Disorders and Treatment
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When I first entered recovery for symptoms of PTSD I had the naive expectation that my therapist would do most of the work. After all, I was the one who was sleep deprived, anxious, depressed and wanting–more than anything–to get as far away from the past as possible. It just seemed logical that in my distressed state my therapist, who had more energy, focus and concentration, would be the one to lay the groundwork, create the process and guide me through it with a minimum of my own engagement.
Ok, so I know that sounds ridiculous! But back in the late 90s I didn’t know anything about how to heal PTSD or the recovery process. I just knew I was in pain and wanted that pain to go away. It actually took me several years to realize that the reason I wasn’t healing as well or as quickly as I had hoped was because I wasn’t fully dedicated to the process. I showed up every week and did the requisite talking during my therapy sessions…. and then spent the rest of the week just coping with symptoms. It never occurred to me to work my recovery daily.
Because I was initially so disengaged in my recovery I’m always impressed by the survivors I meet and hear from who know that the real action of healing results from the healthy practices we engage in every day. While recovery expenses add up there are many ways to engage in recovery that don’t cost a dime. Heal My PTSD offers free podcasts, videos and webinars. Plus, check out any of these free resources to help you create healing-oriented actions every day:
DoYogaWithMe.com — This fantastic site is loaded with free yoga classes of varying lengths in a variety of yoga styles. With options including yoga therapy, gentle yoga and restorative yoga the options for committing to a daily stress reduction practice are huge.
Pandora.com: Learning to destress is a hard task; music can make it easier. Sign up for a free account and create a station for “deep relaxation” and enjoy calm, soothing music for hours. [I like to pair this with my DoYogaWithMe classes to create a fuller sensory experience.]
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): You probably have heard of tapping, which can be extremely effective in reducing stress, promoting calm and shifting you into a state of lowered anxiety. Learn how to do the step-by-step process from EFT founder, Gary Craig:
Autonomous sensory meridian response(ASMR) videos: These soft-spoken, sensory-driven videos are designed to produce “pleasurable tingling sensations in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli.” (Wikipedia). There are literally thousands to choose from on YouTube. [Read a full explanation of ASMRs here.] Here’s an example from one of the most popular ASMR producers, Ilse:
Breathwork: In under two minutes you can change your physiology just by practicing breathwork specifically designed to reduce stress. I’ve interviewed an expert about this who shares a simple method; you can listen to my conversation with Dr. Patricia Gerbarg here. Or, use this video to start your practice:
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