"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." – Martin Luther King Jr.

 Are you experiencing post-trauma stress?

Some level of stress is inevitable in today’s world and for many it is thought to be desirable in keeping them motivated.

Some events, such as a divorce, loss of a loved one, unexpected unemployment, and severe debt, can be extremely stressful, traumatic, and emotionally difficult to deal with and these kinds of experiences may cause prolonged distraction, preoccupation, sadness, or anger about these things.

 

Other stressors, however, can be so serious and horrifying that they can cause longer-term drama in our life often resulting in a condition called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 


Such experiences include combat, assault, rape, prolonged abuse, or observing serious, violent, or sudden and unexpected death of another person. What distinguishes these stressful events from trauma is whether they involved an immediate threat to life or physical injury or violation.

Signs & symptoms of post-trauma stress.

A diagnosis of PTSD is considered when:


Someone has experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others,  and the response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

 

However, if people don't meet all the criteria below they may well still be experiencing prolonged post-trauma stress and be prevented from recovery through being stuck in the process of moving on.

 


To meet the diagnostic criteria of PTSD a person would need to be experiencing symptoms from the following categories and have had them longer than 4 weeks.

 

1) Reliving or re-experiencing the traumatic event in the form of flashbacks, nightmares, when relaxed, falling asleep, bored, etc.


2) Avoiding stimuli associated with the event, or emotional numbing (dissociated) from the experience e.g., suppressing the memories or using substances to block/distract away from it such as food, cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs.

 

3) Hyper-arousal; experiencing anger, irritability, becoming jittery, hypervigilance, sleep and concentration problems/disturbances.

 

4) Feeling worse about self &/or the world since the trauma e.g., guilt, sadness, depression, shame, anxiety, physical and emotional pain, low self-esteem, isolation, loneliness, low confidence, etc.

How to become unstuck from post-trauma stress

After experiencing a severe stress or trauma, we can get stuck in our processing of the trauma and feel unable to fully file the memories away. This keeps negative symptoms appearing in the mind and body during daily life in the form of flashbacks & nightmares typically when we’re off guard in sleep, when relaxing, or falling asleep, etc.

 

By addressing the ongoing symptoms, it’s possible to understand where we  have got stuck in the processing of the event and address it so it no longer continues to affect us.

 

Recovery from trauma means connecting with the memories in a safe way rather than avoiding or ignoring them. The latter can be very useful in the short term to help us cope with the effects of our recent traumatic and stressful experiences, however when used more longer term these strategies prolong being stuck, and delay the process of recovery causing unnecessary disruption in our daily lives.

Supporting trauma survivors at Unbind Your Mind
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View more options below for getting unstuck from post-trauma stress.

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