Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health issue that some people experience after experiencing life-threatening events like combat, sexual assault, or even a car accident. Before we can list some possible methods of coping, there is one thing that we all need to understand. PTSD is not a sign of weakness. It is okay to feel fear or anxiety while in a situation that ignites such feelings
PTSD will not look or feel the same for everyone, as there can be any number of situations, many of which are often outside of our control, that could be at the root of an individual developing symptoms of PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may occur immediately after a traumatic event but it is possible that it can occur much later on. Either way, in order to cope with this, we must first be able to identify it.
Here are four very common types of PTSD symptoms:
- Re-experiencing Symptoms. The feelings associated with the memories of the traumatic event can sometimes seem as though they are in a constantly replaying loop. The memories can even be brought back by a familiar sound, scent, sight, or touch, these are referred to as “triggers”. Triggers act as the play button for many of these memories or flashbacks and may result in feelings of fear, anxiety, nausea, and an array of other familiar emotions or feelings.
- Hyper-Arousal. Hyperarousal is a type of PTSD symptom which results in heightened anxiety. This occurs when a person’s body suddenly kicks into high alert as a result of thinking about their trauma. This specific symptom can result in persons having difficulty sleeping or concentrating, becoming easily startled increased irritability, anger, panic, and hypervigilance.
- Numbing. This results in the person becoming robotic in the sense that, they disconnect from feelings, therefore, replacing it with a sense of “deadness”. This kind of detachment can result in loss of interest in life, isolation, depression, withdrawal, or even emotional amnesia. This can also often result in the individual avoiding acknowledgment of the trauma and the feelings that may come with it.
- Negativity. This symptom results in the individual feeling negatively towards themselves, others, and life itself. It can cause isolation as well as makes it difficult to maintain friendships or close relationships. It also has the ability to cause the individual to feel a constant lack of trust towards everyone within the world. In other words, become very cynical.
An estimate of 10.4% of women will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, twice the likelihood of their male counterparts. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can have a significant impact on an individual’s life, as its effects can negatively impact close relationships, moods, and many other aspects of navigating life. There are many ways to cope with these effects or symptoms of PTSD, but not all are healthy.
Below, find 5 healthy ways to cope with PTSD.
- Appreciate the Process.
The road to recovery is absolutely nothing like baking a cake, but the patience required is similar in order to reap the rewards. On many occasions, you may feel as though you’re closer than ever to complete healing and then certain triggers might set you back. One way of getting through it all, is realizing and accepting that recovering is extremely time-consuming and it will not be as simple as we may desire it to be.
- Allow Yourself To Bloom. Nothing will ever be the same after the traumatic event, but it doesn’t mean things have to be worse. Allow yourself the room to breathe and open up once more. I understand that it’s hard and no one expects things to be easy, but when you isolate yourself from the people around you, especially those that care deeply for you, you fall into a darker place than the nightmares your PTSD may have already caused.
It’s important to establish and maintain a support system at this time in your life. It’s important to remember you are still human and still deserving of love and care. Though, in order to receive it, you must allow yourself to bloom and accept it.
- Keep Yourself ACTIVE. It is important to remember the linkage between our emotional health and our physical health. If we don’t feel 100% ourselves physically, then it has the potential to take a toll on us as human beings, emotionally. Exercise has the ability to improve moods and perspectives, creating a more positive internal environment.
It is also capable of being a healthy distraction as it causes you to focus on the details of your bodily movements. The emotions that come along with PTSD, can be very overwhelming but the act of exercising, whether it is mentally through reading a book or even doing crossword puzzles, or physically by means of hiking, circuit training or anything else of the sort, can serve as wonderful distractions and stress relievers.
- Eat Healthily. How you treat yourself on the inside, begins to show on the outside. Eating healthy foods as an important part of a consistently balanced diet can result in a number of emotional benefits for anyone, especially PTSD fighters. Healthy eating can result in an increase in energy levels which may then lead to a positive change in mood. As much as the ice cream and fried foods are tempting, it isn’t the healthy choice, especially when trying to cope with PTSD.
- Find Your Balance. The uneasy feelings that accompany Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be extremely overpowering, which may cause you to feel anger at times. A method of coping that can definitely offer you some relief, however, is meditation. You don’t have to be skilled to find your center – you just have to be silent and open to what you feel enough to work on regaining your control over your emotions. It can also help with the hyperarousal.
Another method of finding your balance is also yoga. Usually, people hear the term, “yoga” and become fearful because of the poses one may see online, but there is so much more to it and so many different types of yoga. In finding what works for you, you will also find your balance and your center to create a sort of harmony that can lead to you recovering from your PTSD.
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