Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease or health condition mental or physical. The blogger is sharing her own personal experience ONLY; this is not meant as a treatment or diagnosis. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
How I deal
with PTSD…something we need to talk about more!
Anxiety and stress…. We all have it. Here’s where we find what works for us and we deal with it.
If only it were that easy, right?
I suffered from PTSD for years before I figured out how to properly handle my flashbacks. Once I began to learn how to ground myself and get back into the present, my flashbacks weren’t as bad or frequent anymore. I know this may not work for everyone. We are all different. We have different triggers for sure! But I did eventually learn to ground myself by consciously telling myself what year I was in. So if it were today, I’d be telling myself, “Heather, it’s 2019, you are in Wichita, Kansas. You are at such and such address. You are at work. It’s 2019. You are in Kansas…” And I’d repeat that over and over. I’d get a glass of cold water to have something tangible to touch, hold, and feel. It helped anchor me to the present to hold — and drink — a glass of cold water.
The cold water trick was something SO SIMPLE, yet it worked for me. Figure out what works for you. Maybe it’s something you hold or look at. Maybe it’s something hot or cold for you like it is for me.
I am NOT a therapist and am not qualified to diagnose or treat PTSD. I’m just sharing what worked for me.
It turned out to be a simple solution for an extremely complex issue. And to this day, I can’t honestly explain my stuff to you. I can’t explain PTSD or how it works, how it affects me… It’s just a horrible experience and with therapy and my own research, I figured out something that has worked — so far.
My triggers are deep. They aren’t a daily thing. It’s not like being a veteran who is triggered by fireworks, car backfires, and loud booming noises. My PTSD is triggered by very specific conditions and feelings. This is a time of year when my memories torture me and some of those conditions become ripe…sometimes. Not always. The brain is a tricky thing like that.
Bottom line, two things work: anchoring myself to the present with affirmations about the current year/time/place and having a cold glass of water to really feel like I am an honest, REAL human being who exists on a plane where I can drink cold water. Ironically, I never choose to drink cold water otherwise. I prefer room temperature!
Now, when my mind runs away from me, I tell myself I am OK. I am safe. I am taken care of. Everything is fine.
I don’t beat myself up or dismiss my feelings as “made up” or “silly” or “my mind running away with itself.” I think those of us who grew up with anxiety heard enough of that crap growing up.
So now, it’s recognizing, “I feel anxious.” Then I self-soothe by telling myself I’m ok. I’m safe. Life supports me. Everything is happening for my own good. The Universe is making a way. My fears are valid AND I can let them go. I can breathe in the peace. I can relax. I can practice self-care. I can take a break. I can call a friend for help.