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  • Writer's pictureHeather Steele

What Does PTSD Really Look Like? Everyday Examples of PTSD Symptoms and Recovery.

In this blog post I want to shed some light on a topic that often flies under the radar: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

You see, when most people hear about PTSD, their minds immediately jump to images of combat veterans bravely facing the aftermath of war.

And while it's true that many veterans experience PTSD, it's not the whole picture.

There's a whole world of experiences out there that can lead to PTSD, and today, I want to explore some of the most common manifestations of this often-overlooked mental health issue. And how Morrisville Counseling and Consulting, PLLC helps individual work through past trauma with evidence based PTSD treatment.

Specific Examples of PTSD Triggering Events

Sarah’s Story - A Security Shaking Event

Let's start with a story- a story of a woman in her twenties, let's call her Sarah. Sarah's bright smile and infectious laughter mask the pain she carries inside. 

You see, Sarah experienced a traumatic assault when she was just a teenager - a moment that shattered her sense of safety and security. 

Since then, she's struggled with nightmares, flashbacks, and crippling anxiety, all hallmarks of PTSD. But to the outside world, Sarah seems like she has it all together. 

Little do they know, she's fighting a battle within herself every single day.

Alex’s Story - Growing Up in a Violent Home

Now, let's shift our focus to another common cause of PTSD: childhood trauma. Imagine a young boy, let's call him Alex, who grew up in a household plagued by violence and abuse.

For years, Alex endured unspeakable horrors at the hands of those who were supposed to love and protect him. Now, as an adult, he's haunted by memories of his past, struggling to form healthy relationships and trust others.

Despite his best efforts to bury the pain, the scars of his childhood trauma continue to resurface, leaving him feeling trapped in a cycle of fear and despair.

John’s Story - A Life Altering Car Crash

But PTSD isn't just limited to survivors of assault or childhood trauma. It can also affect those who have experienced natural disasters, accidents, or sudden loss. Take, for example, a middle-aged man named John who narrowly escaped a devastating car accident.

Although physically unharmed, John finds himself plagued by intrusive thoughts and overwhelming fear whenever he gets behind the wheel. Every honk of a horn or screech of a tire sends him spiraling back to that traumatic moment, reliving the terror over and over again.

These are just a few examples of the many faces of PTSD—stories of resilience, courage, and hope in the face of unimaginable pain. And while the causes may vary, the impact of PTSD is undeniable. It can rob individuals of their sense of security, disrupt their relationships, and hinder their ability to lead fulfilling lives.

Practical Ways to Overcome PTSD: Modalities and How They Rewrite These Stores

But here's the thing: PTSD is not a life sentence. With the right support and treatment, healing is possible. Whether it's through therapy, medication, or a combination of both, there are ways to manage the symptoms of PTSD and reclaim your life.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Helps Sarah Control Her Anxiety

CBT is a gold standard in PTSD treatment, and for good reason. Take Sarah, for example. Through CBT sessions, she learned to challenge her negative beliefs about safety and trust. By reframing her thoughts and gradually exposing herself to triggering situations, Sarah gained a sense of control over her anxiety and found newfound confidence in her ability to cope.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Sets Alex Free

For Alex, EMDR was a game-changer. During EMDR sessions, he revisited traumatic memories while engaging in bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or taps. Through this process, Alex experienced a profound shift in how he processed and stored those memories, allowing him to finally break free from their grip and reclaim his sense of self-worth.

Somatic Experiencing Helps John Overcome His Fear

John's therapist recommended Somatic Experiencing to help him reprocess his trauma and release the built-up survival energy from his autonomic nervous system. This method allowed John to address his flight responses, helping his nervous system reset and alleviating his symptoms of PTSD. As a result, John gained the confidence and skills to navigate the road without fear holding him back.

Find out more about our PTSD treatment.

Mindfulness and Self-Care Practices That Also Bring New Healthy Chapters

Mindfulness Meditation

In addition to therapy, Sarah found solace in mindfulness meditation. By learning to anchor herself in the present moment and observe her thoughts without judgment, she cultivated a sense of inner peace and resilience in the face of adversity.

Creative Expression:

For Alex, art therapy provided a safe outlet for processing his emotions and expressing himself without words. Through painting, drawing, and sculpting, he found healing in the act of creation and discovered new ways to communicate his experiences.

Supportive Relationships:

John's journey to recovery was bolstered by the support of his loved ones. With the encouragement of his family and friends, he felt less alone in his struggles and found the strength to confront his fears head-on.

Create a Beautiful New Chapter in Your Story!

Through these stories, we see that overcoming PTSD is not a one-size-fits-all journey.

It's a deeply personal and often challenging process, but one that is filled with hope and possibility. Whether it's through therapy, mindfulness practices, or the support of loved ones, there are countless paths to healing. 

So if you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD, know that help is available, and recovery is possible.

Together, we can rewrite the narrative of trauma, release stuck survival energy in the nervous system, and pave the way for a future filled with healing, resilience, and hope.


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