Anxiety and PTSD: Steps to Heal Trauma and Find Relief

October 15, 2010 Kate White

Do you sometimes (often?) feel directionless? I do, and it's hard; I reckon it's a tricky one for folks with anxiety issues in general, particularly survivors of trauma with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Steps to Heal Trauma and Find Anxiety Relief

Step One: Treat Anxiety and PTSD with a View of Your Past in Mind

To treat anxiety and PTSD, you need a strong, relatively coherent sense of your past. spinning_anxiety_kwhiteYou want to tell a story (not just paint a pretty picture), then see a future, set a few goals. Unfortunately, anxiety interferes with every choice you make or it may feel like you have no choices at all.

But telling your story shows you when and where anxiety showed up. Once you're able to see anxiety in the past, you can see where it's leading you. Is that where you want to go? Changing your choices is step one in the process of living with anxiety versus just getting by.

Step Two: Don't Go Numb

You may be a survivor but you don't just have to survive. Ideally, we all want to live without the hassles and inherent trauma of dealing with anxiety in and of itself, let alone the hard work of dredging up painful pasts.

Most traumatized people spend a whole lot of time avoiding and numbing out that stuff. For good reason, but it still won't make you better. No matter how long you put it off, the pain is always there, in the background, affecting your actions and your being. Even if it's "only" at a subconscious level.

Step 3: Set Emotionally Realistic Goals

Learning to set realistic goals, that you desire to achieve on an emotional level, will help to combat anxiety. Setting goals can feel way too big; thinking about all these really big ideas, off in the distance, can kick anxiety into high gear. So keep the goals small. If coping with anxiety is a road-trip, then the goals are not only where you eventually intend to be (long term goals) but where you feel like getting to each day.

Each step matters. Having an anxiety disorder like PTSD is not a choice but treating anxiety is definitely about choices we make. I mean that here and now, you do have the freedom, the space, the chance to be more than just fear, stress and anxiety. Let yourself be more.

Let go.

It isn't easy but sometimes it's exactly what I need.

APA Reference
White, K. (2010, October 15). Anxiety and PTSD: Steps to Heal Trauma and Find Relief, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Kate White

Michele Rosenthal
October, 15 2010 at 4:53 am

Thank you for this very clear and important post! Being able to tell your story can be a critical factor in recovery -- it definitely was for me. I set out to write the story... and it became a memoir! Along the way I learned to allow the details and emotions to come up from the deep dark where I'd suppressed them. Also, I learned that while at first it was difficult, I would manage the feelings that came up, too.
I like you're proactive take on all of this. PTSD recovery (I'm now 100% PTSD-free) does so much depend on the actions we take and the choices we make. That's not being hard on us -- that's being realistic. We heal when we make the effort to take back control.
I'd love to reprint this post on my blog. Would that be all right with you??

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kate White
October, 17 2010 at 12:02 pm

Hey Michele,
Sorry I haven't replied sooner. The site was down for maintenance but I very much appreciate your comment and general encouragement and, of course, wisdom! Those who have not seen Michele's site, I highly recommend a wander over. It's a brilliant PTSD resource, and a story well worth taking the time to really hear.
Anyway, as for your actual question, I'm not sure. You'd probably want to contact my editors - it's not my copyright, is the thing but if you drop me an email I can put you in touch with them. That's absolutely cool and either way, I'm really glad you dropped by.

Leave a reply