Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, often referred to as PTSD as the name suggests is an unfortunate condition of mental stress and anxiety following an incident or situation that involved risk to the life or safety whether physical or emotional safety or even both of the victim of such a situation. This incident or situation could be anything ranging from an accident to sexual assault to terror attacks to kidnapping or even sudden death of a loved one. The list isn’t exhaustive, different people feel differently strongly about various aspects of their life and just about any unfortunate incident could have long lasting mental impacts on them, PTSD being extremely common in the initial phase right after the incidents.
The common symptoms of PTSD involve reexperiencing the incident by way of nightmares and flashbacks, a desperate urge to avoid thinking about it by not visiting certain places or meeting people that could remind you of it or even avoiding movies showing anything similar to the incident faced. In fact my grandfather who saw his own family killed during the India-Pakistan partition can still not watch movies based on the freedom struggle even so many years later because it reminds him of the horror. I’m sure a lot of us relate to something like this in our lives in different degrees. Other symptoms also include significantly increased anxiety, mood swings, insomnia and anger out bursts. And trust me, it is not the weak hearted that go through it, the strongest of people fall prey to it and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Undoubtedly overcoming it is no cakewalk, however it is not impossible either. It involves a strong will and dedication apart from immense to unconditional support of loved ones. Let’s have a look at a few things that could be implemented to help overcome it.
- Exercise: Exercising does not just have physical health benefits but also helps the mental health due to endorphins being released, focus shifting on movements of the body and breathing and physically tiring your body also induces good sleep.
- Meditation: It involves mindful breathing and connecting with nature in the purest form which improves the emotional state of a person very substantially.
- Volunteering: Volunteering for a good cause, preferably not a serious cause that has any relation with the unfortunate incident, but something like teaching the underprivileged or city cleaning drives, feeding the poor and so on not only helps you reach out of your set up and socialize with other people, but also creates a sense of power that somewhere got lost in the trauma. It feels empowering and satisfying to be able to do good and impact other lives positively.
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs: Not only are they bad for health, but they also interfere with the treatment for PTSD and even tend to be counter-productive to the other conscious efforts you’ve been making.
- Right diet: This may sound a little insignificant, but foods can greatly impact mood and the state of mind. Fried food, processed food and sugars should be avoided.