Isaiah 43:18 - Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
What is PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder?
Night after night you try to sleep. But then when you finally do fall asleep, the nightmare appears, and the past becomes your present. Yes, sometimes the past never leaves you.
Then there’s the smells that trigger something deep inside that make the scent transport you to another time or place. Or perhaps a song or a photograph flashes into your mind and you remember.
PTSD can make itself known with a cry that comes from deep within. You slip to your knees and say, “Is this ever going to end? When will I be free from my memories?” This is the face of PTSD.
No one can understand what you’re going through unless they’ve gone through it themselves.
So, you close yourself off in your home too afraid of going out into the crowd. Too afraid that something will happen and you’ll “lose control” in public. You see, you may be free from an immediate threat, but even if you are far away from your traumatic experience, it feels like it’s right outside your front door.
Perhaps someone hurt you or you’ve been in a terrible car accident and each time you hear a siren you collapse and cover your ears. The past becomes so much in the present that you can hear the sound of metal on metal in your head and feel the jolt when being struck by another car.
Or perhaps one of the worst of all: You’ve returned from Iraq or Afghanistan and you can’t get the image of one of your friends being blown up by an IUD.
Regardless if you’ve suffered from any of the above-mentioned tragedies, the results can be very similar. Nightmares. Flashes of memories. Sounds of the moment piercing through even the darkest of nights. Depression. Anxiety. Anger. Sorrow. Pain. Indescribable pain follows your every move.
Yet, there is hope. Small seeds are dropped onto the ground; watered by the tears flowing down your face. Shoots of young plants, reaching up and out of the darkness into the healing light of the sun.
Many methods have been developed to help heal sufferers of PTSD. Helpguide.org has some suggestions in their article, “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” Some of their suggestions are to exercise or move, activities such as rock climbing, boxing, weight training or martial arts, spend time in nature especially at a quiet spot where you can rest your mind and body, use mindful breathing where you focus on the present instead of the past, and connect with others who struggle with PTSD or counselors.
Lastly, it’s important to try to forget what happened. You may not be able to completely forget it but try to at least keep it off the forefront of your mind. God can help you do this and will teach you ways that can keep you in the present instead of the past.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.