Is it Normal to Suddenly Get Better?

Renaissance

New Here
I have been suffering from severe, chronic PTSD for 2.25 years. My condition improved dramatically in July and August 2020, when I started doing progressive relaxation exercises. Due to the severity of my condition, I still was, still have been, and still am very unwell. I have horrific symptoms with some frequency, and symptoms sufficient to impair me happen every day. I have not been able to work for a very long time.

I have, at different times, taken detailed notes of my symptoms throughout the day. For the huge majority of my days, since having this condition, I do not keep a written record of my symptoms, however. I just kind of vaguely remember them and the complete picture is hard to accurately be arrived at.

As of the past week, my symptoms have suddenly been much less. Id say that they have been 70% to 60% of what they normally are. I feel like, just maybe, I may be getting better and be approaching the point that I can work again. I’m also conscious of the fact that I may be being fooled by temporary good times. This has happened before.

Does anyone out there have knowledge about this? Does this happen, that you suddenly get better in a period of one week? When this happens, is it possible for your improvement to be enduring and to even progress further? Until this point in time, I was completely sold on the fact that I am disabled for life. At current, I’m still disabled, but I need just a little bit more improvement and I can have some say over my life. I will be able to work.
 

LittleBigFoot

MyPTSD Pro
I think it’s pretty normal to cycle, or I do it anyway. I have days/weeks where I’m like umm there’s nothing wrong with me so what the hell have I been whining about. And then something will happen and I crash and I’m like oh that’s why lol. But yes, I think it’s a thing to suddenly be good and then turn around and suddenly fall.
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
I was really focused on restarting work in person this week and helping my daughter’s homeless friend. I felt energized and “better.” Like my original non-ptsd self. However, yesterday I had a panic attack and couldn’t handle being home around the teens. I had to leave to calm down. It really feels disappointing when it happens. Even when I was better, I was wondering if it would crash, how long will it last. I think my therapist may have recognized it and knew I would crash again, but she didn’t say anything. No advice here.
 

Sideways

Moderator
when I started doing progressive relaxation exercises.
With an illness like ptsd, where there's a lot of physical fallout from the condition from constantly being in fight/flight mode, it makes a lot of sense to me that regular, structured relaxation has had a sudden and profound impact on your symptoms.

For me too.

Is it a perfect cure? Nope. But can it make a huuuge difference in symptom load? Hell yes!
is it possible for your improvement to be enduring and to even progress further?
Short answer? Yes.

Unfortunately with ptsd, there's always the risk of relapse. Life throws us an unexpected curveball (something traumatic, or just a great big stressor) and suddenly our symptoms return.

Relaxation is one of the those things that help our physiological system constantly empty out our stress cup, though - it builds the body's resilience to stress. So that we're as best placed as we can be to deal with sudden, unexpected stressors. So even when we're in remission/reasonably well? It makes good sense to continue with daily practices like relaxation:)
 

Renaissance

New Here
With an illness like ptsd, where there's a lot of physical fallout from the condition from constantly being in fight/flight mode, it makes a lot of sense to me that regular, structured relaxation has had a sudden and profound impact on your symptoms.
@Sideways, I devised the treatment myself, and my psychologist recommended it and approved it.

I have a machine called the Kasina, and I have programs that I use with it. The programs are hypnosis audios written by a master hypnotist who trained under Carole Erickson, among others. The Kasina has glasses that play a light show as I listen to the audios. The headphones have several audio outputs in each earbud, I believe.

Listening to these programs puts you in a profound state of relaxation. The author makes these for self development, not PTSD or anything remotely like that. I had a hunch that they could help me with my PTSD.

In the exercise I devised, I would play one of
my programs in the Kasina. It puts me in a state of profound relaxation within 30 to 120 seconds. Once I am in a state of profound relaxation, I begin to deliberately think of distressing memories, the same memories that come to me intrusively.

I will think about these memories until they become too intensely uncomfortable. When they do, I simply let the program play, without focusing on the memories. It helps me relax again. I may do yet another iteration of conjuring up a distressing memory and then relaxing, if I have time. The programs I use last from 23 minutes to maybe 30 minutes. I always make sure that the last 5 minutes or so of the session end with pure relaxation time.

I have found this to be as effective or more effective than EMDR at removing the distress that is associated with intrusive memories/flashbacks. When I am hit, all of the sudden, with an intensely distressing intrusive memory, EMDR works better in giving some form of instant relief, however.

I also do it like you suggest, where I just deliberately relax, with no intrusive memory conjuring.
 

Renaissance

New Here
I think it’s pretty normal to cycle, or I do it anyway. I have days/weeks where I’m like umm there’s nothing wrong with me so what the hell have I been whining about. And then something will happen and I crash and I’m like oh that’s why lol. But yes, I think it’s a thing to suddenly be good and then turn around and suddenly fall.
Yes, I have had this happen in the past. For the first 13 months of my condition, it happened all the time. I’m good for a week and then I’m murdered again. It hasn’t happened like this in a long time though. It feels almost like a new thing, even though it’s happened many times before. I do hope the good times continue.
 

Friday

Moderator
Two of the most important things I ever learned about PTSD in relation to my own life? It’s a cyclic disorder, and it’s incredibly reactive to stress.

(see Stress Cup)

So the many many times I’ve been symptomatic to my eyeballs, only to blink and be fine? Totally normal.

The many many times I’ve had gradually increasing or decreasing periods of either being symptomatic or fine? Totally normal.

That sometimes these effects last for months & years & longer; and sometimes are gone by the afternoon, or in 5 minutes? Totally normal.
 

Renaissance

New Here
Two of the most important things I ever learned about PTSD in relation to my own life? It’s a cyclic disorder, and it’s incredibly reactive to stress.

(see Stress Cup)

So the many many times I’ve been symptomatic to my eyeballs, only to blink and be fine? Totally normal.

The many many times I’ve had gradually increasing or decreasing periods of either being symptomatic or fine? Totally normal.

That sometimes these effects last for months & years & longer; and sometimes are gone by the afternoon, or in 5 minutes? Totally normal.
@Friday, this was very helpful.

Two of the most important things I ever learned about PTSD in relation to my own life? It’s a cyclic disorder, and it’s incredibly reactive to stress.

(see Stress Cup)

So the many many times I’ve been symptomatic to my eyeballs, only to blink and be fine? Totally normal.

The many many times I’ve had gradually increasing or decreasing periods of either being symptomatic or fine? Totally normal.

That sometimes these effects last for months & years & longer; and sometimes are gone by the afternoon, or in 5 minutes? Totally normal.
The stress cup- I just googled this. It describes my experience perfectly.
 
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