PTSD affects all areas of life. From sleep to relationships to work to just going out and having fun and more. A big problem people often have is feeling on edge all the time. How can I have fun if I get startled with every noise? Or if I’m worrying that something will happen (again)? Sometimes people aren’t even sure why they feel so on edge. This is ok by the way. It could mean that you can start doing some mindfulness exercises to go inside yourself and identify WHAT the feeling is (remember feelings are one word; if your feeling ends up being two words or more, it is probably a thought), and WHERE you feel the sensation in your body. You can then take a few breaths, close your eyes and let your mind drift back through your history. When else did you have this feeling or have this sensation in the same place in your body? What was happening then? If you still aren’t sure, don’t stress about it, but it could be helpful to see a therapist to work through this.
When you notice the triggers that make you feel on edge (or maybe you’re always feeling on edge), it is very helpful to remember and say to yourself “Am I truly in danger right now?” Remember there is a difference between real and perceived danger. Whether or not you are truly in danger, the feeling of being on edge is likely due to something that caused your fight/flight response to engage or activate. If you are not truly in danger, the activation of the fight/flight response is not helpful to your physical or emotional well-being. Don’t beat yourself up when you end up in the fight/flight response when you don’t need to be. It is your body doing what it is trained to at a cellular/biological level. It is a safety mechanism for us.
A feeling of edginess or being on edge frequently to all the time is very common with PTSD. If you have to go into a triggering environment, it can be very helpful to do some mindfulness and grounding techniques before going in. Remind yourself you are safe and stay present focused. If it comes out of the blue, the same techniques are helpful. To learn specific mindfulness and grounding techniques to help with PTSD, please contact me at 860-501-9767; 941-462-4807 or schedule an appointment with me here.