Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) recovery (and the actions it requires) often incites a lot of fear. It has to: creating change always takes you into uncharted territories that can make you question yourself. Frequently, the pain of facing difficult things, plus the exhaustion of attempting to break free from what’s controlling you will put you in situations that bring on a big feeling of “I can’t handle it.” This moment and feeling are the essence of fear in PTSD recovery and there are good reasons for feeling it.

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Coping skills for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caregivers are important. Recently, I received a simple, single-lined email from a man looking for an answer to an important question: “What is the best coping skill I can use to help someone with PTSD?” As any caregiver knows, supporting a friend or loved on through PTSD can be a thankless, challenging, and patience-sapping process. There are, however, ways to help the job be clear, focused and proactive. If you are a PTSD caregiver or know of one, share these coping skills for PTSD caregivers. Keep reading »

Developing hope in PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) recovery is, in a word, difficult. You’re struggling with the symptoms of PTSD that include depression, insomnia, nightmares, anxiety and hypervigilance (all of which can lead to despair) and you’re supposed to find some way to be optimistic? You might be tempted to say, “No way,” but if you want to heal it’s going to be important to find a way to say, “Heck, yeah, I can develop hope in PTSD recovery.” Keep reading »

About eight years into my first therapeutic relationship I realized we were going nowhere – fast. I’d gotten into therapy to learn how to live as a chronic patient but what we were doing was talking and talking and talking about my trauma and the enormous fears I carried. By year eight I was mentally and physically deteriorating at a frightening speed. I needed to know how to find a good PTSD therapist.

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Within five years of the start of my posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms I was deep into self-destructive food restrictions that caused me to drop an enormous amount of weight. My parents had tried to get me into therapy after my trauma but I flat out refused to discuss it. With the weight loss, they forced me to see eating disordered specialists, none of whom knew what to do with me. I wouldn’t eat and I wouldn’t talk. Back in the early 80s the clear connection between PTSD and eating disorders wasn’t well documented or understood. Now it is and the data is clear: the link between PTSD and eating disorders is real and very common.

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When I was struggling with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) I didn’t know how to describe what it felt like  to others. How can you possibly express what it feels like to live with anxiety, depression, desperation, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, suffocating memories, terrifying sensations, boiling rage or anger and the slew of other PTSD symptoms?

Rather than describe it I just isolated further and felt more and more alone — and crazy. I didn’t realize then that I wasn’t alone in being stuck not knowing how to communicate my experience. I didn’t know, at the time, how to define PTSD.

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For anyone who experiences dissociation as part of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), (and this includes me during my PTSD years) you know how frustrating, embarrassing and uncontrollable it can be. Reducing dissociation in PTSD is something we all want. Keep reading »

Enormous and consistent stress on a body will always be evidenced in maladies. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cause many physical changes that frequently create medical issues. In my own PTSD experience, I developed significant digestive, immune, bone, hair and liver problems. Now, new research suggests PTSD might also cause type 2 diabetes.

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In my own recovery from posttrauamtic stress disorder (PTSD), I came to see PTSD symptoms as a trauma addiction and this affected my self-esteeem. Let me explain. Keep reading »

Recently, I’ve spoken to two survivors who are just discovering (after years of invested time and work) that their therapists are not equipped to work with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  This breaks my heart to hear. You’re struggling enough to cope through the day without being stuck in a treatment approach that can’t truly do its best to help you reach your recovery desires.

But the two stories I recently heard don’t surprise me. In fact, it was my story too.

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