1. Be Connected.
Make sure you are putting enough time and energy into family/social relationships, and that you have a job that you enjoy and care about. PTSD is very taxing on our energy and our mood so it is easy to keep to ourselves, especially in this era of the internet/games/etc. We all need some time to ourselves but too much isolation leads to depression. Before you know it, you lose interest in connecting the way you used to which can produce a vicious cycle of social withdrawal. When I first started helping people to gain access to medical marijuana I was worried that they would potentially use it to turn inward and “escape” from life. But I have been very happy to learn that most people who see me want to use marijuana products to feel better, function better, and be more connected to life, not less.
2. Realize that we have limits to our self-control.
We need mental energy to put out the internal fires in our minds. We need it to have patience when dealing with whomever we are around. PTSD saps our energy because we have to expend it to make sure we don’t get overly triggered by things, and to manage our anxiety and irritability. Being around people, even our own family, can start to feel like a chore. Most of us do not sleep well either, so we don’t recharge as well as others do. Be aware of how much mental energy you have before it is too late and you start acting like a jerk. If you are approaching your limit, take a break or do what you need to do. Some people need to go to the bathroom and take a hit off of their medical marijuana vapor pen, for example. Not to get wasted, just to change their tune. The important thing to remember is that we can’t just “try harder.” We all have only so much mental energy.
3. Be easy on yourself, but still accountable.
Most people are too hard on themselves. They feel guilty because whether they know they have PTSD or not they don’t really have a good explanation for why they think/feel/act the way that they do. They think that they need to kick themselves in the ass to motivate themselves to be better. But being negative and feeling bad really just drain our mental energy. Though it may be counterintuitive, giving your self slack is how to prevent making a bad situation worse. Of course, that doesn’t mean you will lose control and hurt people. Just try to stay positive, own up to your mistakes and move on, conserving your energy to help you get through your day as best you can.
4. Realize that Your Loved Ones Won’t Understand.
Unless someone has PTSD he or she has no way of truly putting themselves in your shoes. PTSD is a phenomenon of the right side of our brain, the fight or flight part. There is no way to put it into logical left-brain terms. That’s why it is so difficult to describe or to understand even for ourselves. But that’s okay. We don’t need someone to know exactly what it is like to be us in order to connect with him or her. Once again, try to have patience with yourself while remaining accountable, and that will open the door for someone else to better understand how you would like to be treated.
5. Consider Accelerated Resolution Therapy.
There is nothing else out there that is nearly as effective and painless(!) as A.R.T. Medical marijuana can help tremendously and there are so many different products that there is something for almost everyone. But it is a band-aid, just like the pharmaceuticals are. If you are ready for the CURE, make an appointment with me or check out the therapist directory at www.artworksnow.com. Some people consider therapy to be expensive, but they are unaware of the value that they can receive when the majority or their symptoms are gone. How much is it worth for you to feel “normal” again, the way you did before the trauma? How would that make you a better parent/friend/person? How much do you spend now on medications or addictions to help you manage your PTSD? A.R.T. has allowed me to help so many people. There really is nothing to lose and everything to gain.