Do You Have PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD) is often thought of for people who have been involved in war. However, there are many people who have PTSD from various traumas that can happen throughout one’s life, such as car wrecks, domestic violence, a near fatal illness, being abused, or witnessing a horrific event—even a natural disaster.

It is important to understand that PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. The symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks (reliving the trauma), nightmares about the traumatic event, symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing. This may include trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event, avoiding activities you once enjoyed, difficulty maintaining close relationships, irritability or anger, overwhelming guilt or shame, substance abuse, trouble sleeping, suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts, being easily startled or frightened.

PTSD can manifest itself in physical form. For example, people with PTSD show higher instances of fibromalaysia, arthritis, ulcers, and high blood pressure, just to name a few. If the person develops a substance abuse problem as a result of self-medicating, there may be legal, health, financial, and family problems.

If you have been involved in a traumatic event, you do not necessarily have PTSD. Some people are involved and witness very horrific events with little or no problems, whereas, others may have many PTSD symptoms as a result.

What Women Drivers Should Know About Verbal Encounters

We have been asked on a number of occasions what is the best way to handle verbal encounters with male drivers and warehouse staff.  Here are few suggestions from our Women’s Personal Safety and Defense classes.

Rule #1…   If you cannot control yourself … you cannot control situation.

  1. Lets face it, people say stupid things. Don’t react to casual comments.  The purpose of the comment was to get a reaction from you. Let casual comments slide and focus on responding vs. reacting.
  2. Don’t allow yourself to be baited into a verbal exchange with a potential heckler.  Control the encounter. Don’t become the victim.  Resist the urge to come back with a smart put down comment.  If you feel like you won, you actually lost.  If an encounter continues to escalate, establish eye contact and say “ Back off.  Be firm. Say it once and keep moving.
  3. Every encounter is different. Follow your instinct and don’t be embarrassed to take some direct action.  ALWAYS TRUST that small voice inside your head. If you feel something is wrong it probably is.
  4. The first 30 seconds of any confrontation sets the tone. If you look and act confident and prepared, you will avoid trouble most of the time.
  5. Never go with someone even if you are threaten with a weapon.  Your job is to spoil their plan. If they tell you to be quiet, yell Back Off at that the top of your lungs. Feel free to add other words for additional color. If they tell you to come with them and that you will not be hurt — run the other way. If you go with an attacker you have a 10% chance of surviving.
  6. Carry pepper spray. It is legal to possess and use in most states.  We recommend the use of a stream spray and aim for the eyes.  If you use it in a state that has legal restrictions, you typically may pay a small nuisance fine but potentially saved your life.
  7. If it gets physical. Never give up fighting.  Do as much damage as you can to sensitive targets such as eyes, ears, nose, knees, fingers and groin.

Consider taking a street proven self-defense program like Girls Strike Back that shows women how to use their most powerful weapons to protect against attack.

Coping with Trauma

Women who have been attacked, assaulted, or have had their life threatened may have great difficulty coping with the stressors of life.

This can show up in many forms, such as relationship problems, frequent nightmares, high levels of stress and anxiety, as well as persistent irrational fears and panic attacks.

Participating in workshops to learn how to keep yourself safe is a fantastic way to empower yourself to make it much less likely that you will become a victim. These workshops often have a healing component to them. However, it is important to look at your own psychological healing and address what may have happened in the past.

Therapy is a great complement to the workshops on personal safety that you may have already taken. You will feel so much better about yourself once you have better self-confidence, sleep better, and have dealt with those negative feelings that may be holding you back. Remember, it is very important to focus on prevention and resolve past feelings that are still holding you back.

Below are some simple and powerful techniques for helping you to get through anxious times. Remember, what you tell yourself can increase or decrease your anxiety. Why not learn a few things you can tell yourself to reduce your anxiety? You are in control of your thoughts and you have the power to significantly decrease your anxiety.

COPING STATEMENTS FOR DEALING WITH ANXIETY

REBT Essentials for dealing with the “circle of anxiety”

  • My anxiety is bad, but I’m not bad.
  • I don’t always have to feel comfortable, and it isn’t awful when I don’t.
  • My over-reactive nervous system is a part of my life, but it’s not bigger than life.
  • Controlling my anxiety is important, but hardly urgent.
  • Comfort is nice, but not necessary.
  • I don’t have to be the one person in the universe to feel comfortable all the time.
  • I don’t have to hassle myself or put myself down for not coping better with my anxiety.

Source: Bill Borcherdt. REBT Resource Book for Practitioners. Albert Ellis Institute.