Mental Health

PTSD Recovery Tip: Take Action

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At the beginning of every new year I like to take a look at how I can better support you. That means that around this time I begin making changes to how I blog and what I blog about. I’ve finally decided on a few new features that you’ll see roll out over the course of the next month. (Have a suggestion about what you’d like to see? Feel free to leave a comment.)

One thing I’ve decided is that we need a PTSD Recovery Tip of the Month.

Here’s the first one:

PTSD treatment and recovery moves forward when you take action.

PTSD symptoms and treatment can be… well…. sort of all over the place, don’t you agree? I know in my own process I was always casting around for what would get the job done. Much of the time, I was so demoralized, depressed and exhausted that I didn’t make decisions. Often I wasn’t taking an action because I just plain didn’t have the strength to. That kind of sinking into the muck, however, can really hinder your progress.

How often to you take action? In my own process, and I see this in my clients and I hear from survivors every week, we think about taking action a lot more than we actually do. For example, I thought about the fact that I wasn’t getting anywhere in therapy for a very. Long. Time. But it took me months to actually do anything about it. So, instead of actually making progress, my recovery stalled as I ruminated over what to do, when to do it and how to get it done. I also didn’t really relish the idea of starting over with someone else, a fact that made my inaction seem valuable as it kept me with ‘someone who already knows me.’

Of course, that was not such a great idea for my recovery, which stalled and floundered because I wasn’t with a therapist who really understood PTSD or what to do about it. Finally, I decided to find someone new, more PTSD-savvy and equipped to help me get to the next level in posttraumatic stress recovery.

When you take action you give yourself the opportunity to see great change. At the beginning of February I launched the Heal My PTSD Virtual Support Groups (that means no matter where you live you can participate!). Some brave PTSD action-takers signed up and have been meeting for the past five weeks. Here’s a glimpse of what happens when you take action, written by Donna, a member of our support groups:

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for us ptsd-ers and what you’ve done for me.  I feel as though I’ve been propelled forward by your suggestions, questions, and advice.  I feel like you’ve given me tools that I didn’t have before the support group and I can continue to work on myself and heal. 

The smallest action leads you to a new place, which can lead you to another action, which leads you to another new place and then…. You see where I’m going with this? PTSD recovery is won in inches; small, baby steps.

Take a look at your PTSD recovery and ask yourself some questions:

1 – What needs to be done so that I feel better? (This could be an emotional evolution or a physical experience.)

2 – How can I do that?

3 – Who can help me do that?

4 – What’s the first step toward doing that?

5 – When can I take that step?

PTSD recovery doesn’t happen all at once. It happens in increments. Look only at the next thing that needs to be achieved, not the whole process. Choose one action to move you forward one little bit. Build on that and watch yourself begin to take back control and reclaim who you are. What’s one action you can take today?

Photo by: Scott Chan