What’s a realistic PTSD recovery goal?

I believe in big goals. I always have.  Big worthwhile goals.  They work for me.

But this PTSD crap is different than anything I have ever dealt with.

I am a strong person and I have always used my brain to get me out of problems, and my healthy body backed me up.  No amount of stress was too much, no amount of uncertainty scared me because once I learned everything about a situation I could control it.

I pride myself on facing every fear I identify and being able to push through it… GUTTING through it.


So what is a realistic goal NOW?  With this dysfunctional brain I’ve been handed?

PTSD SEEMS to be out of control.

Because it feels so out of control NOW, our traumatized brains make us feel it will ALWAYS be out of control.

None of our previous coping mechanisms work any longer.

PTSD feels like both your brain and your body have melted down at once.  The physical symptoms make the condition undeniable.

You can literally be sitting alone working on the computer, or watching TV, or reading and all of a sudden you’re shaky and have no idea what you’re doing.  Your thoughts are jumping all over the place, into all sorts of negative things… from the past to all manner of craziness that could go wrong in the future, and you have no idea what started it!

Or you could be walking along and a dog will bark a certain pitch of bark near you and suddenly, again, you’re shaking like a leaf and can’t calm down for hours.

And God forbid anything else startles you once you are already “triggered” because one thing piles on the next and amplifies it EXPONENTIALLY.  And pretty soon you’re just trying to find a way to survive the day.

Then it comes time to sleep and you’re exhausted, because you probably didn’t sleep the night before, but suddenly as soon as you’re laying down you’re wide awake.  When you do manage to fall asleep, it isn’t for long.  You may or may not remember your dreams but keep waking up terrified, like you need to run for your life.  Then the paranoia really sets in, because you know you need to sleep, but the thought of waking up again like that, or going right back into whatever nightmare caused it, is just too much.

So you’re awake again.  And tired the next day.

And sleep deprivation keeps you from thinking straight, and feeling right.  And you startle easily, and so on.  You get sick from being run down. You have trouble exercising because your time management is a wreck and your body is ALWAYS exhausted.

Back to the question…

What’s really POSSIBLE with this insidious, all-consuming PTSD nightmare?

At the time of this writing I don’t know.

I’ve read it’s the toughest thing you’ll ever deal with and I’ve also heard it’s curable.


My therapist says, even though I’m a very extreme case, it should only take about 12 weeks to make me functional.  And she specializes in dealing with PTSD only.  She is obviously an expert.

  • She had PTSD herself.
  • She is very smart.
  • She is a composed and sensitive person – My brain is not likely to find a way to discredit her.
  • She is believable – credible – respectable – safe!
  • She is very knowledgeable about the subject, and has been able to answer every question I’ve asked.
  • I’m inclined to trust her.
  • She runs both the PTSD group I attend, and my individual therapy, so I don’t have to adjust to someone else.

But the therapy process, at first experience, seems to me like systematic TORTURE of the highest level.

I’m attending a weekly group.  I’m set to attend a weekly one-on-one therapy session in the near future.

Having said that, I’ve read enough success stories to know a cure is possible.  I just have to LIVE through it and get to the other side.

If most people can be “cured” in 12 weeks… 6 months seems like a safe time-frame for me to get attached to.  And disappointment is NOT something I want to add to my emotionally messy psyche.  I can do almost anything for 180 days.

Most people can.  I can literally subject myself to mental and emotional torture of the highest level for 180 days if I KNOW FOR CERTAIN THAT AT THE END OF THAT TIME I WILL BE DONE WITH THIS LIVING DEATH.


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