Stop saying PTSD (and TBI) is incurable

I came across a great post by Belleruth Naparstek over at Huffington Post about how well-intentioned professionals are running around saying that PTSD is incurable — an intractable condition.

Huh. How about that. Sounds to me like we’re all screwed, because a ton of people have PTSD, and it affects their families and friends and coworkers, and if it’s an intractable, incurable condition, we’re all stuck dealing with it for all time.

Which doesn’t sound right to me.

So, I’m glad Belleruth is talking about non-standard ways of dealing with it. And I have to think, also, about how I employ similar techniques to deal with the stresses of my TBI-related difficulties.

I strongly recommend the article. And the piece I’m taking away is:

[There are] consistent threads running through these approaches:
1. They first and foremost find ways to re-regulate the nervous system.
2. They destigmatize and normalize the experience by explaining PTS as the somatic and neurophysiologic condition it is.
3. They offer simple, self-administer-able tools that empower the end-user and confer a sense of mastery and control.
4. The interventions are cast as training in skill sets, not the healing of pathology.

They treat PTSD as a physical condition, first, and they teach people how to deal with that aspect of their lives.

I have found, in my own dealings with TBI-related stress, that this same kind of orientation helps a whole lot. I have to take seriously the physiological aspects of my condition, which tweak the psychological parts of me. And when I approach the situation with a physical orientation, the results really are like magic.

Except they’re not magic — they’re physiology. Which well-trained psychological professionals miss, because it all happens in realm of  a “frozen, primitive, pre-language experience – sensation, perception, emotion, images and motor reactivity – in the survival-based structures of the brain.”

I wonder… if people treated the stresses of TBI the same way that they treat the stresses of combat and other traumas, with this non-standard, non-talk-therapy approach, how much of a difference would it make? If I’m any indicator, that would be a whole lot of difference.

About brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who had falls and car accidents and sports-related injuries in 1972, 1973, 1982-83, 1995, and most lately 2004. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications for 35 of my 43 years. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained that injury at age 8… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.
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