If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that the spiritual self-help approach to mental and physical health issues always need to tackle the problem across the three levels of:
- MIND & EMOTIONS
Most of the posts I’ve written about C-PTSD have been focussing on the mind / emotions level, but let’s see if we can now pull everything together to give a clear picture of how you can tackle C-PTSD,
and with God’s help, eventually overcome it.
TIPS TO TACKLE C-PTSD AT THE BODY LEVEL
The key thing to remember here is that traumatised people are physically very stressed and tense people.
The more primitive parts of their brain is continually sending them messages that the world is a scary, threatening, dangerous place, which means:
- They startle and scare much easier than untraumatised people.
- They are experiencing the physiological states of FIGHT / FLIGHT / FREEZE (AND FAWN) much more regularly than untraumatised people, which can leave them with huge amounts of cortisol, adrenaline, and other chemicals coursing around their body, and causing unhelpful physical reactions and emotional states.
- Their bodies are usually very tense - often what’s referred to as ‘armouring’. This is because the body’s vagus nerve connects the information the person thinks they are getting from their environment and interactions straight to the viscera. This causes the alimentary canal to tense up, which in turn contributes to eating problems and eating disorders. And it can also mean that the traumatised person feels it very hard to fall asleep (further compounding the physiological issues) and feels stressed at a deep body level nearly all of the time.
NOTE: If someone experienced any form of physical abuse, then even touch can be a very triggering event for them. In these situations, ‘pet therapy’, or having a safe bond with a dog, horse, or other ‘loving’ animal can be an important first step to desensitising the C-PTSD body to physical touch.
(Click the blue for more details and / or information for how to do each of these things):
Other things to try include:
- Acupressure (Meridians) (Both my books: How your emotions are making you sick, and Talk to God and Fix Your Health describe how to use acupressure techniques to overcome emotional and physical health problems).
- Acupuncture (Meridians)
- Stretching / Pilates (to start to loosen up the body’s tense muscles)
- Energy exercises like Qi Gong (note: I haven’t extensively checked out what orthodox Judaism has to say about Qi Gong, but Yoga is definitely forbidden to orthodox Jews.)
- Trauma Release Exercise (TRE)
- (If you’re experiencing FIGHT or FLIGHT) regularly yawn or sigh - this activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which takes the Sympathetic Nervous System that powers the FIGHT or FLIGHT elements of the stress response off the boil.
- Holding your breath, stick your head in a bowl of very cold water for 30 seconds (this works like the proverbial ‘slap in the face’ for a hysteric, but is MUCH less violent!)
- Hold your neurovascular points - to bring blood back to the calm, rational and mature-thinking forebrain, and away from the panicked, immature and scared primitive brain.
- Sedate your Triple Warmer acupressure points.
- Energy Psychology techniques, like Emotional Freedom Technique (aka ‘tapping’) or the Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT).
- Take 10 deep breaths - and slow down.
- Count to 10, slowly - and slow down.
- Force yourself to sit still for five minutes - and slow down.
- Exercise regularly - working up a sweat helps the body to break down and evacuate all the stress hormones swirling around your body.
We’ve covered this a great deal over the last few posts, but let’s pull it all together now.
- Accept the reality. For as long as you’re living in denial about the fact that you’re traumatised, or experiencing C-PTSD symptoms, you can’t get past the problem.
- Identify who or what is triggering the C-PTSD, and try to minimise them as much as possible. If you’re still regularly interacting with highly abusive, hurtful, and / or emotionally neglectful people, you will keep having a very strong C-PTSD reaction. C-PTSD develops as a result of experiencing chronic trauma. For as long as the traumatic experiences are continuing, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to start healing from your C-PTSD.
- Educate yourself about what’s really causing your C-PTSD. This has two main benefits:
- You’ll start to understand what’s causing your (over)reactions and C-PTSD issues much more clearly, which is the first step to being able to really start the healing process.
- You’ll start feeling a lot more compassion, understanding and empathy for yourself, and spend much less time beating yourself up.
- Buy Pete Walker’s excellent book: COMPLEX PTSD: From surviving to thriving.
- Identify which of the four main stress responses (FIGHT/FLIGHT/FREEZE/FAWN) you tend to get ‘stuck’ in, and then work on balancing it out. For example, if you’re a FIGHT person, you need to move over more in the direction of FAWN /FLATTER (i.e., being nicer to other people and less obsessed with your own needs and wants). If you’re typically stuck in FLIGHT, then look at ways to develop the healthier side of FREEZE, such as finding more time for quiet contemplation and just being.
- Take steps to develop healthier, mutually-supportive relationships. This is of course easier said than done if you have C-PTSD, but feeling that you have people around you who genuinely care for you will go a long way to helping you feel more safe and secure in the world.
- Acknowledge the mental / emotional processes that are occurring as a result of your C-PTSD and take steps to address them. The five key issues that C-PTSD people have to deal with on a regular basis include:
- Try ‘One Brain’ therapy. A good ‘One Brain’ therapist can help you reprogram a specific deep-seated negative mental and emotional habit in as little as one session.
- Try to talk to God every single day about what’s going on in your life. Research has shown that cultivating a belief in God boosts the amount of Serotonin in your brain. Having enough serotonin helps a person to:
- Reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Better control their impulses, obsessions and addictive behaviours.
But that’s not all! Taking the time to centre and ground yourself every day, and to talk to God about everything that’s going on in your life also strengthens the functioning of your frontal lobes, which acts like the ‘brake’ on your more primitive impulses and feelings.
The stronger your frontal lobes get, the harder it is for your primitive brain to ‘hijack’ you and send you spinning off into an emotional flashback. So the more you talk to God, the safer you’ll feel, the more ‘in control’ of yourself you’ll feel, and the easier you’ll find it to ride out and overcome the five C-PTSD reactions listed in the previous section.
To learn how to talk to God, download your free guide HERE, or buy the How, What and Why of Talking to God HERE.
- Explore the ‘inherited trauma’ aspect of your C-PTSD. Maybe, you had quite a nice, quiet childhood but the problems you’re experiencing started much further back down the line, in a parent or grandparent’s traumatic past that was never properly processed or dealt with? To get on top of inherited trauma:
- But and read Mark Wolynn’s excellent book, ‘It didn’t start with you’.
- Explore what family skeletons may still be rattling around in your own life.