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Sunday, October 8, 2017, Patrick & I allowed ourselves to be uncomfortable so that we could hopefully help others have a better understanding of PTSD and maybe help someone who may be struggling with PTSD/depression in general. We did this on Periscope (catch the replay if you missed @empoweredtees on Periscope), and we feel it turned out well for a few reasons. People asked questions about how to get help, people asked questions on how they could help a friend, and we made it through the scope even though we where quite un-comfy 😃
While I won't recap the entire scope in this post, I will provide some tips for those who may be living with PTSD.
Know your triggers
Knowing what takes makes your very uncomfortable or sends you into a PTSD/depressive moment is necessary. Why?! Because it allows you to come up with ways to protect yourself. Example: Fireworks takes Patrick to a memory that he doesn't like. Because of this, he doesn't go to July 4th firework parties, or if we are out at a family event and fireworks starts, he goes indoors.
Have safe spaces to decompress your mind. It could be: jogging, journaling, reading, building something, dancing, etc. There isn’t a rule book/set “thing” that you have to do to decompress, just make sure you enjoy it, no one is harmed by it, and you aren’t harming yourself doing it.
Tell your loved ones
Your family and close friends care about you and they should know that you deal with PTSD. Now they may not understand it all, but still put them in the know. Tell them your triggers so that they are aware, which will be helpful to you in the long run.
Don’t be ashamed
You are still a normal person with PTSD, so don’t be ashamed of it. Own it so that you are able to get the help you may need.
Managing PTSD can not be done alone. A part of your toolkit should lie a counselor. Having someone to talk to who can also provide suggestions/insight is helpful and necessary. Having a counselor doesn’t mean you will need medication, but if you do, your counselor would be the appropriate person to help you understand why you may need it if you do.
Snippet of Our Life
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
Langston Hughes, Mother to Son
This poem pretty much sums up life with PTSD for us. There are good days, and bad days, but we still continue to press on each day, BUT that is truly because we have developed ways to protect our mental space so that we can be our best. We hope that our sharing of what we use, will help you be better with PTSD..or help you help someone you know with PTSD.