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The Power of Time

lessons learned ptsd May 06, 2020

Recovery from Post-Traumatic Stress

Lessons Learned: TIME

If an athlete tears a ligament in their knee, there is a relatively straight line of recovery. First, there is surgery to repair the damage. Then there is a rest period to allow the injury and surgical site to heal. Finally, there is physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint and to ensure sufficient flexibility to avoid another injury.

The time line for this recovery period is conservatively in the range of the 7 to 9 months.

This timeline, once known, allows for an adjustment in the athlete’s lifestyle, circling key dates on the calendar, and eager anticipation of the day that the athlete gets back on the field of play.

Not so with a post traumatic stress injury. The only element of time specific to the injury is the minimum amount of time that someone has to suffer a specific range of symptoms before they can be diagnosed. Symptoms that have persisted for less than 30 days won’t fit the bill.

What does the end point look like? When will someone know their recovery process has been completed? That is a more challenging question to answer, for it depends on many factors.

  • Access to a support system
  • Education
  • Lifestyle adjustments
  • Skill of the mental health professional
  • Willingness to do the work
  • Use of prescriptive medicines

 Certainly, some people do self-regulate, bounce back, demonstrate their role in a world naturally suited for resiliency. Research suggests that upwards of 50% of people who meet the diagnostic criteria for post traumatic stress disorder do, in fact, return to their relative level of humanity within a few months.

What does that mean for the other 50%? What does their timeline for recovery look like? Well, it depends. As I mentioned earlier, there are many variables. The question isn’t really about how much time you are going to invest in recovery. Even athletes suffer setbacks while working on their knee rehabilitation.

The true question to ask is this:

How much effort are you willing to commit to it? To your recovery?

 Every day has 1,440 minutes; every week has 10,080. How much time are you investing in yourself and doing all the things you need to do to recover?

If you’re fortunate enough to go to therapy for an hour each week (60 minutes), what are you doing with the other 10,000 minutes?

What you do with your time is your choice.

 Invest wisely.


“Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin, into the future…”


From Fly Like an Eagle, Steve Miller band, 1976



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