How To Celebrate PTSD Awareness Month – First Thing: Take Out The ‘D’
June is PTSD Awareness Month.
And if I ruled the world, the first thing I would have done on June 1st would have been to mandate that we remove the “D” from PTSD, and just call it “post traumatic stress” or PTS. Calling this syndrome a “disorder” is unfair, leading to inaccurate conclusions about the person with the symptoms. Because, here’s the thing: PTS isn’t about what’s wrong with you; It’s about what happened to you.
Another way to put it is this: PTS is a normal reaction to abnormal events.
It’s a biochemical and neurophysiological reaction in the body, catalyzed by perceived threat to life and limb, and the way primitive, survival based structures in the brain respond automatically to that threat. Memory gets stashed in atypical places, so scenes and feelings recycle as if they were actually still happening, rather than distort or fade the way normal memories do.
This is not a choice the person is making. It’s part of a neurological pattern that, because it’s survival based, overrides a person’s normal, logical thinking. That’s why another favorite expression is this: "It’s not the person refusing to let go of the past; It’s the past refusing to let go of the person."
I describe the how’s and why’s of this in some detail in my book, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal, and include a program for healing. So does Robert Scaer in his, The Trauma Spectrum: Hidden Wounds and Human Resiliency; and Babette Rothschild in hers, 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery: Take-Charge Strategies to Empower Your Healing.
I would also encourage you to give the gift of guided imagery to a trauma survivor you know, either to help them get some restful sleep or develop simple relaxation and self-soothing skills – these will go a long way towards remediating distress; or perhaps you could give them some more targeted healing meditations, such as the Healing Trauma, Anger & Forgiveness, Heartbreak or Ease Grief audio programs.
Explore the whole resource page for a strong selection of self-administered interventions that will help, either on their own or in conjunction with other therapies. They won’t compete with them, but rather will strengthen them. Also, we are offering 20% off your order for PTSD Awareness Month if you use the promo code, PTSAWARE16. (Offer excludes Playaways, gift cards and specially priced items.)
Take care and be well,
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