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Stop anxiety, nightmares and insomnia for better sleep.

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.

Get Detrauma

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The best way to recover from trauma, in 3 steps

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 1 to trauma recovery establish safety and security

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.

Step 2 to trauma recovery remember and mourn

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.

Get Detrauma