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Self help during recovery

Thread starter #1
My main issue with my ptsd is anxiety and hyper vigilance. It go through better periods with it but then any stress will make it all severe again and cause panic attacks and high anxiety.

I have social anxiety and don’t socialise with anyone but my husband and children. I had therapy initially after my traumatic time in 2012 and that helped me so much. The general anxiety, social anxiety and agoraphobia got much better and I was back out loving despite the anxiety but then 3 years ago I started with health issues. I have an underactive thyroid and CFS/ME and that’s when I became pretty much housebound which then led to my PTSD symptoms such as social anxiety, panic and general anxiety, flaring again. I don’t even answer the door to the postman haha.

I know if my health issues hadnt hit me my recovery would’ve continued. It’s just typical I then got unwell and that was another huge trauma trying to get diagnosed and how poorly I felt was scary.

I had therapy for most of my life on and off due to issues with my extended family. I then had 4 years therapy after what happened in 2012. I then left therapy because I didn’t feel I could go any further with it and to be honest I’d just had enough of paying for therapy and going through the same thing, I wanted to do it myself. Which I did, I took what I’d learnt and was living life 80% recovered until my health issues began a few years ago.

I don’t feel like I want to go back to therapy because it will be exactly the same as it was before and most therapists don’t understand he fatigue with CFS anyway. It’s not something I can commit to right now, and I don’t want to. I’m 40 and had therapy on and off since I was 19 due to the childhood issues I had.

Has anyone else helped themselves after years of therapy? What books do you recommend? If my PTSD symptoms are mainly the social anxiety, and high general anxiety, even at home, I do get panic attacks at times too, what kind of books should I be reading? Are books on anxiety recovery enough if its PTSD causing it deep down? I hope that makes sense.
 
#2
I went through this as well and every step was a victory. But the point for me was to break it down in steps. Go to a meeting meant, victory if I left the house, got in the van went. If I never went in the meeting building I was fine with that week after week, my victories were getting out the door to the meeting itself. this was an anxiety depression group. I had support to go in the building when I was ready to try it, but could not enter the room. Still I counted each step in the process as a victory. did it take a long time to even go into the meeting room, yes. I just never gave up winning it one step at a time. I also have pocket toys, known only to me. I enjoyed looking out for and buying small items I could put in my pocket that were calming for me to use. Only I knew why I had them and trust me I have quite a collection. One was a key chain number puzzle. You have to slide the pieces around to put the numbers back in order. When I did get into the room I stood at the back, listened to the group did my puzzle. If I got too anxious in the room I went to the hall where I could still hear them. I also rock a lot and my psychologist actually finds that to be a good skill to have in that it connects left and right somehow which gets dysregulated when we are ptsd. So take a step. Doesn’t matter what it is And do it and be happy, happy happy with just that step. Same with the phone. Goodness I had a terrible time making a phone call so I had to back my plan up all the way to, write the number down, well done, next day think about making the call, well done, okay plan to do it tomorrow, well done, make the darn phone call!! Apparently if we start somewhere we eventually do what we are afraid to do and trust me, lot of truth to that.
 
Thread starter #3
I went through this as well and every step was a victory. But the point for me was to break it down in steps. Go to a meeting meant, victory if I left the house, got in the van went. If I never went in the meeting building I was fine with that week after week, my victories were getting out the door to the meeting itself. this was an anxiety depression group. I had support to go in the building when I was ready to try it, but could not enter the room. Still I counted each step in the process as a victory. did it take a long time to even go into the meeting room, yes. I just never gave up winning it one step at a time. I also have pocket toys, known only to me. I enjoyed looking out for and buying small items I could put in my pocket that were calming for me to use. Only I knew why I had them and trust me I have quite a collection. One was a key chain number puzzle. You have to slide the pieces around to put the numbers back in order. When I did get into the room I stood at the back, listened to the group did my puzzle. If I got too anxious in the room I went to the hall where I could still hear them. I also rock a lot and my psychologist actually finds that to be a good skill to have in that it connects left and right somehow which gets dysregulated when we are ptsd. So take a step. Doesn’t matter what it is And do it and be happy, happy happy with just that step. Same with the phone. Goodness I had a terrible time making a phone call so I had to back my plan up all the way to, write the number down, well done, next day think about making the call, well done, okay plan to do it tomorrow, well done, make the darn phone call!! Apparently if we start somewhere we eventually do what we are afraid to do and trust me, lot of truth to that.
I can relate. I’d see each time I went out as a huge victory. Last year I went out a few times and was so proud and so were my family.

It’s just so frustrating I overcame the anxiety, agoraphobia etc but since my health issues the anxiety issues returned and my social anxiety became worse than ever. I think because I just felt too weak and poorly to cope seeing people and my best friend walked out of my life when my health issues hit. She just cut me off and it broke me. It was then really the horrendous panic and anxiety hit me. I had a breakdown in 2018, 12 hour panic every day for 9 months. It was hell: my GP said having ill health and my best friend walking out of my life was another huge loss and trauma. I’d already been through trauma after I was assaulted and lost my mum and sisters as a result of me refusing to forgive my brother. It took me years to overcome that then when my friend cut me off the loss felt even worse, she was like my sister. Losing my health too after coming so far was a huge kick in the teeth. I couldn’t cope with yet more trauma and I broke.

I can understand now why it’s all come back. I can understand why I’m even worse anxiety wise and socially, so I hide away at home because I can’t cope with stimuli outside, scared of having to talk to people and panicking in front of them as I have many a time and it’s horrendous ... it all overwhelmed me.

It’s been a hard 2.5 years so I’m now starting again and working on myself slowly. I have overcome these issues before it’s just a bit tricky now I have CFS etc as they mainly are the reason I don’t get out but the horrendous anxiety and sensitivity to people, sounds, light etc are hard. I was doing so well again last year but since Covid and everyone at home so no real rest I’ve had a major set back with the stress of this year. Which I guess is normal.
 
#4
OVERCOMING Trauma and PTSD by Sheela Raja, PhD and The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook are good ones to read and practice with. The workbook is authored by three authors, Mathew McKay PhD, Jeffrey C Wood Psy. . And Jeffrey Brantley, MD.
 
Thread starter #7
I can totally relate. I had some stubborn leftover PTSD symptoms that just wouldn’t go away and I didn’t want to keep paying for therapy. I did writing therapy, and my nightmares and panic attacks stopped after that. Crazy.
I felt therapy worsened my anxiety, I’d be exhausted for days afterwards too.
I’m glad you’re doing much better 💖
 
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