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a PTSD forum

My friend on the East Coast found this and suggested I look at it.


I find it amazing to what an extent PTSD has on a person's life.

Re: a PTSD forum

People often wonder where a symptom begins, in that to identify with a symptom, you actually need to know what triggers you to begin with. Know the triggers, and you aid the symptoms by avoiding the triggers. Whilst avoidance in symptom aspects is not encouraged at all, avoidance of triggers themselves is generally highly encouraged, as these are the core root of PTSD concerns.

The root of triggers is actually so easy, I forgot to even mention it here. The core root of post traumatic stress disorder symptoms, generally stems from one of the human five senses, being:






To lay it out easier, I will provide examples of each under various circumstances that are directly related to peoples trauma upon this forum. A trigger is vastly different from a symptom, as a trigger is what activates a symptom. Remove some triggers, you automatically lessen / remove some symptoms.

Rape - a person who may look similar to your attacker
Abuse - seeing the abuser, ie. family member
Combat - watching the news outlining current combat situations around the world, seeing the devastation as is the media today, live footage
Accident - seeing another car accident, or seeing a car that was the same as you had your accident
Rape - a familiar sentence or phrase your rapist may off used, a similar voice to your attacker
Abuse - childhood abuse situations such as doors slamming, comments made whilst abusing you or attempting to get too you
Combat - helicopters, gun shots, the sounds within rain forest or jungle
Accident - emergency vehicle sirens, small petrol equipment similar to the jaws of life (chainsaw), truck brakes
Rape - simply anyone touching you, brushing up against you
Abuse - strong holds, gripping your arm, punching, kicking
Combat - strong violence, fighting, holding a weapon again, knife
Accident - just touching the door handle to get in a car, driving a car or motorbike, etc.
Rape - a foreign object used in your mouth, oral sex
Abuse - same as rape, blood, sweat or your tears that you tasted whilst abused
Combat - similar tasting food from when in combat
Accident - blood, liquid, fuel
Rape - aftershave, deoderant, washing powder type
Abuse - same as rape
Combat - fuels, gun powder, jungle smell, food smell, foreigner scent
Accident - fuel, oil, medical disinfectant, rubber, burning
I think you get the idea from the very quick list of examples. If you really think about each of your trauma, you could identify one of the five senses, if not more, that are actually a trigger to your trauma, thus increasing your symptom strength.

Identification of your triggers is a primary role and key to success in reducing your symptoms.

Please post your associations below from what you pickup as a trigger sense to your trauma. You should be able to identify atleast one for every trauma generally...


Re: a PTSD forum

Thanks, Tree! This will be of immeasurable help to me - nailing those triggers.

Re: a PTSD forum

PTSD was my last diagnosis...
It is possible to heal almost completely...still, knowing triggers is an excellent idea/
There are places I choose not to go as a general rule.
It's been a lot of years, but, I was assaulted when I lived in an apartment downtown with lax security. Now, have comes to terms with that, often go downtown...still, it was hard attending classes just two blocks away from where it all happened, and also, it was night school, so getting out of class at 10 p.m. and walking alone was hard...there seemed, though, to be a lot of other women and some men who felt the same way, so we made sure none of us walked alone.
Still have dreams of what happened. Or I will see something, or hear a voice, probably not the voice of the person who hurt me, just they are saying the same things...Tree your list is bang on.
Suppose that as time passes, we come to grips with it, and also, form new healthier associations around most of the triggers. And this may sound trite to you right now, but having survived trauma makes you brave. Most things after that don't seem like such a big deal. You develop confidence in your ability to cope. Also, having a whole bunch of positive or even just neutral experiences after the traumatic event helps you to gain a more positive perspective on life in general. It does take time to heal, but it can be done.

Re: a PTSD forum

dealing with anger, a different brain paradigm:
(I know, I had to get through a few things myself to read this_

Conceptualising PTSD - Trauma Response to Anger

· Amygdala - The brains emotional computer and alarm system
· Hippocampus - Brains storage for our most recent concious memories
· Thalamus - Translates sights, sounds, smells into the language of the brain

insert here the diagram:

From my rough and quick image above, our information comes into the thalamus and is sent by quick and dirty transit to the amygdala, whilst simultaneously being sent to the hippocampus by highway (fast), and from the hippocampus to the amygdala by back roads (slow). From testing performed on animals, it is speculated that the path from thalamus to amygdala is shorter than that of the thalamus to hippocampus and hippocampus to amygdala.

So what does that mean? Basically, when we receive information into our brain, the amygdala is not what we want to process the information solely, as the amygdala is the fast and furious of our brain, possibly containing some of the most severe trauma images held by a sufferer of PTSD, if the image was intense enough it would burn directly into the amygdala, instead of being processed and stored correctly in the hippocampus initially.

What we actually want, is the information processed and response from the thalamus to hippocampus, and then back to the amygdala and output. This process gives us the complete scope of information and senses we have just been given, thus fully interpreted.

This is a more detailed analysis I guess, to simply say, with PTSD, give yourself 5 seconds before you respond, as often your immediate response is going to come from the emotional computer and alarm system, which isn't going to be an accurate response to what you fully feel, because those parts of your response are still coming down the back road from the hippocampus


Interpersonal Styles

Interpersonal Styles: Aggressive, Passive, Assertive


Luckily, I've actually taught this!

Interpersonal Styles are the way in which we deal with other people. There are three categories in which you can fit in (keep in mind you could waffle between any of them.)

Aggressive: Being aggressive is stating how you feel and what you want at the EXPENSE of others.

Passive: Being passive is withholding your needs and feelings at YOUR expense.

Assertive: Being assertive is clearly stating your needs, feelings and opinions for the best outcome OF ALL involved parties.

The Definition of assertiveness is the ability to convey your needs and feelings respectfully, while respectfully listening to others needs and feelings.

Our goal is to learn how to interact with others in an assertive manner!!!

Someone asks you for a favor. How do you respond??

We will use this example. Your partner asks you to go to a store and pick up an item for them. You are having difficulty with daily errands due to your PTSD. What do you do?? You know they need the item, but you are edgy about shopping...

Respond assertively! It's a three step process..

Step one: I understand....

Say, I understand you need me to run to the store for you...

Step two: However, I feel....

Say, However, I feel very edgy when going into public stores, It makes me very anxious.

Step three: I suggest....

Say, I suggest that I will pick up the item later, when the store is not as busy... Etc..

This is the hard part. You are working towards a Workable comprimise!!! You are attempting to meet the person halfway. This means that you are considering yourself and the other person.

Now, this process takes practice. It seems simple, but it can be a lot of work when you are unused to it!! Keep practicing it!! Post yourself a little note on the three step process so that you remember how to do it!! You are not always going to succed at first. Just rememember, no one succeds perfectly at first!! This takes practice!!

GOOD LUCK and keep trying!!

Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution using Assertiveness Techniques


( Please see thread Interpersonal Styles: Aggressive, Passive, Assertive first)

Resolving conflict is a challenge for everyone. Those of us with PTSD can have great difficulty doing so. These are some techniques to help your resolve the issues that we face, while maintaining our cool and attempting to come to a Workable comprimise for everyone.

Remember: this takes practice!!!

First: always count to three (or ten in our case!! hehe) to gain control over our emotional reaction!

Second: Try any of these four assertiveness techniques to resolve the issue!!


Broken Record: Repeat the same message when you are being ignored. Use the Assertive Three Step Process. Use Postive talk (or messages.)

Example: Your child is yelling they hate you. (or mother, partner etc...)

Your reply: I understand that you feel like you hate me right now. However, I feel that you are just angry and don't really mean it. I still love you no matter what you say. I suggest we take a break from each other and come back and talk about this later when we are both calm.

Keep repeating this until your message is heard!! Easy eh?

Fogging: Understand their feelings. This calms down aggressive behaviour. It deflects personal attacks.

Example: Your mother (sorry guys just had to use this one) is screaming at you that you messed up her evening.

Your reply: I understand that you feel I messed up your evening.

KEEP REPEATING THIS MESSAGE. That is it. You keep your cool and repeat this until they calm down and realize that you are ACKNOWLEDGING their feelings. Remember this does not mean you agree with thier feelings but you are acknowledging them. Then use the Three Step Process to further stimulate resolving the issue.

Negative Feelings Assertion: This is a little trickier. You acknowledge what BEHAVIOUR is upseting you, how you feel about that BEHAVIOUR, and what you would like to see happen instead.

Example: Your teenager (can you think of anything better here? hehe) is stomping around the house, cursing about their chores. This is greatly upsetting you.

Your reply: Your stomping around and cursing is upsetting me. It makes me feel very anxious and feel that you don't care about how our home looks. This hurts my feelings. I would like you talk about what is upsetting you about the chores instead of behaving in an angry manner.

Again, this should lead into the Three Step Process. This could lead into Fogging, or the Broken record!! The point of this is to point out the BEHAVIOUR instead of blaming the person!! This is very important. If you just blame or get angry at the person, you will not resolve anything. That person will take it as a personal attack!!! Keep this in mind!!

Discrepency Assertion: This is where someone is saying one thing that is conflicting with another thing said or done. You clarify the real problem, point out the confusion or conflicting information, then clarify that confusion or conflicting information.

Example: Your parent says that they want you to be happy but are telling you that your decisions suck (say that your decision is to go to school to be a teacher.)

Your reply: Dad, you say that you want me to be happy, yet you are unhappy with my decison to go to school and are arguing with me about it. This tells me you want me to be happy on your terms. Dad, if going to school to teach makes me happy and you want me to be happy, what is the real issue you have with my decision.

Remember to actually listen to the answer!! Don't just pay it lip service!! Then use the Three Step Process to start resolving the differences!! This is a complicated example, yet I think this one applies to more complicated issues. Remember to keep practicing this!!!

Keep in mind: You will not do this perfectly the first time, second time or everytime. These techniques take a life long practice!!! You have to consciously decide to improve how you communicate!! After that it's just a matter of practice!! Also, you may need to use any assortment or combination of these techniques to resolve the conflict. Don't be afraid to try them all if one fails!!!

Good Luck!!


Managing Anger Better

awesome diagram, you must see!

Managing Anger Better


With all the recent posts about controlling anger, and methods people are using to rid it from themselves in a healthier manner, I thought it might be appropriate that I get a wriggle on and put some more information upon here. So here are some healthy points on controlling your anger, throug recognition of the thought process building to anger. You need to understand the source of the problem to resolve the conclusion.

A picture tells a thousand words. The above diagram outlines the process of thought, from the initial trigger, to the end action and behaviour. The mere knowing what this process is, and understanding at which point you can teach yourself to control it, is critical in overall anger management control. Controlling your anger generally provides much assistance in other areas of PTSD, as a major contributor to social interaction, relationships and generally dealing with society and life as a whole.

Diagram Discussion

Trigger - anger is cause by an initial trigger, whether that be a multitude of smaller triggers, or one distinctive trigger. Identify what your triggers are and use the methods outlined below within "Components of Anger."

Event - with PTSD, an event can be real, or imagined. Identification and separation of actual event is required.

Interpret Event - also comprises a persons beliefs. These beliefs are what we where raised with. Some good, some bad, though factually a component of how you will interpret any event once triggered. Core values within a person are the hardest value to change, as this is one's beliefs of how the world is perceived to them. Sometimes, these beliefs need to be changed, or separated from interpretation of an event.

Thinking / Self Talk - is the most volatile area a person can miscommunicate an event. The reason for this, is that when we think, we actually use emotions to do this, thus no longer do we just think rationally, we think with emotions. Men tend to think less with emotions than women. Anger is not an emotion, it is a result of emotions. If you look at the iceberg of emotions image, you will see that anger is the result of the underlying emotions. Identification of these emotions after a trigger to an event, is a critical stage in resolution. Men generally do not read these emotions as well as women do, though some women act as men do also.

With PTSD, we need to change our thinking process to be more logical, structured and thoughtful. For example, the man that just bumped into you within a crowded pub and made you spill your drink, didn't actually do that to pick a fight or knock your drink over, instead, could have been pushed by another, simply a lack of room to move, and a myriad of other possibilities.

Those with PTSD forget those possibilities, and the mere bump may be the event, though previous to getting to the pub, you may off had an argument with your partner, smelt something that has triggered a memory from a trauma, a young idiot driver cut you off, etc etc.

As you can see, the trigger was set before reaching the pub, though the event was the bump by another person and the spillage of your drink. Now you would interpret the event, where your beliefs come in. If you believe that the person did it intentionally, then that will automatically cloud your judgement of thought. The actual fact is, whilst we may already be interpreting the worst, the person could have merely been bumped by another.

Your now within the exact area of discussion... thinking and self talk. If your getting angry, why are you getting angry? What emotions are triggering you to get angry at this person? Is it really their fault? Or are you merely looking for someone to take your frustrations out upon? Did you ask the person if they knocked you on purpose?

Action and Behaviour - is often the hardest time for a sufferer of PTSD, as often they need to step back, look at the overall scenario, and think to themselves "is this normal behaviour?" If your thought process has failed during the process, then your behaviour might result in violence, injury or arrest. Is this person a reason for you to act violently? No. An effective response of behaviour could be, to apologise yourself, and look for an apology from the other party. To say nothing, walk away and evaluate what your actually feeling to provoke anger.

This is the stage that needs an answer from within yourself. Question yourself again, is that answer logical, rational and appropriate for the situation?

Components of Anger
Physical - A mixture of fear, pain and flight or fight (drowning person).
Thinking - Past experiences and present interpretations.
Emotional - Patterns of response style.
Behavioural - Response pattern to the emotions.
Triggers and How to Manage Them Better
Taking responsibility
Strategic avoidance of trigger
Gradual exposure to difficult situations
Searching out calming environments
Increasing self awareness (counselling, support groups, forums, etc)
Anger management plan
Thinking Beliefs and Ways of Thinking Differently
Reviewing beliefs about the world
Challenging negative thoughts
Positive self talk
Thinking of costs and motivation
Changing expectations of self and others
Thinking of your values hierarchy
Empathy and forgiveness
Imagining a different outcome
Reminding self of effects of PTSD
Physiological Arousal and How to Lower it
Relaxation and meditation
Healing from PTSD
Pain management (mental and physical)
Regular exercise
Proper nutrition
Examining substance abuse
Actions and Behaviours Through Lowering Them
Assertive communication
Strategic withdrawal and time outs
Conflict resolution and problem solving
Distraction techniques
Planning pleasurable activities
Talk about your distress
Apologise and make amends
Managing Emotions Effectively
Awareness - know your cues and triggers.
Evaluation - healthy vs. unhealthy
Intervention - take time out before responding, self talk, communication during, problem solving and flexibility.
Practice, Practice, Practice.
Re-Evaluation and Modification - what’s working, and what’s not.
Awareness of Potential
Stumbling Blocks to Management
Lack of self awareness.
Unaware of the links in the process.
Lack of will to change.
Be a friend to yourself, and challenge your ideas, for example; an aggressive driver at the wheel:
Unfriendly Idea - driving that way to annoy me, or
Friendly Idea - driving stupidly and I am annoyed.
Whilst we may be unable to change certain events within our lives, and daily at that, we can choose our attitudes.

The tip of the iceberg


The Iceberg of Emotions:
Anger is an action, which is made up of many other emotions. When you understand the emotions that trigger anger, you can help yourself to control those smaller emotions, which in turn controls your anger. There is no miracle cure for anger control, only your self control and understanding of the situations.

The below image "iceberg" gives some very positive examples of what makes up anger.
Attached Thumbnails

Re: a PTSD forum

The net provides a wealth of information and sites...keep digging! Wanted to suggest something: I think you could become a Life Skills Coach.
( I trained to become one, still aiming towards practicing what I am certified to do, I have an unrelated profession)...Years ago, was also on the receiving end of a Life Skills program, and it helped more than anything else. Did some digging of my own, here is a definition of Life Skills Coaching.

What is a Life Skills Coach ?
A Life Skills Coach is a trained para-professional who is able to facilitate groups, model and evaluate skills and support individualized learning. Coaches work from their hearts, demonstrating with their lives, their growth, and through their range of emotion and depth of experience, the effective use of the skills that they offer to their participants. Coaches put themselves on the line, human to human (Allen, Mehal, Palmateer, & Sluser, 1995; Conger, 1973, p. 3; Curtiss & Friedman, 1973; Curtiss & Warren, 1973).


Various systems and styles of Life Skills coaching have evolved through the years as Life Skills has spread across Canada and expanded to serve a great variety of participants. Systems and styles of Life Skills coach training have evolved too, so that today there are many different methods of training coaches. Nonetheless, across Canada, almost all coach trainings find their theoretical base in the original Saskatchewan NewStart material.

'The Canadian Classification Dictionary of Occupations' {CCDO} description for A Life Skills Coach reads as follows:

2799-115 LIFE SKILLS COACH (educ.; social wel.)

Leads groups through life skills lessons and facilitates their practicing and learning of new behaviors necessary for coping with everyday life:
Surveys community needs and promotes the life skills program by distributing and tabulating questionnaires, conferring with social agency personnel and presenting demonstrations.
Develops protocol for program by establishing focus on self-improvement, family life, leisure, community or employment area, to meet expressed needs.
Interviews, screens and selects participants to fashion homogeneous group, by assessing case histories and reviewing problems with addiction, levels of personal disturbance and motivation.
Develops program themes and adapts lessons and skill training sequences according to participant needs and the objectives and orientation of referring agencies.
Arranges for a suitable training facility, if required.
Convenes group and introduces, demonstrates and leads skill training on topics pertinent to group needs, such as human relations and self-management skills, problem solving techniques and assertiveness, to assist participants in managing their own lives.
Identifies and acts on changing dynamics of group, by assessing verbal and non-verbal responses and checking regularly with participants, to facilitate their active participation in activities.
Arranges for and introduces guest speakers to inform groups on available options in education, employment, leisure time use and other relevant topics.
Counsels group members individually at request of participants.
Maintains participant attendance and progress records.
Evaluates program effectiveness by comparing individual and group progress to program objectives and individual goals.
Operates and maintains audio visual equipment to enhance the potential for learning.


Addictions Counsellors
Administration Supervisors
Community Development Officers

Community Researchers
Community Service Workers
Corrections Workers

Developmental Service Workers
Education Counsellors
Employment Counsellors

Family Counsellors
Family Violence Workers
Group Home Workers

Home Support Workers
Health Care Providers
Life Skills Coaches

Mental Health Workers
Professors - University
Public Relations Promoters

Rehabilitation Therapists
Social Workers
Teaching Assistants

Teachers - Elementary
Teachers - Secondary
Teachers - College

Training Group Facilitators
Vocational Skills Instructors
Volunteer Coordinators

Welfare case Managers
Workshop Facilitators
Youth Workers/Counselling

Allen, S., Mehal, M., Palmateer, S., & Sluser, R. (1995). The new dynamics of life skills coaching. Toronto: YWCA of Metropolitan Toronto.

Conger, S. (1973). Life skill training - A social invention. In V. Mullen (Ed.), Readings in life skills (pp. 1 - 5). Prince Albert, SK: Department of Manpower and Immigration.

Curtiss, P., & Friedman, R. (1973). Training the life skills coach. In V. Mullen (Ed.), Readings in life skills (pp. 71-88). Prince Albert, SK: Department of Manpower and Immigration.

Curtiss, P., & Warren, P. (1973). The dynamics of life skills coaching. Prince Albert, SK: Department of Manpower and Immigration.

Re: a PTSD forum

Tree- I agree with Lost.

Your experiences, strength and communications skills would make you a great Coach. Maybe focus on finding a certification training program & get your credentials.

Turning lemons into lemonade, as it where.. Be a great ending point for the documentary...!

Re: a PTSD forum

wow...Lost... Agape....
never really knew what that was.
Had heard about it but was still too close
from having left RSE.
I will look more into the idea.

I think one of the most memorable times I had at the ranch was about 2 years ago.
AS a staff person, I was asked to be an archery leader(mind you-I had chosen to give up work hours, meaning less pay that week, but I saw it as an oppourtunity).

Well, I had a very very diverse group of people. 2 foreigners, 1 85 yr old lady,
Karreem (who had just come back to RSE), and a few others.
Michele Marie was coaching a group to my left.
Since I had played sports all my life and was team captain, and my dad had been my coach most of my life, I have some idea of team play.
So, we were doing archery for the second day in my group . The students should have been experienced enough to load the arrow, etc without help blindfolded.
But the elderly lady was really struggling.
I talked minimally in her ear, only to have Michele Marie tell me very arrogantly and sternly ," You can't do it that way!!!" And she trotted off in the
'I have been upper staff alot longer than you have been around' way.
I just muttered under my breath, "I will do it the way I want." I still had a bit of fear from that look, but I endeavored to ignore it.
The next day, the elderly lady gets back on the stand.
By now, it were highly suggested to not assist students.
But I could REALLY see, that this was not doing this woman any good for her self esteem or frustration level.
So, with the team already having shot their rounds, here comes Elizabeth.
Oh, she was nervous!!!
She gets the arrow loaded, pulls back the 15 lb bow I had sorted out for her from the children's archery equipment, and she let's it fly...only to have it land on her stantion.
I come up to her, hand her the arrow, say in her ear, "you are doing GREAT!"
She loads it again.
I leave it alone. It is about 4" in front of her stantion.
She finally gets the last arrow loaded, pulls back with all her might....
It flies like 10 feet directly in front of her.
I let out a whoop and start cheering my team and Elizabeth on!
Every one is looking in our direction.
"What??!! Did someone hit a bull's eye?"
I say proudly, our group still applauding,
"She accomplished more than you will know!"
And we all escorted Elizabeth out to retrieve her covetted arrow!

Every time after that, Karreem has said."Hey Coach!" and holds his head high in uptmost respect.

For THAT experience, I am grateful.

Re: a PTSD forum

There are shining moments to look back on too? Excellent...hold that thought.
Sad that in struggling to move away from a "school" like that, every aspect of the experience becomes tarnished. Take what is good, and let the rest go, when you are ready.
My thoughts on reading your post - that there is still much that is healthy in you;
that no matter where we find ourselves, there are always people like, Ellen Marie, was it? who's ego requires that other people do less well, but do it their way...;
That there are good and bad eggs in every group;
That ultimately, we are here to learn, so no life experience is a waste of time...not saying, it's okay if you were deceived, or that it should all be smiles and handshakes and bygones - just saying that, for what it's worth, there are some good experiences to be had even in the weirdest places, and if we can hold on to those and discard what does not serve us, we have gained.