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PTSD Resources ~ Pt 3

BT2010 Meditation GardenThis is Part 3 of a series entitled 2010 Best PTSD Resources for Trauma Survivors. You can find Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. Part 1 covers trauma and mental health issues, generally; Part 2 covers trauma symptoms in depth, as well as therapy issues and alternative types of therapy. Part 3 covers (1) healing; (2) types of trauma survivors (such as war veterans or child abuse survivors); and (3) issues relating to other people in a trauma survivor’s life (friends and family).     Photo Credit

NOTE: These pages will never be “done”; I see new resources every day. In the near future, sections pertaining to rape and domestic violence survivors will be added; those issues are addressed, generally, in the material currently at hand. I also plan to add an online safety section, and will gratefully accept suggestions for other categories.

As always, my selections are entirely subjective, but are informative and useful to trauma survivors and those who interact with them. In the next week or so, I will cross-link the three pages, and try to make their respective indexes point you to the right page for the information you seek. If you have any questions about these resources, or find broken links down the road, please write to me at sarah.e.olsonATgmailDOTcom or tweet me at @SarahEOlson2009.

Thank you so much for your support on this project!
 
 

2010 Best PTSD Resources for Trauma Survivors ~ Pt 3


Index Pt 3


Healing 


About Child Abuse 


For Child Abuse Survivors 


Veterans 


Family and Friends 

 

Healing

 

Prevention

 

BT2010 HealingSurvivors Lead the Way on Prevention
[SEO: Make prevention part of your healing journey. “Stop It Now! believes that all adults must accept the responsibility to recognize, acknowledge and confront the behaviors that put children at risk to be sexually abused. Stop It Now! provides adults, families and communities the resources and support they need to prevent the sexual abuse of children — before there’s a victim to heal or an offender to punish.”]     Photo Credit

 
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You Have a Right to Heal

 

A Recovery Bill of Rights for Trauma Survivors
[SEO: “As a matter of personal AUTHORITY, you have a right to …” heal; to take your recovery at your own pace; to be heard; and so many other rights that most people take for granted, but a trauma survivor may have learned to doubt or deny. Read this; it might surprise you.]

You Are Going To Move Through This
[SEO: (Scroll down the page to see the text.) Powerful. Each survivor needs to hear this at some point.]

My Illness Is Not My Identity
[SEO: “‘A label is a mask life wears,’ writes Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., one of the first pioneers in the mind, body, health field. ‘Labeling sets up an expectation of life that is often so compelling we can no longer see things as they really are. . . . In my experience, a diagnosis is an opinion and not a prediction.'” Most trauma survivors have trouble separating who they are from the labels placed upon them, in part because the aftermath of trauma is so all-consuming and seems, at times, to be the whole of what we are. That can and does change with proper interventions.]

The Secret Science of Change
[SEO: Significant change for which we hold the power (as opposed to things out of our control) rarely occurs without an internal struggle with doubt, fear of failure, fear of being judged; sometimes fear of success; and much more. This detailed article discusses five stages of change: Pre-contemplation; Contemplation; Preparation; Action; and Maintenance. For any issue involving change, the author provides a scoring system to determine at which stage you currently sit. She then outlines what being in each stage means in terms of what steps are required to move into the next stage.]

We are the Ones Who Heal Ourselves
[SEO: This post advocates that we are healed when we actively choose to begin healing, and that it is not a therapist per se who heals us. The author is not at all arguing against therapy. She is arguing for personal empowerment. I agree that a person who isn’t striving for healing isn’t likely to stumble upon it. But I also think, for many people with PTSD, the desire for healing is greatly accelerated and synergized with a competent, compassionate therapist. Much food for thought here.]

40 Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Pain
[SEO: “We replay past mistakes over and over again in our head, allowing feelings of shame and regret to shape our actions in the present. We cling to frustration and worry about the future, as if the act of fixation somehow gives us power. We hold stress in our minds and bodies, potentially creating serious health issues, and accept that state of tension as the norm. Though it may sound simple, Ajahn Chah’s advice speaks volumes: ‘If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.’ There will never be a time when life is simple. There will always be time to practice accepting that.” 40 thought-provoking ideas.]

Belief vs Hope in PTSD Healing
[SEO: “I don’t think I ever hoped I would overcome PTSD. When I received my diagnosis I don’t remember feeling hope at all. By then I’d been hoping for too long that I’d be released from the psychological and physiological hell in which I lived. After 25 years of struggle hope was a passive thing I was waiting for to rescue me. To have hope that my life would be returned to normal would mean I had a plan, which I didn’t. When I received my diagnosis I only had belief: I believed there was a way out.”]

Writing Heals
[SEO: An excellent article about the ways in which writing can heal long ago wounds. It all rings very true to me, as I know I would not be here if I had not begun writing at a very early age.]

Deeper Than Skin Deep
[SEO: “This got me thinking about the different things that affect my outward body and things that have affected my soul — those things that I have tried to fix with a band-aid or with coping medication such as alcohol and drugs. It eased the pain for a while only to have it return again. This way of thinking made sense to me because there were many mixed messages that were fed into my soul as a child that I battled with for most of my life. It was those messages and false beliefs that I had to tackle during my healing. I had to go deeper than the sexual abuse, find the mixed messages, connect them with the emotions that were attached to them, and replace them with truth. Once I was able to put the healing truth in my soul, I was able to overcome them.”]

Why the Healing Process is Worthwhile
[SEO: “The biggest surprise was recognizing that I was not something broken that needed to be fixed.” Although the focus here is upon healing from child abuse, there are many aspects — and causes — of PTSD that make one feel “broken”.]

Staying Present as the Key to Healing from Child Abuse and Aftereffects
[SEO: “… I had a therapist who encouraged me to live in the present. He would say that the past has already happened and the future has not happened yet. The only moment I have right now is the present one. He would encourage me to engage in activities, such as playing the piano, that drew my focus to the present moment. His antidote to being triggered and dissociating was to focus on the present –- on how the chair feel under my legs, how my breath feels in my body, etc.”]

Am I Living My Own Truth?
[SEO: Thought-provoking examination of the consequences of living someone else’s truth — and how to recognize your own. Part of an ongoing series.]

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What Healing Looks and Feels Like

 

Ten Differences between living Broken and living Whole
[SEO: A list, from the post author’s perspective, of what life used to be like compared to how it is now.]

What’s Love Got To Do With It? Self-Love and Healing
[SEO: “Loving yourself means having compassion for who you are. It means understanding yourself in the context of the environment and experiences that have shaped you. It means accepting your real self and all parts or aspects of you. … So why is loving yourself important? Why might your therapist bring this up as an issue to address in trauma therapy? I see loving yourself as both one of the core goals of trauma therapy and something that makes the hard work required possible.”]

Shifting
[SEO: This post’s author suffers from chronic depression, PTSD, and fybromyalgia. She describes a “shifting” over the previous year to a position where she realizes “I don’t have to live life defined by my pain. It may seem simple. It may be a no-brainer to you, but this realization carries more weight than gold in it for me. I am beginning to understand that the way in which I identify with my pain and my diagnosis, although it gives me a great sense of belonging and also purpose in many ways, is keeping me from embracing my true identity. My true sense of value and worth comes not from my challenges or my pain, but from just being me!” It’s literally a new day when this shift occurs.]

7 Benefits of Being Open Minded
[SEO: “When you open your mind, you free yourself from having to be in complete control of your thoughts.” Letting go of control and allowing vulnerability are both tough ones for trauma survivors — which is probably a good argument for why we should give it a try — but with a backup safety net, the first couple of times.]

33 Ways to Care
[SEO: “Caring for somebody is the ultimate form of freedom. Whenever you genuinely care for somebody else, you’re setting yourself free. Free from judging, free to accept the other one exactly for who she/he is, free to express your love without a reason.” A great list, most of these are ongoing lifetime achievements.]

7 Steps to Nurturing Your Inner Self
[SEO: Explores the ways in which an “inner nurturing parent” can help you learn how to nurture yourself, which is part and parcel of healing.]

Gratitude is an Attitude [Self-Discovery, Word by Word series]
[SEO: “What gratitude does is refocus your attention and energy away from the burdens that you carry and creates a new reality. When we fail to consider the gifts that we have in our lives, we remain in a state of despair and frustration. We feel that we want more, need more. That we cannot be happy or feel satisfied with the way that things are.”]

The Power of Empathy
[SEO: An excellent in-depth look at what empathy is, how it is beneficial, and how to become more empathic. “Empathy is not sympathy. When we’re sympathetic, we often pity someone else but maintain our distance (physically, mentally, and emotionally) from their feelings or experience. Empathy is more a sense that we can truly understand, relate to, or imagine the depth of another person’s emotional state or situation. It implies feeling with a person rather than feeling sorry for a person. And in some cases that ‘person’ is actually us.“]

Discovering Happiness Through Purpose in 3 Natural Steps
[SEO: “Once you’ve found your path, the superficial destination the world defaults to becomes unimportant. Comparison disappears and all of a sudden it’s the travel itself that becomes meaningful. No longer are you trying to get somewhere. You’re there.”]

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When You Need Inspiration

 

Hope Is A Gift From The Spirit (YouTube)
[SEO: A lovely video of beautiful images, calming music, and text which describes the mythic origins of hope, why it is necessary, and why it must be shared. If you aren’t in a place of hope, watch this and contemplate what this video offers, even as a model to work on getting there.]

7 Reasons To Be Happy Now Even If Things Aren’t Perfect
[SEO: “I don’t think happiness is so much about what you have. What you have changes; your ‘blessings’ evolve. Happiness is about how you interpret what’s in front of you. How proud you are of the way you live your life. How willing you are to enjoy simple pleasures, even if things aren’t perfect.”]

39 Ways to Live, and Not Merely Exist
[SEO: “Too often we go through life on autopilot, going through the motions and having each day pass like the one before it.”]

Stillness is a Powerful Action
[SEO: “Stillness can be a powerful answer to the noise of others. It can be a way to push back against the buzz of the world, to take control. It can remind you of what’s important.”]

Live Your Life Out Loud: 30 Ways to Get Started
[SEO: Living life out loud is (still) not my strong point, but this exceptional article points the way. The first of the 30 ways immediately got my attention because I lost at least a ‘third of a lifetime’ by living on ‘default': “Live your life on purpose. Not on ‘default.’ Be Proactive. Make conscious and deliberate choices. When you don’t choose, circumstances choose for you and you are never leading: you are following or catching up — or worse, living in ‘default’ mode.”]

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Forgiveness

 

Forgiveness, Done In Layers, not a one-time thing
[SEO: Forgiveness from the point of view of an incest survivor, but food for thought for anyone struggling with this issue. Discusses what forgiveness is and is not about, and how unresolved anger blocks forgiveness.]

What It Means To Forgive
[SEO: An intriguing essay, as it’s — paradoxically — not at all about determining “what it means to forgive”. The author offers good questions to ponder, and you need to decide for yourself. Other than a brief reference to The Course in Miracles, the essay is non-religion based.]

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About Child Abuse 

 

How to Help a Child Right Now*

 
*While the focus of these articles is primarily on child sexual abuse, never forget that there are children being neglected and/or assaulted or witnessing violence in their home daily. The vast majority of these resources are just as helpful in those cases.

BT2010 Little Girl In SilhouetteWhen a Child Tells About Sexual Abuse
[SEO: FAQs about what to do and say (and not say); resources (links in left column) for knowing the warning signs; prevention and safety; recovery and therapy; reporting and legal issues.]     Photo Credit

Reacting Responsibly
[SEO: “The way a victim’s family responds to abuse plays an important role in how the incident affects the victim. Sexually abused children who keep it a secret, or who ‘tell’ and are not believed, are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems often lasting into adulthood.”]

7 Steps to Protecting Our Children from Sexual Abuse
[SEO: A highly detailed, seven step guide in protecting children from being sexually abused. You can either follow the steps sequentially on the Web, or you can download the entire 16 page PDF. Be proactive. Know the warning signs, and help a child.]

Helping a Child Manage Fears After a Traumatic Event
[SEO: “Traumatic events can have profound effects not only on those who have been injured, but also on loved ones, survivors, and witnesses. Extensive media coverage of tragedies means that the circle of witnesses has expanded to include those who were not present at the event. Large-scale tragedies such as bombing incidents and school shootings can be extremely disturbing to children, who thrive on predictability and security. The following information is intended to help you understand and ease your child’s fears.” Excellent article on Sidran Institute’s site, a great resource in itself for trauma survivors.]

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Long Term Impact of Child Abuse

 

How Childhood Trauma Can Cause Adult Obesity
[SEO: Science finally catching up to reality. “For the past several decades, the Adverse Childhood Experiences study has recorded reports of negative childhood experiences in more than 17,000 patients. Adverse experiences include ongoing child neglect, living with one or no biological parent, having a mentally ill, incarcerated or drug-addicted parent, witnessing domestic violence, and sexual, physical or emotional abuse. The researchers then searched for correlations between these experiences and adult health and the risk of disease. The connections became clear: compared with a person with no adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, a person with four or more has almost double the risk of obesity. Having four or more ACEs more than doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke, and nearly quadruples the risk of emphysema. The risk for depression is more than quadrupled.”]

Abuse in Childhood Linked to Migraine and Other Pain Disorders
[SEO: Provides details of a study of 1,348 patients with migraines who completed a 28 question survey about childhood abuse, and other co-morbid pain conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, and arthritis. “…61% had at least 1 comorbid pain condition and 58% reported experiencing childhood trauma either by abuse or neglect. The number of different maltreatment types suffered in childhood correlated with the number of comorbid pain in adulthood.” Also includes USA stats for child abuse and neglect in 2007.]

Childhood Hardships May Trigger Lifelong Susceptibility to Stress
[SEO: “In yet another study that links mental and physical well-being, researchers from Brown University have found that people who experience adversity during childhood are more susceptible to stress throughout the rest of their lives…. Psychological resilience does not mean that a person will never become depressed, never be overwhelmed by stress, or never need to find a therapist. But it does mean that a person is in a better position to work through these things, and possibly has more fully developed emotional tools that will help them do so. And as this recent study shows, resilience starts young.”]

Reduce Health Care Costs by Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse
[SEO: Excellent article regarding long term costs of child sexual abuse, not just in terms of long term therapy or psychiatric drug costs, but physical ailments linked to chronic stress, lost productivity, and more.]

Early PTSD Treatment Could Avert Vets’ Multiple Physical Ailments
[SEO: The population studied here is veterans, but anyone subject to PTSD from any cause needs to be aware of the increased risks and incidence of various physical ailments due to the toll of PTSD. The premise is that early treatment of PTSD could avoid much of those subsequent illnesses. Consider the implications of that statement for children traumatized by abuse who don’t receive help for PTSD until well into adulthood.]

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For Child Abuse Survivors

 

General Resources

 

Information on Child Sexual Abuse
[SEO: What child abuse is; long term impacts; description of various psychological disorders which may occur; and steps one can take when first dealing with all of this. Good primer to offer to anyone new to these issues.]

How Trauma Affects Your Memory
[SEO: A thorough, basic primer in the role trauma plays in memory loss, the symptoms for which you might seek professional help, and what the healing path might look like.]

Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse
[SEO: The monthly Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is a compilation of various bloggers’ posts under the categories of Advocacy and Awareness, Aftermath, Healing and Therapy, Poetry, and Survivor Stories. Often there will be a monthly theme in addition to these categories. At the link, find information on how you can participate. Plus, you can always learn when the next Carnival will be published, and at whose blog, by visiting the Blog Carnival submission link.]

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Memory

 

Lighting the Corners of Your Mind
[SEO: Trauma often creates dissociated memories, which results sometimes in not knowing or trusting if a memory is “real” or not. A good discussion of why it is important to own your memories — and why you don’t necessarily have to remember every memory — in order to move on from them.]

Believing Your Own Memories
[SEO: This is beyond validating for child abuse survivors. We all doubt, try to deny. And yet, we know. I was a person convinced I was crazy, and that my memories proved it. I did everything possible to not appear crazy, which meant denying that my memories were real. So I love this quote! “He even told me that the ‘insane’ patients try to convince you that they were abused, but the child abuse survivors try to convince you that they weren’t!” Excellent post.]

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Dealing With Aftermath

 

Complex PTSD and trying so hard to justify our existence
[SEO: “When you are a small person living in precarious circumstances, you learn a few things about Trying.” She captures very well what I’ve struggled with, and if you follow the comments, you see it is all too common. Although based on experience with child abuse, anyone dealing with complex PTSD can learn from this.]

Staying Present as the Key to Healing from Child Abuse and Aftereffects
[SEO: “… I had a therapist who encouraged me to live in the present. He would say that the past has already happened and the future has not happened yet. The only moment I have right now is the present one. He would encourage me to engage in activities, such as playing the piano, that drew my focus to the present moment. His antidote to being triggered and dissociating was to focus on the present –- on how the chair feel under my legs, how my breath feels in my body, etc.”]

Forgiving Your Body
[SEO: I struggle with this concept daily. Still. “Throughout my years of healing, I have learned that I actually have a relationship with my body, and I have not always been kind. In many ways, I have been my own body’s abuser, from banging its head into pillows to overstuffing it with food that it did not need. I have hated my body for having orgasms during sex, and I have hated my body for not having orgasms during sex. I have taken a lot of my anger out on my body even though my body did nothing to deserve it.”]

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Shame and Self-Blame

 

Shame and Self-Blame After Trauma
[SEO: This post is directed to child abuse survivors, but the principles carry over into other types of trauma (as is discussed in the comments). “Our very sense of self develops in the context of attachment to caring, ‘good enough’ others. Trauma disrupts this attachment and results in the disruption of basic developmental tasks such as self-soothing, seeing the world as a safe place, trusting others, organized thinking for decision-making and avoiding exploitation. It also often leads to pervasive shame and self-blame.”]

Was It My Fault? Self-Blame and Survivors
[SEO: This post is directed to survivors of rape, especially where the rapist was known, and trusted. “They were our dates, our friends, our teachers, our cousins or fathers or mothers or husbands.” Learn how to rewrite your internal script that blames your choices. “Only one person makes the choice to rape. There are things we can (and should!) do to protect ourselves, but the only person who can prevent rape is the rapist him- or herself. Bad decisions, neutral decisions, good decisions; to me it doesn’t matter. We should be able to live our lives, we should be able to trust our family and our neighbors. Rapists should not rape. Period.”]

Healing Shame: The Hiding Places of Toxic Shame
[SEO: A lengthy, complex, insightful article about the origin and role of toxic shame for child abuse survivors.]

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Therapy and Recovery

 

Treating Child Abuse Trauma with EMDR
[SEO: “In the last two decades, however, researchers have made major strides in developing methods for treating victims and survivors of child abuse, including therapies that work as well (and in some cases better) with children as with adults. Among the most successful of these treatments is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a therapeutic process that uses eye movements, sounds, and repetitive motions to help clients process and come to terms with traumatic memories more quickly than talk therapy alone. And since many children and some adults are unable to verbalize traumatic experiences, EMDR can often provide the breakthrough that more traditional therapies can’t.”]

Relationships after Severe Trauma: Making Healthy Choices
We all need connection. Interdependence, mutual relationships are crucial for our well being. However, for those who have experienced severe childhood trauma, relationships were also the source of betrayal, wounding and abuse. What does this mean then for those who have been severely abused by parents or caretakers as children? Or those who have dissociated, losing awareness of some aspects of early relationships?

Writing a New Ending to the Trauma Experience
[SEO: This is poignant, moving, and excellent! Some of us will never see “justice” against those who harmed us, or we may still feel completely at the affect of some random external uncontrollable cause, such as a car accident, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In either case, it serves you no good purpose to stay stuck there, and it’s liberating to fully accept this.]

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Veterans

 

Crisis Resources

 

Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline; 1-800-273-TALK, Veterans Press 1
[SEO: Includes links (in right column) for a veterans resource locator; veterans mental health; enrollment and benefits; and FAQs. You can either call or choose to chat with someone online. There is also an online service (button lower right) specifically for homeless vets. See also their programs for help for anyone contemplating suicide or their loved ones/friends.]

Suicide Forum — A support forum for people in crisis
[SEO: Talk to caring people worldwide online at www.suicideforum.com]

If you are thinking about suicide… read this first
[SEO: Compassionate and honest, this speaks to you directly about wanting the pain to end, and how to think about it in ways which don’t include you having to die. It does not judge you for your feelings, it encourages you to understand why you feel them. If you understand the why, you can see better solutions. Includes hotlines to call to talk with someone, and a list of related resources on Metanoia’s site.]

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Recognizing the Toll

 

Veterans and Suicide — We Must Overcome (YouTube)
[SEO: A short video made by Vets Prevail offers stunning stats of what PTSD and depression are doing to our returning veterans.]

This Memorial Day
[SEO: A heartfelt tribute to our veterans — from those who can’t possibly know your burden, but wish they could somehow ease it. Without doubt, the most moving post I read during Memorial Day 2010. “Please remember the ones who can’t forget, the soldiers forever trying to get home, trying to let go, to be okay…”]

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PTSD Resources

 

National Center for PTSD: For Veterans and the General Public
[SEO: “This section is for Veterans, other trauma survivors, and anyone who wants to learn about traumatic stress.” See the extensive links in the left column pertaining to all aspects of PTSD for both veterans and any trauma survivor.]

PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within
[SEO: A wealth of information for both returning combat vets and those who care about them. Includes sections for both “newest resources” and “latest research”. See also the Blogroll for 50+ links to blogs relating to veterans’ issues.]

40 Excellent Blogs for PTSD Support
[SEO: An outstanding collection of blogs which focus on issues faced by trauma survivors of all types. “No matter the trigger — war, abuse, the death of a loved one, natural disasters and many others — and no matter the person, he or she can find themselves stricken down by this harrowing medical condition. Though PTSD and its co-morbid diagnoses swell from varying circumstances, those suffering from it are not nearly as alone in life as they may feel. Even beyond the resources listed here (in no particular order), other blogs, websites and forums specifically catering to the needs of victims provide an online community promoting hope and the pursuit of healthy therapy. Use them as a stepping stone towards stability and peace, though please understand that none of the advice provided here takes the place of professional therapy.”]

VetWow’s MST Podcasts
[SEO: 28 podcasts on military sexual trauma (“MST”) for active duty, veterans, friends and family.]

Cool App-titude: PTSD Support
[SEO: It’s free, available for iPhone and Android, and designed for veterans and their families. Without having seen it personally, I’d still bet it would be helpful for anyone with PTSD.]

Life After Combat
[SEO: “Life After Combat” is a free 37 page ebook written by Ken Jones (@akvet on Twitter), a Vietnam veteran.]

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Help Is Available

 

BT 2010 VeteransA Veterans Day Message from Veterans Administration Secretary Shinseki: “PTS and PTSD are treatable. It is not hopeless.”
[SEO: “Our National Center for PTSD is the engine of innovation supporting VA’s internationally recognized network of more than 200 specialized programs for the treatment of PTS and PTSD. Every VA medical center has outpatient PTSD specialty capabilities, and all of these programs have an addictions specialist to address the commonly co-occurring problem of substance misuse. … We have focused our efforts on the early identification and management of stress-related disorders in order to decrease the long-term burden of these problems on returning veterans. It is important to encourage veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to seek an evaluation and treatment, if any evidence of PTS is detected. To prevent PTS from developing into PTSD, VA can help with coping skills and mental health care to avert the more serious condition.”]     Photo Credit

Veterans Day: The Misunderstood Mental Health Consequences Of War
[SEO: “Thus far [Nov. 2010] 5,798 men and women have died during these [Iraq and Afghanistan] wars and the number of those who have come home with significant physical injuries is approaching 40,000. In addition to the thousands who must deal with physical injuries, many of our returning troops are coming home with the invisible — but expected — injuries of war including post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, depression and anxiety. Some studies suggest that as many as 35 percent of those who experience combat will eventually develop some symptoms of post traumatic stress. In addition, approximately 20 percent of those coming home will experience a traumatic brain injury as a result of their service.” And it goes deeper than that, to the families, to the children, dealing with long term separations and loss. “Given that the conflict in Iraq has been underway for over seven long years, tens of thousands of military children have only known the experience of war.”]

Medal of Honor Veterans talk about PTSD through the ages
[SEO: A page of Public Service Announcement videos, either 29 or 59 seconds each, made by veterans about PTSD. “Veterans from past wars explain how combat stress has affected service members of every generation, and how reaching out for support is the way to address it.”]

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PTSD Therapy and/or Treatment

 

Early PTSD Treatment Could Avert Vets’ Multiple Physical Ailments
[SEO: The population studied here is veterans, but anyone subject to PTSD from any cause needs to be aware of the increased risks and incidence of various physical ailments due to the toll of PTSD. The premise is that early treatment of PTSD could avoid much of the subsequent illnesses. Consider the implications of that statement for children traumatized by abuse who don’t receive help for PTSD until well into adulthood.]

National Center for PTSD: Treatment of PTSD
[SEO: This U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs document is a great starting place to gain basic information about PTSD treatment options, regardless of the source of trauma. This may also be a helpful overview for family members, including the section on family therapy, to further their understanding and support.]

How Does PTSD Relate to Sleep?
[SEO: “If you think of PTSD as something that creates hyperarousal in the mind and body — the mind thinks a lot or over thinks and the body is overly active–both of these things are not necessarily conducive to sleep. If someone in this state is trying to lay their head down to fall asleep, we have a recipe there for trouble falling asleep or potentially trouble staying asleep.”] A good discussion of various aspects of sleep disorders, how they relate to PTSD, and possible treatments.]

Music Therapy Helps Vets Control Symptoms of PTSD
[SEO: The focus here is on veterans, but everything in this article and video speaks to trauma survivors, generally. “Scientists say certain pieces of music can arouse forgotten memories the same way smelling warm chocolate chip cookies can take you back to your grandmother’s kitchen. Similarly, or maybe conversely, music therapists try to use pleasurable sounds to make it easier for PTSD patients to talk about unpleasant and painful memories. When patients hear music they like, there’s also research that shows that it can inhibit activity in the brain’s amyglada, which regulates the negative emotion system. That could mean that music clears a path to talk about trauma because it produces a sense of contentment or happiness and brings down fear and anxiety.”]

Writing for Therapy Helps Erase Effects of Trauma
[SEO: Focus of story is on a homeless Vietnam vet who, after many years of suffering from PTSD, began to resolve his issues by writing about his experiences. “Dozens of studies have found that most people, from grade-schoolers to nursing-home residents, med students to prisoners, feel happier and healthier after writing about deeply traumatic memories.” The article cites half a dozen studies demonstrating emotional and physical benefits to writing about trauma, including immune system stimulation, fewer visits to doctors and hospitals, help in easing symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. The caveat is, have a backup plan for help — and stop — if it becomes overwhelming.]

Can Meditation Help Veterans Overcome PTSD?
[SEO: “Norman Rosenthal, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University is enthusiastic about using Transcendental Meditation to treat PTSD: ‘There are many studies showing that TM sooths overactive fight or flight responses. TM is a logical treatment for this condition.’ In a study published in Journal of Counseling and Development, veterans suffering from PTSD who practiced the TM technique showed significant reductions in depression, anxiety and family problems after four months, in contrast to veterans randomly assigned psychotherapy. ‘Transcendental Meditation isn’t introspection or reliving the past,’ says Roth. ‘You transcend thinking and enjoy deep, coherent rest, which helps heal the physiological seat of stress. Neuroscientists say that TM restores communication among different areas of the brain — reconnecting the parts that were stunned by trauma.'”]

Yoga Helps Vets Find Balance
[SEO: “‘Yoga uses meditation, deep relaxation, gentle stretching and breathing to reduce physical, emotional and mental tension. It has been found to be useful in helping people to deal with anxiety caused by traumatic events. Yoga is a different way of getting in and trying to address these symptoms,’ Thirkield said. ‘Yoga can teach soldiers very concrete relaxation strategies. It’s grounded in many of the same principles that therapy is grounded in.'”]

How Dogs Help Veterans Cope with PTSD (video)
[SEO: A 5 minute video: “Struggling with post-traumatic stress, veteran David Sharpe says he found a dog at a shelter that saved his life. Now, with a group called P2V, he pairs other vets with rescued pets.”]

Virtual Reality Therapy For Veterans With PTSD
[SEO: “The new treatment is a high-tech twist on a widely used type of cognitive behavior therapy for phobias and anxiety disorders, including PTSD, called exposure therapy. It’s based on the idea that patients can gradually gain control of their fear through confronting it repeatedly under the supervision of an experienced therapist. ‘The usual approach is for patients to close their eyes and imagine the event is occurring,’ says Rothbaum. ‘In our study, the patients’ eyes are open and they wear ear phones and a strappy headset with TV screens, allowing the therapist to match what they’re imagining with a virtual reality environment.’”

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On the Home Front

 

7 Ways to Thank National Guard and Reservists
[SEO: “Members of the Guard and Reserve face unique post-deployment challenges that active duty Service members do not experience.” This article outlines the reasons for this, and what you can do any day of the year to help them — and their families — cope with their reintegration challenges. Turn your gratitude into action.]

Honoring Soldiers When They Come Home [and thereafter]
[SEO: ““I have trouble distinguishing the mundane from the critical, because everything seems critical. … What I lack is a community of support. I’ve tried joining existing veterans groups, but I don’t really feel like I fit in with the Korean and Vietnam vets.” [Ron] emphasizes the need for not just community with other vets, but with other, ordinary citizens, to help him feel welcomed back home: “The Army can’t do this alone, and nor can the V.A. If we’re going to avoid a public health catastrophe of a half million Americans coming home with mental health trauma, it’s going to take all of us working together within our communities.”]

Talking — and Listening — with Your Combat Vet
[SEO: Advice for loved ones of vets with PTSD: “Wanting to listen to someone’s stories and ‘be there’ for him or her is very significant and worthwhile. After all, ‘first duty of love is to listen.’ But be aware that you need to also be prepared for anything they may say, and count the cost in advance about how that’s going to affect you to hear. You may want to line up a therapist or some support of your own.”]

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Family and Friends

 

For Those Who Care About You and You About Them

 

 

Spouse/Partner/Significant Other

 

Thoughts from a Secondary Survivor
[SEO: I so relate to this, as my husband could have written this about our life together. It’s valuable to understand how the totality of your life affects the ones to whom you are closest.]

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Family

 

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
[SEO: Trauma resources for youth and families. Includes trauma types, why it matters, resources for disasters and terrorism, and both a general Knowledge Bank, and a Military Families Knowledge Bank.]

PBS’s ‘This Emotional Life: MentalHealth and the Family Tree
[SEO: With mental health funding cutbacks, family members are increasingly filling support roles, but often have mixed feelings about it. This article describes some of those feelings, and validates them. But it also states, “The key to successfully embarking on a path back to wellness is to remain as non-judgmental as possible. By removing the added guilt of facing up to what he or she is doing to the family, the patient will be better able to focus more readily on getting better.” I know this is a lot to ask of some families, and some people. Ask yourself: would you be judgmental had the illness been purely physical?]

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Children

 

Helping A Child Manage Fears After a Traumatic Event
[SEO Excellent article on Sidran Institute’s site, a great resource in itself for trauma survivors.]

PTSD and Children of Survivors
[SEO: Includes discussion of how both children of survivors and those of war veterans are exposed to their parent’s PTSD.]

After Traumatic Event, Early Intervention Reduces Odds of PTSD in Children by 73%
[SEO: Truly listen to your kids, and to their friends. If they tell, or have signs of abuse or other trauma, or have witnessed violence occurring to others, you must act. Not only will you help them in the now, but you help to preserve their future. Early intervention is becoming increasingly endorsed as the best preventative course of action — whether your loved one is a war veteran or a child in desperate need of a champion. Be that person.]

Childhood Hardships May Trigger Lifelong Susceptibility to Stress
[SEO: “In yet another study that links mental and physical well-being, researchers from Brown University have found that people who experience adversity during childhood are more susceptible to stress throughout the rest of their lives. … Psychological resilience does not mean that a person will never become depressed, never be overwhelmed by stress, or never need to find a therapist. But it does mean that a person is in a better position to work through these things, and possibly has more fully developed emotional tools that will help them do so. And as this recent study shows, resilience starts young.”]

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Family or Friend

 

10 Ways to Bring Christmas Cheer to a Friend in the Hospital for the Holidays
[SEO: It’s often a hard time of year even when not in the hospital. At the end of the article is a list of 10 excellent ways in which you can make the holiday a bit easier, and give the gift of you being there for them.]

What Not To Do When Dealing With Someone Who Is Mentally Unwell
[SEO: Excellent. Mentally unwell people can usually still hear you, so don’t speak louder or slower to them. Don’t use cliches, however tempting. Number 10: Don’t believe the stigma. “Always look for the human being and then the disorders not the other way around. Remember mental illness affects one out of five people so tomorrow someone you love could be in my shoes and how would you like people to treat them?”]

Fearless Nation
[SEO: A nonprofit resource for people with PTSD, loved ones, clinicians, and mental health advocates.]

How To Save a Friend From the Brink (Suicide Prevention)
[SEO: “Even with professional help, depressed people can still benefit from your support. Often, it’s hard to know what to say. … ‘In many cases, you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing and making it worse,’ says Dr. Nancy Rappaport, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of ‘In Her Wake,’ a book about her mother’s suicide. ‘But small words of kindness can go a long way,’ she says.” Includes a list of 10 things to do and say if your friend needs support.]

What A Difference A Friend Makes (PDF)
[SEO: A professionally produced .PDF guide to supporting a loved one with a mental illness, that can be printed as a
brochure. Great resource!]

Without Experiencing Trauma, How Can I Understand What Life with PTSD is Like for My Friend or Loved One?
[SEO: A great presentation that you can offer to the non-PTSD affected people in your own life, about why you are frozen and stuck, and can’t “just let it go”.]

Supporting Individuals with Depression: The Importance of Self-Care
[SEO: What you need to know about your own limits, boundaries, and self-care issues when supporting someone who is depressed. If, on the other hand, you are the depressed person, it’s a good reality check to consider what the people in your life may be experiencing when supporting you. It would be an act of caring on your part to point them to this article.]

PTSD: So Much to Tell You, and I Can’t Say a Word
[SEO: A detailed article that attempts to describe what PTSD is like, aimed at those who don’t have it but need to understand it. Includes a comprehensive list of symptoms, treatment for trauma and flashbacks, and a video, “Understanding PTSD: A Rough Guide”. A good place to start for loved ones.]

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What To Do About Difficult, Toxic or Critical People

 

10 Ways to Deal with Difficult People Without Becoming One Yourself
[SEO: “There are various levels of difficulty with difficult people, but they all have the capacity to stir us up and bring out our worst traits. Let me rephrase that. We allow our peace of mind and equanimity to be challenged when interacting with a difficult person. Because that’s the truth of it, isn’t it? Difficult people can push our buttons, but only if our buttons are turned on.”]

Are Your Friends True or Toxic?
[SEO: “Does this friendship strengthen me or weaken me? Is my day brighter, my life brighter and better because of your presence? If you strengthen me, support my best self, bring the best out of me, then you are a friend.” Describes 7 types of toxic friends; the “subtleties”; and why it matters.]

6 Tips for Dealing with Critical People
[SEO: Trauma survivors truly don’t need the added aggravation of dealing with endlessly critical people. “We’re all human and we all have our moments — I know that I can get pretty critical when I’m in a bad mood or angry at someone — but there’s a big difference between occasional constructive criticism and downright nastiness.”]

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Permanent link to this article: http://thirdofalifetime.com/ptsd-resources-pt-3/

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  1. Resources: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Links « Kate1975's Blog

    […] PTSD Resources for Trauma Survivors Part 3 […]

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