Has A Traumatic Event Left You Frozen With Fear or Highly Amped and Agitated?
Have you experienced a traumatic event or a series of events that have caused you to feel highly agitated, anxious or powerless? Are you replaying the event over and over in your mind? Have you suffered from flashbacks, panic attacks or insomnia? Do you constantly fear that the event will reoccur? Have you resorted to using substances or engaged in other potentially self-harming behaviors to cope? Do you feel depressed, constantly on guard, restless or unable to act?
Traumatic events can severely impact our ability to function normally. Ongoing symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, agitation, reoccurring thoughts, panic and hyper vigilance, may indicate that you are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma affects the nervous system, putting people suffering from PTSD into a fight or flight state. You may be feeling highly agitated and amped, but also unable to act. It’s kind of like putting your foot on the accelerator and the brake at the same time. Because trauma affects your body as well as your mind and spirit, it can cause physical pain. You may be suffering from migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia or autoimmune disorders, among other physical discomforts.
You Are Not Alone
Many people have experienced varying levels of PTSD. Although it is very common, the experience is highly individualized. An event that could severely impact one person may not have the same effect on another. Regardless if you were part of a highly violent event or an extremely contentious divorce, PTSD can be emotionally and physically crippling. But, the good news is that it is highly treatable. Countless people have experienced PTSD and gotten past it. And, with the help of a good therapist, you too can work through your trauma and regain control over you life and wellbeing.
You Can Heal
Trauma can be healed, and amazing breakthroughs can occur in a gentle and safe therapeutic environment. Most of us don’t give ourselves proper time to heal after experiencing trauma and many don’t have the support that’s needed. A trained and experienced BPS therapist will work with you to help you understand PTSD – what’s happening to you, why it’s happening, and how you can begin to heal. Just understanding the nature of PTSD can provide some relief. The idea is not to spend time retelling and reliving the event – which could actually re-traumatize the nervous system – but to find out what’s under the surface, heal the mind, body and spirit and find balance and contentment again.
PTSD treatment tends to be gradual, and there is usually no quick fix when it comes to healing from a traumatic event, but human beings are incredibly resilient. And, with the help of a qualified therapist, you will feel better. It’s important that you don’t give up on yourself and that you seek and accept help while going through the healing process. You can feel whole again. You can rid your body of this trauma. And, in therapy, you will get the support you need as you work on letting trauma go and reclaiming power over your thoughts, your body and your life.
But, you still may have some questions or fears…
I’m terrified to face the trauma. I’m scared that talking will make me relive the event and that I’ll feel even worse.
PTSD therapy is a slow process and it will be quite some time before you and your therapist even touch the trauma. Together, you’ll slowly develop a safe and comfortable therapist/client relationship while working on PTSD education and resources. Just understanding the nature of PTSD often provides some immediate relief. A BPS therapist will meet you where you are emotionally and will follow your lead. You do not have to talk about your traumatic event until you are ready. This is your healing process and you are in charge of it. Your therapist is there to offer support and gentle guidance.
I think I have PTSD and want to try therapy. I just don’t know if I can afford it.
This is your life and your wellbeing. Getting help to rid your body of this trauma may be one of the most important investments you make. Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained to handle PTSD issues or who they couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct an initial assessment and match you with a therapist who is trained and experienced in treating PTSD and whose personality is a good match with yours. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to yourself is the investment of a lifetime – imagine being much happier on a regular basis and ask yourself what that is worth.
If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale.
My family doesn’t think I need therapy and this trauma isn’t that big of a deal. I should just be able to get over this on my own.
Support is critical for people suffering from PTSD. If you are not getting support from family or friends while you heal, it is almost imperative that you contact a therapist. Sometimes a lack of support following a traumatic experience can end up being more traumatizing than the actual event. It’s important that you work through your trauma in a supportive environment. A BPS therapist will help you build up your resources, face your fears and regain control over your life.
We encourage you to schedule an initial assessment with Dr. Jan Hittelman. Jan will work with you to determine what your specific issues are and to ensure a good match between you and a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.
You can also check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you with a therapist who has expertise working with PTSD issues.