PTSD is impacting my whole life
I have PTSD. The side effects are really bad and have impacts on sex, anger and my relationships. I even lost my job month ago.
How can I get my life back?
There's so many treatments for PTSD and trauma-related issues. Your path might look different than what someone else's path looks like, though most people benefit from learning emotional awareness and regulation, increasing tolerance for talking about traumatic situations, and a deep understanding of how to tell the difference between a past vs. present event. A counselor that you feel connected to can offer you a safe place to explore these areas and come up with a personalized treatment plan. It's common to feel worse when you're addressing the tough stuff, but there's really no shortcut to healing. Even if you don't see a counselor, believe in your ability to get through those emotions. You've probably been enduring some intense emotions if your life is being turned upside-down, so you can definitely make it through whatever is causing you pain--and remember you don't have to do it alone.
Bessel Van Der Kolk (basically the leading trauma researcher) has an amazing book called 'The Body Keeps the Score'. It's the trauma bible. It's all about how the body reacts to and stores trauma, with many different ways to cope. Trigger warning though--he does share some client stories that involve trauma. They aren't the bulk of his book but they do show up so just be aware of that. You can find his book on amazon pretty cheap.
You've already reached out and that's a big part of getting your life back. Keep pushing through!
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This is a great question. PTSD can be very complex and debilitating. It must be very difficult for you at this time.
When we feel complex emotions such as anger, frustration, and possibly low-self worth, the tendency is to try to avoid or suppress these emotions. The more you avoid them, the more these emotions will express themselves, and at the worst times. This may be why your PTSD symptoms are harming your relationships and your job status.
To help you get your life back, it is important to process your emotions with a counselor that has specific training in trauma-informed interventions. To process emotions, you start by inviting them in, observe them with compassion and without judgment. When we observe our emotions, it starts the healing process because we separate ourselves from them.
Remember, thoughts and emotions are constructed. You are not your thoughts, nor your emotions. They are messengers telling you to pay attention to them. The more we avoid the messengers, the louder they get, to the point that they are crippling you in more than one way.
I hope this helps you begin your change process. For more information, please here is a link to a trauma post on my blog The Wisdom Room.
Please reach out for help. And contact me with any questions.
~ Catherine Cleveland
Cleveland Emotional Health
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Slowly is the rate at which you'll get back your life.
Being traumatized means not feeling safe in almost all areas of life.
Be patient with yourself as you try to regain trust that people will not harm you and will be sources of satisfaction in your life.
It is possible that the trauma in your life requires such great attention on your part to your own inner emotional safety that you are better off with a less intensive job than the one you recently lost.
Try to prioritize restoring your emotional and psychological health. With this as the top area of your attention then you may have an easier time to accept a lesser degree of involvement in your work and relationships.
When you feel angry, try to examine if underlying the anger are feelings of stress, fear, insecurity regarding your position in relationship to the person toward whom you feel angry. Anger is often the surface reaction to more destabilizing emotions like fear and insecurity.
Gradually by nurturing and comforting yourself, living at a pace which is uniquely comfortable to what and how much you can handle, you'll regain your trust in both yourself and relating to others.
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It is brave of you to speak out, PTSD is not a joke and it can quickly take a toll on all aspect of life. Please, know that you are not alone and with the right help you can overcome these challenges.
Living with PTSD can be very emotionally exhausting, but you can learn ways to cope with its challenges and find fulfillment in your life again. This means being proactively involved with the process, learning about the problem and positive ways to manage it can be a good start. This can also mean seeking professional help. It is important to address the problem both at the physiological and psychological level, this can mean using medication that is prescribed by a MD to reduce the intensity symptoms and also working with an experienced licensed professional. Having healthy life habits such as good sleep hygiene, healthy diet, staying away from self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, and exercising can help reduce the intensity of the symptoms as well. Please, consult with a licensed professional close to you to get more information on resources you can possibly find helpful to you.
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I hear you, PTSD has a very debilitating effect on your whole life. I know that from personal experience. Recovering from it is possible and doable!
First is step is to acknowledge to yourself that your PTSD symptoms are a normal reaction to an abnormal and traumatic event. The nightmares, the anxiety, the heightened startle response - are all typical human responses following exposure to a frightening event. It's important that you don't blame yourself or your body for reacting this way, rather approach yourself with compassion and kindness that you would extend a friend who is hurting.
The second step is to start taking steps towards healing. I would really encourage you to see a counselor or therapist specializing in trauma recovery so that you have a guided, step by step support. But if this is not an option, you can begin your healing on your own using a step-by-step approach outlined in the book, Healing Trauma, by Peter Levin. It's a very hands-on book and even comes with a CD audio guide. It has concrete exercises that you can do to help you eliminate dissociation, feel grounded, and decrease your anxiety response. I have used myself and with my clients with great success!
You can begin your recovery journey now with this video with Peter Levin's approach to Trauma Recovery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmJDkzDMllc
One last thing, I suggest consulting with a nutritionist or a doctor to help you boost your healing with supplements, vitamins, and minerals. The stress from PTSD is very draining on the body, and you use up a lot of energy and resources, so at times of trauma supplements are quite necessary for recovery (Magnesium, Omega 3, Zinc, Vitamin C....etc)
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