Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The dark night of the soul

Reiki treatment for trauma and related PTSD caused by the stressors of Covid-19 Corona virus pandemic.

COVID-19 pandemic

The ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19 pandemic) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

The pandemic is causing trauma in more than 40% of adults in America. Untreated trauma can trigger PTSD symptoms or even PTSD.

The COVID-19 pandemic creates stressors like fear about getting sick, concern for loved ones, isolation, job loss and new childcare and family demands. If you have been through traumatic events in the past, you may have learned to cope well in crisis situations. However, dealing with the pandemic is unique; some ways people cope—like eating out or watching or playing sports—may not be an option. Peoples movement and freedoms are severely curtailed.

Posttraumatic stress disorder a result of untreated trauma – summarised

• A debilitating anxiety disorder that occurs after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event that involves either a real or perceived threat of injury or death. This can include a natural disaster, combat, an assault, physical or sexual abuse, or other trauma.

• PTSD sufferers have a heightened sense of danger and impending doom. Their natural “fight or flight response” is damaged, causing them to feel stressed or fearful even in safe situations.

• Once called “shell shock” or “battle fatigue” PTSD can happen to anyone at any age.


PTSD occurs as a response to chemical changes in the brain and is not a result of a character flaw or weakness.


Traumatic symptoms of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types:

1. Distressing memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event

2. Avoidance

Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

3. Negative changes in thinking and mood – depression

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions

4. Emotional reactions

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behaviour, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behaviour
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame


For children 6 years old and younger, signs and symptoms may also include:

Re-enacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play

Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event Causes of PTSD


It is important to remember that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event gets PTSD. Many factors come into play. Some of the many causes or risk factors for PTSD are:

Vicarious trauma

People with PTSD are not the only ones who are affected by trauma. Those in the helping professions such as medical personnel, doctors, nurses, first responders, emergency workers, fire fighters, police, therapists, social workers, reporters and even energy workers can experience the effects of trauma vicariously because of an empathic connection with the person. Being committed and/or responsible for helping others, seeing suffering every day, being repeatedly exposed to horrific trauma or inhumane acts committed on another human being can eat at the soul or spirit of those trying to help. Hope can be lost and “compassion fatigue” can set in, oftentimes leading to burnout. The person who was dedicated to helping others loses hope and can also become depressed him or herself. Even Reiki practitioners, because of their compassion and energetic connection, can develop compassion fatigue from listening to and working with those experiencing trauma over a long period of time.


How Reiki can help

Reiki, simply stated, calms and stills the spirit of the person. It can promote relaxation from the outside in and remind the body how it feels to be calm again. The act of sharing Reiki can also remind the body that physical touch can be nurturing and therapeutic. Reiki promotes inner peace and calm. When the spirit self has been calmed and quieted, the physical healings of the body can begin.

During the fight or flight response, emotions are often buried in an attempt to assist the person through the traumatic experience. Oftentimes, emotions can get trapped and stored in the body as cellular memory. Through deep relaxation and calming of the spirit, those trapped or buried emotions and trauma can be gently released.

It is important to remember that Reiki heals at the soul or spirit level, thus we can never predict the person’s experience or outcome. Trusting and following the energy will always take us where we need to go and address what the person needs most in that moment.


What people shared after Reiki treatment:

“The Reiki helps me sleep through the night.”

“I can focus better, and I am looking at life more positively.”

“I have not had a panic attack in four weeks and have not awoken with a nightmare.”

“The Reiki helps me to be more open with my wife.  I am talking more.” 

“I can relax now, and I am sleeping better.”

“The Reiki helps my headaches. I am decreasing my pain meds with my doctors’ direction.”

“The Reiki helped me to let the emotions out.”

“I have not been able to relax since the trauma. The Reiki allows me to relax for the first time.”

“Reiki helps me go to a place of peace inside.”

Summary

PTSD is a complex condition, and many people will have to deal with it sometime in their life or the life of a loved one. The more we know about it, the more we can understand and help. Public awareness of PTSD is on the rise and there is so much information and so many resources now available. Reiki is a great way to calm and nurture the spirit of someone experiencing PTSD.

Reiki and PTSD Resources List

Books

Curtin, Richard. 2012. Psychotherapeutic Reiki, A Holistic Mind Body Approach To Psychotherapy – A Training Manual. Lulu.com.

Levine, Peter. 2010. In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Articles

Fehrs, Linda. “Reiki and psychological trauma.” Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies. www.integrative-healthcare.org.

Dey, Eileen, and Michael Emanuel. :Reiki for veterans.” Reiki News Magazine Winter2008: 41—43.

Websites

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/the-world-is-experiencing-mass-trauma-from-covid-19-what-you-can-do