PTSD: Treatment–Part Four
It’s only natural to want to avoid painful memories and feelings. But if you try to numb yourself and push your memories away, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will only get worse. You can’t escape your emotions completely—they emerge under stress or whenever you let down your guard—and trying to do so is exhausting. The avoidance will ultimately harm your relationships, your ability to function, and the quality of your life.
I wish I could tell you that your PTSD struggles, your anguish and fear and crippling panic and the horrifying memories that jolt you wide awake at night, will go away on their own.
I wish it were that simple.
Unfortunately, it isn’t.
You need help.
Getting help can be a difficult decision. Believe me, I know. I’ve been there.
Some people feel that receiving psychiatric treatment somehow validates their false self-perception as “insane” or “abnormal.”
Others, especially men, have been conditioned by our alpha male, macho-driven society to view psychiatry as a science for the weak, a crutch for those who can’t “man up” and (putting it bluntly) get their shit together.
This is unfortunate. It’s also completely and utterly illogical.
When something in your home breaks, you call someone who can fix it. If your car breaks down, you bring it to an auto repairman. If your lower back feels like someone jabbed a white-hot knife into it and then twisted it for good measure (which is how I feel most days), you see a neurologist to figure out treatment options.
If it’s okay to seek help for any of the above, why not for psychiatric conditions?
I will say it over and over again: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH GETTING HELP.
No matter what others–your family, your friends, your cultural upbringing–teach you, seeking help does not make you weak. It is actually a sign of strength. You are showing initiative and resolve to face your demons head-on, and that takes immense courage.
Find a qualified therapist, a support group, or both–and work with them. Trust their expertise. Let them guide you through the slow process of recovery.
It can feel agonizingly slow, and you may feel frustrated enough to put your fist through a brick wall.
Hold firm to the truth that slow, gradual healing will occur.
With their help, you will face your rabid, snarling demons–and tell them to go fuck themselves. Fight with every ounce of courage and strength you have.
And you DO have it.
Whatever traumatic event sent your life into a nosedive, you survived. To say that this takes remarkable perseverance is a major understatement.
The strength you need is already inside you.
With slow, patient guidance, you can allow that strength to expand. As it does, you will gradually gain confidence and an enduring sense of self-worth. You will know that you are not your trauma. You are a survivor, and you are strong, and nothing can stop you from reclaiming the peace and joy and fulfillment you deserve.
You deserve not just to survive, but to thrive–in every sense of the word.
Stay grounded in the eternal NOW.
Feel your strength–strength beyond strength–coursing through you.
And, above all…