The number of possibilities that can cause a person to be traumatized is astounding. From violence to natural disasters, to man-made disasters and more. It is interesting, though, that two people go through the exact same situation and one develops PTSD while the other is unfazed by it. Why does this happen? The answer is it isn’t the situation that caused the person to be traumatized, but the body’s reaction to the situation; the emotional and behavioral symptoms that occur; it is the body failing to regulate. We survived something horrific, and during it, the body was unable to remain calm.
The brain connects memories in so many ways – often that don’t seem to make sense to us at a conscious level. In response to something in the current environment, the brain immediately connects something from the traumatic memory to the current situation and immediately throws the body into fight/flight mode over and over, even when there is no current danger. That is why recovery from traumatic memories can be so difficult.
How does a person find the strength to keep moving forward when their body and brain keep them in fight/flight mode so frequently? One thing I found very helpful for me going through dark times (even when it lasted several years) was having my eye on my end goal. I told myself and everyone else “I am going to college.” People doubted me and often said “I hope so” but I never wavered from that goal. Much later in life I heard that many people got through very difficult times by keeping their eye strongly on a better future.
What is in your future? Is it a positive future? If not, what can you do today to start changing your outlook? Start small if you need to. Often we make lofty goals and then give up on that goal. If you’ve had a bleak outlook for awhile, it may take time before you start having a positive future outlook. Look everyday to your goal, and tell everyone you know what your goal is every day. Doing this has not only proven effective for me, but there is research out there that shows this is effective. Positivity promotes more positivity; but it may take time. Have patience!