Settling the Nervous System and PTSD

Settling the Nervous System and PTSD

Sometimes in life, there will be unforeseen incidents that may make our hearts pound and leave us shaking at the knees. One such incident happened to me over the weekend and re-ignited a long-forgotten PTSD response.

Myself and my little chihuahua had been bitten by a dog that escaped its yard in our apartment complex. We both got away relatively unscathed. After my heart rate returned to normal and I made sure that my Belle was alright I sat down and felt the most unnerving and terrible feeling in my body. It felt like I had sand in my veins – a most uncomfortable buzz that I had solved many years ago after having suffered through it for many years of my life. My body was experiencing PTSD. 

This time was different, I had support from friends and loved ones along with an arsenal of techniques to get me out of freeze mode. I got my yoga mat out and did some T.R.E. (trauma release exercise). It felt good to feel my body shake off the stress. I allowed myself to cry out all that fear that was stuck in my body. I started feeling angry at the owner, who was negligent enough to not secure his front gate that allowed the dog to escape, so I grabbed a couch cushion and screamed the anger into it until I felt I was completely done. I did a few side stretches, to help my nervous system to settle. I felt semi-decent again. I took a call from someone I love dearly, and we spoke through the event, and after all that, I felt like I had passed it. 

I tried to move through my day as usual but what I noticed was that my thoughts were all heavy and dark and there was a tightness in my body. Something was still gripping me tight and I realized I hadn’t fully let go of the incident from earlier that day. I focused very intently on gratitude and trying to notice the positive things about my day but it was almost as if I had no access to them. I was stuck in a loop with PTSD. 

The next day, I repeated the whole process of the day before all over again – and then the release came. I wept hysterically, and as I did something broke open. It was a feeling that came through very subtly and softly that gave me access to peace. It was my nervous system settling. I wanted to share this piece with you especially if you have been struggling with a dysregulated nervous system or if you have been stuck in a shock response for some time. You can familiarize yourself with some of the tools I mention. It may not help you instantly, but it does have an accumulative effect, I can assure you. 

Here is a summary of the tools and techniques I have used, along with some added practices: 

  • T.R.E. – great for shaking off stress.
  • Talking to someone you’re close to as a support.
  • Deep belly breathing or Holotropic Breathwork
  • Journalling
  • Expressing your emotion through crying or screaming 
  • Yoga or deep stretching
  • Gym workouts
  • Playing music that you feel is appropriate.

I hope this serves 

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