Monday, May 18, 2015

PTSD- Self-help

Courtesy of SIShannon
I've defined PTSD. I've told you why the troll appears and helped you to recognize it when it does. Today let's talk about getting help because the help is the next step when you admit to yourself that there is a troll called PTSD hiding under the table. Getting help is the first step to pulling that troll out and using him to your own advantage.

Please remember that I am a writer and researcher, my key role is to filter through the mountains of information available and bring the best of it to you. I do not and can not offer medical advice, if you suspect that you or a loved one is dealing with PTSD please seek professional help immediately. If you are considering suicide, or you believe a loved one is considering it, please call for help now. As I've said before, we can't let the trolls win this battle and 1 suicide is 1 too many.

courtesy of Flickr
There are a number of treatment options available to anyone who has PTSD ranging from self-help to residential programs. I'd like to list a few, tell you about the ones we've personally experienced and talk about how they might work together. There is a lot to say on each so today I'll cover self-help therapy. In the next two weeks, I'll talk about cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication therapy. They are all therapies we've used in our battle to pull the troll out and the ones I am most familiar with. There are many other therapies that are being used to great advantage and I don't want to dismiss them but as I don't know much about them I will research them and blog about them at a later date.

Self-help is sort of self-explanatory, pardon the redundancy. It can involve many methods as you learn to live with the realities of PTSD. You may even be engaging in self-help therapy without realizing it. What you may not realize it there are positive self-help strategies and negative ones. You're role as your self-help therapist is to identify which ones are helping you and which ones are not.

Positive self-help therapies include those steps you have made to make your life a better place. Sleep management, anger management, and stress management strategies all fall under this category. We employed a few of these in our lives to help my hubby deal with his own PTSD.

courtesy of Flickr
For instance, sleep management was one of the first self-help therapies we used. My hubby had a lot of trouble sleeping because of his PTSD. This was coupled with the fact that for ten years after he separated from the military he worked a second shift position and his sleep habits were terrible, causing him a lot of stress. To help him we installed blackout shades in our room and purchased a sleep mask for him. He also aggressively searched for a first shift position and finally found one. It's made a world of difference for him.
courtesy of Flickr

Anger management is a little trickier because it's harder to draw the line between appropriate and inappropriate anger outbursts. Only you can decide what this looks like for you. Hubby and I have tried to keep up a running conversation about this and talk about how his outbursts affect us. Regular therapy and appropriate medication has also helped him feel more in control of his life and reduced his outbursts a lot. The American Psychological Association offers some information about anger management here where you can learn more about it and how to regain control. And the VA has a link to an online anger management course here called AIMS. As far as I can tell you don't have to be a veteran to use it.
courtesy of Flickr
Finally, I want to talk about stress management. Stress management is important to everyone's health but for the individual living with PTSD it is vital. Stress can have many negative effects on our health and is one of the complications of PTSD, affecting the rest of your health as well. Good stress management includes building coping skills for when you are triggered, managing your life in such a way that you minimize stress, and maintaining healthy self-care routines. There are some great stress management techniques here and I will talk more about this in a future post because it is, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of living with PTSD.

Negative self-help therapies are those we resort to in order to dull the pain of PTSD and other mental illness. They are a crutch not a path to healing and they need to be pushed out of our lives. If you are to find healing and strength as you live with PTSD then negative therapies have no place in your life. They include substance abuse, avoidance, and dangerous behavior. A full list and explanation of these will follow in a future blog post because there is so much to be said about them and the negativity they pull into our lives and attitudes but you can read more about them here today if you need to.

There is help for PTSD, you don't have to suffer. If you are a veteran, thank you for your service. I know the VA has gotten a bad rap in the news lately, but they do want to help you. Contact your local VA for help and if they don't respond keep calling! They also have a website where you can find help. Don't delay, every day you wait is a day you could spend healing! If you aren't a veteran some of those links can still be useful to you and there are still many resources available to you. Please reach out to someone and ask for help, the first step is always the hardest but it's worth the work.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!

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