GETTING BETTER AND GIVING IN TO HOPE
After practicing medicine for more than three decades, I have come to believe that the holy grail of PTSD therapy is simply getting better.
Cures are great when you can find them, but in the real world cures are few and far between.
Getting better is an entirely different thing.
Even when there is no cure, getting better is always possible at many different levels.
I don't think about PTSD in terms of discovering a cure. My focus is on getting better because anyone who is still breathing can get better.
Early in my medical training I learned that if there are twenty treatments for a condtion, then none of the treatments are that good. They work some of the time on some of the cases, but not all the time on all cases. Conversely, if there is only one treatment for a condition, there is a high probability that the treatment is both effective and good.
The list of treatments for PTSD is long. Many treatments are effective some of the time in some of the cases, but are not effective all the time in all cases. A smorgasboard of treaments is available, and most people select one or two treatments off the menu and hope for the best.
If you have PTSD, you must never give in to despair. Instead, give in to hope.
Getting better is not only possible, it is probable if you take positive steps that help you get better.
Ten principles help guide you through the jungle of PTSD
1. Insight points you in the right direction, but does not give you the power to make the trip.
2. God's love points you in the right direction and gives you the power to make the trip.
3. When your mind is full of thoughts consistent with God's love, your thoughts are healthy, and your mind is exactly the way God means for it to be.
4. When your heart is full of emotions consistent with God's love, your emtions are healthy, and your heart is exactly the way God means for it to be.
5. It took time to get sick, and it will take time to get better. Getting better is about healing, and healing takes time
6. A persistently positive focus creates a consistently postive mind
7. The wheel of change always turns in the direction of what you put into your mind.
8. Don't go there - whatever it is that makes you sick, don't go there.
9. Organize your life around a new center rather than around PTSD.
10. God's love will not change the bad things that happened to you in the past, but it will erase their power.
INSIGHT POINTS YOU IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Insight would be great if it gave you the power to make the trip. Unfortunately, insight points you in the right direction, but does not give you the power to make the trip.
People worship at the altar of insight hoping that once they get things straightened out in their mind, everything will come right.
For the past forty years, I have passed out insight to tens of thousands of patients, but the bucket of insight was empty. There was no power in the bucket.
I helped people understand their problems, but all the insight in the world did not give them the power to make the trip.
Insight was one my great therapeutic disappointments, because for most of my patients, it was a dead end street that ended up in Nowhere Land.
What my patients needed was real power.
GOD'S LOVE GIVES YOU POWER FOR THE TRIP
God's love is real power. It not only points you in the right direction, it also gives you the power to make the trip.
God's love does everything insight cannot do.
There is forgiveness for the things you have done wrong, and there is hope for a positive future.
You get in agreement with God about who you are and what you can do with your life.
You hear Jesus say, "As you believe, so shall it be done to you," and instantly you develop positive expectations. You realize that you don't get what you want in life; you get what you expect, and now you have positive expectations.
Your life no longer is a solo journey, because God is in it with you for the long haul, and when you organize your life around his love, miracles start to happen.
You give up your small ambitions and start to live God's plan for your life.
When your mind is full of thoughts consistent with God's love, your thoughts are healthy, and your mind is exactly the way God means for it to be.
Not all thoughts and emotions are created equal when they enter the human heart and mind. Many thoughts and emotions are frankly destructive; they make you sick and tear you apart.
On the other hand, the most powerful force and most positive force in the universe is love, and when God's love gets inside your heart and mind, your thoughts and emotions become healthy, and you become whole.
When the power of God's love controls your heart and mind, you are thinking the way God intends for you to think. Your thoughts are positive, and your emotions are healthy.
God created you in his image, and He gave you the ability to think and feel. It's reasonable to assume that God must have designed your mind to function best when you fill it with certain types of thoughts. It's also reasonable to assume that God designedy your heart to function best when certain types of emotions fill your heart.
The creator of the universe actually did have a plan for your heart and mind.
When your mind is full of thoughts consistent with God's love, your thoughts are healthy, and your mind is exactly the way God means for it to be.
When your heart is full of emotions consistent with God's love, your emotions are healthy, and your heart is exactly the way God means for it to be.
When dysfunction, despair, depression, negativity and anxiety take over your heart and mind, you are not thinking and feeling the way God designed for your heart to work.
You have it all wrong, and until you get it right, your life will be harder than it needs to be, and if you fill your heart and mind with the toxic waste of the twenty-first century, there is a good chance you will become sick.
The cure for what ails the human heart and mind is a liberal dose of God's love.
You must fill your mind with thoughts that are consistent with God's love until those thoughts reign supreme. You must fill your heart with emotions consistent with God's love to drive the toxic negative emotions out of your mind. You must learn to think thoughts of love, and let that love percolate down into your heart so that you start feeling good once again.
There is no mystery here.
When your heart is full of emotions consistent with God's love, and when that love controls your heart and mind, PTSD loses its icy grip on your emotions.
TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE
If it took a long time to get sick, it will take time to get better.
Getting better is about healing, and healing takes time.
You can't be in a hurry in overcoming PTSD.
Recovery takes as long as it takes, but if you keep moving forward, you can be 100% assured you will get better.
Never surrender to the lie that you cannot improve.
Improvement may seem slow and impreceptible at first, but if you stick with it, you will get better. It's only a matter of time.
As long as you keep moving forward, time is on your side, and recovery is inevitable.
PERSISTENTLY POSTIVE FOCUS
The war for a positive mind is fought on the battlefield of focus.
The Law of Positive Focus states, "A persistently positive focus creates a consistently positive mind."
The battle against PTSD is fought on the battlefield of focus. In order to break the back of PTSD, you will have to learn how to persistently and consistently control your mental focus.
The Law of Positive Change states, " When you change the things you look at, the way you look at things changes. When you change the things you talk about, the way you talk about things changes. When you change the things you think about, the way you think about things changes."
It really does matter what you look at, what you talk about, and what you think about, because all of these things change who you are and make you into a different person.
You must look at positive things, talk about positive things, and think about positive things if you want to shed the shackles of PTSD and become a positive person.
You must switch your mental focus from PTSD to positive things. There is no other way to win the battle for a positive mind.
WHEEL OF CHANGE
The Law of Positive Direction states, "The wheel of change always turns in the direction of what you put into your mind."
You actually push your mind in a positive direction by putting positive and healthy thoughts into your mind.
What you put into your mind affects the chemistry of your brain.
When you put in positive things, you push the chemistry in a positive direction.
When you put in negative things, you push it in a negative direction.
The type of thoughts you think determines the chemical environment inside your brain.
If you choose to think depressing thoughts, you create the chemistry of depression.
If you choose to think anxious thoughts, you create the chemistry of anxiety.
If you choose to think negative thoughts, you produce the chemistry of negativity.
If you choose to think angry thoughts, you produce the chemistry of anger.
When you think negative and limiting thoughts for a long time, you create a chemical imbalance in your brain, and you feel bad.
When you think positive and unlimited thoughts for an extended period, you restore the normal chemical balance, and you feel good once again.
What you think about matters, because it determines the chemistry of your brain. What you think about determines whether you have a positive or negative brain.
You are responsible for the chemistry of your brain.
When you choose your thoughts, you choose your brain chemistry. When you change your thoughts, you change your brain chemistry.
You are not the victim of your chemistry, you are it's creator.
You are not helpless, and your life is not hopeless. Your life instantly improves the moment you start putting good things into your mind.
DON'T GO THERE
When you can tell your story without feeling the pain, you have been healed. Until you can do that, you need to be very careful about going places that reinforce your PTSD.
When I was growing up, I remember talking with people who said, "I don't want to go there."
At the time, I
did not understand that words can be weapons of self-destruction. Saying certain words, taking certain actions, and going certain places takes people with PTSD to destinations that are unhealthy. They are triggers that put them in the electric chair of life and turn on the current.
If you have PTSD, there are places you should not go until you are healed, and maybe not even then.
After I was nearly killed in a car accident, it took years before I could talk about the accident and not feel the pain.
Some experiences are so traumatic, that no matter how much times passes, you will never be able to go there without feeling the pain.
That doesn't mean the pain controls your life. It simply means you don't engage in activities that cause the pain to return.
You can still live a normal life as long as you don't "Go There."
ORGANIZE YOUR LIFE AROUND A NEW CENTER
You must organize your life around a new center rather than around PTSD.
Healthy hearts and minds have an outward focus.
People suffering from PTSD have an unhealthy inward traumatic focus.
The inward focus is the recipe for self-destruction.
Recovery from PTSD and many emotional problems depends on developing an outward focus. You need to stop relentlessly ruminating over your problems and to start sending love to other people.
God’s love flows through an unseen pipeline. The flow goes from God to you, and then from you to other people. You control the flow by how much love you send to others.
God’s love works best when you pass it around. It’s after you pass it on that its power really kicks in.
The more love you pass on, the more that comes your way.
The less you send to others, the less that flows to you.
People don’t realize that when they send only a trickle of love to others, only a trickle comes back to them from God. What goes around comes around.
The love you send to others didn’t originate in your heart. God put it there, and when you send it to others, God gives you more than enough to take its place.
When God sends his love your way, it doesn’t come as a trickle. It comes as a tidal wave. He fills your cup until it overflows. He keeps filling it until you have a clean mind and a pure heart, and then He fills it some more. The more you give, the more you get. The more you give, the faster it comes, and the quicker your emotional problems are healed. The more you give, the sooner you become a whole person.
God has an inexhaustible ocean of love that contains enough for everyone. God will give you all the love you need if you are willing to spread it around.
If you don’t send his love to others, you die of spiritual thirst.
When you send his love to others, your cup overflows.
HOW GOD'S LOVE WORKS - POWER FOR THE TRIP
God's love will not change the bad things that happened to you in the past, but it will erase their power.
God's love is more powerful than any problem, and it will move mountains of difficulty out of your life when His love takes over your heart and mind.
When you shift your focus to God's love, you win the battle for a positive heart and mind. God's love becomes the center around which you organize your life.
The war for a positive mind is fought on the battlefield of focus, and focusing on God's love connects you with the most powerful and most positive force in the universe.
How does God’s love do its miraculous work?
1. First, it changes the way you think.
2. Second, it changes the way you feel.
3. Third, it changes the way you live.
First, you experience God’s love intellectually, and that changes the way you think.
You need to change the way you think about many things.
When you look at your PTSD, you need to change the way you think.
When you look at your limitations, you need to change the way you think.
When you look at your failures, you need to change the way you think.
When you look at your past, you need to change the way you think.
When you look at the present, you need to change the way you think.
When you look at the future, you need to change the way you think.
When you look at who you are and what you can do with your life, you need to change the way you think.
Once you start thinking differently, the emotional healing begins, and God’s love changes the way you feel.
Your emotions are the direct result of the thoughts that you put into your mind.
When you think new thoughts, you experience new emotions that are consistent with those thoughts.
Your new thoughts become the musical score for a new emotional symphony that plays in your heart and mind. When God is the author of your new thoughts, the melody of God’s love starts playing, and good things happen in your life.
God designed your mind to function best when it’s under the influence of his love. When your mind is full of thoughts consistent with his love, your mind is exactly the way God means for it to be.
God designed your heart so it would experience healthy emotions when it’s dominated by his love. When your heart is full of emotions consistent with his love, your emotions are healthy, and your heart is exactly the way God means for it to be.
Once you start thinking new thoughts and enjoying new positive emotions, another miracle happens. You start taking new actions. You even start doing things you could never do before.
New actions mean a new life, and that is exactly what happens. God’s love rolls through your heart and mind, and you become a new person with a new life.
No matter what your problems are or how long they have been present, God’s love will work on them until the job is done. God is in it with you for the long haul.
How long will it take for your life to get better? That depends.
How much time are you willing to invest in your new life? There is no specific timetable for improvement. You write your own schedule of healing based upon the amount of time you spend focusing on God’s love.
Ten minutes of focusing on God’s love is better than no minutes at all, but that doesn’t give God much time to fix what ails you.
Dabbling in God’s love is doing things the long hard way.
If you want God’s love to do its miraculous work, you must become totally immersed in it. You must jump into God's ocean of love and have a life transforming experience. Only then will your heart and mind be continuously exposed to its healing power.
It's time to stop looking for a cure and to start focusing on getting better.
These ten principles are not treatment for PTSD, but they are guideposts you can use on the journey to a positive life.