If you're lucky, then you're never going to tango with PTSD.
If you're also lucky, you'll be one of the very few who won't meet the emotionally and mentally scarring experiences that have left some people numb and unable to connect with the world around them.
The emotional and mental health consequences of surviving PTSD can become lifelong scars for us, forever leaving a mark.
While I can't speak for everyone with this condition, what I can say is most people who have PTSD understand real dangers lie at every turn. Mental and physical landmines can get triggered when someone who has PTSD recalls the source of the pain.
Sometimes the emotional healing after PTSD is painful in itself, just like the event that caused it.
Helping someone navigate PTSD is complicated. Unknown dynamics typically play a significant role.
As with any PTSD, the time frame between the event itself and the start of treatment can play a role in the treatment's effectiveness.
Only when we accept how PTSD affects us is when different levels of healing can begin. For some in our community, they can become very violent when confronting memories they'd rather keep to themselves.
Mental health can also be essential.
Some forms of PTSD also shift people's grasp on reality. This can sometimes make the clinical treatment of the experience impossible until the side effects are handled. Any combination of factors makes treating PTSD a very long road that sometimes seems longer with each step.
So how do I work through mine?
I've been working through getting my mind back to basic working order.
I've learned the human mind is a super delicate computer system. It will shut down if the processor is over-clocked and there is too much information coming in.
When the mind shuts itself down, our decision-making abilities, thought processes, and creative thoughts are simply running dry.
After traveling non-stop since 1998, the effects of my PTSD also started manifesting physically. My body got to the point in 2020 where it began to run solely on the essential functions I needed to stay alive...
... right at the start of the pandemic.
Way back in 2007, I never understood what my chiropractor meant when he said some physical extremes, even previously major physical problems such as acne and chronic pain, suddenly disappear. He told me the body gets used to holding the pain until you no longer feel it, but the problem causing the pain is still there.
Now I get it.
Helping a person's mind jump start after PTSD is the first step to adjusting to the event so they can put their social life and mental health back together.
The next step involves helping a person deal with the return of their normal emotions and helping them re-learn how to cope with emotional stimulation.
This step also covers what might be the most painful part of therapy for a trauma survivor: facing PTSD.
For people to truly move past an event that has traumatized them, the problem has to be faced, processed, dealt with, and accepted. Repairs on a person's mental health and the process of emotional healing cannot truly begin if the person has not yet dealt with the trauma for themselves and found their way through it.
Sometimes facing the problem can often stimulate the mind to accept emotional stimuli again, slowly helping them get back on track after the destruction they've endured.
However, this step is best taken slowly, as the mind is still in a delicate state at this stage, and the emotional toll of brashly forcing someone to face the event can result in more harm than good.
The third crucial step I worked through is establishing a feeling of control over life once again, as trauma often leaves one feeling vulnerable and incapable of any power.
People who experience PTSD leaves us with a loss of control over our lives (which has to be worked through).
When I'm doing things that help me deal with PTSD, I can start handling the damage done in my life. What's given me a sense of control is re-learning the little things.
I used to be a super-big, high-level thinker until I learned how small actions I used to do (and take for granted) are the same actions that created my mental prison.
Me re-learning these things helped me develop a sense of familiarity and safety. I've taken these lessons as a framework for slowly getting me back on my feet.
I've discovered that PTSD is a very personal experience. To me, everyone's recovery is unique. Forcing someone to reintegrate into everyday life too quickly can often be as traumatizing to an already damaged mental health state as PTSD itself.
This is just one of many lanes in the high-functioning PTSD mind of Fred Smith.
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