2020 has been a year of loss for many.
The disruption of life as we knew it, the absence of anticipated holidays, sports, family gatherings, theatre and cinema outings and fun times with friends. The missed weddings and graduation parties.
More tragically the loss of loved ones for some, loss of income or safety for others.
All these unexpected events out of our control are bound to leave psychological scars and for some, this level of stress will have created symptoms of post traumatic stress.
Post Traumatic Stress
Those involved in, or a witness to, any traumatic event – a traffic accident, plane crash, violent crime, terrorist attack, or a natural disaster like an earthquake, hurricane, or flood – may subsequently feel a myriad of emotions.
You feel intense shock, confusion, and fear.
You may feel numb, overwhelmed and disconnected.
And you may feel all these emotions all at once.
These emotions aren’t limited to the people who experienced the event directly.
Round-the-clock news and social media coverage means that we’re all bombarded with horrific images of tragedy, suffering, and loss almost the instant they occur, anywhere in the world.
Repeated exposure to such trauma can overwhelm your nervous system and create traumatic stress – just as if you experienced the event yourself first hand.
And if these symptoms do not diminish over time – if you seem to have become entrenched and unable to move forward from the incident – you may be experiencing PTSD.
3 out of every 100 people in the UK will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at some point in their lives
The symptoms can range from mild to severe and will often come and go in waves.
There may be times when you feel jumpy and anxious and other times when you feel disjointed and listless.
The brain’s natural response to a dangerous or life-threatening situation is what is known as the “fight or flight”.
With PTSD however, a person has not been able to process the traumatic event and the brain’s natural process is disrupted. When situations arise in the future that remind a person of the original trauma, the fight or flight response can be triggered unnecessarily.
If you think you may be suffering from PTSD, here are 5 important recovery tips:
1. Get Moving
Exercise for 30 minutes or more on most days, engaging in a rhythmic activity such as walking, running, swimming, dancing. Whatever works best for you.
2. Stay Connected
Make sure to keep in contact with friends, family or anyone else in your usual social network.
Participate in social activities, even if you don’t feel like it. It is important to do “normal” things with other people.
Staying connected does not have to involve talking about how you feel or the trauma itself. However, if you feel the need to share your feelings, it is important to reach out for support. Turn to a trusted family member, friend or other person of confidence.
And if you live alone or far from your family, reach out and make new friends perhaps by taking a class or joining a club to meet people of similar interests. Although this may not be possible to meet people face to face during the pandemic, there are plenty of events available online, many free of charge.
3. Create Calm and Acknowledge Your Feelings
Knowing how to create calm not only relieves symptoms of anxiety but also engender a greater sense of control.
If you are feeling disoriented, confused or upset:
- Practice abdominal breathing in through your nose for a count a 7 and breathing out through your mouth (as is blowing a candle) on a count of 11. The number can be adapted to suit you but it is important to make your outbreath longer than your inbreath.
- Do grounding exercises. For example, sit on a chair with your feet on the ground. Take time to really feel your feel on the ground, your back against the back of the chair and notice your environment. Then identify in turn, one thing you see, one thing you hear, one thing you feel. Notice how your breathing has naturally become calmer and deeper.
- Take 20 minutes a day just for you to relax in a calm environment when you won’t be disturbed. This may be listening to relaxing music, taking a bath or simply watching nature in the garden etc.
- Allow yourself to feel what you feel when you feel it. Accept those feeling and emotions without judgement and without trying to control them.
4. Take Care of Your Health
Make sure you get plenty of good quality sleep, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day and aiming for 7 to 9 hours sleep.
Eat a well balanced and nutritious diet throughout the day.
Avoid alcohol and drugs as these can worsen trauma symptoms.
5. Seek Professional Help
Every one recovers from trauma differently. It is important not to compare with others and to give yourself time to heal at your own pace. However, if months have gone by and your symptoms are not improving, – or if your PTSD symptoms have worsened due to the pandemic…
…You may need help…
Hypnotherapy and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing) are both highly effective interventions for PTSD.
PLUS, they are
• Are Drug-free
• Offer rapid results
• Help resolve underlying issues
These therapeutic approaches will not only help you to manage your symptoms, recognize potential triggers and change the way to reach to them, but will also help to decrease and remove the emotional disturbance associated with any traumatic memories.
They will get you back on track and will give you the coping skills and mechanisms you need to gain back control.
To find out more about getting help for PTSD and trauma, you can contact using the form below.