One: I started drinking vodka in my coffee at 1pm today.
Two: I tweeted at least five times in a row on my private twitter about very personal, sad things and am probably going to lose some followers on that account.
Three: I watched most of Jessica Jones episode one (give me a break RE: not finishing an episode, I can’t watch long things easily), cried at her PTSD scenes, and noted to get something to memorize and list when things get bad in my head.
It’s a technique I’ve seen used before, but only when I saw a tumblr post quoting Hick by Andrea Portes, which I have not read in full, but that section which I saw and read made me cry. Me crying is a regular and frequent thing, but also not insignificant.
I feel like I’m going to vomit. The lines between my PTSD and BPD and myriad of other super fun (sarcasm) diagnoses is a blurry mess but here I am, surviving and writing about it, and how I cope with it. Hopefully this helps someone, whether it be with coping or with feeling less alone in their struggles.
Alcohol, and other substances are one way, but I’m certainly not going to advocate for them as a means of coping with PTSD. They’re really just an escape in that sense, no good in the long run and not healing at all, no matter what some cute stoner bro with long hair says to you about certain psychedelics…they aren’t my area of expertise, but I find one thing that really helps (I’ll go over this again later) is staying present. Not easy with PTSD! It makes such a difference though, especially if you are prone to dissociation (like I am.) Substances are nice, like I confessed above I drank vodka in my coffee because I just didn’t know what else to do, but that doesn’t mean I want to endorse it. It’s definitely not one of my healthier habits, or even one I utilize frequently (also– be careful mixing alcohol and certain medications. Just be careful, okay?)
So here is how I do cope, listed neat, concise and tidy as I am capable of for those who don’t want to read my rambling above from that time (today) that I wrote and almost certainly posted this piece without editing it beforehand, because that feels ??? right now:
- I just mentioned this, but it is so important. Stay present. Be mindful. However you wanna phrase it, this is free, and it’s some good stuff – meaning it will most likely be very helpful for you if you have PTSD or BPD. Practice focusing on something and only that something for a bit of time every day. It doesn’t have to be yoga or meditation, although I’m looking into both since I’ve heard they’re so helpful to many and I want to write about them (and help myself get better of course!) You can also learn how to do this in DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), which is offered through many service providers as a group therapy or in other forms, and worst case scenario, there are books and workbooks that I use and find helpful that are good for mindfulness, like this one.
- Trauma dreams are a thing. High quality essential oils can be very helpful, especially lavender. I like using lavender oil in a diluted dose on my pillow to help ward off nightmares – currently specifically this lavender and chamomile pillow spray with essential oils to help soothe and calm me at night, and to avoid unnecessary trauma nightmares. I am looking into purchasing a therapeutic grade essential oil set with lavender and also a humidifier/oil diffuser to help relax me during the day with water and a few drops of lavender oil or other oil blends, too – updates on those techniques coming because I haven’t tried them yet.
- Eating sour candy or spicy food to help with dissociation. Remember to focus on the flavor, even if it’s unpleasant, and to ground yourself with the sensation of the flavor and its intensity.
- Journaling and writing things down. Get yourself a nice journal and writing utensil that you’re hopefully even excited to use but at least feel good about using, and write regularly about your life to help keep track of things. I write down everything I absolutely need to remember, because if I do not, I will definitely forget it. Journaling is helpful with dissociation and feeling like you haven’t done nothing over long periods of time – look back at everything you will have written in the future! I blog, too, you can even try that….I hear it’s pretty cool.
- This is similar to the above coping technique, but taking pictures of things that are part of your life – and they don’t have to be fancy dslr ones like mine, they can be phone pictures – helps me to stay present and focused on a task, and most importantly, to remember what things I did and when. I don’t do this every day, but whenever I do, I find it so helpful.
Hopefully that short list with some (but not all) of PTSD coping techniques will help someone out there, even to feel less alone.