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What Helps Emily, 29, With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

With our ongoing “What Helps Me” series, The Mighty is leaning into what sets us apart from other health sites: We aim to provide real health advice from real people who live it.

• What is PTSD?

In this spirit, we asked our community for the best insights and tips they’ve developed for managing their conditions. As always, they responded with their unique health stories and we are happy to pass along their well-tested resources to you.

Today, we meet Mighty member Emily. She is 29 years old and lives with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Emily, what helps you?

A white woman with short auburn hair crosses her arms while wearing a black sweater, a white plaid collard shirt, and small hoop earrings. She is standing in front of a blue background.

THE MIGHTY: What helps you most when your condition affects your physical health?

EMILY: Nothing heals like sleep. I’m often afraid to sleep because of [my] nightmares, but I’ve found that prioritizing deep, nourishing rest keeps my body functioning well, and consequently, my mind [becomes] a little less chaotic — which leads to better sleep!

What helps you most when your condition affects your mental health?

Breathing slowly and deliberately calms me down. If all else fails, though, and I’m [having] a debilitating panic attack (which frequently occurs in public), I identify basic characteristics of something I see. It sounds silly — “I found the letter “Q;” the letter “Q” is a circle with a little line at the bottom. I also see a wall; let’s count the tiles” — but it helps [me].

How do you cope when your normal self-care isn’t working?

I remind myself that, as my therapist phrases it, “No feeling is permanent.” Truly, what is happening in a moment of difficulty does not last forever.

Thank you to Emily for her contributions to our community. Did you find this helpful? Add your gratitude in the comments.

Image via contributor.

Originally published: March 21, 2022
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