Surviving Stress and PTSD

Surviving Stress and PTSDA number one contender, when attempting to survive any type of situation, is the heavy hitter we all know of as stress. It is an absolutely inescapable part of life. Seldom is the case when one finds himself totally eradicated of stress. Abolishing stress wouldn’t be the appropriate solution, in any fashion, as stress is but another form of a lesson. How one copes with this stress, now that is VITAL!

Stress can have a multitude of damaging effects. Regardless of the situation one finds himself in, one thing can be certain; stress is hunkered in wait just around the next bend. Whether you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic platitude or simply slaving away as a public relations executive, chances are you deal with stress on a daily basis.

What is Stress?

As noted by many studies, stress is nearly impossible to define because it varies so much between each individual. Stress is simply created on an individual basis: Often times, the stress we most feel (and often the one that can become most harmful) is due to our own faulty perceptions. These faulty perceptions can be worked on and can eventually become easy to mend.

While it is somewhat difficult to lay a finger on just what exactly stress is, we can easily begin to pick apart each concept of stress beginning with the two main categories – “good” and “bad” stress. Stress, be it good or bad, has been clinically proven, in most cases, to stem from the sense of having no control over one’s happenings as well as abrupt changes in motion (be it physical, chemical or emotional).

 PTSD: A Strain of Stress

Post-traumatic stress disorder. One of the most frequent forms of stress following a harrowing event. This effect of stress is not only relevant to our great warriors of past battle and conflict; no, PTSD is quite common to nearly any victim of a disastrous incident. This includes an array of apocalyptic-like events.

PTSD can affect even the most persistent and hardened of veterans, an adolescent who has suffered a horrible car accident, or even a sound person who has simply been the witness to a heinous crime such as a terrorist shooting.

According to the National Center for PTSD, “PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.”

 Symptoms of PTSD and Similar Stresses:

“Bad” stress can have some atrocious effects on one’s state of health.

Stressful scenarios cause one’s body to launch into a major response. This feeling is what makes up the “fight or flight” response that is notable in all humans (and many other creatures as well). The heart begins to thump harder, faster; the lungs begin to work double time; muscles tense up and skin becomes sticky and clammy (this is acute stress, from which the body can recover quickly).

However, stress that lingers around (chronic) will only lead to larger problems. Acknowledgment of these lingerers can be the saving grace of one’s life.

(Some) Symptoms of “Bad” Stress

  •      Extreme headaches, or headaches that are recurrent
  •      Exhaustion or weariness
  •      Insomnia
  •      Lack of attention
  •      Irritation and testiness
  •      Nausea and gastrointestinal upset

These are simply a few of the signs leading up to the next level of stress-induced problems. This happens when these signs and signals are ignored or simply overlooked. This is stress that has now become long-term, and it can lead to far more severe health issues.

Unaddressed Chronic Stress can lead to:

  •      High levels of depression
  • Some heart and blood issues (including heart attack and high blood pressure)
  •      Stomach ulcers and IBS
  •      Skin diseases
  •      Mental illnesses
  •      Even, not as rare as one would think (given the scenario), leading to death.

PTSD Symptoms

PTSD can be an entirely new monster to tackle in comparison to your standard urban life-evoked stress.

First and foremost, it is important to recognize that PTSD is NOT a weakness or frailty. The fact is that many of the causes of the beastial mind-set happen out of the sufferer’s control.

There are many indicators that signal one may be experiencing PTSD, though they vary extremely on a case-by-case basis. There are a few basics:

  • Recalling the experience in vivid description over and over. This can consist of consecutive night terrors; images are flashing through the mind while awake; feeling as if you are reliving it.
  • Suddenly conjuring up negative beliefs and feelings.
  • Feeling anxious and jumpy. One may feel on edge at all times; may have difficulty in focusing, or possibly becoming instantly irritable over anything; could lead a reliance on drugs.

PTSD has also been scientifically suggested to be caused by physical shocks to one’s system, making both psychological and physical.

Related article: Prepare Yourself – Prepping Starts With You!

Combat PTSD and related stress:

First, we must understand that dealing with stress is not an immoral misdoing.

To combat against “bad” stress, and to work with one’s “good” stress, we must learn to remodel anything we conceive as a negative situation. This is the general basis of our birth-given right of freedom. We each have the ability to choose how we think and feel. Choosing to look at the positive side will always have a better outcome.

Take some time to yourself.

Once you can recognize that you are reaching the tipping point, slow yourself down. Relax. Perhaps someday we humans will realize that the importance of our health is far superior to any other facet of our lives. This means actually doing things we enjoy, spending our given time appropriately.

Reach out for support.

No shame involved. Simply communicating your need to slow your pace or lighten your workload to a loved or trusted one, can lead to successfully coping with stress. At times you must request those surrounding you for some understanding; doing this will also give them a more opportune moment to change some of their own views. Once this act of continual giving begins, it is hard to slow it down, and it can be surprising just how much people are willing to help you. Reaching out for support does far more than only assist you; it has the potential to touch many lives – lives that may need that same break from stress that you did.

PTSD can become difficult to tackle on one’s own.

In most cases and if available, it is important to seek assistance.

However, when shit really hits the fan (and who are we kidding?), you may be in caught up in a shitstorm where you will have to open your own umbrella (imagine that). While it may be difficult, we are all tough enough to know we can handle it.

  • Work on your cognitive behavior: When you find yourself going into a “spell”, redirect the thought patterns that landed you there. These are the thoughts that are taking you from your clear-zone.
  • Try to become at peace with the distorted memories. This step may take a long while to reach, but performing the above will typically keep you in the clear, all the while leading up to this one.
  • Try to steer clear from the things that directly cause the flashbacks.
  • Relaxation and exercise can be extremely beneficial.
  • Appropriate amounts of rest.
  • Jotting down the thoughts that cloud your mind and block your view can be a helpful method as well.
  • Against all contrary arguments, and believe it or not (try it before deny it) being generous and helpful to others can help drag you from the dreaded mindset. Replacing that anger or anxiety with understanding and empathy can make the difference between a chute and a ladder.

Conclusion

Learning to handle stress the appropriate way in the here and now, can and will save your life when it finally happens. When SHTF you must be able to remain calm and keep your head above water. As you saw in the lines above, there are many things you can do to combat stress. The first step is to acknowledge that no one is immune to stress and it can sneak up on even the bravest of souls.

This article has been written by Jonathan Blaylock for Prepper’s Will.

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