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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
Answers and Tips For Recovery

War, rape, terrorist attacks. These events can trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.   During a traumatic event, your nervous system naturally goes on high alert, sending you into fight, flight or freeze mode.

Depending on the severity of the incident, your nervous system should calm down after a few days or a few weeks. 

But sometimes this doesn't happen. The emotional upset doesn't go away.  You may find yourself stuck in an emotional time warp.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Answers and Tips For Recovery
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Answers and Tips For Recovery

Image Credit: Pixabay


Life goes on around you, but you're stuck living with the painful memories and emotions associated with the trauma. 

And no matter what you do you just can't get free of the nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, feelings of helplessness, shame, and guilt.

You may have even entertained thoughts of suicide.

If this sounds like you, don't worry.

You're not alone.

You're not going crazy.

You're not weird for feeling like you do.  You're suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

So, what was your traumatic event? 

A natural disaster?

A sexual assault?

A robbery?

Combat?

For me, it was the night I wrecked my car, November 20, 2000.

The thing to remember is that PTSD is totally treatable.  This article will give you the information you need to manage and eventually overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  

Common Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Anxiety is a big part of developing PTSD. 

If the anxiety isn't treated you may eventually develop panic disorder.

After a traumatic event you may feel:

  • shaky or tremble
  • your heart may feel like it's beating out of your chest
  • lump in your throat
  • dizziness or faint
  • cold sweats
  • uncontrollable, racing thoughts
  • tightening feeling in your stomach

You may also feel:

  • guilt or shame
  • betrayal
  • helpless
  • depression
  • substance abuse
  • aches and pains

 

PTSD effects about 3 million people in the U.S. each year.

It's also perfectly normal to:

  • Have a hard time accepting what has happened to you or someone you love.
  • Afraid that the traumatic event will happen again.
  • Guilt that you survived while other died. Or feel like you could have or should have done more to help during the event.
  • Angry that God allowed the event to happen in the first place.

Maybe these overwhelming feelings make you feel there's little hope that life will get better. 

Don't listen to that voice. 

There's hope.  No doubt about it. 

If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of traumatic stress, consider following these tips.


Tip #1: Stop Fighting Your Feelings

After a traumatic event, it's normal to be in shock, stuff down your feelings and not deal with the emotional fallout of what's happened.

But accepting your feelings is necessary for putting you on the road to healing.  Here's how you can deal with overwhelmingly painful emotions and traumatic stress.

1. Give yourself the time to mourn your losses.

2. Allow yourself to feel whatever feelings may come up without judgment.

3. Learn how to feel hurtful emotions without becoming overwhelmed.

4. Be patient with your recovery and don't force the healing process.


Tip # 2:  Help Yourself by Helping Others

Volunteering and finding other ways to help others is actually a great way to help yourself. It gives you a chance to connect with others who are going through their own trauma.

Look for ways you can help those around you.  It doesn't have to be anything big.

Simple acts of kindness count.  You can support others by:

  • Visiting friends, family or neighbors and offering support
  • Helping a stranger
  • Offering a smile to those you encounter during the day

These are simple ways to challenge your feelings of helplessness.  


Tip #3: Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes

The symptoms of PTSD can be both emotionally and physically tough on you.  Adapting a healthy lifestyle will help you deal with the emotional fallout. How is this done?

Take Time Out To Relax

There are a ton of different ways you can relax and reduce stress.  Proven relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, massage helps to enhance your body's relaxation response.  The more you practice relaxation, the longer the effects will last.

Eat Plenty of Fat

Healthy fats that is.  Omega-3 fats play a vital role in emotional health.  Try to get as many good fats as possible into your diet.  Start with: wild caught fatty fish like salmon, olive oil, almonds, flaxseed, and walnuts.

Avoid eating too many processed and fried foods. These low nutrient foods can make anxiety and depression symptoms worse and negatively affect energy levels. This article gives you a good overview of how nutrition affects mood.

Get Your ZZZZ

One of the best ways to battle PTSD is the get enough shut eye.  Sleep deprivation worsens irritability, moodiness and anger.  Try to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.

Steer Clear of Alcohol and Drugs

While battling PTSD you may be tempted to self-medicate by drinking alcohol and taking drugs.  But alcohol and drug abuse only worsens your symptoms.

Get Up and Get Moving

Exercise helps to the body and mind get unstuck from the traumatic event.  The best exercises are those that involves using both the arms and legs. 

Examples:

Walking
Running
Swimming

Historical Tid Bit: 


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has been around since we humans began roaming the earth. 

Now for soldiers, what we now call PTSD had some unusual terms over the centuries.

During the American Civil War, it was called Soldier's Heart.

During WWI it was called Shell Shock. 

In the Second World War, it was called Battle Fatigue or Combat Stress Reaction (CSR).

Many doctors didn't know how to treat PTSD. Many military leaders didn't think it was real.

Today doctors and therapists have a much better understanding of the toll war and combat can take on the human psyche. 

And are better equipped to help soldiers and vets deal with post traumatic stress disorder.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 

Everyone processes trauma and stress differently.  What's overwhelming for me might be less stressful for you. So it's  fair to say that PTSD develops differently from person to person. 

Now symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder usually happen within hours or days following a traumatic event.

But sometimes it could take weeks, months or years for symptoms to manifest. 

This last part is especially true. After I had my car accident back in 2000, life had more or less returned to normal.  Then three months later, out of nowhere, I had a major panic attack. 

I felt like the wind was knocked out of me.  I didn't know what the heck was happening. Little did I know that I was experiencing PTSD.

For many who have survived a powerfully traumatic life experience, the emotional scars can stay around for a good long while.

Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)-this therapy uses elements of cognitive behavioral therapy with eye movements to help change the way your brain processes negative information. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-You can use this form of therapy to gradually expose yourself to things and situations that remind you of the traumatic event. The purpose is to help you neutralize negative thoughts and emotions surrounding the trauma. Try it now!

Talk Therapy-Speaking to a trained, certified and experienced therapist (especially one who specializes in PTSD) can do wonders in advancing your recovery. When looking for a therapist don't settle.  Make sure you are totally comfortable and that you trust your therapist. 

Medication may fit into your PTSD recovery. The right ones can ease symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. But remember that meds will not cure the root cause of PTSD.  

 


Resources

How to Choose a Therapist for Post-Traumatic Stress and Dissociative Conditions. This link provides advice on how to choose a trauma therapist.


I hope this article helps you on your journey towards better mental health.

Bright Skies Are Ahead,




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Week 1

This first installment focuses on the link between exercise, diet and good mental health.

Week 2

I'll talk about the importance of using relaxation techniques to lift your mood and calm your nerves, which in turn improves mental health. 

Week 3

This week all about using self-esteem to improve mental health and overall well-being. 

Week 4

This final week presents ways to reduce social media usage. Studies show that over consumption of social media contributes to anxiety and depression.

Click here to start this free e-course!




Week 1

This first installment focuses on the link between exercise, diet and good mental health.

Week 2

I'll talk about the importance of using relaxation techniques to lift your mood and calm your nerves, which in turn improves mental health. 

Week 3

This week all about using self-esteem to improve mental health and overall well-being. 

Week 4

This final week presents ways to reduce social media usage. Studies show that over consumption of social media contributes to anxiety and depression.

Click here to start this free e-course!