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hellokittykidd

How can I not be scared?

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I want to not cry wheneer somebody argues, a want to not get a blank stare when people raise their voice, I want to ride the bus without freKing out! How do I not be scared, or at least pretend not to be?

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Hey there,

PTSD is scary for sure. I had a lot of those problems when I was first diagnosed with PTSD - some days I could barely leave the house because I was so anxious, but things IN my house also made me anxious, so it was kind of a lose-lose situation. I always asked the same question - how can I "get over it"? When will my life be normal?

There was never a moment when I finally wasn't scared at all anymore, and I'm still dealing with triggers and trauma based reactions that can be scary. But I also have long periods where I basically don't think about the trauma at all, and I don't meet enough of the criteria to be formally diagnosed with PTSD anymore.

For me, it was a combination of medication and therapy. In therapy, I basically just talked about the trauma. I don't really understand why it worked - lots of people do far more directional therapies - but for me, talking about it for a few years as much as I wanted really helped me.

Anyway, it might not feel like it when you're in the grips of it, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you really work at it in whatever therapy is best for you, eventually you'll come to a place where you'll be less scared.

While you wait, it can help to come up with some quick ways you can calm yourself down when something triggers you. I had a lot of positive coping statements that I used - telling myself "It's okay - you're safe now. It feels like [trauma] but it's actually just [whatever it is]".

I also did a lot of drawing - I found that dissociation was a big problem for me, and while I don't have anything near DID/multiple personalities, I found that I had some trapped child voices inside my head from when the trauma was happening. Drawing helped me feel a bit more coherent, and it comforted me a lot.

You can also carry around objects that you feel comforted by - a nice stone, or a soft piece of fabric. Something small, and then when you start to get triggered, you can take it out and focus on that. You can also try some of the mindfulness techniques - noticing what is around you, and describing it to yourself, and really focusing on being in the present and not in the trauma time, and also on something other than whatever is triggering you.

Anyway, things do get better with time, even if it seems like a discouragingly long road.

Tryp

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Breathe ... pray ...

Do you know that most of the major religions state that you should not worry? That actually helps me a lot ... though I cannot explain exactly how to not worry ... it is sort-of a choice, and sort-of a letting go. Breathing, baths and sleep help a lot. There is so much that can be worried about and feared. I still shake physically when people have a dysfunctional argument near me. I love constructive arguments and conversations, though. In movies, when things are tense or scary, I have to think over and over "it is only a movie; it is not real; everyone will be fine." There is so much good and beauty in the world ... sometimes I have to pick up an old classic book from when I was young to remind me of that ... Dick and Jane, or Little House, or Narnia, or L'Engle ...

Hope you feel better soon.

Edited by msm

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I always found people telling me not to worry incredible counterproductive.

Tryp has some awesome suggestions. For a long time I didn't feel safe anywhere. I can't pinpoint the time when I started feeling safe, or when most of the flashbacks shrank back to normal bad memories, or when I could handle conflict without dissociating. It took a lot of hard therapy but it did respond, and I'm a lot better.

Hang in there.

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Yes, telling someone not to worry when they have an anxiety dx is incredibly counterproductive and just makes them feel worse.

I'd suggest lots of therapy, and meds can be helpful for this issue too.... The Anxiety and Phobia workbook can have lots of excellent coping tools in it and may be worth checking out to see if any of them help you.

Anna

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It's totally soothing to me to try to not worry. My grandma used to tell me not to worry, to do something else. She knew I had an axniety dx because she did too. It made us worry about worrying and that was a snowball getting bigger. I pick something else to focus on and count alot for breathing. It was hard hard hard at first. I felt safe with my grandma and years later thinking about her is good for something else to focus on. If I'm totally freaked I go to sleep but not too much.

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I don't know what your situation is so if your trauma is recent this is probably a bad idea. The latest suggestion I've had is to be aware of what is bothering me eg shopping centres, and try some very short term exposure like walking around the outside of the centre a little bit and then going home. Following this line of thought you could maybe sit at a bus stop for a bit when you don't need to be anywhere or put a movie on where there's a scene that people raise their voices.

Sometimes this helps, sometimes it doesn't, but anything is worth a shot right? It's no good when you're really triggery but in some situations it builds a bit of familiarity which can help with some of the anxiety.

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Hey

I found that the only thing that helped me with the fear was therapy, and for me it was a pretty gentle form of therapy that I'm still doing called somatic experiencing that allowed me to sort-of approach my trauma ... sideways, I guess. Look at how my fear was affecting my body, and learn ways to self-soothe. As I've learned more ways to self-soothe I've become less afraid because I've become more confident that if I become scared, I will be able to calm myself... eventually the overall level of general fear has lessened, and it's been wonderful.

You really can become less scared, but it isn't easy. It does take work. But it is doable.

Is therapy something you can do right now?

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