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5 Emotions Felt When Trying to Get Help for PTSD

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This is it.

In two days I go in for my first counseling appointment to confront and treat my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

• What is PTSD?

I have so many thoughts rushing through my head and so many feelings about it. Most people seem to think it is simple: just go talk about your problems and feel better, right? Not really.

In all reality it is hard for some of us with PTSD to even make an appointment to start, or to acknowledge to ourselves that we need help at all. It took me about five years to even tell anyone what happened to me and to ask for help. It took another couple months after that to get an appointment made for therapy because I was afraid to talk about it.

I still am. I’m terrified in fact.

Even now I am avoiding saying what my trauma actually was. It is too hard for me to speak or even type. The only reason I write this is to inform people about how their loved ones may be feeling when they start trying to get help.

Fear. Like I said I am terrified. Many people with PTSD, if not all, are going to be scared as their first appointment comes up, and they may be scared for the first few appointments as they get deeper into the issues that caused their PTSD. They may want to cancel their appointment and pretend nothing ever happened, that they are just fine. They’ll want to bury their memories deep down and pretend they do not exist.

Anger. People with PTSD may be angry with themselves, with a person(s) who caused trauma, with God. They may be angry and not know why, but the anger is there.

Hope. Someone may be hopeful the therapy will finally help them, that they will no longer have to live in fight-or-flight mode. They hope they can take control of their lives again.

Sadness. The feelings of sadness connected to the event(s) leading to the PTSD may start to come up in days before the first few appointments, and can lead to a depression and feelings of worthlessness, and sometimes comes with being triggered more easily than what is normal for that person.

Relief. Understanding you will finally be able to get something off your chest, something you have been harboring for years perhaps, can be a huge relief for people, even if they are scared. They know if their therapy works, it can be a load off their minds and they may be able to live at least a little easier.

Not everyone is going to feel all of these feelings at once, or even all of these feelings at all. They may have a combination of feelings like these or none at all. Some people may be “numb” or not know what they feel yet, and that is normal as well. If your friend or family member is about to go through counseling or another treatment for PTSD, talk to them and ask them how they feel. Be there to talk to them, and make sure they know you care, but do not try to make them talk if they are not comfortable yet. Just let them know you’re willing to listen of needed.

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: September 7, 2016
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