Is it hard to overcome PTSD?

Overcome the trauma


The most important thing after the trauma:

Security and reassurance

Get yourself to safety, calm yourself down, do whatever you can to calm yourself down, rest, let the excitement subside. Operations managers after disasters, rescue services or police officers should always consider this question: How can I get those affected to a safe place, away from the disaster location, where their excitement can subside and they come to again. Those who are extremely excited want to jump up and do "something". This can often have negative consequences, especially if there are injuries. Telling those affected that they do not have to do anything, that others are there to help them, can have a calming effect and only avoid reflex-controlled action Prevent those affected who are in a state of emergency from jumping up and running.

Regaining calm is important for a number of reasons. Only then do our spontaneous healing powers and the body's own recovery processes come into play. If the excitement persists, urgently needed power reserves are used up unnecessarily. Eventually, a state of exhaustion can occur that is not so much related to the traumatic event as it is to the time after it. The engine continues to run at full speed, although there is no longer any destination. You should therefore avail yourself of all resources that can possibly help to gradually reduce the number of revolutions of your internal motor.

Here are some more tips:

Build on helpful habits

Do everything that has already helped you to calm down and relax. Lie in bed, try to sleep, or read a book. Particularly recommended: going for a walk in familiar surroundings. Do your usual sport if your physical condition allows it. If you have a choice between a new movie on TV and one of your favorite video cassettes, check out the latter. Since the traumatic experience confronts us with too much new, unprocessed "information", a manageable distraction is preferable. Do whatever can distract you. However, if possible, avoid engaging in work processes that in turn create stress. Unfortunately, this attempt is not infrequent: Beelzebub is used to drive the devil out, and even if you succeed in distracting yourself from the trauma, there is often no recovery, but exhaustion.

Talk about the trauma!

Discuss the incident with a few people you trust. But not "between the door and the hinge". Take your time and make sure that the person you are speaking to is not pressed for time either. The person you are speaking to should simply listen, respond to your feelings and express his own. if he is not affected by the same terrible event as you. It is important that the person you are talking to does not teach you or possibly blame you. If this is to be expected, you should consider whether there is another interlocutor who is less "affected" and is able to listen sensitively and patiently. Don't talk to people you don't trust. Some trauma victims are forced to relate their experiences to everyone they meet, over and over again. This can easily lead to reactions of rejection or weariness. Many interlocutors find themselves in their own everyday stress and are either unable or unwilling to get involved in the mostly extremely threatening world into which trauma reports bring us. Some are themselves too strongly affected or indirectly "affected". In the sense of a vicious circle, the victims then feel rejected, get the impression that no one can understand them and continue to withdraw from all social contacts. Such a negative spiral can be interrupted, if you agree to meet with your partner a limited period of time during which they can freely talk about the trauma. This will not only protect your partner but also yourself. Do not expect yourself to go through all the sometimes terrible details over and over again. It is often assumed that this is "therapeutically" effective. On the contrary, memories can take on a life of their own and the original panic is revived. Instead of creating relief, the trauma is intensified. Even if your partner wants to know more, only tell as much as you can without sinking back into the trauma, as it were. Ask your partner to be considerate of your limits. Since the trauma is associated with an extreme loss of self-determination and control over your own living space, you should do everything that gives you the feeling of control and self-determination back. It is particularly helpful if your environment supports you in this. You can do small, everyday chores for yourself, put one foot in front of the other, try out everything that "works" and concentrate on what you can do.

The primary goal during the shock phase and the impact phase of the trauma is to gradually regain a feeling of security and security, to "come back to yourself" and to find some peace.

Many sufferers blame themselves for having failed and are then plagued by depression in the long term. In the following we describe a small exercise that sometimes helps to rebuild one's self-confidence.

Exercise "thinking about successes"

Please write down the ten greatest successes of your life on a piece of paper. For each success, give at least five reasons to explain why it is a success.

When memories of your stressful event or life circumstances arise, think about your past successes at the same time. Keep your list of achievements with you. If you notice that your mind was preoccupied with the event for a long time, pull out your success list and read the successes out to yourself, as loudly as possible, if the external circumstances allow it. After a while you will no longer need the list in writing. Then mentally review your successes, especially if you should feel feelings of inadequacy or failure.

Effect of the exercise: Many victims of traumatic events experience their misfortune as a personal failure, even if objectively this is not the case. Then a paralyzing, depressing mood spreads that blocks a more realistic perspective. You can break this mood by remembering previous successes. Of course, the horrific experience you had to go through remains depressing. But for many of those affected it no longer seems so all-encompassing. If you counter this with your previous successes, you are allocating a limited place in your life to the present calamity.

In our self-help book New Ways Out of Trauma you will find a variety of exercises that you can use to cope with trauma. They work best when everyone chooses the exercises that tie in with their personal form of trauma processing and that suit them personally. This requires a wide range and a detailed description of the individual exercises, which understandably cannot be done in this Internet overview.