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Living With PTSD: 

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As a survivor, experiencing PTSD has me in a place that I never thought that I would be. Some days, I am not even sure how I have made it through the day. This is something that stays with me all the time. And at times, it consumes my thoughts, and all I can see, is the attack. Then, other times, something small happens and then PTSD hits me like a ton of bricks. I am teleported right back to that time. It is a struggle just about everyday. Here are some of the things that I experience on almost a daily basis. 

1. Flashbacks:

These seem to happen at the weirdest times for me. Sometimes it’s at the store when I smell something familiar and it takes me back. I am standing in the isle in almost a daze. I have to breath and remember that it is not happening again.
Sometimes it happens when my boyfriend wraps his arm around me and I am not expecting it. I jump. I am jolted right back to standing there in front of the door watching as I am shut into a space and situation that I did not deserve to be in. And it can take awhile to come back to reality. I have to look at my boyfriend and remember to breathe. And I have to see his face to know that this embrace is out of love and was not meant to hurt me. He holds onto me as long as I need him to. I would never know how much I need him. In these moments he is my knight in shinning armor. 

2. Nightmares:

Since the event I have gone through periods of straight up exhaustion that I would not even dream. However, as I am working on dealing with the attack, my dreams have been much more prevalent lately. They take me through the event, and as I move through it, I am trying to deal with the emotions of it all. It is hard to walk through the events of the attack. And to have to walk through it while you are sleeping, is even harder. It feels as though it will never leave me. 

These are the two of the biggest things that I am dealing with in my life. So how do I keep from losing my mind?

 

Here are a few things that have helped me through: 

1.  Talking to someone:

For me, it is my therapist. She keeps me grounded and has really been helpful when it comes to me figuring out how I feel through this whole process. A lot of the feelings, I have numbed myself to, because I thought that if I just pretended like it never happened, then I would be fine. That was not the case and having someone who is outside of this looking in, has made all the difference in the world. 

2.  Walking:

After a really bad night I feel like I have to move. Moving has helped immensely. Doing something that feels a little normal. So I hook my pup up and we head out for a walk. Sometimes just being in nature is helpful. Breathing some fresh air, seeing something cool on a trail. 

3. Talking:

Sometimes I just need to let it out. This doesnt always have to be in my therapy session, so I will call up one of my very close friends or my boyfriend and just get everything that I need to out. 

4. Watch something funny:

This one I do if I have been having nightmares. Sometimes I just need something to get my mind off of the situation. So I will put a funny movie on. My favorite right now is Mr. Deeds. It is goofy and I dont really have to think that hard while watching it. 

5. Journaling:

Now I love to write so this one is really helpful for me. I feel like getting my thoughts out of my head is the most helpful thing that I can do to shut my brain off. 

6. Staying off social media:

This one has been so helpful for me. Sometimes I need to get away from the world. Being that the world is at our fingertips and can be hard. For me, I shut everything off and try to breathe. This is the perfect time to focus on my breathing. And just listen to the quiet.

7. Reading:

When I am having a hard time I like to read, something like Girl Stop Apologizing.” This is a self help that can help you boost your confidence. 

8. Do something for you:

With Covid-19, it has been a little harder to accomplish this but sometimes you just need some you time. For this, I like to do my hair (or get my hair done), pedicure, or a massage! 

 

9. Try to avoid triggers:

For me, this means I may need to remove myself from a situation all together. This is not me being rude, this is doing what is best for myself. I just excuse myself and go somewhere else and breath. 

10. Go For A Drive:

Sometimes I find it helpful to just get in my car. I turn the radio on and just drive. It helps me feel in control of my life and it helps me take my mind off things. 

This is something that I will have to deal with. These are things that I do to calm myself. Find a support system. What works for you or me might not be the same things, but maybe if you try one of the things that helps me, it will help you too. One of the most important things that I have learned is to breathe. If you dont know where to start. Start there, just start deep breathing! And find your calm. 


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