There are many different scenarios that can lead a person to experience PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). As a person who has had to deal with PTSD and knows about the extreme “fight or flight” response and adrenaline that accompanies this severe disorder, I know how painful it can be to deal with. Not everyone with the disorder will “overcome” the severity of symptoms that they experience, but after putting up with the rapid-thinking, extreme sense of fear, flashbacks, and hyperarousal for years, part of you will want to move on.
If you are ready to acknowledge that part of your spirit is ready to move on to a state of living free of “fear” and free of this “fight or flight” response, this is when you know you are ready to attempt to deal with PTSD. For me, I honestly thought I was going to live in a state of fear for the rest of my existence. In totality, my experience with PTSD ended up lasting about 8 years. Mine was brought about by a severe life-threatening diagnosis at the doctor. I’m not going to get into all the details, but let’s just say that I became so scared, that I was literally hyperfocused on every breath, every heartbeat, and my senses were off the charts; normal sounds were like sonic booms.
The adrenaline built up inside of my body and triggered a state of hypervigilance and extreme discomfort. I eventually reached a point where I was ready to throw in the towel and commit suicide. This suicidal feeling lasted years and I was basically just doing whatever I could to cope with this trapped emotion. When you experience PTSD, your adrenal glands become hyperactivated to the point that even the smallest trigger can set you off. Now I’m not sure whether everyone is able to overcome their PTSD, but the key has to do with lowering your arousal and essentially re-wiring your brain.
First and foremost, you should know that recovery is NOT immediate and it will take many months and in some cases, years for your level of stimulation to drop back to a comfortable/functional range. Recovery is NOT easy at all and requires a TON of courage and personal effort. You basically have to risk your entire reality and state of consciousness and have to be willing to face all of your demons again. See when the “fear energy” takes over your body, it prevents you from remembering times in your life when you were actually relaxed. Memories become suppressed, and you cannot cope.
How to Overcome and Cure PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
There is no set of specific guidelines that need to be followed to overcome PTSD, but the one thing that you need to keep in mind is that your brain and body are stuck in a state of excessive stimulation (i.e. hyperdrive). The key has to do with slowing them down enough to let your brain re-wire itself back to normal. In my experience, the “come down” from the peak of my stimulation lasted about 4 years – and took a lot of conscious effort on my part.
Below are some tips that I have used to lower my level of adrenaline and overcome adrenaline addiction, re-wire my nervous system, and cope with everything that I have experienced. Not only do you need to lower your arousal, but you need to “desensitize” yourself to the intrusive memory or trauma that you had experienced. Also, you don’t need to necessarily do everything I listed below to overcome your PTSD, I am just listing things based on my experience.
Everyone is different and what works for one person may seem like a total crock of sh*t to another. If you want to get better, you will need to give some new things a chance before assuming they won’t work. If you keep doing the same things, you will stay stuck in your hyperaroused state.
Initially, you need to first admit that you have PTSD and accept it. It has had a profound impact on your life and you need to acknowledge that. The trauma that you endured that lead to the disorder needs to be accepted. If you try to deny or block it out of your thoughts, you won’t recover.
Perhaps the most important step to take when you have PTSD is to go in for some talk therapy. If you are able to develop a connection with a therapist that actually empathizes with you and your situation, it can make all the difference in the world. Eventually the goal in therapy may be to re-visit the traumatic experience and learn to accept it.
Initially, it may seem damn near impossible open up about things, but taking the first initial step to get in for help is crucial. I recommend going in at least once a week for psychotherapy for the first couple months if you’re PTSD is very severe. If you don’t connect with your therapist, you should keep searching until you find someone that you connect with.
Once you have accepted your condition and have been in therapy for awhile, you will eventually need to face your memory of the trauma head on. This will likely be very emotional and painful, but it’s what needs to be done. Perhaps it is the most crucial step of all. One technique that the therapist used on me is called EMDR – it involved lights moving back and forth.
The idea is to get both hemispheres of the brain to desensitize themselves to the trauma and reprocess the traumatic event with eye movement. Some say it’s a hoax, some buy into it. For me it certainly helped, but I honestly think it was more of a placebo than anything. The goal here is to talk with your therapist to help you come up with some ways to desensitize yourself to the trauma. If they are a good therapist, they should be ready for this step.
Desensitizing yourself to the trauma is a good thing, but reprocessing the memory is key. As you reprocess the memory, you need to change the way you think about it / let it control you. Looking back you need to realize that what happened is done, and served as a crazy catalyst for change. Even though it may have ruined your life, you are still here and are strong. Looking at the memory in a different light with the help of your therapist will be a crucial step.
If you are in a “funk” and feel stuck in the same ole routine, it’s a good idea to change things up. I realize how difficult it can be when you are trapped or don’t necessarily have an outgoing personality, but getting involved in healthy activities are crucial. Sitting around in your room or being alone are not good. I realize that some days it’s just impossible, but do your best and keep trying to push your comfort zone.
6. Reduce stress
Part of reducing adrenaline and all of the excess energy that comes with PTSD is by exercising or meditation or yoga or doing anything you can to reduce stress and anxiety. You need to calm the flight-or-fight response to a manageable level. Check out my 10 Natural Cures for Anxiety – many of these things apply to PTSD and recovery too. I would recommend not overdoing it with the cardio, and sticking to a weight lifting program and/or something like yoga. Cardio in excess can sometimes cause more stress, so try not to fall into this trap.
7. Face your fears
The very last step after you have reprocessed your trauma is to face any lingering fears. Part of my condition had me hypersensitive to loud noises. Obviously I didn’t want to go deaf by facing “loud music” but I went to a couple concerts and made myself go in situations that were linked to triggering fear. This is an advanced step and should only be done when you’re truly ready otherwise it may re-trigger something. You will know when the time feels right.
8. Let time pass
Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It took me over 4 years to recover from my condition. You will know you are on the path to recovery when things that previously bothered you a lot are no longer causing emotional pain. Another way to tell you are in remission is by a reduction in stress response. You will notice less tension/adrenaline and feel more relaxed. Usually the body will relax before the mind. For me I had a relaxed body, yet super fast thoughts circulating for months. Eventually the mind slowed down to match the body and old emotions started coming back.
Ask yourself: Do I really want to overcome PTSD?
If you really want to overcome the condition of PTSD – you can, but it may very well feel like passing through the gates of hell many times throughout your recovery. There were times when I didn’t care about getting things fixed and just wanted to give up and commit suicide.
Additionally, I am by no means guaranteeing that this will be a way for everybody to recover or get cured. I’m just sharing what worked for me and what is possible for some individuals. I also realize that not everyone wants to re-visit the initial trauma because of the intense pain it is associated with. I reached a low point that made me wake up one day and just say “screw it” I’m going to do all that I can to overcome this and if I don’t, well at least I’ll have tried.
I hit a point in life where my only option was suicide or try something to improve my situation. Even if you don’t fully recover from your condition, I do think that what I’ve listed here can help you get some joy back into your life and at the very least reduce some of the stress you are experiencing. Full recovery involves changing from a fight or flight, fear based state of being back to homeostasis – how you felt before the stress ever occurred; this is a long journey.
The PTSD and all its symptoms are basically like a patch of fear blocking the real person you always were from shining through. PTSD is unique in the fact that it gives you a different perspective on reality and the world. Certainly not everyone will have the same case as mine, but I wanted to share what worked for me just in case it could help someone out there.
16 thoughts on “How To Overcome And Cure PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)”
I just wanted to share something I discovered recently that really works, in the hope it will help others reading this article. Matcha powder tea!!!! It’s a Japanese green tea and very potent. It contains 240mg of antioxidants (egcg/catechins) versus a regular green tea bag that contains only 25mg.
I initially bought it for detox and weight loss purposes but have discovered it really helps my PTSD!! Bonus!! If you do the research, it has so many benefits, one of which is treating the brain, which I can confirm is true because it seems to calm me and give me that boost of energy needed and it’s a major mood changer too!!
If you’re curious, the one I take is Encha ceremonial matcha powder. It’s a high grade ceremonial tea which has this label to it because Buddhist monks will go for long periods meditating and fasting and they pick only the best teas for their “ceremonies” to get them through.
I usually do 2-3 servings per day. Never on an empty stomach. First serving I have is after breakfast. Since it contains caffeine, don’t drink past 5pm as it’ll keep you up all night. They recommend 4 servings for cancer patients, but otherwise 2-3 servings. Don’t drink any more because of the caffeine content.
Each serving is just 1tsp with 5oz of water. So you won’t be filling a large mug like with other regular teas, but I just look on this like a small potent medicine. Within 45 mins of drinking it I feel relaxed and it boosts my energy and mood, allowing me to go about my day calmly.
Truly a miracle powder!!! Completely organic, straight from farm to table, they took the high grade leaves and ground them into this powder so you’re consuming them completely, no wasting, and you’re getting the full dose of antioxidants.
I’m not affiliated with this company in any way, but I’m very excited about this tea after only using it for a week so far and seeing all kinds of results. Besides helping all the things I mentioned, it’s great for overall health. Share this with everyone you know because the tea is amazing!!!!
Ive been suffering for Social anxiety disorder. Which feels like PTSD. for it happened after 5 years of mental and emotional torcher and isolation. I’ve been healing and finding healing for 4.5 years now after a suicide attempt.
From what I was 4.5 years ago. I have over come a lot. Still it is a problem daily. I have worked on SA for 3.5 years now without a downward spiral…
-Working out daily
-Having 2 part time jobs in customer service
-A bunch of stuff (a few therapist, PUA, A lot of Sales and CSR work, Landmark, hypnosis, NLP, SSRIs, CBT, Reading, Neuroplasticity)
It has gotten better and continues to get better. I think after 2 more years (when I’m 28 and a half) I’ll be comfortable around people again and that my SA is just like any normal person.
I plan for my SA to be gone and social skills strong when I turn 30. And perhaps at this moment I can coach and help people overcome there problems with mental illness. It is a process that takes time. It wont happen overnight.
Thank you for sharing. I went through a traumatic event 2 years ago. When talk therapy didn’t work, my therapist sent me to a specialist who used EMDR and it worked for me. We used it to just follow the pathways created in my mind and change some negative thoughts to positive. I found an app and do it myself now, when the flashes come or the memories.
I am just now at a point where I can feel my body relaxing, but like you, my mind just GOES. I find it helps to breath and focus on my dog or God.
For me, running is my physical outlet. If I am having a flash or memory, when I go run I think about it and remind myself that I am home and no one can hurt me, etc.
When I feel the anxiety or panic… or ANGER I run harder through it and let what ever thoughts I have come, just to get it out of my system. Then the good thoughts come back. Funny thing, when I came home I took up running for fear that those who held me against my will would come after me. I wanted to be able to out run them, in to the woods or my work place. Running turned out to be my solace.
I can see where heavy cardio could be considered causing more stress, getting your heart rate up and all… I can tell you that for me, the runner’s high doesn’t last that long and I crash, hard sometimes. So, cardio is something to be careful with. Also, when I got back, I started working to stop the people who hurt me – and to keep anyone else from going to their “treatment center.”
I found it helped that the FBI was investigating. I started a survivors page on FB, and STAT news wrote a scathing article about the place that was a freeing weight from my shoulders. Remember, if you don’t tell law enforcement or even the press, nothing can be done to stop someone else from going through the same trauma.
The article was published by the Boston Globe and is about NJ teachers and rehab (2017)… I forget the title. I couldn’t interview because of my job, but I let everyone I could know. KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!
Hi there, I am a 10 year “survivor” of PTSD as well. I was 18 when the incident happened and I just turned 28, hoping I get one good year in my 20’s, and I believe this is the most accurate thing I’ve ever read about it. I have spent the better part of everyday revisiting my trauma for months now and don’t even try to sleep anymore. I’m finally getting my brain back. I hope everyone that visits this website finds recovery and gets the support they deserve.
My 21 year old son became addicted to weed (in those concentrated forms like butter, shatter etc), and fourteen months ago went into a psychotic rage; attacked me (life threatening), and when my husband and I fled, completely trashed our home. As a result of this trauma, I was diagnosed with ptsd and have been working my ass off to beat it. Not there yet.
I was struck by this article as the advice on the list parallels how I have been trying to recover. I have been working up and down this list to varying degrees of success. I went on medical leave from my job for 6 months, found a therapist I liked, did daily yoga, meditation, and tried some hypnotherapy. All chipped away at the overall symptoms.
I keep challenging myself as ‘Gloom’ suggest which actually seems ironic since some days just existing is a challenge. Presently, I am back to work full time at a new job as I couldn’t face going back to my old job. I now do EMDR therapy every couple of weeks along with daily yoga/meditation. My family is also going to regular family therapy sessions. It’s a ton of work, and lately it feels like the improvements are waning.
Today specifically, I am exhausted. Among my many difficulties one of the stumbling blocks is my public acceptance of PTSD. Though it has been difficult to really embrace it, I personally believe it is an accurate diagnosis. I am a changed person to the one I was before to before the attack.
I am however, deeply ashamed of the diagnosis. Saying it out loud I inwardly cringe and feel certain those I confide in are rolling their eyes. This is supposed to be an affliction of soldiers or first responders, not a middle aged urban woman. I have always self identified as a brave, strong person.
I am athletic, involved in several outdoor sports, worked as an outdoor guide, a ski patrol, and most recently a leader of adults. I’ve always been a person who faces her fears. However, the feeling of shame from this diagnosis is often paralyzing. After a lot of complications with my son, he went into rehab ($) for 6 weeks and is now out two weeks, living a clean life, buying into the step program; living at home.
It is a huge challenge for me to genuinely celebrate his success; to be able to separate the past from the present and be aware of and respond appropriately to the many triggers he represents. I suppose with him at home, I see the potential to backslide. Even though I am ‘doing the work’ I still feel there are times I am out of control. If I don’t have time for the daily ‘work’ I can feel the anxiety build.
It is incredibly frustrating to have to continually plug away at this. Like how f-ing long will this take. Is it lifelong? I have never responded to a forum but in the spirit of the OP am challenging myself to put it out on paper as way to keep fighting this; a method to continue on the right track. If anybody has some words advice in this ongoing struggle I would welcome the feedback.
I like the quotes from op Gloom’s ‘about’ post and thank him for creating this blog as space for forward movement. Not just for him but for anyone who might need it. :) “To solve any problem, here are three questions to ask yourself: First, what could I do? Second, what could I read? And third, who could I ask?” – Jim Rohn. “The important thing about a problem is not its solution, but the strength we gain in finding the solution.”
Dear Gloom: Thank you for organizing this information and sharing your experiences of success. I’ve been dealing with PTSD for 15 years now and did ALL you mentioned to just keep making myself stronger, mentally and physically, after a year-plus of absolutely losing my mind after the very violent trauma I endured.
I worked hard with a therapist for years and then faced all sorts of fears, thereafter, and got into the best physical condition possible (worked out 2-3 hours a day, six days a week very intensely, and an hour one day at a more casual pace). Worked with a personal life coach for years and then worked intensely with a very strict yoga teacher – both of whom helped get me to where I exactly wanted to be again, spiritually.
Unfortunately, recently had to have multiple musculoskeletal surgeries (two back surgeries, double neck fusion, clavicle bone tumor removed and both feet awaiting surgery) and fell back down into a full re experience of that entire year + I went through in the beginning. Boy does it suck to be here again 15 years later!!
I really needed to read something to remind me other people truly do get it, and you do!!! I wish I could talk with you – I’m realizing it may actually help to talk with another that really gets it, after falling back down into the trenches again:(
I’m very happy for you, and what a great article. I hope to dig myself out of this all again and that process is “in process” LOL!
It had taken me years and years, fighting and running away from the one who caused me trauma for the rest of my days. I decided becoming homeless and alone was better than having to live another day with the person who had ruined my life. I had even talked to a therapist and she had not even connected the dots for me. I don’t want to sound like one of those people but reading this article made me actually realize tonight, after 20+ years of suffering, that I have PTSD.
It’s hard to actually accept, especially in a world where the word “trigger” is a joke and, I will admit, I have also joked about it. But I’m suddenly thrust into a reality where I must face facts that anger, men over 40, and asking for help cause me to go silent, hide, try and escape while the memories of being beaten for things so small flood my mind. I pace about, anxiety setting in where I ask myself “What if they yell at me because I couldn’t do what I was asked of me? What if I lose my job?
Do I just take extra long to try and figure this out and risk being yelled at for being slow instead?” I don’t know what brought on the need to look up what exactly is PTSD, how it affects people. I’ve seen someone with shell shock and the way they react to balloons isn’t the same way I react to my own, god this feels weird saying this with actual purpose, “triggers.” I didn’t think it could actually happen to anyone who isn’t military.
But maybe, now that I actually know what is going on, I can take these steps suggested and finally live in a world where I can stay in the same room as my husband when he’s playing video games and he starts to rage, or make eye contact with men I pass while walking around shops without that sense of dread looming over me. Thank you. This has given me hope for myself, maybe now I can work to be free.
DON’T STAY WITH AN ANGRY VIOLENT MAN. GET THE HELL OUT AND STAY OUT. Been there and it destroys your self worth. I blamed myself for everything and became angry too.
I fear men looking at me, anyone becoming angry with me… my mind sort of goes blank and I can’t concentrate. Sucks. Getting out of situation of abuse made a difference… still working thru PTSD but could never have done it if still in abusive environment!
Thank you for your article. It’s so nice to hear about it from personal experience rather than the text book definitions. My experience has been triggered by my 2 year old son. It took a year for him to be diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. We were under scrutiny for that whole year, long hospital stays etc. And all the extras of dealing with his condition in the long term.
I loved how your article was more specific to my situation. Most of the time when I Google for help and advice, it talks about trauma from combat or abuse. So this was refreshing and some really helpful advice that I needed reminding of.
Acceptance is definitely the biggest first step. Once we can do that, it makes the rest of the journey of recovery that bit easier. Thanks again.
My dad passed away in a car accident when I was 12 and his death honestly never felt real until now, 7 years later. I have been suffering with PTSD for a few months now and these feelings/thoughts have been almost unbearable. One night while lying in bed, I suddenly had a panic attack and they wouldn’t stop.
I couldn’t even drive without thinking I was going to die. I’ve started doing EMDR and am reliving these memories. I know that I will push through it, though, and it gives me more hope knowing that people have been able to recover from this.
Thank you for sharing the painful process that you went through. I have been in a hyper stimulated state for 1+ year, it’s definitely very challenging. SSRIs do not work and make the body symptoms work. I think time to heal is the crucial element, and allowing our bodies and emotions space to recover and process. Thank you again for sharing your personal journey!
Hi. Thank you so much for this post! I was in a car accident four months ago – have not been able to let it go. Will try everything on your list- here it is summarized:
Change way you think about experience
Get involved in healthy activities
Reduce stress – techniques activities to deal with stress
Face your fears
Let time pass
Today I tried something new: I got into the car and tried to relieve the experience. Then afterwards , I tried to comfort myself and think and feel good vibes. I think it might have worked because on the ride home I was not scared of other cars or of bumping or having an accident. Guess that is a different version of desensitizing. Anyway than you so much.
Gloom -Thank you for the enlightening personal story and the tips for trying to overcome PTSD. You’re right, it’s tough and there are no guarantees, sometimes I have personally felt that “been to hell and back,” still do sometimes, like a long hike up a very steep hill. Climbing and slipping back, climbing and slipping back, while being very conscious that slipping back too far will cause loss of balance and I’ll slip back to the bottom of the hill I’m desperately trying to climb, and slipping back to the bottom, means a fall, and a fall can hurt.
So then maybe I get discouraged and tell myself “if I hadn’t tried climbing the damn hill in the first place this never would have happened.” If we all said this to ourselves we would get nowhere, therefor just “existing” in life and not “living life,” yes? I find the hassle of it very exhausting, I cry, brush myself off, walk away in anger and frustration…then I go back and try again and again in hopes of making it safely to the top. No guarantees in life. Depression, PTSD, very real and very tough emotions to live with and work through, very tough. Make each try count, because as human beings, “we count.”
Peace for those of us who struggle with these very real and seemingly very misunderstood judged conditions. Peace and comfort for all who suffer in our world. I “pray” for peace. -M
I recently read this a few days ago, and was hoping to ask if you really meant that PTSD can be overcome. I myself am not sure if I have it, or if I’m just in a state of trauma after an incident not entirely my fault but I’m somewhat responsible for. I’ve only had 4 bad dreams, but they’ve never been, “wake up, sweat every where, terror ripping through my body”. I’ve been depressed for around 10 months now, and I don’t believe I’ve bad any flashbacks. I assume it’s something like you know it’s a flashback when you have it. I also haven’t had insomnia, but I have had a few panic attacks after thinking about what got me here. I’ve been depressed before in my life, but that wasn’t as high staked as what happened was. If you can answer me so I can just talk a little bit, I would be ever so thankful. I do have a therapist, but I’m not sure where she stands on this. She says that it’s post trauma work that she has to work on with me, but also that my brain is in a trauma like state when asked directly by my caretaker if I had PTSD. Thank you for your time, I’m not sure you’ll even be reading this. Have a good day.
I personally believe that it can be overcome because that’s the reality for me. With that said, in the majority of individuals, they do not know what steps to take to work towards recovery. So they remain trapped by the condition. I was trapped by my PTSD for years… Everyone has a different experience though and factors that could contribute to either promoting or hindering recovery.
Hi young learner, I was also diagnosed with PTSD many years ago and that’s the diagnosis I continued to get when seeking answers. PTSD is very real, however I personally feel there are many other factors that may apply as well. Depression is complex and I think in my case PTSD applies, but I think it can often be “overused,” perhaps a therapeutic crutch for many therapists, or of the like. I think in my case and many others we can be predisposed to depression (genes) and also the nurturing or lack there of by a parent or parents. In other words “nature verses nurture,” then life happens and if we don’t have or weren’t taught coping skills, etc., we will start to flounder in life.
Therapy can be a useful tool if applied and sometimes medication or medications can be very helpful, but research and be careful of what may be prescribed. I personally have found both to be helpful, it takes more then that though and that’s where things can be completely overwhelming. Hang in there friend, you are not alone and if you forgive yourself and work diligently to move past this weight you seem to carry, we’re all fallible human beings. I hope you will find some comfort in this reply, I’m completely empathetic and depression, anxiety “panic attacks” can certainly be symptoms of PTSD. No sweaty, or shattering nightmares does not mean you’re not traumatized by the experience you had. Praying for our “peace” young learner :) -M