What is PTSD?
PTSD is a complex and painful condition that can leave individuals feeling overwhelmed and alone. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects millions of people worldwide. It is a serious mental health issue that can cause an individual severe distress and interfere with their daily activities.
Our survival mechanism is an integral part of our human nature, but our brains may respond differently when we experience a traumatic event. It can become stuck in a loop of fear, anxiety, and distress, causing us to experience PTSD. It’s crucial to understand that PTSD is not a sign of any weakness and can happen to anyone.
It’s essential to seek help and support in the healing process. By opening up and sharing your experiences with others, you can validate your feelings and create a sense of connection in the healing process. Remember that healing from PTSD takes time and patience, but with the proper support and care, it is possible to find not only find peace, but to also move forward.
Here are some points to further emphasize:
- PTSD can leave individuals feeling overwhelmed and alone, but it’s essential to understand that you are not alone in this struggle.
- Seeking help and support is crucial in managing PTSD and improving your quality of life.
- The healing process will take time and patience, but finding peace and moving forward is possible.
- Remember to continue to be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion.
What Does PTSD Look Like?
PTSD originates from trauma.
Gabor Mate’ defines trauma as: “Trauma is a psychic wound that hardens you psychologically that then interferes with your ability to grow and develop. It pains you, and now you’re acting out of pain. It induces fear and now you’re acting out of fear. Trauma is not what happens to you, it’s what happens inside you as a result of what happened to you.”
Our bodies may react to these events with fear, anxiety, and stress, leading to various manifestations. These may include:
- Flashbacks, where we may feel as though we are reliving the traumatic event
- Nightmares or bad dreams
- Avoiding people, places, or activities that remind us of the traumatic event
- Negative thoughts regarding ourselves or the world around us
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Feeling anxious, irritable, or easily startled
It is important to note that while PTSD is an issue that can cause significant distress, not everyone who experiences a traumatic event in their life develops PTSD.
Signs Of Suffering From PTSD
- Re-experiencing characteristics. This may include flashbacks or nightmares, feeling like they are reliving the traumatic event. They may also experience intense distress or physical sensations, such as sweating or heart palpitations, when reminded of the traumatic event.
- Avoidance behaviours. This can include avoiding people, places, or activities that remind them of the traumatic event. They may also avoid talking about the traumatic event or experiencing emotions related to the event, such as guilt or shame.
- Changes in mood and cognition. Someone with PTSD may experience negative thoughts about themselves, others, or the world around them. They may also have difficulty remembering or concentrating on essential details about the traumatic event.
- Hyperarousal characteristics. This can include feeling easily startled, irritable, or having difficulty sleeping.
- They may also engage in self-destructive behaviours, such as using drugs or alcohol, to cope.
Importantly, not everyone with PTSD experiences all of these characteristics, and the severity of the characteristics may vary. However, if you or someone close to you is experiencing any of these characteristics seeking help in therapy can be the first step in learning to live with and overcome PTSD.
How Can Therapy Help With PTSD?
Therapy is a successful approach to PTSD. Individual counselling with an integrative approach can help individuals with PTSD by combining multiple therapeutic methods specifically for the individual and their needs. Common therapies used to treat PTSD include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), EMDR therapy, and trauma-focused talking therapy.
Therapy can also help individuals with PTSD learn how to manage their characteristics through self-care practices. This may include learning relaxation methods, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, and practising mindfulness. It can also involve improving sleep habits, developing healthy eating habits, and regularly engaging in physical activity.
One of the essential benefits of therapy for PTSD is that it provides a safe and supportive environment for individuals to process their trauma. Trauma can be challenging, but therapy allows individuals to share their experiences without judgment. This can help individuals feel less isolated and more supported in their healing journey.
Self-Care for PTSD?
Self-care practices can also be beneficial for individuals with PTSD. These practices include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Practising mindfulness
- A healthy sleep pattern
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs
- Seeking support from loved ones
- Joining a support group
Most importantly, remember that recovering from PTSD can take time and patience, and it is crucial to continue support, even if it feels complex or challenging.