McCain: A PTSD Victim?

In the first presidential debate, Senator John McCain exhibited an emotionally flat "shutdown" response — that is, when he did not appear irritable and cross. He wounld not make eye contact with Obama, favored grandstanding over dialogue, and stated that he would refuse to come to the table with world leaders who don’t agree with him. If, in place of the Paris Peace Talks, Henry Kissinger, McCain’s hero, had displayed similar attitudes back in the 1970s, we might still be in Vietnam.

McCain’s posturing has a mothball whiff, like the contents of a time capsule from the 1950s. But before we renew our subscription to that particular brand of leadership and heroism, let’s take a closer look.

Back in the 1950s, many post-war kids experienced their Great Generation fathers as cold, angry, and unknowable. What we didn’t know then, but do know now, is that many brave men who saw intense action in WWII came back suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — a then-misunderstood illness that will last life-long if left untreated. The hair-trigger temper, impulsive behavior, numbed emotions, disassociated responses and flat expression are all hallmarks of this real disease.

The person’s original traumatic experience (and their neurological response to it) become hardwired into the body, causing ongoing deterioration in key areas of the brain. In PTSD, to protect itself from the external dangers, the body will neurologically freeze or over-activate (or both), releasing a cascade of neurochemicals and hormones that shut down normal responses and functions for the sake of survival. Once the dangers pass, the responses still continue permanently.

Sadly, earlier generations of veterans (from the World Wars through Korea and Vietnam, in which McCain served) received no treatment whatsoever. It was mistakenly believed that the wide range of physiological, cognitive and behavioral aftermaths of PTSD were "all in their heads." Instead the veterans had to tough it out — by containing silently within themselves the wartime horrors, or by medicating themselves with drink.

All who incur PTSD in the line of duty deserve our respect. My own grandfather and father were brave men who fought and survived with these kinds of scars. While we can and should feel compassion for them, there’s no reason to adopt their PTSD behaviors as the leadership style now and for future generations.

Times have changed. Now soldiers returning from Iraq are encouraged by the U.S. military and the Veterans Administration to receive the new and definitive PTSD treatment methods that were developed following research that emerged after 9/11. Soldiers are helped to heal rather than suffer "heroically."

As part of that healing, it’s vital to identify classic signs of PTSD,and distinguish those symptoms from the true skills of leadership.

According to psychotherapist Belleruth Naparstek, "impulsivity, crankiness, and sudden rages are all standard PTSD symptoms, " punctuating more episodes of being "numbed out, emotionally flat and isolated. Some keep themselves ‘on alert’ and focused on the ‘enemy’ to override their flatness… but you can hear it when they are not spring-loaded in their favorite, ‘pissed off’ position."

In addition to affecting emotional ballast, PTSD also impacts cognition and decision-making. Though frequently misconstrued as age-related deficits, "cognitive ups and downs, memory lapses, poor concentration and jumping from one focus of attention to another are common PTSD symptoms," Naparstek says.

In her book, Invisible Heroes (Bantam 2004), Naparstek cites studies showing that PTSD sufferers may exhibit "impairment of higher level information processing and decision-making." As a result, they overlook "critical details in making a choice or solving a problem. They might reach conclusions based on narrow, impulsive, or stereotypical initial impressions."

In other words, making brash decisions may (or may not) be the sign of a maverick, but it sure is symptomatic of a PTSD sufferer.

Over the last weeks, many have noted McCain’s tendency to impulse buy mismatched stances and strategies, which when put together look like the ensemble from hell. His selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, like many an overnight infatuation with a stranger, seems different in the morning. The flexibility needed for true leadership would dictate admitting that mistake. In our complex world we need leaders who tolerate ambiguities without rushing to judgment driven by neurological and brain chemical imbalances that are etched deeply within by traumatic experiences. It’s also well established that PTSD sufferers can feel triggered or endangered by slight occurrences which they perceive as a threat.

Even when a person with PTSD came by their wounds honestly — as most do, is such a person the steadiest hand on the red button during a nuclear age?

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The Cure to Cravings

There are myriad strategies aimed at weight loss. If you are like the vast majority of women, at one point in your life you have struggled with weight loss. As a personal trainer and fitness expert, even I have had to fight the battle. Most of my clients think that because I have dedicated my life to health and fitness, weight loss comes easy. I

I need help releasing anxiety!

I am having a hard time releasing anxiety. Everything seems to give it to me… I am meditating as frequently as possible, studying positive motivation and reading everything. I know I can do it, but I even find myself anxious about that. I fight it everyday, and sometimes I win and sometimes I don’t. I am trying to be a positive influence on others as I was taught at a young age to use positive motivation in my life. I recently designed a website/blog Meditation, Motivation and Inspiration http://meditationmotivationinspiration.blogspot.com/. I am even reading the book "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne. Which is very inspiring. I still can’t seem to quiet that inner demon I call anxiety…

Demand that the Bailout Legislation Be Rejected DO IT TODAY

Normally I would not post Political on my Blog, but this is something that needs to be Done Today.

 

Demand that the Bailout Legislation Be Rejected

We are witnessing a bankers’ coup d’etat.
In the name of saving the
economy from a crisis created by their own greed and immense profits,
the biggest bankers have taken a country and a people hostage.

"Give us your money and tear up what’s left of your Constitution or
we will sink your economy," is the message from Wall Street and the Bush
Administration.
"Give us the power and money we demand or you will be
left jobless from a new economic depression.
"

 

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vnb3

When more than 1,000 workers

demonstrated on Wall Street,

VoteNoBailout. org volunteers

were there with signs and flyers.
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Under the pretext of the banking crisis, the Bush Administration is
changing the way this country operates.
This is not simply taking
trillions of dollars from the people and giving it to the richest
bankers to do with as they see fit.

 


Click here to send your letter to Congress

Congress is poised to vote to give the Executive Branch of
government, and specifically the White House’s political appointees in
the Treasury Department, the absolute right to take our money and give
it to domestic and foreign banks and corporations without any oversight
of elected officials, from the courts, or from the people.

The new legislation states: "Decisions by the Secretary [of the
Treasury] pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and
committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of
law or any administrative agency.
"
The Legislation allows the
Treasury Department to appoint the same bankers who created the crisis
to administer and dictate the use of trillions of our tax dollars.

We will not stand by and let the Bush Administration formalize its
vision of a "government of, by and for the richest bankers.
"

The new system institutionalizes theft on a grand scale.
Lehman
Brothers bankers will receive $2.
5 billion in bonuses after their
company went bankrupt last week, but the new dictatorial authority under
the White House and Treasury Department has ruled out any relief for the
millions of working families who are being foreclosed.

We live in a $15 trillion annual economy.
Instead of taking our tax
dollars and giving it to the already rich and powerful, these funds
should be used provide to decent paying jobs, affordable housing, health
care and a good education for our children.
There is another way!

Now is the time to hear the voice of the people.
A spineless Congress
authorized Bush’s illegal war in Iraq and rubber-stamped the Patriot
Act.
Now they are being herded like sheep again to give the White House
and Wall Street dictatorial control over the people’s money.

Send a letter to Your Congressional Representatives

www. votnobailout. org

..Congress has no right to give the White House and its Secretary of
the Treasury the power to transfer the people’s money to the richest
bankers in the country. Vote No to the Bailout legislation. The Bailout
legislation is being rammed through Congress in a matter of days. This
is an illegal power grab by the White House and their richest friends
on Wall Street. The Legislation allows the Treasury Department to
appoint the same bankers who created the crisis to administer and
dictate the use of trillions of our tax dollars. It is also one of the
biggest transfers of wealth from working families to the ultra-rich in
the history of the United States.

Congress
should help families stay in their homes. Wealthy executives should be
forced to disgorge their obscene profits, fees and bonuses that made
them ultra-rich while they ran the economy into the ground.
….

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Surrender Your Judgments

Our beliefs are created by programming that we are exposed to from birth by our families, schools, the media, etc. The programming is reinforced daily. We carry around stale beliefs that have been with us since childhood, and do not serve us anymore. The beliefs about our gender and our identity, as well as judgments about other people and things, limit our options and cut us off from the life force which is our true nature.

The old beliefs, which often operate below the level of consciousness, cause us to continually repeat patterns of behavior. We keep having the same reaction to situations until we break the cycle of our patterns by becoming aware of the underlying beliefs which control us.

It is time to let go of our stale beliefs, which do not bring us what we want in life.

By bringing awareness to our thoughts, feelings and actions, we can release our beliefs and judgments and be aligned with the Infinite Energy Source, which is life itself. Our lives will become peaceful as we give up the things that frustrate and irritate us.

Let’s surrender all of our judgments about people, situations, and ourselves and embody the peace which we crave. We no longer need to seek it as it is what we truly are.

The Only Reality

We torture ourselves with a fundamental untruth- that something is wrong. Wrong is all that cannot be loved, while right is how we think things should be.

We believe that if something was different then what it is right now, then we, our life and the people in it would deserve love.

If only I had nicer shoes.

If only my teeth were whiter.

If only I didn

It Is Time to Change Our Consciousness

We humans are incredibly polarized in the world today on a variety of issues, many stemming from the economic conditions that have been generated to increase the disparity among people and nations. The Dalai Lama said in this millennium our greatest challenge would be the disparity between The Haves and The Have Nots… and so it appears to be.

I see this disparity not only in economics but in education, human rights, respect for all life on this planet, natural resources… etc… It is essential that we WAKE UP… that we begin to think outside the proverbial box, and think into the future of life united, beyond political systems, governments, color, religion and race.

The only way I know to do that is to begin to think and question our own beliefs, our own choices, our own behavior. To question what influence and price they have on humanity and all life on this planet.

In the evolution of life, polarity is a key factor that preempts transformation, transcendence and change. We seem to be fully in this polarity on this planet, a good sign of evolution.

After having lived for eight months in Japan over the last four years, my eyes, heart and hope has been tremendously opened to tragedy, brilliance, trauma, inspiration, cruelty and kindness… in ever so many ways, in ever so many nations around the world.

No matter what our culture, language, nationality, we all create our own reality from our life experiences, beliefs, social programming and subliminal cultural behaviors that have been used for so many generations that they are unconsciously influencing the masses.

This I believe is what we are awakening to throughout the world; when I am in Japan and read the international news and realize how enormous this change is, I know this is the paradigm shift that is essential for all life to continue.

I was in such despair three years ago because of the atrocities that are being committed in the name of America, worldwide, financed and flaunted by multinational corporations using all nations as pawns on the chessboard of life with humans as the most disposable items. When I recognized this, I knew NOW IS THE TIME for all humans to WAKE UP and think with their heart and soul, and have their thinking begin to direct new beliefs, choices, decisions and actions, or we would not have life as we know it.

I believe the U.S. has a destiny as the youngest nation, the nation created at great risk… by people courageously crossing an ocean, in faith that they would reach the opposite shore. We are instilled with this faith.

Then the first shore was not enough challenge, so across the plains came the next great adventures, to this sacred land of California.

The change is consciousness. It is as huge as was the change in consciousness when we "discovered" that the world is not flat. It never was and never will be. Someone made that up and many died as a result of that erroneous belief, and upon that discovery change had to occur collectively.

Today is another shift in consciousness as huge as the previous one. For me, change is the only truth there is. My heart’s desire is that we change with as much consciousness as possible, that we each become accountable for our thinking, our beliefs, our choices, our perceptions and our decisions, and our action. That is the only way we will have a future that does not duplicate the past.

Duplicating the past is not an option in evolution, so now is the only reality to launch our future from. Otherwise, we are slammed in our faces by the atrocities that we humans are generating on this planet, causing immense suffering because we want to be dominant. We want to be RIGHT!!! This is not worthy of evolution for any species.

Our children remind us, over and over with each birth, that there is no duplication. Each life, each breath is a new moment and yet we fight and kill people in the name of being right and requiring duplication. This appears to be insane to me.

So for me, whether it is FOX NEWS, CNN, BBC, the foreign news, MOVEON.org, TrueMajority, etc., it really doesn’t matter. What matters? Whether this news is causing people to think, or just to react.

Reaction comes from our attachment to our fears, our beliefs and our history, sick or not; we are committed to repeat it because it feels familiar and we translate that as "safe."

History, as we have created it, is not safe for our children or any sustainable future life on this planet. Love is safe and we are so afraid of love we are more committed to being right, according to our history and our perceptions of our safety — essentially, what is most familiar.

It is challenging in America right now to be a thinking individual. The media manipulation here is greater than I ever imagined — until I was shown how international news reports "news" — the good, the bad and the ugly — and how much more the rest of the world knows of our politics and political choices than we the citizens of the U.S. It is tragic, and yet, in America, we have brilliant thinking people who are following their heart and soul, giving voice to what they believe is "right," hopeful, encouraging, etc. — and willing to risk all in sharing their views with others.

So what I celebrate is that we are attempting to wake up, to think and feel deeply in our essential nature, our soul, to have the courage to tell ourselves the truth that lives in us, not what others think or believe, but what causes our breath to return to our body, every time we release it. What is the call inside of us that keeps us wanting to wake up each morning?

All things outside of us are symptomatic of the conditions inside of us. There is no other reality. So the issues in the world will not be solved, dissolved or resolved outside of us. We are the mirror of the infinite, and we are the translators of this life force. That is why I wake up and call the breath back into my body, because I believe in LOVE, I believe in the goodness in the heart and soul of every human Being, no matter what.