Your path out of trauma and PTSD
It’s not hard to identify big traumas in your life. A car accident, abuse, death, and divorce all carry the weight of something that would leave a lasting impact in your life – and big things should affect us. “It can be harder to recognize the seemingly smaller things that leave a mark, like painful relationships, subtle rejection, or chronic neglect. Often those things are not very intense, but they go on for a very long time and can have just as much impact as one or two of the ‘big’ traumas.
When it feels like the impact of the past is overwhelming the present, that is a good indication that a significant thing happened
Some of the classic signs of PTSD can include:
- Intense fear or helplessness or horror in response to witnessing an event
- Thoughts about the event or worries about what might happen that you can’t shut off
- Acting or feeling like the traumatic event is still happening
- Sensitivity to things that remind you of the traumatic event
- Persistent efforts to avoid anything related to the original trauma
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Changes in appetite
- Increased agitation and anger
- Hypervigilance (always being on the lookout for the next horrible event)
These signs aren’t just occasional occurrences that you can shrug off either. They can really interfere with what is important to you. They can occasionally knock you down for a while after you flash back.
Sometimes the effects of trauma are more subtle but get more intense as time goes on. What started as a small fear can grow into a paralysing terror that keeps you from living your life. Relationship dynamics that you never thought twice about can take on a whole new dark meaning and can feel very disturbing. This isn’t because you are crazy – it is because your nervous system is in overdrive and starting to struggle to keep up with what your life demands.
Reactions to trauma are the ways that you survived the initial event. At the time, they were exactly what you needed to get safe and maybe to even stay alive. When your adaptation starts creeping over into other parts of your life and hurting instead of helping you, it’s time to get help.
Trauma and PTSD don’t just live in the mind, they take root in the body and actually alter how the nervous system responds to everyday experiences – and this is completely treatable.