Continuing to do things that aren’t working isn’t a path to successful recovery or management of post-traumatic stress, and there are a lot of things that don’t work. But there are things that consistently do work for many – meditation and breathing, yoga, EMDR, drum circles and theater (not kidding, read The Body Keeps the Score if you want to know more) – but they only work if you do them.
Which means you have to do one of the hardest things for someone with PTSD. You have to keep showing up to do them.
Particularly if it takes a while to be diagnosed (two years for me), you can get to the point that showing up to anything, even just yourself, is too overwhelming and too hard. I recently watched a video about military veterans with PTSD and their service dogs, and how one man had grocery shopped late at night to avoid crowds and be around as few people as possible when he went out until he was matched with his dog. I completely understand that.
But it can be damn near impossible to get yourself to do anything that is uncomfortable, including the things listed above that are supposed to be “easy” or “simple” or “calming”. For some of us, those things are not. It has taken me months to be able to do yoga consistently and for more than a few minutes at a time, and I’m just now pushing myself to stay with the positions that are hard for me to hold.
This stuff is hard. All of it. It’s different with PTSD. It is really hard to show up once, much less every day. But the work to heal and the desire to not stay trapped by your brain are worth pursuing, worth attempting, worth working toward, even if it’s in small bits. However small a step you take to show up, it echoes throughout the universe and is heard. I hope that you are able to hear it.