Trauma of any kind has a long lasting effect on individuals and it is important that PTSD (Post Trauma Stress Disorder) survivors know that there is help and to be ok with asking for help. Shame plays a large role in PTSD and many victims feel that they are weak because they can’t get a handle on their lives. Then they develop survival behaviors, which in fact, do not serve them at all and a vicious circle begins.
When PTSD survivor problems and feelings are not recognized and honored as real and they are not heard, understood, acknowledged for these feelings it creates them to stay stuck in the pain and dysfunction of their trauma. Then the denial sets in and other forms of trauma sets in from people and other areas, because the needs are not meet by the victims. Many times this can lead to acting out in socially not acceptable behaviors and various kinds of addictions, which can further traumatize the PTSD survivor.
Finding recovery and support groups can be very daunting as the shame and not wanting people to know there is something wrong with them is over whelming for them. Many feel that if they keep the secret and just keep trying to look normal, no one will know and maybe, just maybe it will get better. This just creates a larger and darker circle around them and they tend to think that there is no way out
Recovery in PTSD can tend to be slow and it is referred to as taking small baby steps and accepting when there are setbacks and just slowly moves forward again. This is where support groups and coaching comes into play and are very useful for recovery. PTSD survivors need to be heard and be able to talk about their feelings without and judgment or comparisons and to feel that they have a voice in what their pain is.
Many times change is a huge challenge, as the trauma can almost feel like their friend, as it is the only feeling they can feel, and if that goes away, they wouldn’t have anything. This is called emotional numbness and it is very elusive and confusing, and just little steps in testing this out is what can work for them to see it is ok to let the trauma go.
Support groups are great because all the members can share their coping skills and new ideas and methods can be shared, learnt and developed. Many times PTSD survivors have an aversion to therapists as they represent authority figures, which either they have a fear of or no confidence in, as no one was there to protect them. In the support groups they are all survivors and can identify with each other.
In the groups each individual is encouraged to explain and share their own unique experience and trauma and to respect the other members stories and to look for the similarities not the differences and to find what the each have in common and to share in their growth together.
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