Healing Post Traumatic Stress

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I have been invited to New Orleans to give a workshop for some folks whose lives have been forever changed by Katrina. I will be going with great humility as I don’t presume to fathom the emotional, physical, and spiritual demands that this catastrophe has imposed on those who live in its aftermath. During my stay, I will keep a video diary, which I will upload to my Web site, StopEnduring.com.
While living through a catastrophe such as Katrina is in some ways unique, there are commonalities in how our minds and spirits attempt to handle extreme trauma. Learning about these commonalities can help us support each other during and after times of crisis.
If you have suffered through war; emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; a natural or manmade disaster; or abandonment or overwhelming loss, you may suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you isolate yourself, you are more likely to experience chronic PTSD long after the initial trauma. Your symptoms may, in fact, become disabling.
Therefore, it is important to learn the symptoms of PTSD so that you know if you need to reach out or if someone you care about needs help. PTSD symptoms can include one or more of the following:
• flashbacks about the traumatic event
• feelings of estrangement or detachment
• nightmares/sleeping disturbances
• eating disturbances
• suicidal thoughts
• occupational instability
• memory disturbances
• family discord
• parenting or marital difficulties
• hopelessness
• helplessness
• alcohol/drug abuse
Recognizing the symptoms of PTSD will help you understand that you’re not “crazy.” In fact, your symptoms are actually coping strategies you’ve unconsciously devised to keep you from re-experiencing the intensity of the trauma.

The problem is that these coping strategies can evolve into permanent lifestyle changes that wear you down after a while, keeping you enduring rather than thriving. This is no time to feign a stiff upper lip or to try to pull yourself up by elusive bootstraps. You owe it to yourself to reach out for help.

Remember, PTSD is not a sign of weakness; on the contrary, it’s a clever strategy that your psyche has conjured up to keep you from being overwhelmed. So don’t hide your PTSD and suffer in silence and isolation. Join a support group, seek counseling, and/or help others who are in a similar situation.

Let me know if this information is helpful to you.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

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