For those of us with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, symptoms can be any number of a wide variety.
PTSD is an avoidance disorder it is the affect of your mind refusing to “deal with” or process trauma. Many people suffer from unprocessed trauma, but it doesn’t always manifest into a clinical disorder.
Medically, a disorder is identified as something that abnormally disrupts regular function, physical or mental.
Think about the difference between swerving and correcting your car as opposed to crashing it.
Disorders crash things.
Avoidance comes in lots of forms. Obsessive behaviors and compulsions, emotional numbness, avoiding reminders of trauma, and lingering depression and feelings of guilt and worthlessness (NIMH paraphrase).
Chronic PTSD is like the regular disorder on steroids and can lead to other trauma related disorders, including Dissociative Disorder which is what I have.
Depression is like a very slick hillside which I am always trying to climb.
Feelings of worthlessness in tandem with emotional numbness can make me withdraw and avoid even good things.
Luckily, depression from PTSD responds to the same treatments as regular depression, since it is the same chemical issue in your brain.
- Keep taking your medicine!
DO NOT EVER STOP TAKING PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION UNLESS YOUR DOCTOR TELLS YOU TO!
You can enter a vicious cycle of “feeling better” so you stop taking your medicine, but your medicine is what is making you feel better. Prescription drugs are not necessary for everyone, but for those whom it is, you need to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. If you don’t feel better, don’t stop taking your medicine, find a new doctor that meets your needs. It is better for them to work with what is happening than to have to help you through the turmoil of being on and off medication.
- Go to therapy
Lots of people believe that medication alone can “fix” their depression. It’s just not true. Therapy is a big part of the whole picture of healing. Don’t go once and then never go back. You need to have a relationship with your therapist if you hope to get anywhere. Research and take recommendations. If one therapist doesn’t work out, it isn’t your fault, just find another.
The American Association of Christian Counselors is a fantastic place to start. When I moved I looked to them and the psychologist I found referred me to the one I see now. Therapists want you to get better more than to fill their appointment books. They will refer you to someone who can better meet your individual needs.
- Find natural sources of endorphins
In short, find things that make you happy.
I like gardening, painting, writing, reading, walking, doing yoga, and playing with my dog (Also Sonic dates and surprises…like doughnuts and flowers)
Exercise is difficult when you are depressed, but it makes a huge difference. Some doctors say that it can help as much as therapy or medication. Even walking 10-20 minutes a day can be the beginning to an exercise regimen, just keep it up!
I do a 5 minute yoga routine every day and it kicks my butt!
- Eat clean and drink water
When your body is bogged down by processed foods and not enough water it only contributes to feeling terrible.
Clean eating is a great way to jump start your system to have more energy for exercise and muscling through days that seem to take forever.
Getting better is a brave thing to do that takes a lot of energy. Be nice to yourself. Know when to push and when to pull back. Have friends and family hold you accountable to achieving your goals and doing what you need to to get out of depression’s vice grip.
Check out my blog, Cheap is Cheap, for tips on drinking water and exercising.
You can do this.
REMEMBER THE LOVE OF GOD
SEEK THE TRUTH OF GOD
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