Having PTSD takes a lot of energy. Those of us with that diagnoses know that we are “on point” 24/7. We monitor everything and know what’s going on around us all the time. Being hypervigilant is frustrating, to say the least, but it has become such a way of life, that we can’t even conceive of things being any other way.
Keeping track of all that’s going on is not an easy job, but it is part of who we are. Anxiety drives the hypervigilance, and our thoughts drive our anxiety. Learning to control our thoughts then is the first step in learning to manage our anxiety. Remember, our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all connected.
Our thoughts are shaped by our life experiences, and while they may well have been right on target immediately following the traumatic event we experienced, as time goes by they may become less accurate. We may perceive something as a threat when it actually isn’t anymore.
There are four types of feelings we can experience connected with PTSD: fear, sadness, guilt and anger. Think about a feeling that’s bothering you. Now, weigh the pros and cons for why you feel the way you do. Weighing the pros and cons helps you decide if it’s worth holding on to those thoughts.
If keeping those thoughts outweigh letting them go, then you need to keep them for now. But, if it’s time to let them go, try looking realistically at what’s behind them.
If you decide it’s time to let them go, it’s the first step in changing your feelings. PTSD affects our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. But we can take back some of what we’ve lost so far. Take the time to identify what your feelings and thoughts are, and then weigh the pros and cons of keeping those thoughts. If the cons outweigh the pros, then it’s time to start changing your thoughts.