Notes From a PTSD Survivor

Anne and I corresponded for a while about her PTSD recovery. She’s got a lot of ideas about how to be proactive in recovery and so I invited her to share them with us all….

More Than 20 Things You Can Do To Cope With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Try to find support as soon after the trauma as possible. You are not weak for seeking help.Survivor, PTSD

Find someone you can trust. Your confidence is most likely low (not your fault), but you need to be able to feel, express and work through your thoughts and emotions.

The thoughts and emotions come in waves and do have “sore points”, and that will be what you will eventually heal.

It might be easier to think of thoughts and emotions as energy to be shifted. You are human and have emotions– you are not a robot.

Expect some people will unfortunately not understand what you are going through, and may even feel overwhelmed by your trauma, but find people who are willing to listen, even if just for a little while. You can ask, “Do you have a few minutes to talk about something?”

Have some kind of faith that you will get through this. Find things you like to do, even though it feels you are in slow motion.

Do art, journaling and exercise. Exercise may seem like a given, but exercise and most any conscious body movement does help move the energy.

Once energy is shifted, keep up momentum.

This is a great exercise: “Remember Who You Are”. Write down, draw and talk to trusted people about who you truly are (not just the trauma self).

Get rid of clutter. It will help you feel more free, think more clearly and feel less burdened. It will also shift energy and clean out old stuff. You feel like you are helping to put the past behind you.

Join 12-Step groups such as Al-Anon. The 12-Step principles can apply to many human situations.

Try tapping — Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), can be downloaded for free from their website. (Michele’s note: You can find more information about Emotional Freedom Technique on this page.)

Remember to say to yourself, “I am here”. Tapping or any body movement, massage, etc. helps remind you ‘you are here’. This is like somatic therapy.

Having PTSD feels like an emotional ‘bomb’ went off inside you. Give yourself time and self-compassion to heal and ‘contain’ the ‘bomb’. Eventually you will heal the trigger points and the ‘bomb’ won’t go off anymore. The impact should lessen in intensity.

Do Inner Child work. Wow! This is powerful work. It’s kind of like the trauma or emotional ‘bomb’ created fragments in you. Inner Child work (or any similar integration work) will help unite the fragmented parts so you feel more whole again.

Going to church might help, but some of us may not feel close to God after the trauma at first. You may want to gradually work your way back to your spiritual center– and you may find your spirituality may change as you heal.

Rituals such as candles, meditation and baths may help. Fire from candles & incense and water can be purifying.

Time heals all wounds if you let it. The more you are able to be in the present and mindful, the more that will ‘take care of’ the past and the future.

Eat well, drink lots of good water and take vitamins.

Find a therapist you feel you fit with, and preferably has had success with clients dealing with trauma. Ask them about any questions or concerns when you meet them, and you may find someone else until you find the right match.

If medication is needed, and it may be, to calm down and get through the day, choose a doctor you can trust– that is, someone with a good bedside manner and who is skilled with medications!

Evaluate your financial assets in case you need time off from work or feel unable to work. Any part-time job you can manage, and/or volunteer work, will add some routine and sense of purpose, no matter how small.

Consider doing puzzles because I believe puzzles can mentally help you put the pieces together. Reading good books, too.

You’ve been through a trauma. Limit any situations that make you feel bad, including possibly watching the news, scary movies, and the like.

Try to stay away from drugs other than medication and alcohol. Though they may feel like crutches, it could make it harder in the long-run.

Try to avoid avoidance. Time to yourself to heal is important, but doing some things with other human beings helps keep your life in balance and helps you reconnect.

A good website is

Mark your progress whenever possible so you remind yourself you’re moving along!

They say you learn a lot and are stronger after healing from a trauma. Believe it! Mystics say that some of the learning achieved by going through PTSD is what others seek through years of spiritual practice.

Above all, remember you are human and you are healing. You are not your diagnosis/PTSD.

Anne Liversidge’s major trauma was her brother’s sudden death in 2002. Other traumas include hearing loss due to illness in infancy, parental divorce at age 4, sexual molestation, and burglaries. She’s now 44 and despite PTSD, a hearing loss, an apparent family history of mood disorders and a being raised by a single, overwhelmed mom, she is an accomplished artist, especially in glass, and achieved a doctorate degree. She has a cat named Braveheart and lives outside of Washington, DC.

The ideas contained in this post solely represent the perspective of the author. To contribute to ‘Survivors Speak’ contact Michele.


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