Have you been searching the internet trying to find out what’s “wrong” with you? Maybe other people have pointed things out about how you’ve changed. Maybe you fought it for a long time, but now are starting to think you have changed and don’t like who you’ve become.
When we live life believing something is “wrong” with us, it often makes us feel “sick.” If we think we are sick, this thought can go one of two ways – curable or not. When we think about mental health, many people believe incurable.
Believing that we are mentally sick and incurable affects our lives in numerous ways. We fight against it for a long time, not wanting to admit that we need help. This unfortunately just makes the problem worse. We waste years of our lives falling further down instead of quickly getting out and improving our lives.
Not only does fighting against it make the problem worse, we start to bring in all the stigmas about therapy and mental health, which just tightens our lips. We are less and less likely to say anything or get help. As things get worse, we display different behaviors and change in ways that our loved ones notice and don’t like. They worry about us, but it often does not come out as worry, but nagging or irritability on their part.
Perhaps your family had someone who went to the “looney bin.” Perhaps someone in your family was threatened with going to an “insane asylum.” Perhaps you saw movies like One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest. With these stigmas these experiences breed, it is no wonder you didn’t want to admit you weren’t feeling like yourself anymore.
For a long time it may have felt very lonely. You fought against it for so long. With today’s plugged-in society, it is so easy to find information about mental health (and other “disorders”). The problem with this is two-fold. Is the information you’re reading accurate? Much of the information you find on the internet is opinion and not fact. Secondly, if you look at the criteria to a mental “disorder” every human being will fit into at least one, but likely more than one diagnosis.
It’s like going on line and searching “I have a stomach ache and it hurts to eat.” With those symptoms, you may have an ulcer, you may have a gall bladder problem, you may have stomach cancer, you may have something else. The great thing with the medical world is with imaging and testing, you can find out exactly what is going on.
Unfortunately, there is no imaging or blood work that is done on a regular basis to tell you what is going on. MRIs, PET Scans, and SPECT scans may be able to offer clues, but they are so expensive, they are not done on a regular basis and are not feasible.
Unfortunately, looking symptoms up on the internet will not provide you with a great picture of whether you have something diagnosable or not.
It is completely normal to be unsure about seeing a therapist. A lot of people wait until they’ve had too much or until they’ve had an ultimatum by a loved one. Some people will go through several therapists before finding the right one.
It’s ok to do research before choosing to go to therapy, and especially choosing a specific therapist. In fact, I recommend it. It is important, however, not to take anything you read about online as gospel and truth. Read and learn, but when you see a therapist, be open to what the therapist has to say.
It’s true that right now you are starting to wonder if something is “wrong with me”. I don’t want you to think that something is “wrong” and “incurable”. Many diagnoses that clients come to therapy for are curable and nothing is “wrong” with you.
When we learn three signs of post traumatic stress disorder, we can learn that we are affected by things that happen in life and nothing is wrong with us. When we make just a few changes regarding these symptoms, it is entirely possible to self help through it and not need to see a therapist.
Keep reading for 3 tips so you can start feeling calmer today.
HAS EVERYTHING IN LIFE BECOME MORE OF AN ORDEAL? ARE YOU IN A SLUMP AND FEELING AGITATED?
The biggest downside to not doing anything about the feelings of unhappiness and unease is the downward slide you’re on. You know that it is worse now than the first time you noticed feeling this discomfort.
At the very least, you’re tired of your loved ones nagging you. Maybe they are the ones feeling agitated and worried. Maybe you’re not suffering, but they are.
Living with this stress at home is extremely annoying. You have tolerated it long enough and it is time to do something about it.
IT IS TIME TO CLEAR THE UNEASE, DISCOMFORT, AND DISTRESS WITHIN YOU AND YOUR HOUSEHOLD. IT IS TIME TO TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE.
Although you are enduring the anguish thus far, you have the potential to get out of it and feel confident and happy. When we choose to work on things that are bothering us or bothering our loved ones, there is a possibility for the suffering in the house to end and for peace to return to you and your household.
You have the opportunity to make this change and see for yourself that there is a much better side to life. Life isn’t a one way road downhill.
3 TIPS TO ACHIEVE FREEDOM, CONTROL, HAPPINESS AND PEACE IN YOURSELF AND YOUR LIFE
Right now you’re feeling unsure that you have PTSD or any other “diagnosis,” and it’s very possible you do not have anything “diagnosable.” However, since you landed here, I would venture a bet that your symptoms are affecting you and your life more than you’d like.
The key to improved happiness and satisfaction with life is to take it by the horns. Understand what is happening, understand why it happened, and understand what you can do about it. Be educated on yourself, your experiences, and the interaction between the two.
Making these changes is not that difficult. It takes time. That is true. Nothing happens over night. You did not feel this tormented overnight and you will not get out of it overnight.
Take a look at these 3 tips to see how you can achieve peace and comfort within yourself and your family today.
- One of the hallmarks of any anxiety problem is difficulty sleeping.
Insomnia, waking frequently, inability to fall asleep, waking too early: These are all signs that your mind is too active, which is very common with any type of anxiety. When we can’t get something off our minds, it keeps circling there.
You may think that this is normal for you. Or you may “know” that you have some anxiety or stress, but may not be thinking of it as PTSD or a trauma symptom.
Try being consistent with a bedtime routine. Create a routine including time to quiet yourself and your mind down at the same time every day. Doing a visualization of letting the entire day seep from your pores and into the ground. You do not need to take the day into the night.
When you start a routine, it will always be difficult at first. You will want to do old behaviors. Furthermore, you won’t see results immediately and that will cause you to want to go back to old behaviors.
Here at Meg Young, LCSW, PLLC, I work with my clients to understand the purpose of a bedtime routine, the importance of sticking with it when it doesn’t work immediately, keeping a log of what you’re doing, and tweaking the routine until it becomes effective.
- Another common symptom is irritability with friends and family
Sometimes family will tell you that you’re more irritable. Many people don’t see this as a sign of PTSD. They may acknowledge that they’re feeling dread about returning to work. They may not tell family this, however, and will just try to hide the fact that they’re feeling ineffective at work.
It makes complete sense that you act irritable instead of showing the fear and discomfort you actually feel. Nobody wants to be afraid or uncomfortable. Furthermore, it is not as acceptable to be afraid as it is to be angry. Finally, people have the belief that “we should be lucky” that we have a job or the thought “just suck it up.” Neither of these statements is helpful when you feel defeated and useless at work.
When someone tells you that you’re acting angry or irritable unnecessarily, the first thing you’ll want to do is become defensive. Instead of saying something back, try not responding at all for about 10 seconds. Think about what you are actually feeling. Notice what is happening in your body – are you tense? Ask yourself what is a positive response and say that response instead.
Together with my clients, I help them acknowledge the irritability before they respond and help them understand where it is coming from. We develop a plan to be more purposeful in responses. This, I have to forewarn, is not 100% effective with anyone, not even therapists.
After you start doing this, you will see a return of calm and peace to your loved ones and will start to notice more of your own feelings and reactions, thus making it easier to do due to the response from your loved ones.
- Avoidance of family and friends…maybe making excuses like needing to go to the gym (again)
When we are more irritable, we tend to then withdraw from family and friends more. Nobody wants to be around someone who is angry all the time.
It makes complete sense that you want to go to the gym. The gym is a physical outlet, allowing you to get rid of the anger inside. The problem is, it is a very temporary fix and does not work well in the long run. Not only does it not work well in the long run, it starts to isolate you more from family and friends making them feel more concerned for you and the relationship.
When you want to leave a situation or not go to one in the first place, ask yourself: When was the last time I did (this activity) with my friends or family? Why am I trying to avoid it? What would be the worst thing to happen if I went? Is there a possibility I will enjoy myself if I go?
When you schedule a session with me, we will tear down the barriers the brain built up in order to keep you “safe.” These barriers are not actually keeping you safe, but are instead making you fall further into the pit and feel more isolated.
People with PTSD avoid things that make them anxious and activity can be anxiety provoking…there are so many bad possibilities that could happen, it’s just easier to avoid it. Questioning yourself will make it possible to bring your life back to a happy and calm place.
Achieving happiness and calmness can be an emotional and positive journey. You absolutely can enjoy life and your job again. You are not lost and you are not hopeless. From what I know of PTSD, burnout, and stress, there is so much potential for you and you do not have to live this way forever.
Meg Young, LCSW, PLLC helps all adults through stress, depression, anxiety, and anger, but specializes in restoring the helping professional’s confidence in themselves and their career choice.
You can do this! Call me today to schedule an appointment. I can be reached at 941-462-4807. You can also email me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you and helping you along your journey!