The first person you must take care of is yourself. If you have ever flown and listened to the flight attendants say in case of an aircraft decompression situation, put the oxygen mask on your face first, than onto the people that depend on you most. When it comes to being a sufferer and a survivor of PTSD, you must take care of yourself. Do not depend on anyone to turn your negative into a positive. I know it’s easier said than done, but you must continue to fight.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting a new client at their home. When the gentleman opened the door, he introduced himself as did I. Nice man; however he seemed to have the wind taken out of his sail. As we sat down, I began asking him questions about himself. I knew there was something occupying his mind. His appearance was neat but he just didn’t seem to be himself.
As we continued to talk, he mentioned he had a son and that would have been 16 years old last month. I wanted him to share more because it appeared that he needed to get things out his chest. I said, “Would you mind sharing more with me if that’s okay”. He shared with me that his then 14 year old son was killed in a car crash along with 3 of his friends. All killed instantly on a dark and narrow road. The car had left the roadway, striking a tree. He began to cry. I told him to let it out, crying was okay. I told him that it was his pain leaving his body. This heart wrenching news just tore me up inside and of course I immediately thought of my little girl. I could never imagine or fathom the idea of losing a child.
He began telling me that he hasn’t been able to work for about 2 years. He said he lost his mojo, his purpose, his success achieving mechanism. He said in order to get this back, he needs to move on, start a new life and be around people that will support him. He was suffering from a bad case of PTSD.
I shared my story with him. Not to compare mine to his but to let him know he wasn’t alone. He reached out his hand with tears coming from his eyes and shook my hand. I felt his pain coming through his hand. I told him that recovery was a process, not an event and that he had to work toward getting better, getting motivated and making his son proud by turning this tragedy into serving others who are in the same situation. It was very hard for me to tell him this because I know how hard it is to get motivated on certain days. All you want to do is stay away from everyone, tucked away in bed and not deal with the world. Seclusion is the worst thing for a PTSD sufferer. It is one of the toughest struggles you will ever experience. But you must do it for you first than for the people that care about you most.
The advice I gave him this very day to help motivate him into action and to living a fulfilling life once again was to start and end his day with reading something uplifting, motivational, inspirational. It could be a biography of someone that has overcome something similar, the bible or anything that puts you in a happy place. To keep a journal beside his bed. You must journal your thoughts. There is something powerful in journaling what is on your mind. The thought to pen to paper puts you in a place like no other. Listen to relaxing music while breathing deeply through your nose and out through your mouth slowly: meditating. The most important thing a PTSD sufferer can do is to share his or her thoughts and feelings by talking with a trusted friend, relative, spouse, partner, and/or counselor.
The worst thing one can do when suffering from this illness is to keep it bottled up inside. It’s like holding a stick of dynamite, lighting it then swallowing it.
About the Author:
I’m John R. Salkowski, Founder of AchieveSuccessAcademy.com™, Retired Cop, Survivor of PTSD stemming from a shoot and kill robbery incident. Expert on Leadership, Success, Overcoming Adversity, Fear & PTSD. Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author of 3 books; Leadership in The Line of Duty™: 50 Leadership Lessons for Making Split-Second Decisions from a Cop Who Has Been in Life and Death Situations, Leadership in The Line of Duty™: Success Thoughts and Quotes for Leaders and Best seller: Nothing But Net: Top Secrets to increase your bottom line, Health, Wealth & Success.
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