rebelling against low expectations

How do I overcome post-traumatic stress?


GRACE WRITES: How should I biblically overcome post-traumatic stress?

I recently went through a traumatic experience and am struggling with post-traumatic stress. I’m getting help from mentors, but I would like to know what others think and how they are dealing (or would deal) with this.

What scripture, quotes, books, etc. can I read to get through this?

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  • Hi Grace! I have to be honest and say I don’t have a lot of experience with this. I’ve had a few anxiety attacks and things, but nothing really stemming from a traumatic experience. I strongly feel that the Lord is leading me into counseling, so there are a lot of things I feel like I could say. However, you are getting help from mentors already, so I probably wouldn’t say anything they haven’t. I don’t know which specific aspects of PTSD you are struggling with, but here are a couple things I can give you to encourage you from personal experience with anxiety and fear….
    One thing I do know (from a bit of experience) is this: You have power, through Christ living in you, over any anxiety attacks, and fears…Fear and anxiety are natural side-effects of a traumatic experience, but it’s nice to know that God is stronger and can help us when those things control us! I had an anxiety attack one night and it completely consumed my whole body and mind. I sat up in my bed, trembling, and said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command whatever is in me right now to leave me! Whatever is causing this anxiety and giving me this fear I command it to leave me!” I said this about 3 times and truly believed with my whole heart that God would take it away…And he did! After the third time, as my faith was increasing, it suddenly vanished…We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!
    Secondly, I want to give you a verse that helps me when I’m afraid. It’s Isaiah 41:10. It says (NASB), “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you! Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” When I am afraid of something, ANYTHING, I say this verse to myself, sometimes out-loud and sometimes silently, reminding myself of God’s promise to strengthen, help, and uphold me when I am afraid..THEN, I switch the verse around and put myself in the first person. What I mean is, I say, “I will not fear, for You are with me! I will not anxiously look about me, for You are my God…” and I say it back to the Lord…Without fail, EVERY time I do this, repeating this verse over and over, I am given comfort and soon my fear vanishes to nothing…
    Does all this mean I’ve never again struggled with fear or anxiety!? No way! I still struggle! These are just weapons to use when the enemy strikes…
    I hope this encourages you! Please truly know my heart BLEEDS for you! Helping people who have been through these kids of experiences is one of my heart’s passions…So know my prayers are with you!

  • I have never experienced what you are going through, and I have no clue what to say that would be helpful, other than the trials that we go through are used by God not only to strengthen our relationship with Him, but to bring other people to Him by what they see in our lives. That has helped me when I’m having a rough day and am stressed. That God is using this to show others His glory through my faith during trouble. 2 Corithians 1: 3-7 and Lamentations 3 are two passages I have found encouraging. It is amazing to read Lamentations 3, in the middle of a book of sadness, and see in the middle of the chapter the author still praising God, because of the Hope that is within him. I will be praying for you.

  • grace i have never gone through what you are going through right now but i hope it gets better. but what i have to say is pray to God about this and read your bible i hope that helps

  • That is a very difficult question as everyone is so unique and their experience so individual. There is always an adjustment period after a traumatic event. Your reaction will depend on many things such as your physical health, mental health and where you are in your spiritual health. Having experienced trauma in my life, in hindsight, I realized that it would be so overwhelming at times that I would let it consume my thoughts. After a while, I realized that God wanted my full attention and that is when I accepted what I was going through as God’s will for my life. That is when I started resting in His will and entered His rest. The enemy would love for anything that happens to us to consume our lives keeping us from Christ. I sympathize with you. It is very difficult. Take one step at a time keeping scripture foremost in you mind. You will get through this with Christ and it will be for His glory.

    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

    1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

    James 5:13-16 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

    Psalm 23:1-4 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.He guides me along the right pathsfor his name’s sake. Even though I walkthrough the darkest valley,I will fear no evil,for you are with me;your rod and your staff,they comfort me.

    May God give you strength for today and hope for tomorrow.

    In Him,

    • Sam,

      Thank you for asking. I have found that chronic illness is no respector of persons. I trust God is working through this if only to give me compassion for others. He is always with me and it has served me well in that I have more down time to study His Word.

      I am rejoicing as a young mother who we have been sharing our faith with has been saved. She was raised Lutheran, but noticed that our faith was different. My daughter started a Bible study with her on 1John and one day at her kitchen sink God revealed Himself to her by His Spirit and she knew she was changed. She is a new creation and it is so exciting to see. What a huge gift from God. He did it all.

      God bless you,

  • **I haven’t read any comments**
    I have this as well. I was in a car accident and its really affected me. I try getting over my fear by telling myself that God protected us. I dont know your situation, but I’m hoping the helps some.

        • Wow. I was in a car accident a little over a month ago and it has really changed how I think… which is why I asked how to overcome the Post-Traumatic Stress. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

          • Short story is I was working at a Christian Camp in the High Desert of Southern California in a summer teen work program. My sister took me and a friend to Church on a Sunday morning, and on the way back to camp from Church, we were going way too fast, mainly because my friend and I were peer pressuring my sister… we ended up rolling and landed upside down. By all laws of nature I should have been killed instantly, but God saved my life.

          • I was the most injured with several scratches and bruises… none of us should have walked away, all of us did.

          • We were on the interstate and a semi truck hit right behind the drivers side rear door, we spun across 3 lanes of the interstate, hit the concrete wall and stopped.

          • Totally fine, physically. I have a few scars, but feel totally healthy now. The other two who were in the vehicle were even better off physically. Emotionally, we have all struggled.

          • I was in a car accident close to 2.5 years ago… Me and my sister and my mom were coming back from a test we were taking, and we were hit head on by a drunk driver at 55 mph (the equivalent of hitting a block wall at 110 mph). The other driver didn’t survive the impact, though all of us survived… but not all of us walked away. My mom got a TBI (worthy of a whole article itself), and still is in a wheelchair, and possibly may not walk again. My sister is pretty much fine, save a few flashbacks now and then — not to downplay them, she simply doesn’t have physical limitations from the accident. I got some decent back/neck injuries, and while I am fine most of the time, sometimes (like this past week) I’m just in agony because of the injuries that have been aggravated. All of us have emotional scars from the accident. I will never forget the other guy’s face… that’s sobering. 🙁

          • That’s a lot to go through… Must be so rough. I’ve had some days where I just don’t know how I got through them. Sharing my story helps some, but… it’s really hard. In fact, for me it’s a miracle I survived in the first place, but what’s more is I survived with ONLY very minor cuts and abrasions. I didn’t even get a concussion! I know it’s been worse (emotionally) for my sister, though. I pray for us every day.

          • Yeah, I get ya. Were you scared to get back into a car? I know I was. But really, just doing it and getting over that fear by DOING really helps.

          • Yes, I was afraid at first, but now, it’s not really bad… Just sometimes I get flashbacks… especially, when we swerve.

          • Yeah. What about driving? (that is if you are old enough to drive) I’m sorry if this is alot of questions :/

          • I recently turned sixteen and was planning to start Driver’s Ed soon after I got back from camp, but changed my mind, and decided to wait for a few month before learning to drive, because I don’t think it would be safe for me to drive right now because of the Trauma.

          • Yeah, I know. I’m only 14 but my 15th birthday is in a couple months and I kinda want to wait a few months, like you.

          • In my family there are people that most of the time I will not ride with, they are not safe drivers.

          • The drivers in my family are usually safe drivers. It’s just that day my sister gave in to peer pressure from me and my friend, and it cost us big time. My sister had never done anything like that before, and I don’t think she’ll ever do it again… that’s something about our family, when we make a mistake and it costs us, we don’t make that mistake again, and we’ll also not make mistakes that are similar. I trust my sister and my brother as drivers, and I think that’s actually been something that has helped my sister is the fact that I’ve gotten back in a vehicle with her driving. It gave her that knowledge that I still trust her. Yes, she made a mistake, but I know she won’t ever make that mistake again, or even a similar mistake. There are people I know that I would be concerned about getting in a vehicle with them driving, but that just isn’t the case in my family (at least, when it comes to the drivers in my family).

            When it comes to the accident, legally, my sister is responsible because she was driving… but both I and my friend consider ourselves responsible, ’cause we know my sister wouldn’t have even gone near that fast if it hadn’t been for us telling her she should and it would be fun.

            My sister just doesn’t usually do stupid things. It takes a LOT of peer pressure, and usually even if she has a lot of peer pressure, she doesn’t give in. I honestly don’t know why she gave in that day… but I truly am grateful, because of the lessons I’ve learned. Yes, they were hard learned, but sometimes the hard learned lessons are the most effective lessons.

          • Its awesome that she will not do it again. its sad when people just don’t learn, and it will cost the family a lot. ( and friends)

  • I honestly don’t have any experience with this, so this might be irrelevant. I think though, that it would help me to keep my mind focused on God by doing things like listening to Christian music, (recommending Josh Wilson’s, “Fall Apart”, Casting Crowns, and Danny Gokey’s “Hope in Front of Me”) putting Bible verses on sticky notes and placing them around you house or in your locker, and other things like that. I’ve been learning that Jesus is more than enough to fill our needs. So fill your life with Him, and He will walk with you through PTSD, and anything else that life brings. I’m praying for you, Grace 🙂

  • I understand exactly what it feels like as I deal with it too. The only way I have found to get around mine is to listen to music, and simply pour out whatever strength I have into other people. The more I focus on me, the worse it gets. I would recommend that you find ways that you can shift your focus off yourself. Hope this helps a little bit!

  • I totally get what you are going through!! This spring I ran my foot over with my lawn mower and had to have reconstructive surgery. For a while I had nightmares and couldn’t stand the sound of lawn mowers. But I kept praying to the Lord and remembered that He is my unfailing rock and He always watches over us!!! Hope this helps!!! Praying for you

    • If you don’t mind my asking, how can you run over your own foot with a lawn mower? If you don’t want to answer, that is fine too, I’m just genuinely interested.

      • I don’t mind anwsering. I was mowing on a hill and there was a tree root and I slid feet first towards the mower and part of my right foot got caught under the blade. I really only damaged my big toe, but I was very blessed not to lose the toe even though recovery was very long.

        • Hey Drew,
          A week or so ago I was mowing, and I lifted the front wheels to turn, I was in a bit of a hurry, and I had put the mower on my foot.
          Thankfully, I pushed it up pretty fast, but my shoe tore a bit. I’m glad that you recovered from it. I can imagine the pain and frustration that would have caused. Cause I was on the brink of that too.

          • Yeah, at first it was very painful and scary. But I have some amazing people in my life who loved me and encouraged me. Also, it’s amazing how many people I’ve met who have had the same or similar injuries and it’s been a great way to share the gospel.

  • I don’t understand what you’re going through. And even if I went through a traumatic experience, I still wouldn’t understand…I think everyone hurts in a different way:)
    Know that He is there. I am here, maybe not in person, but I am praying for you. I’m so sorry you have to go through that and I wish I had a better answer for you.

  • Though I’m not sure what PTSD technically is, I do know that Jesus is enough. I’ve struggled after relatives died, a parent’s unemployment, and when my house burned, but His strength is always shown in my weakness. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and it will turn out for his glory and your good.And I’d suggest praying through some of the psalms. I’m sorry I’m not more help but I’ll pray for you, and I hope this is at least a bit useful.

    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After an accident or natural disaster or sometimes after people serve as soldiers, their experiences and the memories haunt them for awhile afterwards. For example, I have minor PTSD from a scary car accident. Whenever I go out driving, I flashback to the accident and get really nervous that a car is going to come out of nowhere and hit us.

      • Thank you for taking the time to explain this! That’s kind of what I was thinking, but I wasn’t sure. I can totally relate though, after my house burned there were several years before I could smell smoke or hear a siren without thinking about it.

  • I haven’t been in any super traumatic situations but twice in my life Ive come with in minutes of loosing people I love dearly and that as effected me alot. The worst effect was the constant fear that someone I loved might be in danger. When I would hear a siren I’d bite my lip to keep from crying. The way I dealt with was first trust that Jesus has His hand on the lives of those who I love. And then take a step back and breath. Now I tell my friends and family I love them every time I see them. The night mares still come every once in a while and I can hardly step foot in a hospital without breaking down. But I’ve just had to trust God knowing that “there is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still” -Corrie Ten Boom

  • Remember to pray! What has always gotten me through hard times is prayer. Sometimes my prayers weren’t that nice sounding and over and over again I’d say “God how could you do this to me, I don’t understand!” But it felt good to at least communicate that pain and fear and search for God’s help. Now that I look back I can see how God was really helping me and I’m glad that I didn’t give up.

  • Hey Gracie, I struggle with PTSD too and am in the process of healing, some of my suggestions would be- Consider getting truly godly, spiritual counseling from people who are wise and know God, this is an important thing to do and also gives you an opportunity to talk about your feelings which is another important step, sharing your experiences and feelings with others is part of healing and very necessary, talk with your family, friends, people you trust and care about you, it can be hard but like I said, very necessary.
    Pray- Pray yourself but also let other people pray for you, if you’re going through a particularly hard day, just ask someone to pray for you, it really helps and supports you. Ultimately, God is our real and only true healer, getting close to Him and His kind, loving Father heart has been the best thing I could ever do, draw close to Him and let Him be your refuge, talk to Him, share your heart and what your feeling, He really cares.
    Hope this helps some, I’ll be praying for you!

  • I too, struggle with PTSD. Time and prayer does help….I promise you that. Everyone struggles at different levels with this. For me, it has had stages of insomnia, flashbacks, nightmares, and many tears. One thing that I have clung through that has really helped me is the truth that God is ever faithful. I went through a horrific experience, but God was faithful. I am alive and while I certainly struggle, I take comfort in clinging to the Lord.
    Another word of advice is to not try and walk this road alone. I won’t lie to you… hurts so badly to open up about the pain because you want to think you’re okay, but it is healing. Just like peeling off the skin of an onion…..the deeper you go, the more tears are shed, but also like salt in a wound….it might hurt like all get out, but it also helps heal you.
    Don’t be afraid to cry too. Tears are healing. Even a year and half after the experience I had, I still sometimes cry myself to sleep or go through boughts of insomnia and sadness. But I know that God remains faithful. His love never fails.

  • well i am very sorry for you all you too grace i hope you feel better and just pray ok we all will be praying for you. 🙂

  • Grace, I have found that music is one of the very best ways to deal with PTSD. there was a time after several things happend i would lay on my bed late at night holding onto my ipod and just crying out to God for help. i didnt want to go on anymore, and felt like i couldnt handle life anymore. i would say that music is certainly one of the best ways to deal with it, in my expierince

      • Hmm… Songs about God having a reason for pain, and songs about heaven. Sometimes it’s like a song just needs to identify with the struggle. Andrew Peterson – Faith to be strong, Justin Moore -If Heaven wasn’t so far away, Disciple – Someday . I’ve prayed desperately for a song to always be in my heart. Hope it helps!

  • Grace I have never struggled with this, but I would DEFINITELY recommend the book Overwhelmed by Perry Noble. An EXTREMELY good read! I think it would help! Will be praying for you! 😀

  • After I went through a traumatic experience(4 years ago), it felt as if my world had fallen apart. I kept getting flashbacks, had trouble sleeping for a long time after that happened, and any sense of safety/security I had was gone. One day I decided to turn it over to God and in the blink of an eye, he filled me with a peace so supernatural and complete that it gave me the strength to go on. Although I still get flashbacks of this experience, it reminds me how good God is and how powerful prayer truly is. Pray about it, and He will give you peace. Also look up the Beautitudes(pardon the spelling errors) in Mattew.

  • Dear Grace – firstly, a big hug and I am praying for you! I assisted with first aid at a double fatality road accident last December, and got PTSD. Probably not a really serious case by many people’s experiences, but I would randomly start sobbing almost every day, couldn’t think straight, couldn’t figure out what was wrong, and felt depressed, stressed out, lost, alone and sad. I did have a few periods of near complete melt down, and wasn’t coping very well with life. I’ve been pretty seriously depressed before, and this was quite different, took me a good few weeks to figure out that it was probably PTSD, and I was at a loss as to how to deal with it.
    I think the biggest thing for me was talking to other people, listening to music, and reading Psalms. Each time I told the story of what had happened, discussed how I was reacting and why, it got easier. I also had a lot of people praying for me, and was spending an hour or more with God every day, a lot of time under the stars praying, and holding onto Bible verses.
    In the end though, I’m compelled to write that it was a miracle that I was completely and suddenly healed – I was getting ‘better’ but still the stress, the crying, the feeling of despair and sick to the stomach. Praying one time, about 1.5 months after the event, I said ‘Lord, I can’t cope, I can’t carry this for years – there’s too much to do serving you, and its like an attack of Satan that I’m still affected. Please free me from this!’. Since that time, about eight months ago, I haven’t had a single problem with it. God is so, so good! But His grace, through fellow believers, songs, and His Word, are so powerful through the midst of the storm. We are to be there to encourage and build each other up – and I want to say to you, hold fast. Many are standing with you in prayer, and you are washed with the blood of the Lamb, beloved of the Father, and He holds you in His hand. 1 Peter 1:3-9 helps me – it’s okay to go through hard things. Christ is in control, even in the darkness, and there’s not something wrong with you for it to be hard. <3
    1 John 3:19-20 is one of my favourites – when things seem out of control, and our hearts find no rest – there is rest in His presence. He is greater than our hearts.
    Psalm 3 – especially verse 5. This truth, that we can sleep in peace and wake again because of His sustaining grace, is the core of what I hold on to in the really hard times. He is our salvation, from the enemy without and the enemy within!
    Memorising bits of scripture which powerfully speak a specific truth to you is an awesome idea when heavy thoughts or stress begins to overtake you. One that I hold on to is Psalm 73:23-26. Though my body and my heart fail, He is my strength. <3
    With books, I think the only one I was reading at the time was 'Passion and Purity' (which I think is awesome, but also could have bits taken out, especially for us who aren't married yet…), so not really sure if that had anything to do with my heart being healed. I have almost always found writing helps me though, putting down what I thought and felt and now feel and think about a situation, though hard at the time, has been really important in helping me to deal with big issues. My other suggestions would be music (not sure what style you like, but Aled Jones and David Meece's music, though very different, were lifesavers to me at different points), playing music if you can (I can do a little on the piano), walking in nature, and having talks with close friends and family who are not affected by the situation. (I'm in Australia, talked to friends with the US)
    Sorry I can't help more with quotes or anything, but I hope and pray that these are helpful, and that God continues to minister to you and heal your heart, mind and body through His power and the prayer, support and fellowship of the saints. <3

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