Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a set of post-traumatic responses that can affect anyone, and no one is exempt from suffering a strong emotional or physical trauma in their life that ends up unleashing PTSD, a malady that must be managed later with therapies or medications.
Treating PTSD in most cases involves reliving the traumatic event in a controlled, gradual and hierarchical way—from less to more. It must be carried out by specialists who motivate the patient and supervise the process.
One such mental health professional is media personality Dr. Lisa Palmer, who has always advised the public to be aware of their mental state and seek help when needed. Dr. Palmer is the founder and director of The Renew Center in Florida which is ranked #1 in a list by Newsmax of American Centers for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSDs).
Palmer is highly revered as a psychotherapist, and a leading authority on mental health illnesses in the U.S. As a healer, she has helped high-profile celebrities and executives from Fortune 500 companies. In her professional practice, she helps patients with a constructive response to their emotional traumas, enabling them to overcome their symptoms, rehabilitate, and embrace life with enthusiasm.
Palmer says there are several tasks a traumatized person can carry out to achieve relief. Here are various ways to unite the passage of time with facing the memories of the traumatic experience to adequately process what you have experienced:
- Write your definition of “victim” and reread it once a week.
- Write what it means for you to have faced trauma. Describe the effects that trauma has had on your perception of yourself and others. Read it once every day for a week.
- Write a detailed account of your traumatic experience. Include as many details as you can: what you managed to perceive (sights, sounds, smells, tastes), as well as the thoughts and feelings you had at the time. The story must cover the time from the onset of the traumatic event, passing through the manifestation of symptoms until reaching the present. If you can’t keep writing, draw a line and pick it up again later. When you go back to writing, reread the entire story and continue where you left off. At least once a day, for a couple of days, reread what you did, even if it’s not finished.
- In time, says Dr. Palmer, you can leverage technology to assist you restore your life and constructively process your traumas. To this end, Palmer is set to launch the RenewMe digital brand that consists of two mobile applications: a meditative app called RenewMe and a travel wellness app called Soulscape. The RenewMe app will include an entertaining AI module that users can talk to.
Additionally, Dr. Palmer recommends a series of actions that aim to restore one’s emotional well-being to regain a sense of control:
- Give yourself time. Understand that it is a difficult time in your life; allow yourself to mourn the losses you have experienced and try to be patient with the changes in your emotional state.
- Ask for help from people who care about you and who will listen and empathize with your situation. Social support is a key component in recovery, and family and friends can help you.
- Communicate your experience. Express what you are feeling in the way you feel most comfortable. It could be talking to your family, journaling, or doing some creative activity, like drawing or painting.
- Have healthy behaviors. Eating well-balanced diets and getting enough rest at night can be important in improving your ability to cope with excessive stress.
- Establish or reestablish routines in your life. This could entail eating at regular intervals, waking up and going to bed at preset times, or following an exercise routine. Build positive routines that can serve to distract you in the most difficult moments. Find a hobby or dedicate yourself to reading.
- Try to avoid drugs or alcohol. These types of substances can have a negative impact on the PTSD recovery process since they cause a “numb” sensation that delays the active coping process.
“Treatment of PTSD must be done carefully so that patients don’t “relive” their traumas while trying to heal. Ultimately, when patients are recovered they can “revisit” memories without reliving them,” says Dr. Palmer.
“You should always keep in mind seeking professional help, to make dealing with PTSD easier,” says Dr. Palmer, “you should definitely go to an expert if you experience recurring feelings of distress or hopelessness to point where you can hardly bear your daily routine.” Palmer adds that you should seek an expert if:
- You have no one to talk to.
- Your feelings have not returned to normal six weeks after the traumatic event.
- Someone close to you has noticed changes in your personality and suggests you to seek help.
- Your work and study are affected.
- You are using drugs or alcohol to cope.
- It is difficult or impossible for you to carry out daily tasks.
Overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder can be a great and onerous life challenge, but you can feel confident that it can be done by declaring and focusing on your goal and having the will to attain healing!