Healing from Trauma

by Mental Health

Question from Quora: 

Can one heal from PTSD without using medications? I hear PTSD doesn’t just apply to war veterans. It could be affecting anyone and we wouldn’t know it ourselves unless someone brought it to our attention.

Answer:

Absolutely you can move forward in life into personal growth, greater expression in experiences and healthy relationships. If that isn’t healing, I don’t know what is. And none of these things require medication, no matter what label has been applied to a set of maladaptive behavior. 

PTSD is not, as you correctly point out, solely happening within our women and men in military service. Any traumatic event has the potential of generating behavior classified as PTSD. Importantly, this trauma nor the later behavior says anything about your worth as a human being. Nor does this say anything about your level of “strength.” Who you are is not limited to any label, whether such is a healthy one you’ve chosen for yourself or one given to you through diagnosis.

Medications can help but they are not required for living healthy lives. Further, sometimes they may be helpful for a short time and then later removed. Also, like the label, whether you use them or not says nothing about who you are or the “strength” of your character.

Moving through PTSD involves looking at your resources, particularly your relationships, both with others and yourself.

Identify Support

  • Are you accepted for who you are and engaged with by others and yourself in ways that allow for personal exploration, challenge and growth?
  • Are you comfortable with identifying what you Value and finding new ways to express your support for them?
  • Do you have a community that encourages new experiences, lets you explore interests in new ways and includes people who share these interests?

The reason these previous questions and determining support systems is so important is that PTSD, like other issues related to anxiety/trauma, often results in isolation and removal from self-exploration. In the, totally understandable, desire to avoid feeling the anxiety, terror and discomfort, we build walls that eventually block us into a smaller and smaller space. The horrible irony is that ultimately this process results in us having only the terror itself as our companion.

Thankfully the world and each one of us, is bigger and filled with possibility, no matter how debilitating and limiting a label leads us to initially believe.

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