There’s nothing in life that’s as unfair as a veteran who fought for his or her country to return home with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
PTSD can take on many forms, and ranges in severity, but any type or level is something that no one should have to deal with. If left untreated, PTSD can do significant damage to a veteran’s psyche, so it’s important to find healthy and effective ways to cope with the illness.
If you or someone you love is dealing with the struggles of post-traumatic stress disorder, here are a few ways to get them back to being healthy.
As with any problem in life, the best way to get ahead of it is to know what you’re dealing with — and at length. The more you know about the symptoms, diagnosis, effects and ways to cope with PTSD, the better equipped you are to handle it in a healthy and effective manner.
Know You’re Not Alone
PTSD can often cause you to isolate yourself from others because you feel a strong disconnect from the life and relationships that you once had. It’s important to know that your friends, family, and loved ones are still there for you, more now than ever before. Realize that these people are still part of your life, and that they aren’t going to give up on you. If you don’t feel as though you can talk to your loved ones, then you can go to support groups or visit a therapist and create new relationships and bonds focused solely on getting back to a healthy you.
Find a Hobby
When your brain is firing on all cylinders and you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed, it’s crucial to find a way to relax and calm yourself. A great way to do this is by finding a hobby that calms and distracts your mind from the stressors of PTSD. If you’re not a hobbyist, then pick any (healthy) activity that soothes your mind. You can take a shower, read a book, exercise, go for a swim, take your dog for a walk, cook — anything that takes your mind off of the present situation. However, be sure to remember that finding a distraction is a temporary fix, and should not be a way to avoid your symptoms. Instead, it’s a way to get through the symptoms so that you can analyze them later to find a better, more permanent solution.
Track Your Progress
Writing down your daily progress, including your triggers and episodes, is a great way to track how far you’ve come. It can be hard to realize that you’ve made any progression towards getting healthier if the proof isn’t staring you in the face, so take the initiative to log your progress. It can also be a great way to identify possible stressors and triggers so that you can steer clear from them until you’re feeling better.
PTSD is undoubtedly a terrible outcome from protecting the freedoms of your fellow countrymen, but it doesn’t have to be a lifelong illness. With an accurate diagnosis of PTSD, the right mindset and people supporting you, it can be all but a short journey to get back to the healthy you.