PTSD, also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental disorder that appears after someone has gone through a very intense traumatic event that was too much for them to handle. These traumatic events may include being a soldier in war and seeing people dying, sexual assault and so on.
It doesn’t mean that every person who goes through a traumatic event will be affected by PTSD. If someone does not experience trauma on their own bodies, they are less likely to develop this illness.
First warning signs
The first symptoms of PTSD can be seen on a person within a very short period of time after they have gone through the trauma. Sometimes these symptoms are even visible within a month, but there are times when it takes more than that to develop the first symptoms.
1. Dreams: The first sign of PTSD can be seen in a person’s dreams—better said, nightmares. They experience the traumatic event at nights when their are brains are the most fragile and they can’t control their thought processes. Mostly, they will be screaming and talking in their dreams or waking up sweating.
2. Flashbacks: In the middle of the day without any warning, victims of abuse and traumatic events who have developed PTSD have flashbacks of that certain event without having any control over it. This may mean that they can even have a peaceful day, come home to dinner with their family and still fall into despair when the flashbacks kick in.
3. Sleeping problems: Because of the fact that people who have PTSD also tend to have nightmares, they may become afraid to fall asleep entirely. But mostly, their lack of sleep may be defined by the way their brain works more at this time, filling their minds withtoxic thoughts that won’t let them relax at all.
4. Aggressive and self-destructive behavior: Because of all the toxic thoughts that are going through their minds, they simply tend to get easily aggressive and shout, scream and even hurt people around them. The thing is that this aggression can easily be directed at themselves.
5. Changes in the way they think and behave: It’s commonly known that people who develop this psychological disorder tend to become very numb to certain situations. Sometimes, without even being aware of it, they do reckless things because they do not care about the outcomes. Sometimes, when they talk, everything ends up being very negative and it looks like they do not care about anything at all. They might seem cool and collected at times because of their numbness, but it’s only a facade.
Symptoms and the first signs of PTSD are different for every person, but there are many similarities.
Self-help and Self-care Tips in PTSD
Overall, we all must be aware of the fact that the best way to deal with PTSD is to actually go into therapy where the traumatized person will actively work on their traumas and problems they have developed through the suffering of PTSD. However, there are still ways you can help yourself if you’re someone suffering from this mental disorder and you want to do something every day that can help you cope with your mind.
- Get to know your illness: Don’t just stand around and wait for things to happen. Take a notebook and a pen. Sit down and think: What was your trauma? What are your symptoms today? And most importantly, what are your triggers? You must be seeing things around you that get you very aggressive and/or very sad and in the end, all you do is get stuck inside your head together with your mental disorder. Instead, write down all your triggers and try your best to avoid them.
- Breathe: Sometimes, you forget to breathe, right? How about you start incorporating breathing exercises into your daily routine? To focus on your breathing makes you remember that you’re in the present moment and that there is no reason for you to live in the past. Breathing deeply and consciously also slows down your heart rate and makes it easier to cope with the unbearable feelings.
- Keep a therapy diary: Writing really does help you to recap where you are right now. In this diary you can write all the things that you are feeling and thinking, all the things that you are going through right now and that you want to get rid of. Also it’s a great way you to see how far you’ve come. Of course, if the previous entries do not bring you anything good, if they are only triggers that don’t let you move on, then burn the pages as soon as you’re done writing them. At least this way you will be safe.
- Have a mantra that will keep you in the present moment: Keeping yourself in the present is extremely important. One suggestion is to have a little sentence always on your mind that will help you remember why you are still fighting. It can be anything that lets you believe that the past is irrelevant. Only you can find this sentence for yourself and repeat it, even out loud if needed, several times a day.
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