These resources are tools I have used personally on my journey. I have found healing through each modality and hope these services help you too. This list will grow as I continue to seek healing and will add to this list as I find useful resources to share with you. If you would like to share a resource that has worked for you please contact me! Together we can bloom from our fight with PTSD.
The Rebels Project is an organization that seeks to embrace, support, and connect survivors of mass tragedy and trauma by creating a safe environment to share unique resources, experiences, and provide education surrounding the varying effects of mass trauma. The special thing about this organization is that it was founded by survivors of the Columbine High School massacre. These survivors are doing a beautiful thing by putting together retreats and other events to help support other victims of trauma.
For terrorist attack survivors in particular, please visit Strength to Strength. This organization was founded by Sarri Singer, a survivor herself, and is focused on bringing together victims of terrorism and and their families from all over the world. I was in a very lonely place before I met other survivors who could understand my pain and since I've become a part of this group I finally feel some peace in meeting other people who have been through what I have and worse. If you are a terrorist attack survivor and searching for other survivors like I once was, look no further, Strength to Strength is where you will find your new family. Your survivor family!
Trauma therapy has been a huge part of my PTSD recovery and without it I don't know where I would be today in my healing journey. Therapy is important if you are experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, or any other mental challenge. I think an upside to using a resource like Better Help is that it gives you the ability to seek counseling from the comfort of your own home. Better Help is the world's largest e-counseling program and focuses on making professional counseling accessible, affordable, convenient - so anyone who struggles with life’s challenges can get help, anytime, anywhere. With over 1500 professionals who are willing to meet you wherever you are most comfortable, you have no excuse to get the help you need. Get started today and contact Better Help!
I was recently contacted by DrugRehab.com with a resource regarding PTSD and Substance Abuse Disorders. Do you know that 7.7 million American adults have PTSD and that 65% of those affected are struggling with a substance abuse problem as well? These two issues, when presented together, are known as a Co-Occurring Disorder. It isn't surprising to me that someone who is suffering from the anxiety and isolation that comes with PTSD would use drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. PTSD is painful and uncomfortable and though I didn't use alcohol or drugs on my journey, I did use medical cannabis for a short time unsuccessfully. Essentially, these people are fighting two very difficult battles and finding healthy coping skills can be a huge obstacle when you are desperate for relief. Most mental health facilities aren't equipped to treat both illnesses simultaneously and that is why I wanted to share Advanced Recovery Systems with you. Their program offers an integrated method that encompasses both mental health and recovery systems to successfully treat both issues. They have eight treatment centers all over the United States and work to help their patients receive the highest quality of care by using evidence based therapeutic models that work. If you are struggling with a Co-Occurring Disorder I encourage you to ask for help today and call 877-695-5395.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy or EMDR, has been a therapy that I am still doing and have found great healing through. When I was in the hospital the first thing my doctor told me was that I needed to go through this therapy and that they didn't have it there for me but they did find a therapist near me who they were able to get me in to see. This isn't a fast process. The first few weeks we worked on grounding techniques and coping skills and I was impatient at times because I was doing so much work and not feeling better and then about a month in I started to feel changes. My advice is to stick with it. It will wear you out, you will cry through it, but I am living proof that it works. One thing I want to add here that I have not used is Outpatient Group Therapy. I am a very empathetic person and found myself picking up on other people's trauma when I was in the hospital so I made the decision not to include this in my journey for now but I know there are many great support groups out there for trauma survivors.
Hypnotherapy has brought me tremendous healing over the past 3 years. This is the first form of therapy I started using when I was triggered. You might think this was an unconventional place for me to start, but for me it was the best place to begin my journey. Your subconscious mind is a powerful thing and you can use it to heal your conscious mind through hypnotherapy. My hypnotherapist has helped me in so many ways and I think we would both agree that one of our most powerful sessions was when I went to see her days after I was released from the hospital (I will be sharing this experience on my blog). Having someone like her in my life has been one of God's greatest gifts to me. She has held my hand through this, believed in me when I couldn't, and has worked so hard to help me heal.
Psychiatry is the therapy I was most resistant to but soon accepted would be part of my journey when my life was in it's darkest place. Medication has been the trickiest thing for me to get right and it can be painful, frustrating, the side effects were crippling for me, and yet I found so much strength in understanding what they do and why they help. I am currently only on one medication to keep me asleep at night and soon won't need that anymore but I have danced with several medications on my journey. My advice is to find a psychiatrist who is holistic, who isn't going to just push pills at you, who cares about your illness as a whole, and who is open to alternative forms of healing. Good Luck!
Naturopathic Approach. This resource has been so crucial to my healing because it helped me finally understand what is happening inside my body and why I was struggling so much. Through extensive blood work and by testing my neurotransmitters we were able to add supplements to my regimen that would help my body begin to heal itself. I am a rule follower naturally so I did everything she asked of me and I am feeling wonderful. It took several months and wasn't an easy fix but nothing is easy with PTSD. My naturopath's approach has been to care for me gently. She helped wean me off one medication slowly and we are working on the last one now. I now have a full understanding of what my brain needs to be healthy and she gave me this knowledge by educating me along the way. This is a modality that unfortunately isn't covered by insurance but I am willing to do anything to find peace and healing.
Meditation is something I start every day with. I use meditations my hypnotherapist has recorded for me and I use a free app called Insight Timer. Once you download it you can search for meditations for anything. Stress, anxiety, sleep, peace...I just can't get enough of this app. Even on my worst sleepless nights I know I can put on my favorite Yoga Nidra for Sleep meditation and I'll be out before it's over. You can follow me as I meditate by searching for Still Blooming Me.
Prayer is powerful. Prayer keeps me grounded, centered, and focused on each moment. I don't care what religion you belong to or what faith you associate yourself with, I can only tell you that through this journey I would be nowhere without prayer and God's grace. You can start small here and pray while you brush your teeth in the morning and at night or if you want something more I recommend my favorite daily devotional prayer book. Sometimes I read it several times a day and somehow it always conveys what I need to hear.
This can mean so many things and can be different for each person. Early on I recognized habits or things I was consuming that were aggravating my PTSD symptoms so self-care for me starting with eliminating a lot of things. I started with stimulants. Alcohol and caffeine were substances I once used to cope but they made me worse. Though I do miss a margarita once in awhile, I know it won't serve me well to indulge in one quite yet.
I eliminated the news and Facebook because of the way I was triggered this past summer. Seeing a news feed is something I don't need in my life. I have had people tell me I'm sheltering myself too much or that I should know what is going on in the world and to them I say this... I have lived one of the worst stories you have seen on the news and I don't need to give it my energy anymore. I know bad things are happening in the world but I choose to believe that more good happens than bad. I do miss my mornings with Matt Lauer and the Today show, but for now I am clueless and loving it.
The self-care tool I brought home with me from the hospital and the inspiration for this space, is my journal. Putting a pencil to paper brings me such peace and has helped me grow exponentially. It might not seem natural in the beginning but I urge you to try it. It is a safe and judgement free zone that you can use to express what ever you want.
With your doctors recommendation, I suggest taking Epsom Salt baths. I always feel so relaxed after I take one and adding lavender oil is a bonus.
Herbal teas like Yogi Kava Stress Relief tea are great too!
Self-care takes work and patience. You have to be open to trying new things. I carefully stepped into this space and tiptoed around many different things because I knew it would mean changing me. What I found was that it changed me for the better. New experiences would sometimes make me uncomfortable or leave me feeling overstimulated and instead of getting caught up in the anxiety the moment created, I would count it as a success and feather in my PTSD cap. The best thing I can tell you is to be gentle with yourself.
As I continue to add to the self-care section I hope you will share some ways you take care of yourself that might help others too! I can’t wait to hear your suggestions!
Float Therapy is a new modality that I highly recommend. Epsom salt baths are something I found great benefits from but floating takes it to a whole new level. With 1000 pounds of salt and only 180 gallons of water