After experiencing a traumatic event, a person may experience a feeling of being shortened in the future, which is currently considered an avoidance symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People who have experienced this symptom feel that their lives will be shortened in some way, without any real explanation. They may also feel that they cannot reach milestones in life, such as career, marriage, or children.
The perception of future shortening may vary depending on severity. Some people may only have a slight feeling that their life will be shortened, while others may have specific predictions about their lifespan and fully believe that they will die prematurely. This symptom can be very difficult to cope with and can lead to isolation, despair, helplessness, and depression.
Skills to cope with shortening the sense of the future
However, there are steps you can take to reduce the severity of this symptom. Some potential coping strategies are described below.
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It makes sense to believe that your life will be shortened after a traumatic event. Due to traumatic events, you may worry about your life or even near death. In addition, after a traumatic event, our assumption that the world is a safe and secure place was shattered.
People are forced to accept their own death. Therefore, the belief that your life will be shortened may feel very real; however, there is really no way to determine your lifespan. Therefore, it may be helpful to pay attention to thoughts about your premature death.
Note that your thoughts are only the objects in your mind, not the truth. Doing so will prevent you from connecting with these thoughts, thereby reducing the possibility of despair and helplessness.
Identify and participate in more active activities
The feeling of shortening the future increases the risk of depression.Therefore, it is very important to determine and increase your participation in active activities. It may be particularly useful to engage in activities that you enjoyed before the traumatic event happened.
You may not notice an immediate change in your mood or thoughts. this is normal. Stick to it. More active, especially active activities, will eventually improve your mood and prevent depression.
Pay attention to the choices you make
We often make choices based on our emotions. Anxiety may tell us to avoid certain things.Sadness may tell us to be isolated. Anger may tell us to retaliate.
Although listening to our emotions is absolutely important, they may not always lead us on the best path. Instead, it is important to consider what kind of life you want to live and make choices based on that idea.
For example, if you want to live a compassionate and loving life, make choices every day to engage in behavior consistent with these values. Doing so will create a sense of initiative and purpose, and increase your feeling of living a fulfilling life.
Connect with others
The feeling of shortening the future can cause people to isolate themselves from others.With this in mind, the best thing you can do is to connect with others and build social support. The more meaningful relationships you have in life, the more fulfilling your life will be.
After experiencing a traumatic event, it is natural to avoid certain activities or locations.The problem with avoidance is that avoidance often leads to more avoidance. When we avoid something, we are sending a message to our brain that the situation is not safe.
The more we avoid, the more insecure our world feels, which will cause us to avoid more and more situations.
Therefore, it may be important to take steps to deal with situations or activities you want to avoid. Of course, you don’t want to deal with situations that may be objectively unsafe (for example, running alone in the park at night). However, you do want to engage in activities that you used to feel comfortable with before the traumatic event occurred.
This practice can be difficult because you may feel anxious and fearful, but these feelings will eventually dissipate. When you begin the process, it may be helpful to bring a trusted and supportive friend.
Take good care of yourself
Another way to combat the shortened sense of the future is to participate in behaviors related to cherishing life.Schedule time to pamper yourself or engage in self-comforting and compassionate activities. exercise. Eat well. Taking care of yourself can have a huge impact on your emotions and thoughts.
How to increase the chance of success
Many of the coping strategies listed above are easier said than done. Be patient and take your time. Reward yourself for any small progress made in reducing your feeling of shortening in the future.
Seeking treatment for your PTSD may also help.
By reducing the symptoms of PTSD in general, you may notice that your perception of future shortening is also reduced. When you use the above coping techniques, the therapist can also provide you with support.
There are many effective treatments for PTSD; however, if you don’t know where to look, finding a mental health provider can be a difficult and stressful task. Fortunately, there are several websites that offer free searches to help you find the right mental health provider in your area.