In the past few years I’ve dedicated my life to healing from PTSD. I’m doing my best to survive through the healing process. I’ve learned a TON in this time and have built my own “toolbox” for helping myself through this tedious, frustrating, depressing process. I can feel a little part of myself that is healed. Now I want MORE because this little part of me that is healed and it is fucking beautiful. Loving myself and the love of others plus the hard work I’ve done has healed that little part….and it took years.
Below are some of the things in my arsenal/toolbox(sometimes resources are limited and I only have a belt!)
Breathe- Sometimes the simplest things can bring me relief. You know that thing you do when you are on fire, Right? Stop, drop, and roll. My breathing rule is: Breathe, accept, self-care. When I’m anxious, my frontal lobe goes offline and it is more difficult to remember how to take care of myself. Controlling my breathing is my starting point to combating panic attacks, being calmer, and helps me to walk back an anxiety attack. I build off the act of taking care of myself with slower breathing.
Self-care- Love myself has been one of the most difficult things for me to learn. I still struggle with it. I re-learn a lot of things as different phases of healing come over me. I get cranky about the woo-woo stuff but dammit, sometimes the woo-woo works. I could write for literally hours about self-care and I plan too with a book I’m currently writing about healing from PTSD. Self-care can be simple too, like doing things for yourself that you like but it is bigger than that for me. Many times I have to disassociate a bit to think of my body like an animal that needs proper nutrition, exercise, and care. Self-care is vital to my survival. Examples of self-care are meditation, long baths, and stress management activities.
Music- I have a weird relationship with music. I love music but it can also trigger me. I used to tend to avoid it since it triggered emotions I wasn’t ready to deal with. It has also helped to heal me by bringing on those emotions. Lately, I have been listening to a lot more music instead of being on social media or watching TV. This has greatly improved my mood as well as my productivity throughout the day.
Family/Friends- The support from my family and friends make healing so much more tolerable. Having someone in my corner reminds me to be in my own damn corner too. They are shining examples of how to be there for someone else. My circle is small but that’s really all I can manage right now. It is difficult for me to give a lot right now but they understand that and still love me anyway.
Routines/Checklists- I have notes and checklists to remind me to do things like eat. This is especially useful on days where my anxiety is less manageable. I also have a lot of memory issues due to PTSD so the lists help keep me on track so I don’t forget. There have been days where I can’t help myself from dissociating away from the pain. On those days, it helps to have reminders on what to do next while getting through my brain trying to process the latest bit of uncovered hell. The 7 hells! (ok, I’m getting carried away,lol) I also use reminder on my phone to help if I forget to look at the damn list. My bedtime routine is designed to set myself up for a successful night’s sleep.
Therapy- Therapy is a great tool to help guide you if you are having trouble. It is also comforting to speak to someone. I’m a talking and verbalizing my feeling and memories helps me to process them. A good therapist can help add to the toolbox of useful things to help cope with the symptoms of PTSD. There are many thing I still do not talk about with anyone but a therapist and myself.
Entertainment- With all the tools, entertainment can be an escape, if only for a short time. Many people love to bash entertainers but I love them. They are the givers of welcome distraction. Without them, billions would be more depressed. Since I wasn’t allowed to cry, I laugh more. Laughing does similar things to the brain as crying. Entertainment is how many relief stress. I have created entertainment that has helped to relief my stress too. It works in all kinds of wonderful ways.
There is more! Wow, I just realized that I have a pretty extensive toolbox of things to help me. Since this blog post is such a long one already, I’ll save some more tools for another post. If you want to share what has helped you to heal, please do!