Sorry I haven’t blogged for a week or two.Being back at work twice a week is bizarre but good. I think it has been good for me and I love seeing Jack’s face when he sees me come to get him from Nannie’s! It’s been busy lately.
I hope people find this blog post helpful. These are some of the things I found helped me heal and get past my PTSD so I could live my life again. I’m not claiming that they are all miracle cures but the combination of them worked for me.
WRITE IT ALL DOWN – I have been writing in diaries on and off since I was about 9 years old. It has always been therapeutic for me and salting this blog has been a big part of my recovery. I have found such release in writing and sharing our story and it’s always lovely to get feedback from others who now maybe don’t feel like they are alone in their feelings. It doesn’t have to be a public blog. Jotting down feelings in a notebook is just as good.
TALK TO SOMEONE – Whether you talk to a spouse, family member, friend or counsellor, this can really help. A problem shared is a problem halved, they say. I saw a counsellor for 6 sessions and it helped me sort through my anxiety and PTSD to a point where I could function. I still have a couple of books that she recommended to turn to when I have any little wobbly moments.
EXERCISE – I started running at the beginning of 2017 because I was tired of feeling unhealthy and fat and ashamed of my size. The size that was caused by anxiety and PTSD. Going to a gym wasn’t practical at all but to be able to just put on a pair of trainers and go out the door while Hubby watched Jack was great. I blogged about it here and I feel so different now. As of this morning, I’ve lost about 23 lbs which is well over 1.5stone! I’m not longer embarrassed by my appearance whenever I leave the house.
RETURN TO THE NICU – I found returning to the NICU for a little visit with Jack’s nurses to be wonderfully healing. When you look back on your time on the NICU, it is so easy to remember the difficult moments when your baby perhaps took steps backwards. What these visits do is remind me that Jack was surrounded by wonderful friends who took care of him so well and that these nurses became our best friends for 3 whole months. And they love seeing their tiny 2lb babies all grown up and happy and healthy!
DEEP BREATHING – When I’m on the verge of a panic attack, I try to slow my breathing and count in for 4 and out for 4. Focus on the counting and it will soon pass.
CRY IT OUT – Sometimes you need this massive release. Some people don’t understand crying and tell me that I shouldn’t because “it doesn’t chance anything”. It does actually because it the end when I’ve calmed down it feels like I’ve got it out of my system for a while. No one should ever make you feel bad for crying – you went through a traumatic time and it’s ok to cry.
JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP – I’m a member of a couple of Facebook groups and go to a monthly NICU graduate play group at our local hospital. It’s so nice to have a place full of other people who truly understand what I went through. Friends and family can support you as best they can but no one really knows what it’s like until they’ve lived it.
TIME – It’s all kinds of cliché but give yourself time. Time does not heal everything and you can’t go back to being the same person you were before but I do believe you can get to a place where you feel good again. It has taken me 15 or so months to get to this stage of feeling ok and there are still things I need to work on. But for the most part I can get on with life and enjoy it immensely.
ALWAYS REMEMBER – even on the days when you feel like you can’t go on, you have a 100% survival rate for the days you have been through so far. You can do this.
I hope this helps someone, even just one person. What have you felt has helped you? XXX
One thought on “Practical Tips on Conquering PTSD”
I’ve done so many of the things on your list already. I knew the moment Leigh was sent to the NICU writing a blog was in my future, even though I knew nothing about blogging. I started walking (maybe I’ll run one day). I talk to anybody who will listen and I have a therapist. I went to the grand opening of the new hospital so I could see the NICU unit and saw one of her nurses there. The NICU Graduate play group sounds really cool and is a good idea. I might have to bring it up to them. I tried to force myself to be ok with the events surrounding Leigh’s birth by a set date, but I know I need to give myself time. Thank you for sharing.
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