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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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I've written this for another place where I used to mod. I don't go there now, but I realise how many people may need this advice, so I thought that I'd share.


P.T.S.D. is known to affect people who've experienced any number of traumatic events that changed their views of the world and, in many cases, how they view themselves.


P.T.S.D. is an acronym that stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


What P.T.S.D. means can be broken down into:

Post (meaning after),

Traumatic (meaning things that you may have witnessed, or been involved in, and felt no sense of control over, and which you'd not wish to have happen again),

Stress (our responses to changes, whether good or bad),

Disorder (Lack of order, specifically in how we now respond to things that bring back memories, often called "triggers".)


When you shove the meanings together, we see:

After traumatic events, we may feel stressed which can cause us to feel a lack of order in our lives.


Triggers are things that bring back memories of events that we'd rather forget. Sights, scents, sensations, tastes and hearing (our five main senses) are often responsible for bringing back memories, although we may not be able to identify the exact cause of each episode where we may feel triggered.



P.T.S.D. affects many people, including but not limited to:

· Military members, firefighters, ambulance workers, police officers and hospital staff

· People who have been involved or have witnessed motor vehicle accidents, or other accidents

· Those who have been abused or attacked (physically, sexually, psychologically)

· Those who have lost a loved one who was dear to them

· Those who have been harassed or bullied


Although the causes of the P.T.S.D. may vary widely, the symptoms felt as a result of the P.T.S.D. may often be very much the same.


How symptoms may present in the survivors:

-We may be irritable (either for short or long periods of time)

-We may feel depressed.

-We may feel "not good enough" or "not well enough"

-We may feel socially isolated

-We may become very lethargic, with no energy and lack of motivation

-We may feel overwhelmed

-We may feel that nobody cares about how we are feeling

-We may feel very frustrated

-We may feel that nobody understands or has been in those same situations that we've faced, and can't possibly understand.

-We may lack appetite, or have an increase in appetite.

-We may have nightmares

-We may feel very anxious

-We may have panic attacks (crying, feeling of having a lump in your throat, sometimes dizziness)

-Other symptoms may emerge (such as doing things in excess, like cleaning, gambling, drinking, drugs, eating and sleeping)

-Inability to work

-Inability to cope with any change in plans

-Feeling the need to always be surrounded by loved ones, which we may perhaps convince ourselves is done to keep the other people safe from harm.

-Being unwilling or unable to leave the house, which can sometimes make things feel worse.

-A sense of being unsafe, ill at ease and/or insecure.



Managing symptoms of P.T.S.D.:

It affects people in many ways. I have had times where I've really struggled. Quite honestly, I should have gone to the hospital at times.


Other than the hospital, our other options vary, depending on the severity and frequency of the symptoms. One idea that seems to work well for me was to do things from a list, which I've written and complied over many years. The list is lengthy, so that you may choose which management skills you prefer to use, because not every option works for every person in the same way.


severity: How badly the symptoms affect you.

frequency: How often the symptoms affect you.


12 Self-help tips for reducing common symptoms:

1.    Spend time with other people.

2.    Set priorities. Most important (or things that are due first) get done first.

3.    Exercise to reduce stress.

4.    Set realistic goals.

5.    Identify and seek out comforting people.

6.    Tell others about things that cause stress.

7.    Break it down. Big tasks to small ones.

8.    Do what I can, how I can.

9.    Gradually improve - reduce stress.

10.   Identify and seek out comforting situations.

11.   Confide in a trusted relative or friend.

12.   Hang out with pets – suggested by a0ella, thanks! :D


Good list to get S.T.R.O.N.G.

(AWESOME LIST given by jewel.)

S – sleep for eight hours each day

T - take meds, as prescribed, if prescribed.

R - resist drugs and booze  (Alcohol is a depressant)

O - one thing of mastery (Don’t try to be the best at everything)

N – nutrition (You need vitamins and minerals to help you to feel well.)

G - get exercise (45 min walks, 5X per week will do wonders for your mood after 3 weeks)


Keeping a schedule:

Has anybody suggested creating a schedule as a means for  helping to get through hard times?


This: “Break down my days and look at the small picture, not everything at once.†came from Lori’s therapist. So what we need to do is look at good ways to break down our days. The best one that I’ve learned through my own experiences is this:


We have three categories that we break the day into.

Each category is 8 hrs long for a total of 24 hrs

Category 1 is sleep.

We should all try to get 8 hrs of sleep each day


Category 2 is work

We should aim to do 8 hrs of work, whether at a job, at

home, in the garden or volunteering. Studying can be considered work.


Category 3 is leisure.

We should be trying to get leisure time during the day.

That can include such things as: exercise for mental and physical health, painting, decorating, sewing, playing sports, woodworking and photography.

It can also be such things as: speaking with friends, preparing meals, reading, eating, watching movies, making phone calls, being creative and going for a swim, planning an upcoming event.


Dig those out things that you enjoy. Do something for an hour tomorrow.

When we're creative, it can help to lift our spirits. I hope that this helps.



Ways To Be Happy:

1. Accept the things you can't change. If you can and want to change them, try to do it. Asking for help with this is perfectly acceptable.

2. Let go of the people who are holding you down. If you considered them, you already know who these people are.

3. Blast your favorite upbeat song and sing at the top of your lungs, dancing as you go.

4. Go for a run, a nice, long run. Run until you feel good; at the very least, you'll be tired enough that the feelings that you’ve been feeling will seem less major.

5. Call someone you love. Just hearing their voice can make your day better.

6. Smile at a stranger. It will make both of you smile.

7. Send an anonymous compliment. You might give somebody else (and yourself) a much needed smile.

8. Write down everything you don't like about yourself. Rip it up. Burn it. Now write a list of things that you like. Focus on those.

9. Watch your favorite movie. Comedies seem best for making us feel better.

10. Realize that you are your own biggest critic. People do not see the faults in yourself that you do. So realize that they are not faults, not imperfections. They make you exactly who you are.

11. Keep a list of any little thing that made you feel happy during the day. Write on that list every night before bed. Read it in the morning. It helps to show you some of the good things that you might otherwise forget about. This may seem like a hard task at first, but it will become easier.



When I am stressed (anxious, scared etc), this is what I do:

I use my 5 main senses to get me to think clearly first, then decide how to act. Look for the APPEALING things around you, rather than the uncomfortable.


1) What do you feel physically?

Fuzzy slippers, socks, lotion, carpet, the feel of a paint brush.


2) What do you taste?

Could be mint, a good meal, apple cider, chocolates, apple pie, bubble gum.


3) What do you hear?

The sounds of nature (great on youtube), the sounds of birds outside,

somebody laughing, a good song on the radio, the sound of a friend's voice


4) What do you smell?

Grab cinnamon and vanilla at the store, put it in a pot, set on med low on your stove. That smell calms me. Could also be popcorn, some mint, your coffee.


5) What do you see?

A magazine with craft ideas, photos of loved ones, youtube video of Ricky Gervais and Elmo or any other comedian, like Robin Williams or Adam sandler.


If you don't have those around you, go out and find 5 pleasant things, one for each sense. Do you know why people love going to the movies and eating popcorn?


It’s because it occupies each of the five main senses. Once the senses are occupied, you’re not able to concentrate on the distressing things. You can “take a break†from the stressors. Once you’re ready, go back and handle it with small steps and deep breaths.



Depression story about walking:

I can understand what it’s like to be really down. I've been there. Has it been suggested to you to start walking? I was SEVERELY depressed and lethargic. I am not kidding when I say that it used to take me 3 hours to be able to psych myself up enough to be able to get up off of my couch and walk 17 steps to go pee. I was very tired of that. I couldn't do it anymore. I had hit my rock bottom.


I said to myself that I could do ANYTHING for ten minutes, so I did. Ten minutes of sorting the mountain of laundry, rest, ten minutes of doing dishes, rest, ten minutes of cleaning the table, rest. I just kept that momentum going.


I didn't "WANT" to do it, but I knew that I HAD to do it. I decided on the second day that I should go for a walk. I didn't want to put on my shoes. I didn't want to get dressed. I forced myself for every step of the way.


I nearly cried when I had to force myself to leave my house, because I had no energy.  I wasn't at the end of the driveway yet when I wanted to turn back but I made myself go four driveways away. Then I looked back. I thought..."nope. NOT turning backâ€, so I walked 8 more.


Then I got half way down the block. I decided that it was nearly as fast to go all the way around, then to turn around and go back. I wanted progress, so I kept going. It took about 15 or 20 minutes to get through the walk around the block, but it felt good, even though I was exhausted.


There is a reason for why walking helped me to feel good. I didn't discover it until later. When we walk (or do ANY exercise) we produce a natural anti-depressant. Then, when we get some sun, we get vitamin D.


Vitamin D helps us to be able to absorb and use the natural anti-depressant. Drink or eat vitamin C before your walk, because itt helps you to absorb and use the vitamin D. Basically, eat an orange or apple, or pineapple slices before you go for a walk, out in the sun, if possible.


I had to do the walks about 5 times a week for 45 minutes. I felt major effects in 3 weeks. It was one of the things that helped me the most to get better from PTSD.


I’m not even near perfect. Lately, things have been difficult. I keep looking to my lists to find even ONE thing that I can do that might improve my mood. Even if my mood just improves by 5%, it's still higher than before.


Another benefit is that I might be up to doing something else to help my mood to improve even more. Know that you are not alone in your struggles. We love you and we’re glad that you’re here.



People care.

People don't know what to say sometimes.

People wish that they knew how to help.

You likely need a break from things for a while.

You don't have to always be strong.

You're allowed to be human, and to have emotions.


People have hard times, but this will get better. Did I believe that last April? No. Did I believe it back in October? No. Did I believe it in the months in between? Yes, at some points. Why? Because if you sit upon the shoreline and watch the flow of the tide, you'll notice something if you stay long enough.


You'll notice the high tide and low tide, waves caused by small boats passing, waves caused by bigger boats, and rarely, we'll encounter tsunamis. Tsunamis do happen. They are caused by natural events, in most cases.


April and October 2012 were tsunami months for me. I had not encountered a tsunami prior to that since October of 2010, just before when my baby (the first one that I miscarried) was due and I had been invited to a baby shower for my husband's little cousin. (There were several other things causing it right then, too.)


What we need to remember is that even with the worst tsunamis, which are few and far between, the water will all eventually recede and we'd be left with new vegetation and new growth. We will be left with nothing but beauty.


Sometimes it's hard to believe that, but it's coming. I'm starting to feel it now thanks to help from a dear friend, an old friend, a new friend, therapy and meds. It's all going to be ok. Trust me.


The water from the biggest tsunami that I've heard of has gone back down. The people are rebuilding. In spite of the pain, the strength that they have is apparent, even when they haven't always felt it.



Somebody is grieving:

I know that it’s not at all the same, but when I lost somebody, I came to this place to get comfort. One of the ideas that somebody had given to me at that time was to plant a tree in memory of the one that I had lost. Love makes things grow. It makes your heart and mind soar.


Your loved one has always done that for you. Why don’t you plant a tree in your loved one's honour? Talk to that person about it. Tell them the idea. Love is going to make that tree grow and it’ll be a constant reminder of how much that person's love has made you grow as a person.


When I was a child, I always wanted to be a bird so that I could leave tough situations. Birds have wings, just as angels do. When your loved one goes to Heaven, that person will have wings to fly.


Whenever you see birds around you, think that your loved one is near and sending you a message that they love you. Don’t be sad. Your loved is flying to a good place, a place with no pain. Look to the birds, smile and say “Thank you for being here. I love you, tooâ€.




T.H.I.N.K. before you speak or type:


T - is it true?

H - is it helpful?

I - is it Inspiring?

N - is it Necessary?

K - is it Kind?


If you can say no to any of those questions, then it doesn’t need to be said. This is one of the times where we would be taught, as children, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.†T.H.I.N.K. can be used in many situations. It helps to keep the "Snowball Effect" to a minimum. What happens if you drop a snowball with a bad attitude? Usually somebody will respond negatively.


Saying harsh or hurtful things is like pushing a snowball. What happens if you push a snowball? It gets bigger. It escalates the situation.

Don't push it.

Instead of pushing the snowball:

·Ask a question to better understand the person's point of view

·Walk away

·Say, "I need some time to think about this"

·Say, "I don't think that we're going to come to an agreement on this, so it might be best to talk about something else for now".


In the case of an argument or debate:

There is a great quote stating, "Sometimes it's wiser to be right in silence, you know?". This comes from a book entitled The Heart of a Woman, written by Maya Angelou.


You may be right, but the opposite may also be true. You could possibly be wrong. In either case, the whole world doesn’t need to hear about it. It won’t likely bring you peace. It usually only prolongs an argument that may be solved with a quiet voice between two reasonable people, rather than in harsh tones resulting in disciplinary action.




We don't talk about suicide here much. We have many who are grieving loved ones that they've lost to tragic circumstances. It can bring up bad memories for them. If it's a feeling that somebody is experiencing, we ask that they focus on the cause, rather than focusing on what they wish (in that moment) to do about it. We do that for protection of all who enter. This is not a crisis resolution center but a peer support network. If you are in crisis, there are resources available for that. Don't be afraid to ask.


Our reason for sending people away isn’t because we don't like them. It's the opposite of that, actually. We ask that they not use that word (suicide) because we don't want for it to trigger responses in other people. We want for people to feel comfortable in sharing their feelings. If they share the cause, people here know how to deal with that, because many of us have felt that way before.


We're not equipped to deal with crisis situations and we care too much to leave you without help. That's why we don’t just kick you out. We ask that you contact outside sources, such as your family doctor or a counselor or a crisis line.

Anonymous poster hash: 0e4ed...5d7

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Somebody on here that I've been speaking with needs to see this. I hope that it helps. I'm almost positive that she has it too, even if undiagnosed, although I'd never suggest that to her. I'm not a mental health professional.

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