Tag Archives: PTSD

Anxiety and Stress

Standard

Image

An article I wrote today for a local newspaper…

Stress and Anxiety – Why do I feel this way all the time?

             I feel so nervous at work and at home every day. I can’t seem to get it under control.  My boss might ask me to do something that I don’t know how to do, or my kids may get into trouble at school. These feelings are always there and I don’t know why…

            Many of us feel stress and anxiety during the day – yet we cope with it in different ways, and while we don’t always understand why we feel it, it is usually manageable.  However, an alarming number of Americans experience anxiety, frequently due to stress. Nearly 40 million people, or about 18% of Americans each year experience nervousness, uncertainty, fears, and restlessness. For these people, the feelings are not a normal reaction to stress, but instead may feel like panic, and it affects their daily life at work, at school, and at home.

            Feelings of anxiety may be felt most in the social situation, or plague us when we have to participate in a classroom experience or answer the teacher’s question. Often, it is not clear why we have the feelings – the anxiety may come up in a meeting, all of a sudden, with little warning. Anxiety, and the stress that we experience, is perhaps the most common of mental difficulties that people experience – and there are several different kinds or types of anxiety disorders.  In addition, anxiety can also be part of, or exist alongside, other disorders – such as depression, physical illness (headaches, stomach problems), sleeping difficulties – and may also trigger behaviors like substance or alcohol abuse. 

            Symptoms include:

  • Constant worrying
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea, sweating, rapid heartbeat
  • Concentration or focusing problems
  • Feeling easily startled or fearful
  • Avoiding social situations

Both adults and children may also exhibit other symptoms, such as striving for approval, needing constant reassurance about performance, lacking confidence, and needing to be perfectionistic.  

The stress that we feel in our work, at our home, or in the school situation can interfere with our daily activities to the point that we feel unable to function normally.  It is at this time that one needs to seek out some help,  and get some assistance in understanding why we are experiencing the difficulty, and how to find different or better ways of coping. 

Anxiety disorders are classified into 5 different types or areas, each of which has different symptoms, coping mechanisms, and treatment recommendations.  You may experience frequent panic attacks (Panic Disorder), or fear dirt and germs, and needing to wash their hands incessantly (Obsessive-compulsive Disorder). Alternatively, you may not want to go outside of your home or go to the school function because you’re frightened of the social situation (Social Anxiety or Phobia). Individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have experienced trauma – often repeatedly, and need a safe environment to recall the events and reduce their fears.  (As I pointed out in a previous article, PTSD is common in soldiers, women and children that have experienced domestic violence, rape or sexual assault victims). 

The causes of anxiety disorders are complex, and there is no research that shows just one factor being involved. Rather, the causes may be environmental (domestic violence or reactions to disaster), genetic in nature, or due to psychological and developmental factors.  Most individuals that experience post-traumatic stress disorder have experienced some trauma in their life, and interestingly, genetics may play a role in whether someone then develops PTSD, or some other disorder as a way of coping with the trauma. 

Treatments are many, and are varied – depending on how the anxiety, or the reaction to stress is experienced. Different types of treatment are called for depending on the specifics of your difficulties.  Medications may be helpful, and may be recommended by your physician or mental health provider. However, an important point is that medication alone will not solve the difficulty – and psychotherapy, or a ‘talking therapy’ will be necessary.  Certain types of therapy are currently being researched (cognitive behavioral) for some of the anxiety disorders.  Many of the psychotherapies will include learning about relaxation approaches, such as breathing exercises or making changes in your lifestyle.  The therapeutic relationship with your mental health provider is of utmost importance, as this relationship will be the key to helping you cope differently with the stress and the anxiety.  

 Please email me with questions or comments.

  Rudy Oldeschulte, M.A., J.D. is a Del Rio psychotherapist, specializing in individual psychotherapy and parent guidance.  He has served on the faculty of the University of Arizona College of Medicine and taught at the British Association of Psychotherapists. Post- graduate training and education was done in London and at the University of Michigan.

Email address is: roldeschulte@gmail.com and his website is: http://www.rudyoldeschulte.com

Advertisements

CG Jung and the ‘Leap of Faith’ Into Individuation

Standard

The Red Book has been described as Jung’s creative response to the threat of madness, yet it has also been seen as a deliberate exercise in self-analysis. I believe it’s likely both. When creating The Red Book, Jung knew he was on the verge of madness, and he also knew his analytical skills and expertise as a psychiatrist were his best chance at alleviating suffering, if not creating the conditions for transformation.

In many regards, The Red Book reads like a healing journey — a phrase often used to describe the reclaiming of self after a history of abuse — which is a transformative period that happens for many people committed to overcoming early life trauma. On the way to an authentic self there is first the need to step away from the person one became to survive abuse. Those confronted with this journey often experience a period of ‘going crazy’ on their way to establishing an authentic sense of self.

As The Red Book shows, individuation is a blessed curse. It opens the way to becoming one’s authentic self, and yet also the risk of alienation from the ‘tribe’. Childhood trauma survivors often know this conundrum intimately. Transformation requires a significant reorienting away from the beliefs, feelings, fantasies, and body states that made possible living in traumatizing conditions. Invariably, there is a part of the self that has gone unacknowledged or rejected, and aches to be reclaimed.

In The Red Book Jung found a process for continually rediscovering authenticity. As he often remarked, individuation is an ongoing journey and not an endpoint reached. Jung also intimated the need for what I called in an earlier post leaps of faith: turning away from the larger world’s expectations and towards one’s inner world of wisdom with acceptance and curiosity.

This quote from The Red Book inspires the impulse to creatively go forth into all that you are:

“Woe betide those who live by way of examples! Life is not with them. If you live according to an example, you thus live the life of that example, but who should live your own life if not yourself? So live yourselves.

“The signposts have fallen, unblazed trails lie before us. Do not be greedy to gobble up the fruits of foreign fields. Do you not know that you yourselves are the fertile acre which bears everything that avails you?”

Jung knew such a ‘leap of faith’ is not easy. He also wrote:

“To live oneself means: to be one’s own task. Never say that it is a pleasure to live oneself. It will be no joy but a long suffering since you must become your own creator.”

But he gives helpful advice for the journey, particularly how to live if the world feels contrary to whom you are becoming. Then you must learn to be your own guide:

“To certain things of the world I must say: you should not be thus, but you should be different. Yet first I look carefully at their nature, otherwise I cannot change it. I proceed in the same way with certain thoughts. You change those things of the world that, not being useful in themselves, endanger your welfare. Proceed likewise with your thoughts. Nothing is complete, and much is in dispute. The way of life is transformation, not exclusion. Well-being is a better judge than the law.”

Reprinted in full with permission by the original author Laura K. Kerr, Ph.D, who moderates the blog, Trauma’s Labyrinth: Finding Ways Out Of Trauma. Laura K. Kerr is a mental health scholar, blogger and trauma-focused psychotherapist. [Her] focus is on healing, with special attention to trauma, modernity, and mental health systems of care.

Trauma Recovery Done Right: 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery

Standard

Trauma Psych

TraumaRecoveryReview8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery: Take-Charge Strategies to Empower Your Healing.
Babette Rothschild. 2010. W.W. Norton, New York.  174 pages.

Living with persisting trauma memories is tough. Involuntarily triggered by events, or people, or places, or thoughts, or feelings . . . well, anything can be a trigger, actually . . . these intrusive, searing memories will turn one’s life inside out. Recovery from traumatic experience is tough as well, and achieving a sense of safety is essential to successful recovery. Rothschild’s brief, personable, and accessible book directly targets safe, successful recovery in a way that compels and convinces the reader. If trauma memories impact your life or that of someone you know or treat in a healthcare setting, you need this book. Because of the importance of this material, and because I want this to be a bit more than a mere review, I will be discussing this book in a two-part post…

View original post 1,869 more words

Stress and Memory From a Neuroscience Perspective

Standard
Stress and Memory From a Neuroscience Perspective

 

 

 

 

 

 

“From a neuroscience perspective, amnesia in the absence of brain damage can be partially explained in biochemical terms. Stress causes a chemical reaction that affects regions of the brain responsible for memory. With repeated overwhelming stress, neurotransmitters and stress hormones are released in the brain in such excess quantity that they can adversely affect portions of the brain responsible for emotional memories as well as other kinds of memory.” p. 33, The Wandering Mind: Understanding Dissociation from Daydreaming to Disorders by John A Biever, M.D. and Maryann Karinch.

i'm not out to convince you or draw upon your mind*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“i’m not out to convince you or draw upon your mind” by Andrea Joseph
“Standing at the Gates of Hell” by Shane Gorski

A Schizophrenic Way Of Saying Things

Standard
A Schizophrenic Way Of Saying Things

 

 

 

 

 

I’d like to go home

but I have to go to the bathroom

and they won’t let me see the stars

cognitive-symptoms-of-schizophrenia-03

I’ll give you a doughnut

because I haven’t got anymore

toilet paper

I want to go to Disneyhome

but Mickey’s dead

God looks at me from the sky

I can see the eyes of

Atlantis

diaptych(right) :: mess-up N/N mess-age

Shut up! she said

I told her somebody stole

my bananas

the walls are missing

where did my feet go

I can smell your armpits, Mister

The hallway’s flooded with blood

because somebody farted

now the toilet smells like

home

Thousand Plateaus Drawing

When I comb my hair pieces

of wood fall out

My brother eats maggots with

his bare feet

My feet went home

Can I go too

I hear dogs calling my name

They don’t know the TV’s on

Oprah’s interviewing Justin Bieber’s

image

diaptych(left) :: mess-up 1/1 mess-age

My mom’s in the audience

with her pet home on a leash

Jim Morrison is singing in my

ear

But I can’t hear the water

running     What?

Was that the doorbell

Someone let the table out

I want to go home

but the silverware left without me

Is it my fault the bed’s on fire

oh, it is

catatonia-schizophrenia-symptoms-01

I don’t sleep in a cloud full

of roses

Want to go outside and play

in the weeds

the roaches won’t care

They’re too busy picking curtains

at the supermarket

Go away but I lost 10 pounds

of home

Help me.

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC lisence)–
“cognitive-symptoms-of-schizophrenia-03″ by Life Mental Health
“catatonic-schizophrenia-symptoms-01″ by Life Mental Health
“Thousand Plateaus Drawing” by Magda Wojtyra
“diaptych(left) :: mess-up 1/1 mess-age” by Joel, Evelyn, Francois
“diaptych(right) :: mess-up N/N mess-age” by Joel, Evelyn, Francois

18 minutes of trauma

Standard

Mind Hacks

I’ve just found one of the best discussions on the importance and limits of the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder on a programme from the Why Factor on BBC World Service.

It’s a brief programme, only 18 minutes long, but packs in a remarkably incisive look at PTSD that tackles its causes, its cultural limits and its increasing use as an all-purpose folk description for painful reactions to difficult events.

Both compassionate and critical, it’s one of the best discussions of post-trauma and its diagnosis I have heard for a while.

As is typical for the internet-impaired BBC radio pages, the podcast is on an entirely different page, so you might want to download the mp3 directly.
 

Link to programme page and streamed audio.
mp3 of programme audio.

View original post

Female veterans

Standard

Honor Betrayed

This is the second in a two-part series.

Part I: Attacked at 19 by an Air Force Trainer, and Speaking Out

Trauma Sets Female Veterans Adrift Back Home
Returning servicewomen are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, an often-invisible group bouncing between friends’ sofas and shelters.

OVERCOMING PAIN Tiffany Jackson, pictured in her uniform, was raped, which set her on a trajectory of drugs and homelessness. More Photos »

Two years later, she had descended into anger and alcohol and left her job. She started hanging out with people who were using cocaine and became an addict herself, huddling against the wind on Skid Row here.

“You feel helpless to stop it,” she said of the cascade of events in which she went from having her own apartment to sleeping in seedy hotels and then, for a year, in the streets, where she joined the growing ranks of homeless female veterans.

Even as the Pentagon lifts the ban on women in combat roles, returning servicewomen are facing a battlefield of a different kind: they are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, an often-invisible group bouncing between sofa and air mattress, overnighting in public storage lockers, living in cars and learning to park inconspicuously on the outskirts of shopping centers to avoid the violence of the streets.

While male returnees become homeless largely because of substance abuse and mental illness, experts say that female veterans face those problems and more, including the search for family housing and an even harder time finding well-paying jobs. But a common pathway to homelessness for women, researchers and psychologists said, is military sexual trauma, or M.S.T., from assaults or harassment during their service, which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sexual trauma set Ms. Jackson on her path. At first she thought she could put “the incident” behind her: that cool August evening outside Suwon Air Base in South Korea when, she said, a serviceman grabbed her by the throat in the ladies’ room of a bar and savagely raped her on the urine-soaked floor. But during the seven years she drifted in and out of homelessness, she found she could not forget.

Of 141,000 veterans nationwide who spent at least one night in a shelter in 2011, nearly 10 percent were women, according to the latest figures available from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, up from 7.5 percent in 2009. In part it is a reflection of the changing nature of the American military, where women now constitute 14 percent of active-duty forces and 18 percent of the Army National Guard and the Reserves.

But female veterans also face a complex “web of vulnerability,” said Dr. Donna L. Washington, a professor of medicine at U.C.L.A. and a physician at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs medical center, who has studied the ways the women become homeless, including poverty and military sexual trauma.

Female veterans are far more likely to be single parents than men. Yet more than 60 percent of transitional housing programs receiving grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs did not accept children, or restricted their age and number, according to a 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office.

The lack of jobs for female veterans also contributes to homelessness. Jennifer Cortez, 26, who excelled as an Army sergeant, training and mentoring other soldiers, has had difficulty finding work since leaving active duty in 2011. She wakes up on an air mattress on her mother’s living room floor, beneath the 12 medals she garnered in eight years, including two tours in Iraq. Job listings at minimum wage leave her feeling bewildered. “You think, wow, really?” she said. “I served my country. So sweeping the floor is kind of hard.”

Not wanting to burden her family, she has lived briefly in her car, the only personal space she has.

Some homeless veterans marshal boot-camp survival skills, like Nancy Mitchell, of Missouri, 53, an Army veteran who spent years, off and on, living in a tent.

“That’s how we done it in basic,” she said.

Double Betrayal of Assault

Of more than two dozen female veterans interviewed by The New York Times,  16 said that they had been sexually assaulted in the service, and another said that she had been stalked. A study by Dr. Washington and colleagues found that 53 percent of homeless female veterans had experienced military sexual trauma, and that many women entered the military to escape family conflict and abuse.

For those hoping to better their lives, being sexually assaulted while serving their country is “a double betrayal of trust,” said Lori S. Katz, director of the Women’s Health Clinic at the V.A. Long Beach Healthcare System and co-founder of Renew, an innovative treatment program for female veterans with M.S.T. Reverberations from such experiences often set off a downward spiral for women into alcohol and substance abuse, depression and domestic violence, she added.

“It just pulls the skin off you,” said Patricia Goodman-Allen, a therapist in North Carolina and former Army Reserve officer who said she once retreated to a mobile home deep in the woods after such an assault.

Ms. Jackson won full disability compensation for post-traumatic stress as a disabling aftermath of her sexual trauma, although she was at first denied military benefits.

http://nyti.ms/129KtSa

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/us/female-veterans-face-limbo-in-lives-on-the-street.html?smid=pl-share

Inspiration: Movies about mental illnesses

Standard

– submitted by Ruth Levine, MD, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston

Black Swan (2010), Darren Aranofsky

Brilliant psychological movie. Dissociation?

 

Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders Bipolar Disorder/Mania
Copycat (panic/agoraphobia) Mr. Jones
As good as it gets (OCD) Network
The touching tree (Childhood OCD) Seven Percent Solution
Fourth of July (PTSD) Captain Newman, MD
The Deer Hunter (PTSD) Sophieís Choice
Ordinary People (PTSD) Sheís So Lovely
Depression Psychosis
Ordinary People Shine
Faithful I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
The Seventh Veil Clean Shaven
The Shrike Through a Glass Darkly
Itís a Wonderful Life (Adjustment disorder) An Angel at my Table
The Wrong Man (Adjustment disorder) Personal
Dissociative Disorders Man Facing Southwest
The Three Faces of Eve Madness of King George (Psychosis due to Porphyria)
Sybil Conspiracy Theory
Delirium
The Singing Detective
Substance Abuse
The Long Weekend (etoh) The Days of Wine and Roses (etoh)
Barfly (etoh) Basketball Diaries (opiates)
Kids (hallucinogens, rave scenes, etc.) Loosing Isaiah (crack)
Reefer Madness Under the Volcano
Long Day’s Journey into Night Ironweed
The Man with the Golden Arm (heroin) A Hatful of Rain (heroin)
Synanon (drug treatment) The Boost (cocaine)
The 7 Percent Solution (cocaine induced mania) Iím Dancing as Fast as I can (substance induced organic mental disorder)
Eating Disorders
The Best Little Girl in the World (made for TV)-Anorexia Kateís Secret (made for TV)-Bulemia

Axis II Disorders

Personality Pathology
Cluster A Cluster B
Remains of the Day- Schizoid PD Borderline PD
Taxi Driver-Schizotypal PD Fatal Attraction
The Caine Mutiny- Paranoid PD Play Misty for Me
The Treasure of Sierra Madre -Paranoid PD Frances
After Hours
Cluster C Looking for Mr. Goodbar
Zelig-Avoidant PD
Sophieís Choice-Dependent PD Histrionic PD
The Odd Couple-OCPD Bullets over Broadway
Gone with the Wind
A Streetcare Named Desire
Antisocial PD
A Clockwork Orange
Narcissism Obsession
All that Jazz Taxi Driver
Stardust Memories Single White Female
Zelig The King of Comedy
Jerry Maguire Triumph of Will
Alfie
Shampoo Mental Retardation
American Gigolo Charly
Citizen Kane Best Boy
Lawrence of Arabia Bill
Patton Bill, On His Own

Miscellaneous Issues

Family Early Adult Issues
Ordinary People Awakenings
The Field The Graduate
Kramer vs Kramer Spanking the Monkey
Diary of a Mad Housewife
Betrayal Latency and Adolescent Issues
Whoís Afraid of Virginia Woolfe Stand by Me
The Stone Boy Smooth Talk
The Great Santini
Doctor/Patient Relationship Boundary Violations
The Doctor The Prince of Tides
Mr. Jones
Idealized “Dr. Marvelous” Psychotherapy
Spellbound Suddenly Last Summer
The Snake Pit Captain Newman, MD
The Three Faces of Eve Ordinary People
Good Will Hunting

Steve Hyler directs an APA course on this topic, and
would be a good person to check with.
For more details, you can call me (409) 747-1351. Hope to see you in Maine!

Ruth Levine
University of Texas Medical Branch


| Back to the ADMSEP Resources Page |

Thoughts from a female psychopath

Standard

The original text can be found on the blog “Dating a psychopath”
This is the personal thoughts from someone believing that she is a psychopaths. This is not a diagnostic case, so the owner of this blog can not guarantee this represent the whole truth.
http://datingasociopath.com/2013/07/17/thoughts-written-by-a-female-sociopath/ 

From the blog:

I thought that I would raise this as a separate post. I know that a lot of male victims of female sociopaths also read this site. I received this comment today on the post of ‘female sociopath’. I thought I would share it here as a post.

Hi Positivegirl, great article.

I myself am a female sociopath and saw a lot of truth in your words but a lot of what you say does not apply to me personally. I will agree that when the game is on the woman has it easier but when society clicks on it is a lot more difficult to get around the problem because it is all the more shocking when it is a woman. People are a lot less forgiving of us when we do get caught.

I have no interest in finding a man to take care of me and give me money, I can do these things for myself whilst giving the impression that I am a moral person that is not a user. I find going to work so much easier than the housewife role, I detest being in that situation.

I will sheepishly look at the floor if anyone asks about the relationship to manipulate people into thinking I am a victim whist at the same time refusing to accept if someone tries to buy me a drink. My favorite impimageession to give is strong woman, confused.

What I look for in a man is excitement and adoration. I like them to be like lapdogs. I want to destroy all aspects of their life so that I am all that’s left and the centre of their world.

I don’t like them leading their own lives. I will engineer situations until I am entirely in control and then spend all of my time paranoid that they will tell someone that can see me for who I really am.

I am violent and volatile, but only behind closed doors. I enjoy watching men cry because they do not understand what is happening. I like watching them flinch if a good looking woman comes on the tely and smile all the more if they know I would do her too. I do have a very high sex drive but hide it well from society because, again, I want to give an impression of being normal.

I am a sexual predator. I am guilty of drugging men that act as if they might say no and pressuring them… I don’t like taking no for an answer. I love it all the more if they are unexperienced and I can be the teacher. Nerds are the best, always grateful for taking their virginity and oblivious to what’s going on. Don’t get me wrong, dangerous men are my favorite thrill, I love when they think they are in control.

I like women too but am just a little too afraid of that female intuition that would get in the way of my plans. I have seen the film Monster (good to watch if you are interested in female sociopaths) and know that could have been me if I had just a little less fear of the law.

I cannot bear responsibilities. Outside of the house I will conform and do a good job at my employment but it is just for impression management. I detest housework, children, compromise… All the things that are expected from a good little woman.

The funny thing is women are always telling me that they wish their son would get a nice good girl like me and even try to set me up with them. It might be my big blue eyes and long lashes.

I imageam a home wrecker. If a woman sees me for what I am or is a threat in anyway I will make it my plan to sleep with her husband. Even a small offence like getting too close to me or wanting to spend time with me can have repercussions if it is not what I want.

I do not regret many of the things I have done but I regret that I am this way. I envy your empathy. I would give up all of my thrills to be the sort of person that can relax with no mask. I am just a shell. >>>>>> A shell with a pretty exterior and no chance of ever changing. <<<<<< Thank you for the break from pretense, and guys, I hope this helps you to ruin the plans of my fellow female socios.

What is PTSD, and worksheets and information that might help

Standard

This is not meant to be used for diagnostic purposes. If you think you might have PTSD it is recommended to seek professional help. PTSD is a common mental health issue, that can be treated with several methods. If the symptoms keep you from living a normal life, professional help might be needed.

What is PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) ?

Post-Traumatic Stress can occur after a significant incident that is out of the ordinary. A person involved in such an event might have witnessed an injury or death. You might have been in danger of this yourself. It could have been a large scale disaster, or a small but significant accident. For example:

  • Being attacked or assualted
  • A road traffic accident
  • A house fire
  • An incident at work
  • A natural disaster

An initial reaction to such an event might be shock and disbelief. Over time this can fade. More troubling thoughts and feelings can emerge. These might include anger, helplessness or fear. It can be difficult to process your memories of the event, or understand what happened and why. You might re-experience the incident through intrusive flashbacks or nightmares. Following such an experience, it is also common to avoid things that remind you of the incident.

ptsd

What keeps Post-Traumatic Stress going?

Following an incident you may find that avoiding the location, activity or people involved is an effective way of coping with your distressing circumstance. In the long-term this may not be helpful. Adapting your behaviour to avoid those things might maintain your difficulties, rather than resolving them by working through the problem.

When looking more closely at what stops us from overcoming Post-Traumatic Stress, it becomes clear that our behaviour, thoughts, feelings and physical sensations all interact and combine to keep it going.

Challenging unhelpful thoughts

The way that we think about things has an impact on our mood. Many of these thoughts occur outside of our control, and can be negative or unhelpful. It is therefore important to remember that they are just thoughts, without any real basis, and are not necessarily facts. Even though we may believe a lot of our unhelpful thoughts when we have experienced a traumatic event, or feel stressed or low, it is good to remember that they should be questioned as they are often based on wrong assumptions.

The following section will help you begin to recognise if you are thinking about things in an unhelpful or unrealistic way, and discuss how you can start to make changes to this. By doing so, you can learn to see things in a more realistic light which can help to improve your mood. You might have unhelpful thoughts about all kinds of things. Here are some examples:

About Yourself / Your Actions and Thoughts:

  • I may not be able to cope
  • I’m helpless
  • I’m in danger, something might happen to me
  • I am to blame

About the World

  • The world is dangerous and threatening
  • The world is an unpredictable place

It is clear to see how this kind of thinking might bring your mood and confidence levels down.
You might find it difficult to identify an unhelpful thought. Try thinking about a time when your mood changed, perhaps when you were thinking about a traumatic event. Consider what was running through your mind at that time.

How to challenge unhelpful thoughts

Once you have recognised an unhelpful thought the next stage is to challenge it. To do this, you can ask yourself a serious of questions. See the example below:

Situation: Taking a walk in the evening along a path.

How you feel: Fearful, on edge, worried.
Unhelpful thought: I’m going to be attacked!
Challenges to an unhelpful thought
Now you can challenge your unhelpful thoughts by asking these questions.
Is there any evidence that contradicts this thought?
  • I’ve walked this way many times before.
  • Lots of people walk this way.
What would you say to a friend who had this thought in a similar situation?
  • Lots of people walk there, there’s no reason why you would be targeted.
What are the costs and benefits of thinking in this way?
  • Costs: It makes me anxious to walk that way home, any other way is much longer. It reminds me of when I was attacked before.
  • Benefits: I can’t really think of any.
How will you feel about this in 6 months time?
  • I’ll probably look back and laugh about how silly I was being.
Is there another way of looking at this situation?
  • I’ve walked this way so many times – it’s completely safe.

Once you have asked yourself these questions, you should read through your answers. Try to come up with a more balanced or rational view. For example:

I have walked along here plenty of times, it is no less safe than it was before I was attacked on that one occasion. I can manage these feelings of anxiety.
Try to apply these questions to the unhelpful thoughts that you notice. It can help to improve your mood. You can use this technique to test your thoughts are realistic and balanced.

Treatment of PTSD is to challenge the unhelpful thoughts and exposing oneself to the scary thoughts or situations. One can try much of this alone, but sometimes it can be even better to plan this together with somebody else, like a therapist or someone you trust. The important thing is to not escape from what scares you, and sometimes that is easier together with others. 

All the worksheets for challenging thoughts can be collected from: http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/posttrauma.asp

 worksheets:

Other factors that helps people with PTSD:
    • Social support – speaking to people; family, friends, relatives, colleagues, etc.
    • Confidence – being sure of your own ability to cope.
    • Problem solving – being able to work out solutions to problems.
    • Self-awareness – knowing how this problem effects you; your body, thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
    • Looking after yourself – making sure that you have some time to yourself. For example going for walks, having a relaxing bath, etc.

Relaxation

It is important to make time to relax and do activities that are enjoyable. This can help to improve your mood by calming the body and mind. It can also help you to sleep. Without taking the time to unwind, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed.Relaxation can involve doing something that you enjoy, or just being by yourself. Good examples might be reading a book or having a bath. Exercise is also particularly effective at helping us to relax. What you do does not really matter. Try to choose something that you will look forward to and that gives you a break. Doing an activity that you enjoy will also give you less time to spend worrying. Here are a list of activities that might help you to relax.

Suggestions:

  • Do some exercise (e.g. swim, cycle)
  • Read a book
  • Watch your favourite TV show
  • Go to the cinema
  • Do something creative (e.g. draw, paint)
  • Visit a friend or family member
  • Have a bath