From Fear to Freedom: Part 3

From Fear to Freedom: Part 3

I am writing a series of blog posts about my journey with PTSD. I hope it will be an encouragement to those who are suffering with something similar.

In my last post I wrote about how difficult life was for me dealing with the symptoms in the months following my traumatic incident.

My doctor had diagnosed me with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (I realised later that it was PTSD), so I spent those months thinking that this is what was making me feel so terrible. I spent hours researching, trying to figure out what might be the source of the intense anxiety and other symptoms that I was experiencing. In my research I found that there are actually many physical causes of anxiety, that are quite easily treatable. Some of these include: a magnesium deficiency, a vitamin deficiency, a hormonal imbalance, adrenal fatigue. I had all of this checked and was fine.

I felt desperate to get better, so I did whatever was in my power to take steps towards recovery. I had experienced too many bad reactions to medication, so I knew that this was not the route to take for my healing. I wanted to take a more natural route.

I believe that we are all made up of a body, soul (mind, will, emotions), and spirit. These parts of our being are intricately connected, and the well-being of one part, will affect the other parts, positively or negatively. I decided to do everything I could to seek healing and health for my body, soul, and spirit. I got into a routine of looking after myself in whatever way possible. Slowly, but surely I began to feel better.

I made gradual improvements. I love the countryside and I love walking. During my worst weeks, I felt so bad that I couldn’t even venture out for a walk, no matter how brief, with my family. Instead, my husband would take me for short drives to see some countryside beauty. But as I began to improve, I started at first to take small walks with my husband, and then longer walks with my family, and after several weeks, I was able to finally head out on my own.

Because of the extremity of how I felt, I had been pretty much confined to my house, but as I improved, I could go out in public more and more. We love visiting National Trust properties. I was able to go for a short visit to one nearby, and then gradually go further afield, and enjoy longer visits.

I had suffered with severe insomnia for a few months and began to sleep a lot better.

I began to have an overall sense of improved well-being.

I attribute all of these improvements firstly to the grace of God, but also to being very intentional about taking care of my entire being (body, soul, and spirit) as well as I could.

Today I would like to tell you what I did for my body.

Sleep

I had insomnia for months because of the PTSD. When you have PTSD your body is essentially always in “fight or flight” mode, meaning you constantly feel on edge, which makes sleeping difficult.

Not getting enough sleep has many bad effects on a person. It can negatively affect your health, worsen feelings of anxiety and depression, and affect your overall mood. I knew that I needed to do whatever I could to start sleeping better.

I sought natural remedies for improved sleep. Some made me feel worse. What ended up working for me was taking magnesium each night before bed. Magnesium has many health benefits including lowering anxiety, bringing calm, and helping with sleep.

I also banned myself from screens for at least a half an hour before bed (screens, especially phones, can disrupt healthy sleep). I slept with the window slightly open, which cools the temperature of your room, making for a better night’s sleep. I made exercising daily a priority, which can help with insomnia.

Exercise

We all know that there are many advantages from exercising regularly. It helps with weight loss, it’s good for muscles and bones, increases energy levels, helps you sleep better, reduces risk of disease, improves skin health, can help your brain health and memory, and so much more.

Exercise can also improve your mood and decrease feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. It increases endorphins, which help produce positive feelings.

I believe that it is important to find an exercise that you enjoy. For me it has always been walking in nature. I couldn’t exercise easily at first because of my broken foot, but I did what I could. I started by just hobbling back and forth on my crutches, across my house several times a day. Then when I got my cast off, I couldn’t easily exercise because of the anxiety and other symptoms of PTSD. Again, I just walked in the house at first. Then, as I began to improve, I took short walks outside with my husband, and then was gradually able to do this on my own, for longer and longer durations.

Sunshine

Getting a daily dose of sunshine is good for our health for many reasons. It triggers the body’s production of vitamin D, helps ensure good sleep, and positively affects our overall mood.

I tried my best to get outside whenever I could, but in the winter this was often tricky. So during the winter months, whenever the sun shone, I attempted to sit outside, but otherwise, I used a SAD lamp. Sitting in front of a SAD lamp every morning for at least a half an hour can have similar beneficial effects on your body, to being outside in the sunshine.

Healthy Diet

I was already quite conscious about trying to eat healthily, but I decided to take this up to another level. I began juicing organic vegetables and fruit twice a day. This is an efficient way to get the many healthy benefits of a variety of vegetables and fruit into your diet. I cut out (mostly) sugar, caffeine, and limited my alcohol intake. I made meals from organic whole foods. I got a lot of helpful health tips from Dr. Axe’s website and incorporated these into my life.

Fresh Air

Getting out in the fresh air can help with overall health, improve mood, and help with sleep, along with other positive benefits. I tried to get outside every day, for at least a few minutes. I also slept with the window open every night.

I saw a naturopath who recommended several different vitamins and also the use of essential oils.

Vitamins

I began to take vitamin B complex, vitamin D, lots of vitamin C, magnesium, omega-3 fish oil, and a good daily multi-vitamin.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can improve health in many ways. They can also be used to decrease anxiety, and help with sleep. I invested in several Young Living oils and a diffuser.

Stretching

I did a full body stretching routine before bed to help bring peace and calm to my body.

Deep Breathing

People suffering with anxiety often have shallow breathing. Purposing to spend time breathing deeply helps decrease anxiety, bring calm, improve mood, and can also help with sleep.

I did all of these things to try to bring healing to my physical side, knowing that this would also affect the wellness of my whole being.

Next week I will post about what I did to seek healing for my soul.

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