Coping with PTSD Symptoms: Tired of Feeling Emotionally Flat or Exhausted?
Spring is here, and many people experience an increased sense of rejuvenation and hope.
For others, the season is a reminder of what is missing in their lives. Despite the lengthening days and the flowering trees, there remains a sense of emptiness.
Maybe you, too, feel emotionally flat or exhausted?
Perhaps, despite your best intentions, you can’t muster the energy for the creative projects or invigorating activities that used to bring you joy.
If this how it is for you, you are not alone.
Suffering emotional exhaustion, and living with a lack of joy are common consequences of trauma, and some of the most frequent symptoms of PTSD.
The Hidden Cause of PTSD: Shame That Keeps You Feeling Stuck, Alone and Hopeless
Shame is the feeling that you are fundamentally flawed in some way. That you are worthless, not deserving of love, kindness, and care.
Have you ever felt that way?
Most of us get hijacked by “shame attacks” from time to time.
Sometimes the trigger is clear is to us, whereas at other times we are completely blindsided by burning embarrassment, or intense feelings of being bad.
If you have experienced trauma in your life, odds are that the feeling of shame is familiar to you.
I Have PTSD. What Does that Mean? … And What Can I Do To Recover?
In some ways it can feel like a relief to have a name for what is going on for you.
But, in other ways, being given the PTSD label may make you feel like this is something permanent. Perhaps you worry that you can’t recover.
I’m here to tell you that there’s lots of hope.
You may feel you are going nuts, but actually your brain is doing its best to cope with the overwhelming experiences that happened to you.
Good PTSD treatment can help your brain do that better, so that your life can go back to normal.
A good first step on your healing journey is to understand why you have the symptoms you have.
Should I Have Contact With Family Members Who Were Abusive?
I am writing this a few days before Christmas. This is the time we are supposed to spend time with loved ones. Typically that means our family and our friends.
But what do you do about contact with family if your parents or other family members maltreated you?
For many people this is a complex issue. Often, you’ll have lots of mixed feelings about it.
Gratitude: The Great Antidote to Stress
Does it feel you are continually rushing from one thing to the next?
Yet, despite your hurry and busyness, does your stress just seem to increase?
Maybe it even feels like you can never get on top of all there is to do, no matter how hard you try.
I’m sure you’ve heard stress gurus talking about needing to slow down, and maybe even re-think your priorities.
But, you wonder how to do that with the mountain of tasks before you, and so many people depending on you. It seems you don’t have time for stress management.
You’ve probably also been told that you need to focus only on those things that are important, and that you can control.
The big trouble with prolonged stress is that it becomes increasingly difficult to sort out what things you can control, what is important, and what you could actually let go of.
I’ve made mistakes with my kids. How do I repair our relationship?
Maybe you’ve yelled at your children when you should have been calm.
Perhaps you brushed them aside when you should have paid attention to them.
You might have been so busy, or so caught up in your own stuff, that you missed important parts of your child’s life.
Don’t worry; all of us make mistakes as parents.
This does not need to harm your relationship with your kids. In fact, your relationship with your children is becomes better when you repair your mistakes well.
Living with Intense Loneliness: Elizabeth’s Story
Do you assume that people won’t like you?
Then, thinking that you are not good enough, do you isolate yourself, and end up feeling lonely?
Maybe you’ve tried to combat this pattern by forcing yourself into social situations? And, then, when you are in these social situations, do you feel awkward or phony?
Or perhaps, because you feel so badly about yourself, you are surrounded by people who are “takers”?
These situations can leave you feeling very alone. Unseen, unappreciated, and unvalued.
This is a tough place to be.
Let me share the story of Elizabeth*, and what she did to turn her life around.
PTSD Treatment and Trauma Therapy: How Long Does It Take to Heal?
By Elina Falck on Sep 21, 2017 in Trauma.
You are probably not surprised to learn the short answer is “depends”.
Still, it makes sense that you’d like to have some kind of ballpark answer. As well, once you know something about what the duration depends on, you’ll have a clearer idea of where you fit in.
It may also help you to know that most people who enter trauma therapy do some work, and then go off to experience life with their new sense of relief and confidence.
Some time later, they may re-enter therapy because new issues have come up, or they want to deepen the gains they made earlier.
Shame and Your Inner Critic: Making Friends with Your Internal Bullies
By Elina Falck, September 22, 2017 in Low Self Esteem.
Do you have a voice inside telling you that you are you not good enough, not smart enough, not capable enough, not pretty enough or not valuable enough?
That is your inner critic.
Letting Go of Unrealistic Expectations: Jonathan’s Story
By Elina Falck, on September 22 in Stress.
Jonathan* was an executive in a fast paced business, he had two pre-teen children, a wife struggling with depression, and elderly parents depending on him.
Despite the heavy load of daily expectations, he felt he should also be accomplished in sports, keep abreast of world news and politics, and be a great cook.
He prided himself in being better than the rest, the one who would always come out on top.
He didn’t notice the large amounts of caffeine he was consuming to keep himself going, the alcohol and medication he needed to fall asleep at night, the increasing irritability and the frequent bouts of road rage.
It wasn’t until his wife left him that his world started to crumble.
Why Does Stress Make You Overeat?
By Elina Falck on September 20th, 2017 in Stress.
- Do you crave chocolate at the end of a long day?
- Does an argument with your spouse make you reach for the potato chips?
- If you have made a major mistake, do you stuff yourself with sweet things?
- If you’ve experienced a loss, like the end of a relationship, do you search the fridge for “comfort food”?
Eating in response to emotional stressors is called, not surprisingly, stress eating.
If you reach for food at moments of difficulty, you are not alone. You are also not some kind of out-of-control glutton.
Instead, you are responding to a biological cue. Your body is telling you it is running out of stress chemicals, and needs to be replenished.
Let me explain.
Self-Compassion: Honouring Your Will to Survive
By Elina Falck on September 20th, 2017 in Trauma.
When something goes wrong, do you tend to blame yourself? Are you generous about the quirks and mishaps of your friends, but much harder on yourself?
Do you take care of the needs of others while you drive yourself to the ground?
People who struggle with self-compassion tend to answer yes to these kinds of questions.
If you have experienced trauma, and especially if you were maltreated as a child, odds are high that you are very self-critical. Even if you intellectually know you were not to blame for the trauma, your emotional self tends to believe otherwise.
It can feel very frustrating to continually bump up against this seemingly self-destructive tendency.
How Do I Know If I’m A “Good Enough” Parent?
By Elina Falck on August 8th, 2017 in Parenting after Trauma.
You have probably been told that the goal is not to be a perfect parent but rather that you need to make sure you are “good enough.”But, what does “good enough” mean? How do you know if your parenting measures up?
This is especially confusing if you are an adult survivor of abuse. You grew up in an environment that was unsafe and unkind, and as a result it can be hard to know what is healthy.
There are many building blocks to being a good enough parent. The first building blocks—those that ensure the physical survival of your child—are adequate food, shelter, and clothing. If you were physically neglected as a child but have managed to provide better for your own children, you are a good enough parent in this area.