The Ptsd Cup Explanation

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I just have to say how much I adore this explanation. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed and get frustrated with myself for being stressed, reminding me of this visual helps me appreciate what's actually going on inside of me.


this was very helpful to me. i was always wondering why i got mad over small things. i could never explain it until now. thank you.
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My T used this analogy only she replaced the cup with a 'bucket'

To expand a little further - if you can imagine a plughole at the PTSD stress water level - that's the release through trauma therapy. The aim of trauma therapy is not to stop things entering at the top (normal life stressors), but to pull the plug on ptsd level (the trauma) so the water level drops and one can then handle more stress, etc. It takes time, and I think this is exactly why a person needs a reasonably calm environment to work with trauma.

As soon as the bucket overflows the person will be so overloaded at the top they'll start 'bailing those things out' rather than concentrating on the slow leakage out at the trauma level.

(Hope that makes sense).


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To Anthony (OP) and Superjen, I have to say I like these analogies. I am constantly irritable and stressed out, and when my temper gets the better of me (which has become more of a problem only in recent years, not close in proximity to the traumatic incident) I always realize that the offending stressor is not something worth getting as worked up over as I do. This also makes me feel incredibly guilty, especially when dealing with my son. Some days are a lot better and I feel more relaxed, but 90 percent of the time I am just always worked up and on edge and it just seems like my tolerance to stress is well below the norm.

The 'Cup' at least seems to show where the burden of PTSD really lies. Thanks! I am finding this place more and more helpful with each thread I read. :)


Makes so much sense, thanks for the information.
Now to figure out how the drain the pond, because for me a cup, or bucket is just not big enough to hold all my crap. The ocean is just like a few hundred feet down the hill from me and the harbour might just be able to hold it, I guess that's why I'm here. Yup I fly off at the most foolish of incedients, toilet paper, ha, lol, here too! It makes me absolutely nuts. I am so tired to people telling me I am oversensitive, or feeling so touchy, and on edge. If I can't escape, get away, I shut down or worse, I lash out. I become a toxic bit*h, and I hate myself,and then I feel so embarassed, drained, I want to crawl in a hole and tell the world to bite me and f'off. My daugther and granddaughter wear it the most, I don't go around other people unless I have to. I throw out all these fears and insecurity, so hurtful. And then guilt, and it goes on and thanks again for the all the sharing here. Not feeling like such a big o'l bag of compost.
Well it's time to start looking for the plug to drain this. But at least now I know there is a plug, and that's something isn't it? Wouldn't a scaple be handy, just lance it off and throw it away, now that's a wish!
And thank you Anthony for making me use my brain and keep up with my grammar my key stroking, the ol' grey matter gets pretty mushy and lazy sometimes.


I fly off the handle too. I really wish I didn't. After all the things I have overcome this is one I cannot seem to get a great handle on. Thanks for posting this explanation. At least I know I am not just some horrible, angry person.
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