Never, Never, Never Give Up!

There are times when the fight to overcome PTSD may feel overwhelming and you may think you’ll never win, but that’s not true. Progress is often won an inch at a time, not by the mile, but it’s still progress. Over time, you’ll find you’ve become more comfortable with who you are, and that it’s a bit easier coping than it was in the past. Sometimes we just have to look at those small victories instead of how far we feel we still have to go.

In the fight to overcome PTSD and find the joy in life again, you must never give up! There is so much to fight for: all of your relationships, your laughter, your happiness, the joy in every day. And, best of all, it can be done! PTSD does not have to own you entirely. It is but one piece of who you are, and it’s a piece that makes you stronger even if you’d rather not have it.

Each day, you are healing, bit by bit, and one day, you’ll be comfortable in your own skin again. PTSD is a condition, it is not who you are.

PTSD Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver burnout can affect anyone living with an individual with PTSD due to the stress involved in providing care for that individual. Symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Irritability
  • Exhaustion
  • Depression

In addition to burnout, caregivers may experience Secondary Traumatization or Vicarious Traumatization. When this occurs, the caregiver has some of the same symptoms as the individual they are caring for who has PTSD. Secondary traumatization comes on suddenly. It is believed it occurs in caregivers who are traumatized by the distress and suffering they see in the person they are caring for.

PTSD can be hard on everyone it touches. If you find you are suffering from caring for a loved one who has PTSD, please, get help. A qualified mental health professional can help you deal with the stress.

Finding the Sun Again

When you have PTSD, it can be difficult believing that life will be good and that you’ll find peace again. PTSD changes us, that’s true, but that doesn’t have to mean that you’ll never feel the pleasure of the sun shining on you again. Learning to cope with PTSD can take a great deal of effort, and it may take years before you feel you are totally relaxed and comfortable in your own skin again, but it can and does happen.

As we learn to cope, it becomes easier and easier to enjoy life. It doesn’t mean we don’ t have problems, we do, but there are good days to off-set the bad and good times that help us find the joy in life again.

Don’t let go of the belief that you can life with PTSD and live well. Don’t lose faith. Things will get better. You will learn to cope better. And life will become sweeter for the effort.

Reengaging in Life

There are times when I know I should participate in an event or activity when I just don’t feel like it. With PTSD, it’s hard to overcome isolation and apathy, but doing so is an important part of healing. By reengaging we begin to forge those relationships that are so important to life satisfaction. Our friendships improve, and our intimate relationships become stronger.

A very wise old woman once told me that if I didn’t want to be involved in something, then at least go through the motions and pretend to be interested. If I just force myself to participate, after a while I’d realize I was no longer just putting in time, but actually becoming engaged in the activity. My enjoyment would become real again. I’ve found her words to be true. If I get in there and just do it rather than thinking of all the reasons why I don’t want to be involved, then after a short while, I find I’m actually having fun.

I think perhaps the thought that most convinced me to go ahead and try new things again was that if I didn’t, nothing would change. Everything continues the same, and that was definitely something I didn’t want. While I may not want to go to a crowded movie theater with my friends, or accompany my niece to her recital, if I go, and if I feign interest, before long, I’m no longer pretending – it’s real! If I didn’t go at all, I’d miss out on all those things that make special memories.

Written Goals

In dealing with PTSD as with other areas of our lives, setting goals seems to be a part of successful coping. If I set a goal of taking a step outside my comfort zone and attending a family gathering, or plan an outing with a friend, it helps me get through the event. For example, if I decide to go out to a movie with a friend, this one time I can manage it.   It doesn’t mean I have to make it a weekly event, or even that I have to go to the theater. I can choose to go to the drive-in movies if I want. It’s still an outing and by planning on it, I can manipulate the circumstances so it becomes something I can handle and even enjoy.

Writing goals down has been shown to influence their success. I wonder if it’s not because when it’s written down in black and white, I think more about it and can visualize what is going to happen. By mentally rehearsing the situation, I’m more prepared to handle it with finesse. While I may not like pushing my boundaries, it’s a healthy thing to do. It strengthens my relationships and it helps me feel better about myself too. My main goal is to not let PTSD rule my life, and that’s a pretty good goal to work toward!