How to Cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Jan 10, 2022

How to cope with post-traumatic stress

We live in a world of extremes. Extreme beauty and brilliance contrasted with extreme destruction and devastation, caused by humans, or nature. And occasionally, caused by both. The alchemy of this world of extremes can result in many traumatic situations and a prevalence of experiences that cause post-traumatic stress disorder.

Also known as PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition triggered by (either witnessing or experiencing) a terrifying event. Many people associate it only with soldiers who struggle managing the effects of being in armed conflict - but in reality it is a very broad condition that can result from any traumatic event - and it certainly can be treated and worked through. The reality is that there is no “perfect” or “right” way to cope with post-traumatic stress but there certainly are avenues for healing that are worth exploring. Let’s take a look at a bit more details and unpack ways to cope with it so you or your loved ones can get the support you deserve.

RECOGNISE IT: What is post traumatic stress disorder?

This condition is typically marked by the development of a particular set of “stress symptoms”, emanating from a moment when our lives or inherent safety felt vulnerable and threatened. For example:

  • Serious accident or injury
  • Physical, sexual, emotional or physcological assault
  • War, tortur, political violence
  • Natural disasters such as bushfires or floods

An important reminder: PTSD could be recent, reawakened or repressed - caused by an event that happened recently, triggered by an experience from your past or it could occur unexpectedly, bubbling up out of the blue as unresolved and repressed emotions.

IDENTIFY IT: Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms & signs

Denial and avoidance is common with those who suffer from PTSD, despite a belief that the effects of their trauma has been adequately dealt with. Here are a few signs that could suggest reaching out for help is the best next step:

  • Experiencing recurring nightmares or flashbacks
  • Feeling increasingly anxious, skittish or jumpy
  • Complete exhaustion or shellshock (also known as operational exhaustion)
  • Emotional dysregulation or irregular outbursts of anger
  • Physical pain, increased heart rate or shortness of breath
  • Panic attacks, sudden anxiety, chronic feeling of fear or vulnerability

For most people, the motivation for seeking support happens when their emotions begin to have a lasting negative impact on their sleep, work and relationships. If you feel you’re paralyzed into a state of emotional crisis that’s hard to get out of, we can help.

An important reminder: Post-traumatic stress takes time to heal and for many it's an ongoing journey. This is nothing to feel ashamed of! Learning to cope after trauma requires patience but even more so self-compassion.

WITNESS IT: Online peer counseling for trauma

Understanding PTSD and learning to recognise it in our lives are two great feats. A step to continue the healing process could be to give yourself the space to witness PTSD in others, hear about their experience and coping mechanisms. This may give you much-needed perspective and a deeper understanding of the many facets of this disorder, allowing a new level of acceptance and self-compassion.

An important reminder: The best people to share your experiences with are those who’ve been through something similar. You can find a peer counselor who resonates with your emotions and can empathetically listen and allow for candid questions in a safe and private virtual session.

If you’re looking for compassion, connection and the right person to support you on this journey, set up a chat with one of our peer counselors. Your first 30 minute Peer Collection session is free!

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