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Does PTSD Ever Go Away?

04 Oct

Dear Mrs. Naparstek,

My name is Katy C. and I wrote you once before to tell you how amazing and powerful your book and PTSD guided imagery had worked for me, helped heal me, when nothing else would. My question, if you have time at all to respond, is does it ever go away? I thought I was healed, but a recent resurgence of Bulimia and PTSD has come back into my life and I need to start over again. How long does one need to do the CD and how many times do I need to read and reread Invisibile Heroes until I am fully well? I don't want to be "broken" forever. I am dismayed and sad that I have not kicked this yet. I am tired of being a project to fix. I can't change my past, or the people that have caused me trauma. I just want to be better. Today, I'm doing all the steps that I did this summer that led to my healing the first time. I really thought I had it. I really believe PTSD is in my bones - my cells... How long until it goes away. I didn't deserve the things that happened to me and I don't deserve to live this way, in this misery. When do my cells heal? Could it be spontaneous? Thank you so much for your time. Your work on PSTD has changed my life once, I'm hoping it can work for me twice. Thank you.

Best Regards Always,

Katy C.

 Hi, Katy.

Sorry you have to go through this again, but it’s pretty typical for PTS to get triggered again and rear its ugly head once more. The good news is, you know how to deal with it now, you sent your symptoms packing once, and you can do it again.  The most common way people heal is this way - you learn your triggers and know how to respond to them quickly and efficiently, and the episodes become less and less frequent.  One day you notice that you’ve been fine for months, even years.  Sometimes people are fine for decades but it’s possible that something very intense - like open heart surgery for a World War II survivor - can bring out a reprise of symptoms for a brief while, after being quiescent for decades. 

So don’t be discouraged.  Go back to the self-calming, healing practices that helped you surmount this the last time.  Read the book again if it helps to remind you of what you need to do and if it feeds your motivation, but it’s the guided imagery and all the other mind-body approaches described in there that will see you through this and get you back to where you want to be.  

If you don’t catastrophize this (OMG, I’m never going to be healed of this!! I was kidding my self!!!) but see it as the normal course of healing, with bumps along the way, you’ll become better and better at subduing these pesky demons - more quickly, more efficiently and more skillfully.  One day you’ll notice the nasty suckers are gone altogether.  

And to answer the question about your cells - yes, PTS can get into your cells, but cells renew and change themselves every day, every hour, every minute. So don’t let that idea trip you up!

All best and stay in touch - I’d love to know how you’re doing in a few months,