Having read the previous 3 blogs you may be wondering what to do for yourself or someone you care about that is exhibiting the three categories of PTSD.
#1 – Pat yourself on the back because, if you are still here, that means you are a survivor. You can move from realizing you were a vic-TIM, to knowing that you are or can be a vic-TOR.
#2 – As a survivor, I hope you know that you deserve whatever professional help you can obtain in order to take your life back and to live fully, having faced your own mortality. A therapist trained in a ‘power therapy’ like EMDR or TFT would be very beneficial. I am skilled in, and am very frequently successful with Thought Filed Therapy.
#3 – Calming and grounding skills are very important. When triggered by the intrusive memories, the goal is to move from back then and there into the here and now. Using one’s five senses to engage with is very helpful to pull one’s self into the present. Such as, to use intense flavors (I like to use hot cinnamon candies), intense scents (your spices in the cooking cabinets), textures (maybe something rough or very bumpy), detailed visual images (something you can really get your mind into) and calming sounds (music that you like and that helps you feel calm). Consider making a basket of these to have handy.
#4 – You can also journal or talk to a very trustworthy and understanding person. The more you deal with the trauma on a conscious level, at least by talking and writing about it, the less need there is for your mind to deal with it in nightmares and flashbacks.
#5 – Another effort you could make is to manage your environment by avoiding obvious triggers if possible, at least at first. Those might be certain shows, movies, stores at peak hours, 4th of July firecrackers, angry and/or violent people, constant strangers in your home and partying at risky places. These are less important than your mental health.
#6 – If you’re experiencing a co-occurring depression or sleep problem, seek treatment for these by talking with your doctor. There are also medications that can help with the nightmares for those with PTSD.
There you have it – PTSD Light. The more you learn about you, the PTSD and the traumatic incident, the more you can take back the control of your life!