About 12% of people in Australia will experience PTSD in their lifetime. But as Sophie and Jess explain, with treatment we can make a full recovery.
“I was in a major car accident when I was younger. It was after that I received a diagnosis of PTSD. I was having nightmares about the accident, or being in another accident. I had a panic attack straight after the accident, and I kept having panic attacks whenever I heard cars slam on their brakes or beep their horn.”
Did you know that around 20% of people who are exposed to traumatic events develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a type of anxiety disorder?
Some people affected may feel anxious and highly vigilant, and have intrusive thoughts and memories of the trauma. With treatment, people with PTSD can make a full recovery.
Sophie and Jess, two SANE Peer Ambassadors, live with PTSD and complex PTSD. Here they share their experiences to help others.
What has helped you manage symptoms of PTSD or complex PTSD?
Sophie: Just breathe. A major symptom for me living with PTSD has been panic attacks. The number one way to get through a panic attack is to regulate my breath. It seems simple, but it seemed so hard at first.
The first few times I had panic attacks, it was like a python was wrapping itself around my chest; I thought I would never get a full breath of air again. With the help of my psychologist, I was able to regulate my breathing when having a panic attack. I now know a panic attack isn’t the end. I can get through it, and I will be able to breathe again.
Jess: Honestly? Cutting my perpetrators out of my life. I’ve done every therapy under the sun for complex PTSD and they have all helped me. But one therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, helped me the most by giving me the realisation and the tools to end my relationships with my family of origin.
With them no longer in my life, I feel a sense of control over my own recovery that I never had before. In the past, I would make all of this progress in therapy and then see my family… It would be like an elastic band that just snapped me back into negative thought and behavioural patterns I didn’t want to do anymore. And it would destabilise me for months afterwards.
I am not saying this was an easy decision or is the right decision for everyone. But I know that this decision saved my life.
And if you have experienced trauma or any situation which has left you feeling anxious or distressed, for all of October you'll have free access to SANE's 'best in class' 1 to 1 Wellbeing Check-in - a 25-minute mental health check-in and chat with a professional Peer Support Worker, completely anonymous and confidential, at a time that suits you.
This free Wellbeing Check-in is available exclusively to International Towers community members in Tower Two, Tower Three or International House.
Log in or Register to our Partner Portal to book your free check-in.
Mental Health Month encourages us all to think about our mental health and wellbeing, regardless of whether we may have a lived experience of mental ill-health or not. We're incredibly proud and excited to partner with SANE Australia, a national charity helping people live long and fulfilling lives, free from stigma and discrimination. They support anyone affected by mental health issues, including family and friends, through information and stories, peer support, and counselling.