Welcome back! This series, PTSD Self-help Healing, reveals step-by-step details of how I overcame more than half a lifetime of PTSD. Here’s what we’ve done so far:
- Revealed self-help cautions
- Decided what a success story looks like
- Made a commitment to healing
- Counted the cost of the healing journey
Coming up, you’ll develop a Healing Plan and a Healing Team. Then, in later weeks, I’ll introduce you to easy activities and lifestyle changes that will help you to feel better fast! Finally, we might form some groups on Twitter where you can share your experience, ask questions or encourage one another.
Today, we’ll finish up getting a grasp on the possibility of healing by identifying obstacles. Remember, we said no journey can be undertaken safely without counting the cost of making the trip. Part of counting the cost is figuring out potential obstacles so you can avoid them.
We said, if you were taking a solo road trip across the U.S., you would give some thought to how long you’d be gone, if you could take time off from work, how your absence would impact your family.
One thing you wouldn’t want to forget? Making sure your mode of transportation was in tip top shape…no flat tires! No annoying road construction! No bus drivers’ union on strike! So, let’s finish up counting the cost of healing and show you danger signs to watch out for.
PTSD Cautions: Do Not Heal!
Occasionally, the healing journey itself can trigger a Healing Crisis. By immersing yourself in an environment totally focused on PTSD education and healing, you may experience occasional increases in symptoms, trigger flashbacks and/or just push too hard, too fast. A Healing Crisis means there are very specific instances when participating in healing activities should be avoided.
Planning for a Healing Crisis is the best way to feel in control, if your symptoms flare up. We’ll undertake the planning process later in phase one of this series. For now, here are a few warning signs that indicate that it’s time to put the brakes on any healing activities…temporarily:
- Feeling there’s no hope
- Racing heart
- Unable to focus; spaced out
- Intruding thoughts, visions or memories
Mild symptoms are expected in the healing process; however, extreme symptoms require the assistance of a mental health professional. Seek immediate professional help if you experience any of the following:
- Hyperventilation, uncontrollable shaking, or irregular heartbeat
- Self-mutilation or the desire to self-mutilate
- Emotional pain, anxiety or anger so intense you fear you are going to die
- Self-destructive behavior (e.g. Alcohol or drug abuse, self-induced vomiting, over working)
- Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
For more, the complete article and additional detailed information on when NOT to participate in the healing process is here: Having a Healing Crisis? Do Not Heal!
Extreme symptoms often come just before a major breakthrough in healing. They do not mean you are a failure, unwilling to heal or can’t overcome your PTSD. Be kind to yourself! Move forward on the healing journey at a pace your body/mind can maintain.
Healing from PTSD isn’t a sprint…it’s a marathon. Set yourself up for success! When you’re feeling your best, make a plan for how you’ll handle emergencies. Whether you are civilian or military, these links are helpful in developing the beginnings of an Emergency Plan of Action:
- Read Having a Healing Crisis? Do Not Heal!
- Download PTSD Coach Mobile App (free)
- Psychology Today’s Therapist Finder
- Washington State Dept. of Veterans Affairs PTSD Counseling (100% confidential)
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