Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can have a major impact on a persons life. Learning healthy ways to cope with the disorder is necessary to managing symptoms. As PTSD never really goes away it’s imperative that you find healthy ways to deal with the disorder.
After experiences I had when I was deployed to Afghanistan. I was diagnosed with PTSD. I have learned many ways to cope with the sypmtoms I experience. Not everyone will have the same symptoms and coping with the disorder is a life long process. It does get easier but, if you are a Veteran and are experiening symptoms of PTSD and have not been seen by a medical professional, please make sure you do. Go to your neares Veterans Affairs Hospital and be evaluated. This way you will know what you are dealing with and can start your road to living again.
Here are a list of 5 healthy ways you can help manage PTSD:
(Note: I am not a doctor or health care professional these are ways that I have found useful for managing my PTSD symptoms. Always talk with your doctor before trying any treatment)
1) Develop healthy relationships-One of the major symptoms is feeling distant or cut off
from others. Creating a strong relationship with loved ones and a few select friends can lessen the symptoms. Creating the trust that is needed and being able to open up about experiences will help the coping and knowing someone is there for you when you need to talk.
2) Learn Meditation or Relaxation Skills- Often racing thoughts, flashbacks, panic or anxiety are symptoms that seem to take over the mind. Learning to relax during attacks or practicing daily meditation can lessen frequency of attacks or help during one. (One relaxation skill that I use is to go to a quiet place…think of a time that was very pleasant and quiet…for me fishing. Think about the peace you felt at that moment….feel how your body is at that moment. Think about everything in this pleasant moment that makes you feel happy, safe and calm.) Another way to relax is Deep Breathing Exercises.
3) Know your Symptoms– This may seem like a “no brainer” but, understanding your symptoms and knowing the triggers will better help you manage them and find ways to cope. Not everyone with PTSD have the same symptoms and not everyone will cope with them the same way. Knowing your triggers will help you find healthy ways to cope.
4) Healthy Distractions- Some people may think that distractions are just and avoidence mechanism…but, finding healthy distractions will increase your daily life. Some healthy distractions are: reading, taking a walk, taking a warm bath, listening to relaxing music or talking with a friend.
5) Writing about your Thoughts or Experiences- Now you may think that this will trigger symptoms and it might. But, writing out the recurring memories and how you are feeling will help get out what you may have been holding back. Writing out an experience and then throwing the paper away is another way you can say “I am done feeling this way and I now take back my emotions.” Or you can have a blog like me and write about what helps you and how you are living your life. By showing others you can still LIVE even though you have this disorder is a healthy alternative to hiding it away.
No matter how you choose to cope with PTSD, remember that there are people there that care for you and want to help you in anyway they can. For more information for Veterans go here: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/treatment/cope/