Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) ( https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder) feels like being trapped in a large haunted house. Something scary and difficult is ready to jump out at you and you have no control. People living with PTSD have a fuzzy sense of reality. They have no control over their thoughts, feelings, or reactions. Most people with PTSD have trouble trust anyone because they no longer know what they are hearing or seeing is right or wrong. They lose the ability to make reason out what makes sense. Sometimes the person with PTSD feel they cannot be loved. The article gives 8 tips for coping with PTSD.
What is PTSD
It’s a sickness caused by being involved in a scary, shocking, or dangerous situation. Some examples include: war, rape or molestation, or being trapped when a fire breaks out. According to the National Center for PTSD (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp) roughly eight people out of 100 will have PTSD some time during their life. Many factors interplay in how someone may react to and after the event. Fear starts the fight or flight response. It is natural to want to defend or avoid a scary situation. Not every person who leaves ends up with PTSD. What causes some people to continue to relive the situation and other to move forward in life is difficult to say. More women have PTSD then men.
Common Risk Factors
Live through other past traumas
How much the person was hurt
The type of support system in place
Current level of stress before the trauma and after
This doesn’t mean that if there have been other traumas and the person has a lot stress in their life before the trauma, they will have PTSD. These risk factors have been common among people coping with posttraumatic stress disorder. Below are 8 tips for coping with PTSD.
1. Work on Being Present Through Mindfulness
A key symptom of PTSD is slipping back into the event. This could be through flashbacks or being reminded of the event by an object. A person coping with PTSD can recall the upsetting event in great detail and their mind wants to go back their because it is unsettled. Staying in the present by doing deep breathing or mindfulness keeps the person in the now instead of the past and reduces feelings of helplessness.
2. Activities and Activity Scheduling
Staying active by doing favorite activities help distract the brain from thinking about the dangerous event. Creating a daily or weekly activity schedule helps reduce the chance of dwelling on past events because the brain can’t think about something about the past and concentrate on doing a puzzle.
3. Daily Physical Activities
Doing daily physical activity, such as running or playing a sport, increases mood. It drives goal setting and finding a sense of completion, which helps people with PTSD feel in control. The feel in control because they made and achieved the goal.
4. Use Thought Stopping Tools
Using thought stopping tools, such as a funny word or phrase retrains the brain to assign a different emotion to the traumatic event. This helps reduce symptoms of PTSD.
5. Journaling About the Situation
Writing about the situation without worrying about punctuation can bring closure to the situation. The idea is to write out thoughts and feelings. By telling an attacker or dangerous event how you are feeling reduces the need to keep reliving the event. Most people find it freeing.
6. Spend Time With A Pet
Many studies indicate spending time with a pet, such as petting a dog, can relieve stress. Most animals are good listeners.
7. Make Coping Cards
Take an ordinary deck of index cards and write the fear on the blank side. On the ruled side write positives or ways to overcome the situation. The more a person sees positives from the event they are taking back their power. PTSD takes away, overcoming the fear gives the power back.
8. Seek Professional Counseling
Just having a trained professional sitting and listening can greatly reduce PTSD. Most professional provide strategies to relieve the symptoms.
To learn more about trauma counseling check out my trauma page, call, text, or email angelie@pillars of hopecounseling.com