After having a particularly stressful day, I got to thinking about PTSD effects our stress levels. I believe that if it’s a stressful day, my baseline increases dramatically due to my PTSD. My sister will tell you my temper has a hair trigger, and that used to be very true. I’d like to think it’s not the case so much now, but, it is what it is. I know that I react to everyday frustrations very quickly, and it’s something I have to keep at the top of my consciousness and work to control every day.
It used to be that I did not realize I was so stressed until I had an emotional melt down. I don’t like myself very much when that happens, so I try to ensure that I’m paying attention enough now to stop it before things get out of hand. Sometimes that means stepping aside for a voluntary “time out.” That means I disconnect from whatever is stressing me and focus intently on something enjoyable. Often I’ll use music to regroup, or maybe I’ll sit down at the computer to play a game or two, or take a ten minute ride in the car. Basically, it means I’ve had enough stress for the moment and I need to disconnect in order to allow myself a cooling off period. I really don’t think my family realizes how necessary this is for me, but it is something I feel I have to do for myself to maintain my mental health.
Try monitoring your stress levels throughout the day. If you practice doing this on a daily basis, it will become easier as you go. Intervening before your stress takes over allows you to stop the cycle of “blowing up” and taking it out on everyone else in the vicinity. I know I don’t like being known as the person with a temper that explodes on a hair trigger. Even if others around you don’t understand what you’re doing when you refocus, it’s better for them and you to not let stress push you into the danger zone.