Symptoms of PTSD frequently happens when you least expect it. If you have PTSD, you’ve may have already recognized circumstances, situations, and events that triggers you. Watch out for and keep your distance from them as possible as you can.
How can you know when you’re at risk for the fore coming signs? You don’t know when it will occur, but you can anticipate PTSD triggers and its symptoms. The idea is to monitor them and take proper action to lessen the effect.
Self-monitor is a simple way of increasing this awareness of situations that bring up traumatic feelings. The information presented will assist you to predict PTSD trigger and lessen the risk of the symptoms that could get in your way. Follow these steps to create a list that will help you track how you feel during different situations.
- Make a form, with 5 columns and rows lasting for a week. Label the columns: date and time, situation, thoughts, emotions, physical sensations.
- Keep this form always with you. Fill it out whenever you experience an uncomfortable thought or feeling.
- Don’t forget to write down the date and time.
- Take note of the situation you are in. For example, when did these uncomfortable thoughts and feelings come up? Are you included in the dialogue exchange? Were you thinking about something from the past? Explain this situation.
- After you describe the situation, what are your thoughts?
- Then, write down the emotions that you feel. You may use emotions like: fear, sad, mad, upset, shame, anger, jealous, down, anxious, guilt, embarrassment, etc.
- Now, write down the physical sensations that you felt. Are you experiencing muscle tension? Did your heart rate speed up? Do you feel queasy or is your stomach upset?
- Rate how intense or upsetting these thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations are by rating each on a scale from 1 (not intense) to 10 (very intense).
Try self-monitoring for at least a week and see if you can increase your awareness of what situations bring about certain thoughts and feelings for you. The following advice may be helpful to you as you assess your monitoring sheets:
- Being aware of the thoughts and feelings can make the feeling more distressing. For this, it may be useful to use stress-reduction techniques, such as deep breathing.
- At the end of week, look at your monitor to see if you can identify patterns. Are you more prone to anxiety at the end of the day? Do you tend to feel more depressed near the end of the week? All of this is important information.
- Try your best to separate your experience into thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. The more you can separate these experiences from one another, the better you will be able to identify them when they occur.
Related: What Helps During a Flashback?