This post is an excerpt from the study guide which accompanies the “Post-Traumatic Stress” seminar. This portion is one element from “STEP 2: ACKNOWLEDGE the specific history and realness of my suffering.”
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Remember to move through this material slowly. Do not over-saturate yourself with information that can serve as triggers for post-traumatic responses. Your goal should be to ensure that you’ve maintained a sense of safety and stability after each section of material (not just after each chapter to step) that you study.
To help you move slowly we have included a “PTSD Daily Symptom Chart.” (Note: This is referencing the trauma evaluation in a previous post.). This is intended to do two things:
- Initially, to help you become more familiar with the types of post-traumatic response you are experiencing.
- Ongoing throughout your journey, to help you identify when symptoms are increasing and you need to take a break.
With time you will begin to use this tool to measure progress – a decrease in the symptoms of post-traumatic stress. For the time being, you are advised to be content using this tool to orient yourself to the experience of post-traumatic stress – gaining self-awareness of how your present reactions (i.e., thoughts and emotions) are tied to your past trauma. The greater your understanding of these connections the less “out of control” you will feel.
This tool can also be an effective way to communicate about the challenges you are facing with others. Having consistent language and being able to articulate the rise, fall, and triggers for each experience should decrease the awkwardness you feel in trying to describe what is commonly called “the invisible injury” (a name many war veterans give to their experience of PTSD).
In later steps in this material, the information you gather about the frequency, duration, intensity, and correlation with life events will be valuable in identifying goals to counter the impact of your suffering. In this sense, you are combatting PTSD in two ways with this tool:
- Demystifying the experience of PTSD which should lessen the shame and secondary fear (that is the fear created by the misunderstood post-traumatic experiences), and
- Equipping yourself with the information needed to strategically begin re-engaging with more of life and relationships when that becomes the wise next step in your recovery.
If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on PTSD” post which address other facets of this subject.