By Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti, LICSW, MSW
Folks with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD almost
always suffer from depression as well. PTSD
causes depression for a couple of reasons:
One, because trauma(s) creates a loss of trust in care takers/authority
figures/God/the world at large, and that is a devastating thing. Two, hyper vigilance (aka the
fight-flight-freeze mechanism) is neurologically and emotionally
exhausting. It’s like running: a bit of it on a regular basis is great, too
much wears out the body.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Repatterning, or EMDR, the
type of treatment protocol I use and recommend for PTSD, is effective both for
the treatment of trauma as well as depression.
In addition to seeking treatment with a quality mental
health professional, there are things that a person with PTSD and depression
can do to speed up their recovery and return to or create a sense of comfort
relationships. Be physical or
emotional abuse. Be it a romantic
partner or an employer or a biting dog, unless they are getting treatment: Get. Away.
avoidance: Be it the pile of bills
in the office or the pile of dishes in the sink or the incomplete project in
the basement, take on and finish your work.
If it’s overwhelming/boring/confusing or otherwise onerous, ask a friend
to keep you company or better yet offer to swap cleaning with them, or set a
date and tell others when you will have your project done in order to increase
your accountability, or hire a personal organizer to help, or download a really
interesting podcast to keep you company while you get to work—whatever it
takes! Self esteem comes from esteem-able
acts. Give yourself a self esteem
I don’t know of any other anti-depressant on the market which is free,
self-administered, constantly available, and the only side effect besides making
you feel better is making you look good.
your environment: at work and at home, you deserve to look at lovely
things. Even if you live in a cockroach
infested hovel, you can string up some twinkly lights. That way at least the cockroaches will glow
birth control with hormones: If you
already struggle with PTSD and depression, avoid medication that may cause
depression as a possible side effect.
Stack the deck in your favor. There
are plenty of alternatives available. (Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. I am a psychotherapist.)
If you take these steps in conjunction with receiving good
quality therapy, you are well on your way to a better life!
Do you have a mental health tip to share? Click comment and send it my way.
Help yourself to help your child: Maternal depression and child trauma (child-psych.org)
New PTSD Test Successfully Predicts Who Will Develop Condition (tricitypsychology.com)