June 19, 2014
Have you experienced a trauma and then after an extended period of time noticed you have experienced symptoms such as re-experiencing the event through flashbacks or nightmares, had fear of danger and been hyper-alert to your surroundings, felt numb, avoided people, places or things that remind you of the trauma you experienced, felt angry or even guilty? You may be experiencing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
These symptoms can turn your world upside down, and make everything feel out of control.
Recovering from PTSD is possible! There are successful treatment strategies available, and therapists/psychologists who specialize in trauma treatment.
Some of the things you can do as a survivor to help increase the success of treatment, is to see the strengths that you have. First of all, you survived the trauma! Seek support of others, either friends, family, or support groups, avoiding isolating which can intensify the symptoms. For some individuals, seeking spiritual support can be helpful.
Talk with your doctor about the symptoms you are having. While there isn’t a medication for PTSD specifically, there are some medications that reduce some of the symptoms. Utilizing your talents and hobbies for distraction and even for intentional purpose of accomplishment can be helpful. Try as much as possible to keep your thoughts in the moment, rather than in the past. Let your time with your therapist be a safe place to explore the trauma.
As a survivor of trauma myself, I know first-hand the struggle of working through trauma and PTSD. I also know how much my life has changed for the positive, and how much healing I’ve experienced. At the beginning, I never thought I was going to make it through. I was scared, overwhelmed and felt hopeless. My therapist and an inpatient trauma unit assisted me in learning the skills necessary to manage my symptoms until I was able to process the trauma that caused them.
No matter what happens in the process of recovery, don’t give up! You are worth the fight for your healing.
People don’t ask for trauma to happen to them – whether war veterans, survivors of abuse or sexual assault, disasters, or terrorism. Some survivors blame themselves for the trauma or think they could have done something different to have stopped the trauma. Blame needs to be placed on the appropriate person or situation, and that is not on the survivor. For example, for the survivor of childhood sexual abuse, there is nothing you did to ask for it, or to cause it. The perpetrator chose to be abusive and to violate you. Ask for help from those who can help, and don’t be afraid to make your needs known.
It is okay to “shop around” for the right treatment team for you (therapist, psychiatrist, family doctor, support group, etc.).
Be your best advocate – you are so worth it!
For more information on PTSD, consider visiting the NIMH website.
For a list of therapists who specialize in trauma treatment visit the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation website or Psychology Today Therapists by searching for therapists in your area by specialty, Trauma and PTSD.
I believe in your ability to face your trauma and the PTSD. There are listeners here who have experience with Traumatic Experiences and can be a supportive network for your healing journey. We’d be honored to be part of your team.
By 7 Cups Listener,
Photo Contributed by Listener, Pieta