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.

Coping with Trauma

People 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.


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.