Overwhelmingly, humans avoid challenging their long-standing beliefs, tastes and opinions. We prefer something we know instead of seeking new experiences. I am proof positive of this fact and this fact is a big issue with PTSD. For over 7 years, thanks to my PTSD, I have held a certain set of beliefs in myself, in others and about certain things. For the last 12 weeks I have worked very hard to challenge these beliefs in CPT. Some I have had success in challenging completely. Some I have been able to reduce my belief in and then there are others that I wasn’t even able to make a dent in. As much as I have tried to do so, things external to myself continually reinforce those beliefs.
Even in the modern age with constant new stimuli, we like to follow the same well-worn paths and draw the same conclusions regardless of fact. This is a problem with how PTSD changes your brain. At some point in the last 7 years, my brain has been rewired. The paths, let’s call them healthy paths, that I had once upon a time have been replaced with well worn “unhealthy” paths that have been so worn, they are nearly impossible to climb out of. These remaining stuck points, these last few long-standing beliefs do not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon and it sucks. While I have made good progress on some of my more difficult stuck points, the remaining ones also affect parts of my life the most.
The last few days, while I have felt fine, I have noticed that I have let myself become preoccupied with certain parts of my life. I have been getting stuck in never-ending loops of thought. While not entirely all about my trauma or triggers, how I react to that never-ending loop of thoughts very much is. It’s just kind of put me in a funk that’s amplified some behaviors and thought patterns I dislike and don’t want to have. The funk has been gone far enough to fuck with my sleep and even bring back a few nightmares that my meds normally keep at bay.
Truthfully, I was starting to remember what it was like to have a normal sleep pattern. Something I haven’t had in such a long time. Either because I worked odd shifts in the Navy or because I was simply afraid to fall asleep in the later years. My screwed up sleep and the thought patterns and behaviors all seem to elevate and be caused by my stress level. My stress level seems to be the biggest/easiest trigger in my life. It blows and unless I can find a cabin in the woods away from people and someone to pay me to live there, I highly doubt I’ll ever be stress-free. So do you see my problem? Exactly.
How does someone maintain a stress-free lifestyle? Especially someone in my situation? I’m open to suggestions.