Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about kind of one of the things that keep popping up every new year: New years resolutions. Or more precisely we talk about how to make change last. A bit delayed, as many might have already abandoned their resolutions.
Nonetheless, it is something relevant all year round. Especially for people suffering from PTSD that try to make lasting changes in their life happen and are struggling. So let us talk about it.
We talked about the reason behind this quite a few times. We talked why it is necessary and important for us to change and why it is so hard. Our brains reject any form of change, because it means risking our survival - in our brains opinion at least.
So the default position of the brain is always trying to revert back changes that were done and return to status quo - or even more in the opposite direction. Even if that thing is ACTUALLY killing us. Our brain simply has its limits after all. And it is very, very stubborn.
Which is most of the time a good thing - as this is what keeps us alive and makes a lot of impossible things possible. It is quite important to not be too hard on oneself and not try to force to make it happen.
But we never talked about how to make the change happen in our every day life and not just about the illness itself. Despite it obviously being very important for your healing journey and living a better life.
We first get into why people with PTSD struggle to make change happen and then how to make it work.
Why people with PTSD struggle to make change happen
We talked about changing PTSD itself in the past, but not really why it is so hard. That has a lot to do with how change happens. Often we decide to do something - but the difficulties usually start when it is about transforming them into action and lasting habits.
Now the example I am going to go with is a library. You making a choice regarding changing book genre sections is quite easily made. Science Fiction becomes the kids section and vice versa. You might needed a while to figure it out, but you made your choice.
You are now ready to move on, but your brain now needs to carry each book and sort them in the new place. Depending on the size of the affected sections - this takes a very, very long time. The amount of workers available depending on stress, energy and the like.
So while you are thinking what to do next or making plans - your workers (aka the brain) is extremely busy and pretty exhausted - and won’t respond well or fast to any further instructions. If the process has truly started it can’t be stopped.
The same thing applies slightly differently if we learn something new, it is the brain that is sorting in the new section. Though in this case it would be more a rearranging and reordering of an existing section.
So if you have trouble thinking and often feel a bit foggy in the head - it might be because your brain is actually really hard at work. Which is why it is so important to give the brain the time, space and energy it needs.
How to make it work
With that explained we focus on the second question: How to make it work? We are keeping it - as usual - as simple and short as we can. Now having talked about where the problem lies, this will make more sense.
Since we just established how consuming and exhausting the process is - the how will seem much more obvious: Don’t try to change several things at the same time. That has the highest chance of not going to work.
Instead rather create a list and go step by step. Though now the tricky thing is to know when to move on to the next point - because otherwise you risk trying to change multiple things again.
I also recommend a short break in between those either way. Your poor brain workers do deserve a day off now and then. Avoiding - if possible - anything that require your attention or concentration.
But one way to make sure you DON’T overlap is to wait until the change is now routine - best even if its established routine. Because then the brains mechanism work in our favor again.
As now our brain will now try to keep the routine alive and will complain if you do not follow it. Because that would lead to change and that would be bad. Things get so much easier once they are a routine for that reason.
Once again simple, but a lot harder to do. As always: Be patient, take your time and take good care of yourself.
That was it for todays episode, I hope you found it helpful. Hope you are safe and well. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/podcast/ and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.