Blueprint for PTSD Recovery Motion

January 16, 2013 Michele Rosenthal

"I live in such a fog!", Ophelia said to me last week. "I can't see my way out of it." Boy, do I remember that feeling!

Ophelia lives overseas and we work on her PTSD recovery via Skype. She's terrifically motivated, open to trying new approaches and honest about her healing experience.

The PTSD fog, I've learned, is universal. I myself waded through it for decades until is was so thick I felt its swirl around me was more real than the world in which everyone else lived.

How To Shine A Light On The Road Ahead

The problem with the fog, I think, comes from this:

Coping causes chaos. With PTSD you spend so much time managing how you manage your world. You experience and react to triggers, suppress memories, avoid thoughts, people, places and activities, and in general focus on keeping yourself safe. That's a lot to do all at once, especially when you feel helpless, powerless, victimized and frightened. All of that can create a maelstrom of conflicting feelings, thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that force you to move through the day in a vortex of confusion.

Emotions drain energy. Trauma has cut you to the core. Whether or not your actual traumatic experience was physical your heart, soul, mind and body bear the brunt of the effects. Each of those areas incite emotions that react to situations, environments and interactions. Being bombarded all day and night with the spark of constant emotions that are often uncomfortable and often overwhelming can leave you like a compass spinning without orientation.

One way to start lessening these effects is to begin developing ways to take back control over your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. The following six steps can provide you a map that shines enough light on the next few inches of your day that you can use it to cut through the fog like a high-powered flashlight:

1 - Ask -- Repeatedly ponder, 'What's one small thing I can do?' Finding a focus will help you to decide which direction to go.

2 - Pause -- Stop when your pace becomes to excessive. Slowing down helps you put in place boundaires, define limits and choose what feels appropriate for you.

3 - Step back -- Clear your head and get some clarity. When you feel too closed in it helps to take a break and get some distance.

4 - Assess -- Examine what is happening and what you want to occur. In PTSD you live in default mode; switching to proactive mode will change how you feel and it's based on knowing what you prefer.

5 - Choose -- Make a decision about what you want. Changing how you feel begins with making a choice for what would feel better.

6 - Act -- Take steps to move you toward the desired result. The only way to succeed in making change is to do something; waiting for someone or something else to do it for you never works.

You can begin implementing these six steps immediately, or you can start yourself off slowly. Do step one for a few days and see how it feels. When you get acclimated add step two for a few days. Titrate yourself up the steps until you are operating them on a daily and consistent basis.

Michele is the author of Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity. Connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and her website,

APA Reference
Rosenthal, M. (2013, January 16). Blueprint for PTSD Recovery Motion, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 from

Author: Michele Rosenthal

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