Trauma! A PTSD Blog

There are several approaches to healing from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and they may include finding comfort and support from faith communities. Yet, some doctrines do not foster self-care and recovery. If you have a faith community or consider yourself a member of an organized religion, you may develop beliefs that can stand in the way of your healing from PTSD. Here are some observations on faith systems and their impact on PTSD recovery.
Seasonal holidays involve many inherent rituals, but have you considered creating your own personal rituals to protect you from holiday stress and anxiety? I had the opportunity to discuss rituals--both helpful and harmful ones--with psychologist Stanton Peele while researching an article about addiction for Vice.1 He describes the ways in which some rituals actually protect people from developing addictions--such as Jewish customs of drinking wine only during certain occasions. He finds that Jews who associate wine in that religious context often find it odd to think of alcohol as a "party drug." This conversation made me think of the routine rituals we encounter during the holidays. Can trauma survivors intentionally create personal rituals as a means of coping with some of the extra stress associated with holidays?
Depersonalization is one of the potential dissociative symptoms experienced by a person with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Individuals frequently describe depersonalization as repeated instances of feeling a disconnect between one's thoughts and physical self. Some also describe it as watching the world through a dreamlike state or watching events from outside one's body. It is one of the most challenging to define sensations I have ever experienced. Following are some examples of depersonalization symptoms in PTSD and how I experienced them.
Whether or not a person chooses to have kids is highly personal, and the fact that kids can trigger parents with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) doesn't take away from a person's ability to be a good parent. Becoming a parent is life-changing--in ways that are both uniquely rewarding and highly stressful. Each of us should be allowed to make that decision individually, regardless of our trauma history. People with PTSD can make wonderful parents, just like anyone else. Something that many people with PTSD may not consider, however, is that once they become parents, their kids could trigger their PTSD.
Setting goals for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) recovery can be difficult, in part because PTSD impacts every aspect of daily living, every day. When seeking help for recovery, it is understandable to want to feel better as quickly as possible in order to put the worst behind you and move on. Sometimes it can be difficult to notice what progress is being made when you are still experiencing the symptoms of PTSD daily. This is where understanding your PTSD diagnosis as well as any coexisting conditions and setting goals for PTSD recovery can help you feel successful.
The #MeToo hashtag campaign exposed sexual violence (including sexual harassment and rape) as a significant event in the lives of most women. One of the most common forms of this violence is sexual harassment. A few examples of sexual harassment are catcalling, suggestive comments at school or work, and unwanted sexual advances. Many women have experienced at least one instance of everyday sexual harassment, and one in five has experienced a major act of sexual violence, like rape.
To avoid the stigma around posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many people keep their PTSD symptoms secret. How others perceive people with PTSD creates the stigma. Yet, there is another form of derision at play here --that of self-stigma. Identifying, understanding and correcting self-stigma can significantly impact us and the stigma around PTSD as well.
Does having posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) make you violent? I haven't seen the Las Vegas shooter accused of having posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but past perpetrators of mass shootings have been speculated to have PTSD. Is it true? Does having PTSD make people more violent or prone to committing acts of extreme violence?
In the course of my recovery, there came a time when I wanted my abusers to suffer. Most people who have been, or are being abused, don't seek help. Statistics on abuse show that as many as 60 percent of perpetrators are never prosecuted. In my case, my abusers were never called to account for their actions. When I began to talk about my abuse and work through all that had occurred, I came to a point where I was angry and resentful. My nightmares of abuse shifted to ugly visions of ways in which I could cause as much suffering to them as possible without killing them. I had to work to reconcile these intense emotions where I wanted to make my abusers suffer to continue healing.
Do you appreciate your successes, or does pausing to appreciate success scare you? Even though success is a very normal aspiration, feeling happy about a success (or feeling happy for any reason) can be scary for trauma survivors. The definition of success varies greatly between individuals and can even change during different stages of the same person's life. However, for those of us living with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the experience of success is sometimes a little extra complicated, even scary. I'm slowly learning to appreciate success in my life with PTSD.