But, in order to ensure we hit the mark on this post, I think it is important for me to manage your expectations right out of the gate. Most of you that are struggling with the demon of PTSD know that you can flashback, have nightmares, and auto-create the emotions associated with your trauma at the drop of a hat. Knowing that happens, you probably are wondering how you can be "secure" with a force that comes out of nowhere. Again, I'll say, it starts with your mindset. If you think about security and what it REALLY is, it's nothing more than early warning that allows you to respond to the threat at hand. Here's some additional information that helps to expand this thought.
Imagine your trigger (hopefully you have identified your triggers that cause you so much pain) as a warning siren that letsyou know that the demon of PTSD is closing in on your position. In an effort to prepare for the demon crashing your perimeter, wouldn't you like to have an accurate countdown timer on this bodily action? Well here goes brothers and sisters and I realize this will be complicated, but for most of you I'm sure you will understand the timing:
A danger presents itself and 16 seconds later:
0:16 An environmental signal travels into the brain. In response, the amygdala, a primitive structure in the brain, fires off a nerve impulse to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus sends a chemical signal to another part of the brain called the pituitary gland.
0:25 In the pituitary gland, corticotrope cells release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) into the blood stream.
0:38 Simultaneously, nerve impulses travel from the hypothalamus along the spinal cord to the adrenal gland (atop the kidneys). Both the chemical signal (ACTH) and the nerve impulse initiated in the hypothalamus travel to the adrenal gland.
0:49 In the adrenal gland, the nerve impulse signals chromaffin cells to release epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) into the bloodstream. Epinephrine will travel to many different cell types throughout the body.
0:54 The ACTH previously secreted by the pituitary gland travels through the blood stream to cells in another area of the adrenal gland.
1:01 On the surface of an adrenal cell, the signaling molecule ACTH docks on a MC2-R receptor, causing it to change shape.
1:03 Inside the adrenal cell, the conformational change of the receptor causes the G protein complex to become activated and uncoupled. The G protein stimulates adenylate cyclase to convert ATP (the cell’s energy molecule) into cAMP (a signaling molecule).
1:08 cAMP activates Protein Kinase A (PKA) causing it to release its catalytic subunits. The catalytic PKA subunits travels to the mitochondrial membrane and switches on a protein called steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (commonly referred to as StAR).
1:11 StAR is responsible for mediating the complicated task of importing cholesterol into the mitochondrion.
1:13 Inside the mitochondrion, enzymes convert the cholesterol into 17-OH-pregnenolone. 17-OH-pregnenolone is released from the mitochondrion and sent to the endoplasmic reticulum, where it is converted into 11-deoxycortisol.
1:25 This compound is then sent back to the mitochondrion where it is finally transformed into the final product,cortisol. Cortisol leaves the adrenal cell by freely crossing the cell membrane, and it enters the bloodstream.
1:35 Cortisol will travel through the bloodstream to several cell types. It will initiate signaling cascades in these cells resulting in an increase in blood pressure, an increase in blood sugar levels, and suppression of the immune system.
1:42 Remember the epinephrine that was released earlier by the adrenal gland (sure you do), well from here, the epinephrine will travel to several cell types, eliciting different responses.
1:45 On the surface of a liver cell, epinephrine binds to an alpha-1 adrenergic receptor causing it to change shape.
1:47 Inside the liver cell, the conformational change of the alpha-1 adrenergic receptor causes the G protein complex to become activated and uncoupled. The G protein binds to phospholipase-C, causing it to produce and release the signaling molecule IP3.
1:58 IP3 binds to receptors on the surface of the endoplasmic reticulum, stimulating the release of calcium ions.
2:04 Calcium interacts with phosphorylase kinase, stimulating it to release its associated molecules of glycogen phosphorylase.
2:11 Glycogen phosphoryase breaks a glycogen molecule into individual glucose subunits.
2:26 The newly-formed glucose is transported out of the liver cell and it enters the bloodstream. This glucose will provide an immediate source of energy for muscle cells.
2:28 Simultaneously, epinephrine travels through the bloodstream to other cell types.
2:42 In the skin, epinephrine binds to a receptor on an erector pilli smooth muscle cell. This causes a signaling cascade (similar to the glycogenolysis signaling cascade, above) that contracts the muscle, raising the hair on the surface of the skin.
2:56 On the surface of sweat glands, epinephrine binds to Alpha-1 adrenergic receptors, triggering a signaling cascade that contracts the gland, squeezing sweat to the skin’s surface.
3:15 In the lungs, epinephrine sets off a signaling cascade that relaxes muscle cells surrounding the bronchioles to enable increased respiration.
3:26 Epinephrine can have opposite effects depending on the type of signaling machinery present in the cell. Docking on alpha-1 adrenergic receptors on the erector pilli muscle causes contraction, while docking on beta-2 adrenergic receptors on bronchiole muscle cells cause relaxation.
3:51 In the heart, epinephrine acts on the pacemaker cells, stimulating them to beat faster. As a result, energy and messenger molecules are circulated throughout the body at a faster rate.
If you want to see how this happens, you might want to watch this movie for a better understanding.
At it's most basic definition, Security merely implies early warning. Within 4 minutes of a triggering event, your body's natural processes will make your heart beat faster, your skin to start sweating, your breath to become more shallow and your senses keener. This is also when the demon is alive inside of you. Your Security, therefore, lies in knowing where your triggers are and your efforts to develop new coping strategies to slow down the advance of the demon that is coming your way.
At Warrior Life Coach, we use mindfullness techniques to strengthen the neural pathways of your body that can compensate for the release of adrenaline into your bloodstream. Additionally, we incorporate a process known as Subconscious Restructuring® or SR® for short. With Subconscious Restructuring® you will learn a breakthrough method called Stop and Replace that allows you to short circuit the effects of adrenaline mediated responses in your body. To learn more about this and other coaching methods we offer, please go to our website located at www.warriorlifecoach.com . I look forward to working with you.