PTSD can be incredibly challenging to heal from. The recovery time can be long-lasting and debilitating. Not only can the symptoms of PTSD affect your mental health, but it can also affect your ability to work, form relationships, and impact your physical health, too.
The key to posttraumatic stress disorder is minimizing your triggers and developing healthy coping strategies. This can give you a renewed sense of control over your life, along with hope, and you can begin to find joy in the things you once loved again.
Challenges of Recovering From PTSD
If you have experienced a traumatic event, and are suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, then you may suffer from difficult symptoms. These can range from memory loss to guilt, low self-esteem, and fear, and you may struggle to experience feelings such as love, happiness, and satisfaction.
You may avoid situations, feelings, people, or places associated with the traumatic event, and you could become very upset when reminded of what happened. This could lead to flashbacks, negative thoughts, panic attacks, or nightmares. This can make it incredibly difficult to move forward.
You may feel detached from others, become reckless, or lose interest in things you once enjoyed. In turn, you could easily become angry or irritated, which can impact your friendships, bonds, and relationships.
Recovering from PTSD can, therefore, be very challenging. You are more at risk of developing depression, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide, or even substance abuse disorders.
Some of the common challenges in healing from PTSD are that you feel powerless and vulnerable. You may be unable to trust others, and you doubt those around you. You may also be unable to manage or cope with your emotions and distress.
Your trauma can overwhelm you. So, how can you cope with PTSD and aid your healing process?
How to Cope with PTSD
Educate Yourself and Others
Knowledge about PTSD can go a long way in your recovery. You may feel very alone with your PTSD and isolated, but there are others going through a similar experience as you. Educate yourself on the condition and reach out to others to help them understand it too. You can learn about the condition, and what you can do to help not only yourself but others around you including others living with PTSD. Helping others is incredibly healing. Research has shown that acts of kindness are linked to feelings of well-being. One study using fMRI technology showed the same areas of the brain affected by food and sex are stimulated by altruism.
There will be online or in-person groups and organizations in your local community that can offer you support and meetings, and help you feel less alone with your condition. This can really jumpstart your healing journey. You can find healthy coping mechanisms, connect with others, and build an effective support system.
Do not isolate yourself from others, or you may feel more fearful and anxious. It can seem easier to stay alone as you do not risk being triggered or overwhelmed, but you will likely struggle more. Reach out to family or close friends, and spend time together.
If you are not ready to be out at social events, then try to talk to someone on the phone, online, or go for a walk, get a coffee from a local coffee shop and just chat with passers-by. This can make you feel more connected to others and to the world around you.
Mindfulness is so important in recovering from mental health disorders. This could be through meditation, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, or doing anything that makes you feel calm and at peace. Mindfulness can also help you calm down when you feel anxious or overwhelmed, and can help bring you back down to earth.
Reach out for Counseling
Speaking with a professional therapist or counselor can be incredibly helpful when you have PTSD. It will be a calm, safe space for you to talk about your emotions without judgment, and progress mentally and physically so you can heal.