I felt very compelled to write this post, because a lot of my healing from PTSD began when I started thinking like a Therapist. I wanted to share this with you all. I know some may be in therapy or other forms of treatment, but I also know that some are not willing to go for therapy. But thinking like a therapist is something you can do in your own home. I am by no means discouraging anyone from going to therapy. This step will just help speed up the progress for those in treatment, and also help others that aren’t ready to go to someone for help and they sit at home in hiding. For a LONG TIME, most of my life, with Complex PTSD I was in hiding, and there is nothing wrong with that. My concern is that those like my former self they NEED help but don’t know where to begin or they feel scared, ashamed, etc… also, therapy can be costly.
I had PTSD since the age of 4, though I only started therapy in 2014. I STILL have countless bills of debt to prove that. When I started going to therapy I was wishing away my week to get to my appointments, looking at the clock frequently during therapy wishing for more time..I just wanted to be fixed! I know how extensive treatment for PTSD can be, I lived it. I have had a few previous therapists, they were very sweet and tried to help me. But I knew myself better than anybody. I am a pretty stubborn person, I am Sicilian and Armenian. I knew that playing with play doh during a session or acting like a bird would NOT work for me. After having a few therapists tell me I “Knew more than them” I asked myself WHY I was wasting my time and money. I had a therapist tell me she’s never heard of “Complex PTSD”, really? I have had therapists stare at me with a blank look on their faces as they scramble for something to help “fix” me. I had one every time I asked for a technique to use she would hand me a photocopy of stuff she had taken from her therapy books.
I have done years upon years of research about PTSD, it was all about the stats and mostly talk therapy like CBT (Cognitive behavioral Therapy) and DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). When you are living with PTSD every second feels like an eternity as you brace yourself for the next trigger, flashback, etc.. Then at one of my more recent therapy sessions it hit me. My therapist went and grabbed a book from her shelf looking for a certain technique for dealing with my intrusive thoughts. As she looked through the book I jotted down the book name. If that book was how she was helping me I NEEDED IT! I have battled a LIFETIME and didn’t want to wait any longer. The book she grabbed of the shelf was “Get out of your mind & into your life” by Steven C Hayes, MD what she was using was ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) with me which I had never heard of before. When I got home I went right to Amazon and ordered that book. Since I had her “Therapists manual” I didn’t feel the need to go back. Every session was $120! I bought the book for $21.95. I went through and read the book and applied what I had learned, but took small steps so I didn’t overload my brain. The knowledge was addicting!! That inspired me over the course of the year to order other books to help myself. I was thinking like a therapist with every book I bought and read, it was like being handed the key to unlock the torture of my PTSD. I got other books like “use your body to heal your mind” by Henry Grayson and “The trauma treatment handbook” (Protocols across the spectrum) by Robin Shapiro.
I had such a thirst for knowledge because my decision to think like a therapist was paying off big time! I would cuddle up in my room and read, a lot more comfy than sitting on a couch next to a box of tissues. I would apply the techniques I had was reading about in the books. I even took it to the next level to research about trauma therapists, I found a man named Bessel Van Derk Kolk the top trauma therapist in the World. He wrote a book that is next on my list called “The Body Keeps Score” if you google him you will find his articles with some amazing answers about trauma that you may have been seeking during the course of your life with PTSD. I even went so far as to research Quantum Physics to understand how my PTSD brain worked. You know when they say “What you speak is what you get” that is VERY true. Quantum Physics proves that! When you speak words they may just be words to you, like “I can’t do this”, “I’ll never beat PTSD”, Etc.. but according to quantum physics the neurons in your brain are taking that in and changing those words into truth, which is holding you back!
There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to what helps one heal from PTSD, but there is something that will work. I’ll say it again, I am not anti therapy I have learned a few helpful things in my journey with it. If you get discouraged with one therapist, try another and grab a few books or do some google searches on self healing. I see an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapist to work on the remnants of my life with PTSD. The negative cognitions are gone, now we are working on the positive. Like I had wrote about in a previous post “My EMDR Experience” EMDR has been a very effective form of treatment for me in addition to “thinking like a therapist”EMDR is to be done with a licensed therapist. That is not something that you can do at home.
I hope this post will help others as it has helped me come this far, but it has taken a few years and a lot of determination. With the therapy techniques you may find in your reading or research don’t push yourself to hard, healing doesn’t happen overnight. I would love to hear your feedback or answer any questions that I can. You can email me or follow me on Twitter by clicking on the icons by my name on the top of this post. Stay strong every day you are one day closer to being healed. You are not alone!