Therapy can be mentally exhausting, especially therapy for PTSD. Thankfully, meditation exists to mitigate some of these effects. Studies show that meditation has multiple therapeutic effects, including reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure, and boosting your mood. This six step infographic will help the Detrauma user supplement their own therapy with meditation.
It can be assumed the coronavirus outbreak has impacted our daily life, but what does it mean to our clients seeking help from the counseling community?
It is crucial to understand the social ramifications perpetuated by the outbreak including people experiencing vulnerability, lack of safety, stress and trauma related symptoms as a result of a sense of “uncertainty about what might happen next to one’s life and health, the exponential curve of virus-confirmed cases and deaths in the nation as reported in the media, limited access or difficulty in accessing health benefits and financial constraints due to a recent job loss caused by the pandemic.” It is important to recognize these compounding or simultaneous stressors to then promote optimal care.
Additionally, individual fear and stress-based responses may be triggered in anticipation of the potential long-term effects of the virus. Combined with the array of compounding or simultaneous stressors, it becomes difficult to return to a healthy physiological state and functioning. All the while, these stress-based responses are worsened among those who lack resources such as social support or are in places with executed states of emergency, prompting individuals to enter into social isolation.
Social distancing, taken as a preventive measure to slow the spread of the disease, is disrupting not just employment and education opportunities but also access to emotional support from others by restricting regular social interactions. There is also an income disparity with some individuals not having access to technology to stay connected with people virtually for emotional support are especially susceptible to social isolation and social isolation is a risk factor for depression.
Furthermore, people are experiencing the deaths of loved ones and fellow community members with the rising mortality rate associated with COVID-19 and their family members are having to assume the role of caretakers with their vulnerable loved ones falling ill. Individuals are having abstain from other regular tasks and duties, newly given the responsibility to care for loved ones. They may need more convenient and low commitment options for getting the help they need in coping and mental health applications, such as Detrauma, may be a very viable option. Mental health apps may be helpful in anxiety management, information giving and be culturally responsive as well by being transcribed in multiple languages and therefore inclusive of a number of communities.
“I can’t sleep. When I lay in bed at night, my anxiety and bad memories haunt me and keep me awake. I’m scared if I fall asleep, the nightmares will come. Every night between 2am and 3am, I wake up again with insomnia. When my alarm finally goes off, I’m exhausted. It’s hard to focus on my schoolwork, exams and job interviews when I’m such a tired, jumpy mess.“
Freda, University Student
Can’t sleep? You CAN stop anxiety, nightmares and insomnia caused by traumatic memories. With better sleep, you can invest your energy in building your future instead of being dragged down by your past. Try these three tips for a better night’s sleep, inspired by the legendary trauma expert, Dr. Judith Hermann.
1. Calm your nervous system
Trauma is stored in the body, not just the mind. You may notice that you’re more jumpy than usual, and you may feel your anxiety and fear in your body, a burning in your chest, shaky hands, tight shoulders or restless legs. Once you notice how you feel traumatic stress in your body, you can work to release it. Try a good workout like running or dancing to burn off nervous energy. Then, calm your nervous system with breathing-based movement like yoga or meditation. Body work like massage, Feldenkrais or acupuncture can also help rebalance your energy. A tired body and a calm nervous system will make you less likely to suffer from anxiety, nightmares and insomnia at night.
2. Clear your mind
Your mind may feel stuck in the past, as if the traumatic event is still happening now, over and over again. This is a typical symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Talk to your doctor about therapy for your trauma. In the meantime, writing about the traumatic memory can help you clear your mind to get a good night’s sleep. Detrauma is designed to walk you through five writing therapy exercises to relieve distressing symptoms like anxiety, nightmares and insomnia, day or night.
3. Reconnect with your life
Traumatic memories have a way of trapping you in the past. Try intentionally focusing your energy on the present moment to divert your mind. Activities that require your whole attention like playing sports, doing art, socializing and helping others will help retrain your mind to focus on the present moment rather than the past.
By calming your body and nervous system, clearing your mind of bad memories, and filling your days with joy and connection, you’re more likely to hit the pillow at night with a clear head and get a good night’s sleep without anxiety, nightmares and insomnia.
It is easy to let trauma, anxiety, and grief overpower and take a front-row seat in your life. Often times, students and recently graduated professionals do not even recognize the influence trauma is having on them. In daily life, it can find its way into your work or study and prevent you from achieving the goals you are working towards. For each individual, it is important to recognize what this looks like in your own life.
People who suffer from trauma are at risk for many other issues: substance abuse, depression, poor health practices, poor social support. Despite these risks, it can seem really easy to sweep your trauma out of sight. But, it will not disappear on its own.
While treatment differs from person to person, it is important to face trauma head on. It should not be something you need to worry about through your entire life. It is possible to get better and thrive.
Your treatment is important. When choosing to undergo treatment, through every step you should ask, how am I feeling, what do I need to do to progress, what works for me? Find ways to empower yourself. Find something that is personal, flexible, and effective. There is no one size fits all when discussing mental health treatment. At the end of the day, when it comes to your treatment, there is only one thing that matters. It should be something that works for you, on your schedule, and makes you feel comfortable through every step of the way.
Through Detrauma, try Written Exposure Therapy and conquer your trauma. Detrauama will show you that the events or ideas that haunt you do not need to be a thing of nightmares or manifestation in your daily life. Stay in control of your life, take action and live your life trauma-free.
Once a region of charm, culture, and history, Syria has become a country of unending conflict. Not a single person involved has been left unimpacted. Yet that’s just one country. The entirety of the Middle East follows in similar footprints. For decades, the region has faced war and political conflicts. And close to twenty-four million civilians have fled or become displaced. Inevitably, the region has been obliterated both literally and emotionally. What’s being done to help?
To begin with, the Syrian war created an endless list of unresolved problems. Namely, the refugee crisis. For insight, there are more than five million Syrian refugees. Equally important are the psychological impacts engraved in the sufferers of the war. As of today, civilians have been putting up with close to a decade of conflict. Now, disregard the financial and social hardship. Above all, the years of conflict have destroyed mental well-being. Ten years of aggression, mortality, and distress create the basis for a variety of mental illnesses. Namely, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Left unresolved, these feelings create barriers in your day to day life. They create conflict in your relationships, goals, and career. Triggers oftentimes resurface the emotions of the traumatic event. Specifically, they can contribute intense feelings of anxiety and stress.
Mental Health and Stigma
Mental health, in a lot of cultures, is placed in the taboo group. It is not discussed, therefore, it is not seen as a legitimate issue. Yet Middle Eastern civilians are historically subject to the violence and political conflict. Major conflict grew in the 1970s and is still persistent to this day. This makes PTSD close to inevitable for the civilians.
Being part of the Arabic community myself, and seeing firsthand the echo of the war, it truly feels like no one considers our emotional needs. Putting aside the social barrier, traditional therapy seems to be the only available option. However, actually getting to therapy is a process on its own. It’s limited availability, the financial aspect, and differences in languages make it an unrealistic option for people in need.
This is where Detrauma shines its light. Simply put, the app is effective therapy without the barriers. Detrauma provides a way for people to cope with their traumatic experiences in a private, cost-effective, and productive way. Barriers such as language, insurance, and transportation don’t intervene as a person works through their traumatic events.
Forget about what was stopping you. Be part of the change. Now, put yourself first. Detrauma is beginning the accessibility to trauma therapy. No matter where a person is, with access to a device, they’ll be able to tackle their traumas without concern to what language they speak or the culture they identify with. Detrauma is taking a different approach to PTSD therapy and is becoming the solution to an issue battled by so many people.
Living in a COVID world has only aggravated mental illness, especially for those who work in healthcare. Rising death rates, economic instability, and social isolation are all symptoms of a problem that healthcare professionals see day in and day out. Interacting with patients suffering physically and mentally, as well as those who can’t afford to cover their medical bills certainly makes things worse. And with social distancing as the norm, it is now more crucial than ever that alone time is enjoyed. For those who suffer from PTSD, that’s much easier said than done.
Certain cities have made efforts to expand counseling services with the emergence of the COVID-induced mental health crisis. Hospitals are noticing the psychological toll the crisis has had on their employees, and are advocating for preventative measures against the development of PTSD. But, all of these efforts may not be enough to help you with your specific concerns.
Waitlists, costs, and hectic work schedules all get in the way of getting help to treat PTSD. Online meetings with your therapist may not feel as private anymore with your family in the next room over. Maybe you’ve tried therapy and quit, because you felt that it just didn’t work for you. Or maybe you just don’t have the time, and what little time you do have you’d rather dedicate to relaxing. All of that is valid.
Maybe you just need something more personal and private, something you can work with on your own schedule — like an app.
Writing Exposure Therapy
Detrauma is a mobile app that walks users through Writing Exposure Therapy (WET), which is a highly effective method that can quickly deliver relief from PTSD symptoms. The app consists of five writing exercises that you can do on your own time in your own home. With the flexibility you need, complete privacy, and just a small time commitment, this app really is made for everyone.
Click on the button below to download the Detrauma app!
Are you seeking the best way to recover from trauma but are overwhelmed by all the options? Should you try EMDR first, start a gratitude journal, dive into exposure therapy, or practice yoga?
Trauma recovery follows three stages according to the legendary Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. Judith Herman: 1. Establish Safety, 2. Remember and Mourn, and 3. Reconnect. You’ll recover from PTSD symptoms like flashbacks and panic attacks more fully if you start at the beginning and take it one step at a time.
Here are some actions you can take to successfully navigate each stage in your recovery.
Step 1: Establish Safety
Is your body stuck in fight-or-flight mode and reacting to the world like you’re still in danger? Then start your recovery with Step 1, establishing safety. Try yoga, breathing exercises, supportive counseling, and healthy routines to teach your body and brain that you’re safe now. The aim of Step 1 is to calm your nervous system down and establish the inner feeling of safety and stability.
Step 2: Remember and Mourn
Once you feel calm, safe and energized to tackle your trauma, you’re ready to move to Step 2. In this next stage, you’ll teach your brain that the traumatic event happened in the past, and is no longer happening now. Techniques like Detrauma correct the ‘memory coding error’ that causes re-experiencing like flashbacks and nightmares. You can achieve this by confronting the memories that are causing you distress and reprocessing them safely.
You may also mourn what you’ve lost, for example, trust, relationships, beliefs, a home, health, or a career. This second stage of recovery is challenging, and a counselor, peer support group or therapist can help you tackle it safely. The healthy practices you established in Step 1 will also help you feel grounded and safe while you tackle the past.
Step 3: Reconnect
With the memory of trauma safely filed away in the past where it belongs, it’s time to rebuild your life in the present, and pursue your aspirations for the future. In step 3, you’ll reinvent a new self and discover new meaning and depth in your life.
Like many survivors, you may develop and deepen relationships with loved ones, friends and your community and learn to trust again. You may thrive and flourish by keeping a gratitude journal, expressing yourself through art, dance or spirituality, or driving change in your community through social activism.
The best way to recover from trauma is to follow your own unique path through these 3 stages.
When you’re ready for Step 2, try Detrauma
Detrauma guides you through writing therapy, step by step. You’ll confront your distressing memories with pen-and-paper writing exercises. You’ll teach your brain that the traumatic event happened in the past, and that you’re safe now.
Writing therapy was developed by psychologists at the National Center for PTSD, and has been validated in clinical trials to substantially reduce or remove PTSD symptoms like flashbacks and panic attacks.