Better Than Drugs
Before I discovered cold showers... I was in the process of trying to 'make peace' with my healing journey. After putting in real effort and work to become better... I hit a stopping point. I didn't know what to do next. And I didn't even know there was a 'next'. It's not like healing methods for PTSD we're posted on every street corner. People don't like to talk about this shit. The old school methods were... Talk about it with a counselor or get on some pharmaceuticals. I was originally diagnosed with ADHD when I did try medication. I later found out PTSD can mimic ADHD. I had bad reactions with all the drugs that I tried. Some made me blind to light, some numbed me out, and others made me go straight to sleep. The toxicity of any drugs builds up in the liver. There's always a consequence or a trade off when taking drugs. Remember that next time your doctor starts handing them out like some sort of prize or cure-all. After that experience I vowed to go through healing without drugs. No matter how hard. Drugs can have their place, but remember there will always be short term, long term, and lifetime effects from taking them. These effects depend on what they are, how they react with your specific body, and how long they're taken. At Heal His PTSD we teach healing methods that don't involve pharmaceuticals. These methods can be used in conjunction with medication and even help replace it at some point for more effective treatment depending on... YOU. Every situation is different. It's important to remember that every decision made about your health is an important one. Do your research. Personal experimentation is the only way to truly heal from PTSD. At some point you need to grab the rains and step into the dark brother. You've gotta dive in. You've gotta be brave. You can do it.
So, I spent months trying to figure out what 'next' was and when I came up empty handed... I felt that it was best to come to terms that this was as good as I was ever going to get, instead of spending my time hoping only to be let down. Triggers every day. A chronic internal battle. And a looming shadow of lost potential.
It sounds bad. And it was. But compared to the years before, it was so much better. It was the same world... but cleaner, safer, and more compassionate. Then, one day, I had PTSD bad. I was in a warm shower at the time. For a few weeks prior I had been learning about the virtues of cold exposure. How it could increase the immune system. How it could help the heart. And how it could mentally toughen the mind. Feeling overwhelmed with sadness and emotion... I reached for the shower knob and started to turn it towards cold. Why? I think I felt numb in a way and wanted to expose myself to SOMETHING. Like a warrior going through a ritual. I needed something to happen to help me graduate to whatever was next. The pain that I felt made me feel like I could do things that I wouldn't normally do. Kind of like when you've had the shittiest day and you just say "fuck it"... and then ask the unreachable girl out, or beat the big asshole up, or make some sort of change that you wouldn't normally do under any regular circumstances. When that cold water hit me I started breathing sporadically. Shallow at first. I started moaning and groaning through my breaths like a lion in pain. With tears coming down, cold water flowing over me, and breathing like an animal... I found my 'next'. Opening up the fucking body. I stayed in this rhythm for about 45 minutes. I breathed through a bad attack. I relived trauma using my body. Not sitting in a chair. The cold water forced me to breathe and activated my body's fight/flight/freeze mechanism. The noise and animalistic breathing forced my vagus nerve to activate. The vagus nerve helps you break through conditioned fear and reduce anxiety. I didn't know that at the time... All I knew was that something, SOMETHING was happening. I didn't even know what. But at that point I'd take uncertainty and chance over nothing at all or monotony. This is why I value anecdotal evidence highly in this field. Certain techniques may never be fully proven to work the way that they do. But they do. If something works, you keep doing it. Period. You don't go out and try to prove that it works, you just keep using it. You are the captain of your own ship. For some techniques you just need to relax. For other you need to toughen up. Cold showering is one of those toughen up techniques.
Intense Consistency, A New Term
After that, I started taking cold shower every single day for 250+ days. That's how long I needed daily cold showers to become better than I ever thought possible. Rain, shine, sickness, fevers, work deadlines, PTSD attacks, early, late, midnight, ate to much, didn't have time, holidays... It didn't matter the occasion. I did it. There was a week where I got really sick in the winter and didn't shower for 4-5 days. I tell you this to illustrate the point that nobody's perfect. There's a difference between intense consistency and perfectionism. Fuck perfection. Say that out loud. "Fuck perfection". You're new motto is intense consistency. It's where you go balls to the wall and give it all you've got for a period of time. For me... it was 250 days of cold showers lasting anywhere from 2-15 minutes. Consistency works fine for most things. But when dealing with PTSD you need more than just consistency. You need to be willing to get uncomfortable over and over again. You need to dig deep and go to a place you've never been before. You need to become more than you are right now. Think of it like pushing through a mold.
You are so much more than you even realize at this moment. And you will be so much stronger, durable, confident, persistent, and capable than you thought possible. But you're gonna have to push limits. You're gonna have to dedicate time. And you're gonna have to have some faith. You are a man. What is a man? Someone who does what needs to be done. That's you. Embrace that right now. Leaving a wake of broken people, destructive memories, and distant empty children isn't how it has to be. Not anymore. Let's get it right, together. It's never too late and you're never too far gone.
Bring Up Trauma
Starting out, you can just get the cold water on your lower body. It's a lot easier than your upper body because you don't have many organs down there. Once you graduate to your whole body then your breathing will be more affected. Blood will start rushing towards all of your vital organs to keep them warm. This is a good thing. You want the water as cold as it will go without losing too much pressure in the shower head. There are 2 ways to get ready for the shower. Try each one out. The first way is that you focus on your breath, music, or something else that's on your mind. This could be psyching yourself up for the shower or singing a song that gets your mind off of the fact that you're going into "oh shit that's cold!" territory. The other way is actually drawing up a traumatic experience in your mind. Thinking about it in detail and keeping it with you during the shower. You're gonna breathe through that shit.
The cold shower brings up trauma. You can help speed that along by bringing up the trauma in your mind and then getting in the shower. Breathing and feeling the trauma in your body will help it come out. If you're not feeling like it's a day for that... go ahead and try the first way instead. You can alternate as you feel. Make sure you're not just doing the first way because you're scared.
Beta-Males Can't Handle Cold
If you're a beta-male, you're in-luck. Because you're not going to be after you're healed. You can't be. You'll be to strong and capable. When I refer to being a beta-male, I'm not talking about being a kind, thoughtful, compassionate, intellectual guy. I'm referring to a guy who isn't confidant, who is governed by fear, and needs approval from others. It's perfectly OK to feel fear, it's not OK to let it hold you back or control you. Many of the toughening, strengthening, and limit breaching techniques (including cold showers) that are taught here will naturally show you your potential. You will become an alpha-male. The likes of which the world needs more than ever before. Beta-males simply use whatever they can to camouflage their cowardliness. Rest assured, the asshole college jock that we've all seen in the movies has some serious beta tendencies. One of which is that he often acts out towards physically weaker individuals. Exercising dominion over them to validate his own strength. An alpha-male doesn't need or seek outside validation.
He's also not afraid to give strength and protection to weaker males who need it. He sees their potential. This showcases security in his strength. Where as the beta-male only sees an opportunity to validate his own strength, often to others. An alpha does not validate himself to others. Simply because he doesn't need to. With enough cold showers and enough healing you will become a badass. You will take back time in a whole new way. No more stagnant moments, wasted hours, or fucked up days. This is your time. No matter where you're at, you can become way better than you are right now. Now, get your ass in some cold water!