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How to Deal with PTSD
I'm writing this hub to answer the question, "How do I deal with PTSD?" After suffering from PTSD for years, I have learned a few things about how to deal with PTSD. I'd like to share what I've learned in hopes to help the person who asked the question and anyone else struggling with PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness caused by the brain's inability to integrate the memory of a life-threatening trauma into the person's memory. The memory of the trauma gets stuck, so to speak, and causes PTSD symptoms such as flashbacks and nightmares. Other symptoms such as feeling on edge, oversensitive startle reflex, and fear have been especially problematic for me.
Here are some tips on how to cope with PTSD based on things I learned:
· - Don't get discouraged.
· - Stay connected with people.
· - Use textures to help with flashbacks.
· - Challenge yourself.
Don't Get Discouraged.
"PTSD is something you will always have," the caseworker told me in a matter-of-fact tone.
That statement hit me like a slap in the face. I became discouraged. How could I keep facing the fear and flashbacks every day for the rest of my life? That happened over a year ago. Today, my symptoms are much less severe. I'm finally able to feel like I'm recovering. I feel positive that I will work my way back to where I was before the onset of the illness. In fact, I strive to be better than that. I hate to think what would have happened if I had given up and accepted that statement that seemed to sentence me to a life of fear.
Stay Connected with People.
I tend to isolate. I've lost several friends and have had my friendships strained by my withdrawal from society. In any means possible, whether it's attending a support group, spending time with a supportive friend, visiting family, or participating in an online forum, stay connected with people. Isolation felt good to me. I no longer trusted people. In fact, whenever anyone knocked at my door, I'd run to my bedroom out of fear. For awhile, I could only connect with people online, because then the interaction was completely on my terms and at a "safe" distance. I would encourage everyone who has PTSD to reach out to friends and family and do their best to keep friendships alive. It takes a lot of effort when all you want to do is hide from people, but it's well worth it.
Use Textures to Help with Flashbacks.
When I would have a flashback, I learned that feeling something with a pronounced texture helped me to focus on reality and end the flashback as quickly as possible. The textured walls in the apartment were my favorite thing to feel when I would have a flashback. If I wasn't near a wall, I'd feel my clothing and concentrate on that texture while I would remind myself that I'm not in any real danger from my memories.
Instead of remaining isolated and living in fear, I pushed myself to do things that are difficult but healthy. I would make myself go to the store with someone I trusted. When I struggled with people knocking at my door, I began to force myself to look through the peephole rather than to automatically run to my bedroom. Even though I hated leaving my apartment alone at all, I'd push myself to check the mail and take out the trash. These may seem like insignificant things, but they are real achievements for people who feel they are in danger any time another person is nearby.
More Help How to Deal with PTSD
I hope these tips about how to deal with PTSD help. I also started a blog on my website that includes information about anxiety disorders and more about my personal struggles with PTSD. I hope you'll visit and feel free to comment here or on my blog, especially if you have tips that may help others.