Healing from trauma is tough, but worth it
June is National PTSD Awareness Month and June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day!
Originally the description for warring soldiers returned to civilization with heightened startle responses and “far-away” looks in the eye, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder now includes other life-threatening or violent situations experienced or witnessed by people.
While additional criteria must be met for a person to obtain a diagnosis of PTSD, the hallmarks of this struggle include: 1) recurrent intrusive thoughts or memories of the event(s), 2) persistent avoidance of the event(s), and 3) negatively changed thinking or mood after the event(s). Think about this for a moment, friends — people suffering from PTSD are stuck in a cycle of pushing away traumatic thoughts only to be blindsided by them again and again. Their mood and thoughts decline, lost in a loop of no control, and eventually those with PTSD become so demoralized it is easy to give up on life.
It is often at the “giving up” point that a person might reach out for help; they may contact a therapist or end up in an emergency room with suicidal thoughts. It can feel like they’ve completely lost reference points in their life. The physical body has undergone such turmoil for so long it is exhausted. The mental faculties are in despair since there is no way to control or make sense of one’s thoughts. Relationally, they’ve nothing left to offer another, and they are confused about trusting anyway. Everywhere they look, life looks bleak.
There is another way
There has been such growth of understanding within the study of trauma and treatment of trauma in the past decade that people experiencing PTSD no longer must suffer without care. We now know the mind, body, spirit, relationships – all aspects of a person can receive treatment and care to facilitate the healing of their symptoms. In fact, when more than one area is addressed simultaneously, healing can happen more quickly.
The work to heal from PTSD is still unbelievably difficult, don’t let me paint an easy picture here. It takes much longer than anyone wants, feels like your guts are getting ripped out, and the world is turned upside down – on repeat. The point is, though, that it is possible to have a better life. Not a life filled with intrusions and avoidance, feeling confused and at fault.
If you or someone you know has experienced traumatic life event(s) and needs help navigating the myriad ways this is showing up in your life, please reach out to us. We’ve got specially trained therapists, body workers and relationship coaches who will try our best to help you; and if for some reason we’re not able to help you, we’ll do our best to connect you to someone who can.
You deserve to have a good life despite what painful things have happened to you. It might be hard to believe, those things don’t define you; you’ve suffered long enough, don’t let them take anymore from you.
Dr. Gwin Stewart founded the St. Louis Wellness Center in 2007. You can write her at DrGwin@hotmail.com. Read more about her HERE.