What if we want to get out of the house, but PTSD wants us to stay home? We don’t feel safe so we have to check everything out before we go. We don’t want to be around people who expect us to be cheery. We find it hard to get motivated to do fun things.
I’m pretty sure that the future of PTSD recovery is learning more about how to push back against PTSD by resetting our brains. Staying home is our comfort zone, but we gotta get out of the house or PTSD will own us. So where are we gonna go? Who are we gonna call? How are we gonna make this happen?
Emotional Support Animals
When we connect with a trained emotional support animal, our brains start changing. We feel closeness, counteracting the PTSD drive to isolate. They will probably make us laugh, resetting our brains to be more light-hearted. Dogs are the most likely, and probably the most capable, emotional support animals. They have a natural instinct to watch out for their pack, so they’ll watch out for you. Vets have told me that they trust their ESA to watch their six, helping them to sleep without one eye open and go out of the house without looking over their shoulder. PTSD sets our brains to keep watch and keep our distance, so having an emotional support animal resets this part of trauma injury.
If you want to read some research about this, check out this May 2021 article.
Veteran-Centered, Trauma-Informed Immersive Activities
Intense experiences immerse us in what’s going on right now. We get us out of the house, and out of our heads. Vets have told me that they get frustrated with the way PTSD has made them inactive, sedentary, living the same day over and over. It keeps the waters calm. It keeps us cool headed. But our brains get stuck in that mode. Intense activities immerse us in what’s happening right in front of our eyes.
Time to shake that up. Take it outside, but not just anywhere. It would be dumb to go anywhere or do anything that doesn’t respect our state of mind, so that means going places that are trauma-informed and veteran-centered. Trauma-informed means that nobody’s going to hassle us when PTSD rears its head, like when we get startled or defensive. Vets who are trauma-informed are doing things like running ranches where you can ride and groom a horse. Search: veteran equine therapy near me. Or, check out this veteran owned scuba diving group, Progress Through Scuba Diving (PTSD). Clever name!
Right now, if you feel so inclined, set a 3 minute timer. Focus on the pic for this blog. Think about being under water. Breathe at a controlled pace like you are breathing from a tank of oxygen. Can you imagine that PTSD could keep its hold on you if you were scuba diving?
We gotta get smart about pushing ourselves out of the comfort zone that keeps PTSD at bay. The future of PTSD recovery is learning more about how to push back against PTSD by resetting our brains. Fight back.
Do something good for yourself today.