You know that you’ve been diagnosed with PTSD. In fact, you’ve even recognized that it’s keeping you from being able to have positive and healthy relationships.
Instead of being able to spend times with friends or family, you retreat inward.
There’s a reason for this.
Your mind is trying to protect you from the memories and feelings of the trauma that you experienced. Yet, this unhealthy compensation doesn’t solve things long-term and rather leaves you feeling disengaged, detached, and isolated.
How can you reconnect to others?
Start Slow When Reconnecting
It’s important to note that you don’t want to start by “jumping off the deep end” into the pool of social interactions. That could be really overwhelming and sabotage your progress before you even get started.
Instead, begin slowly and deliberately.
Pick something that you know will be easy for you. For example, you might want to spend time with a friend in your own home. A one-on-one setting can ease you into surrounding yourself with more people in time.
Whichever way you decide to start your journey, choose a scenario that you know will have a positive outcome. You can always work towards pushing and challenging yourself later. For now, you just want to get things moving in the right direction.
Identify What You Used to Enjoy
It may have been some time since you were passionate about certain activities. Yet, you probably still have good memories connected to it.
For instance, before experiencing trauma, you may have been an avid rock climber. Consider what you enjoyed about the activity. Why did you do it? Most likely part of your answer will include being a part of a community.
So, think about how you can reconnect with people in those communities that were connected to your interest to restart your passions. When you share an activity with another person, you create a bond. Which, in turn, fosters friendship and eventually a deeper connection.
Spend Time with Your Family
If you are emerging from the effects of trauma, it’s helpful to spend time with your family. This is assuming, of course, that these are family members that were not negatively involved in your trauma to begin with.
Perhaps you could play board games with your children, or take them to a park. Or you could invite your parents to dinner and enjoy a casual chat.
But what do you do if you don’t have family members who live in your area? Or even relatives at all?
Consider the people in your life whom you know you can count on, even if they are not your native family. These are the people that have stood by you through thick and thin. They can become your true family and be a part of your support system.
Check-In With a Professional
A therapist will understand the struggles you are facing when reconnecting with others. After all, freeing yourself from the grip of trauma can be a rocky and uneven process.
At your innermost core, your mind is trying to protect from memories that are very painful. Yet, in order to heal, you need to be able to have meaningful and supportive connections with other people. It is like a paradox.
A therapist can guide you through this conflicting journey. They will also be able to provide another level of support and connection. In fact, it is very empowering to know that your therapist will not judge you or dismiss your emotions. Rather, they will put things into context and allow you to find your own path.
Recovering from trauma is neither a quick nor instantaneous process. Your mind is trying to protect you by isolating you. Yet, human contact is essential in order to move forward with your recovery.
By following the above suggestions and working together with a therapist, you can begin the journey of healing. It would be my pleasure to support you in this journey.