If PTSD were a fire, then avoidance would be the fuel that keeps it going.
The symptoms of PTSD: re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoidance of things that remind us of it, and hyperarousal, or feeling on edge, irritable, and excessively watchful of the environment, often signal that there is still work to be done. These symptoms are like the flames of a fire, if we get too close it may feel very uncomfortable. So, we may turn our backs and walk away feeling the heat diminish and our comfort increase with each step further away.
However, an untamed fire in the wild spreads. The fire does not put itself out. When symptoms and reminders of the trauma are continually avoided the wild-fire of PTSD grows. Avoidance comes in many forms, such as: drinking or using drugs to numb negative feelings, distraction and keeping busy, isolating from loved ones, staying away from crowded places or anything that is a reminder of the trauma, and not talking about what happened and the impact it has made in one's life and relationships.
But when we have the desire to come back and face the heat we can see the whole picture, which puts us in the position to do the work that needs to be done to heal. There are many excellent and effective evidenced based treatments that can help when you are ready, including exposure therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy. I have worked with many people as they overcame their traumatic past, it can be done, healing can occur when you are ready.
Connect with me for a free confidential phone consultation to find out if I am the right therapist to help you heal from your past.