Not to sound conceited or put too fine a point on it but I’m about to give you some gold. All you have to do is want to get better. This is something I discovered that helped me through a time when I was both PTSD and low t. I didn’t know I was low t, and I was seriously low. The fact that it worked in those circumstances is nothing short of a miracle. I have also told other suffering people about it, all of whom come back to me relatively quickly, and are blown away by how well it works.
I’m not selling anything here. Just giving it to you straight.
What you need to do is slow down. Sounds easy, right? And also hard. But I don’t mean it like you think I do. Not calm down. Slow down. I’m going to tell you exactly why you should do it, and then how to do it.
When you are “rushing” to do something - that could be anything… to go get something to eat… to get a job done… to check a text that has come in on your phone… any of those things… anything where we “rush” to the next thing… your brain assumes this is a sign of danger and it puts your body into fight or flight mode. This is a natural response to the feeling of having to do something “fast”. Especially in those who suffer from PTSD, who feel it like no one else could ever understand.
So your body assumes something must be wrong and responds in the only way it knows. Like it’s in danger. Which means an anxiety response.
I did say it could be something as mundane as “having to check a text to see what it is”. It sounds ludicrous to consider that that could be a “danger” signal. Like I’m full of crap. Yet just the hypothetical phrase alone as I’ve stated it - and no actual text in your pocket that you have to read - is likely to inspire some sense of panic in those who already live in a heightened state of paranoia and fear.
So what is your job now? Your job is to slow down. To keep your mind, as effectively as humanly possible, in a state of “slow”. Now this is not always possible, as we all have lives to live, and sometimes shit just has to get done. But shit doesn’t have to get done at all times. Not even most times. There’s a lot of freakin’ hours in a day. People who are anxious enough get overwhelmed and check out completely. For hours. Days. Weeks. Life goes on. Their life goes on. There is more time than we think. Especially when you live on the shitty-ass PTSD merry-go-round clock.
Wonderful. How the heck do I accomplish it?
What you do is something I call “narrating the day”. Your job for now, and it is a simple one, is to consciously narrate your day to yourself. It can be in your mind, or if you’re alone and you’re just starting to try it, it can be out loud. Narrate your day. That means, find whatever you are doing and tell yourself you are doing it. Or about to do it.
“Right… time to go make that cup of coffee.”
And then narrate it. You don’t have to be ridiculously granular about it. But when you start out, you can tell yourself it’s time to fill the pot with water. Or to get the k-cup. Or to scoop the grounds into the reusable k-cup. Or to throw it away. People may recognize this as a form of “mindfulness” but it’s far less ethereal and way more accessible than that. Don’t worry about what to call it or what anyone has told you in the past. I am telling you exactly how to do it. And how to do it effectively.
So for example… when it’s time to sit with your coffee or your tea, tell yourself - “Right… now I’m gonna sit with my drink”. Obviously you can go about the business of your life. You can’t very well read the internet while telling yourself you are reading the internet. Your job is to do it slow.
This gets carried out in a logical way. Break things down into steps. In the beginning, as best you can, think of yourself as a character in a book. You are the narrator. To an audience of one. You can tell yourself anything. May as well be this.
It will calm you down. And you will enjoy the feeling. In a while - a fairly long while of feelgood practice - it will become second nature. At the beginning, you have to implement it at all possible times. From the moment you open your eyes in the morning until you lay down at night. And as you go on, and you inevitably find yourself feeling anxious, you will equally find that you have not been narrating for the last 15 minutes… half hour… hour. Day. So what do you do? You get right back to it. Gentle reminder. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s going to happen.
Have to go rush to pick up the kids? “Right… (you don’t always have to start with right, I’m just showing you what it sounds like)… I’m getting my keys. I’m going to go get in the car now. Let’s put the radio on.”
It will feel kind of dumb at the beginning. But your mind will find the natural flow to it. You will end up feeling calmer. And you will end up with an anxious feeling again and then realize you haven’t been narrating. Your answer is to go right back to narrating! It’s like this little safety button you can press to calm down.
It works. This is life-changing shit for the people I’ve explained it to. Go to it. Good luck.