Last year I heard a story on the radio of a young man named John who recently came back from the war in Iraq. When he left for the war he was a cheerful, outgoing guy. When he came back something was different. He was withdrawn and depressed. His family did not know what to do about it. They were confused. Where had their son and brother gone? He was a different person. When the story aired, the young man was in counseling. John is a classic case of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from military service.
PTSD occurs when someone experiences the trauma and they continue to react to the trauma months and years later as though it is still taking place. What happens is people unconsciously decide things during the trauma. Whatever they instruct their mind to do (“The world is scary,” “I am helpless,” or “I am a bad person”) gets lodged in the unconscious part like a looping tape that plays over and over without them realizing it.
Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, have been found to improve PTSD. We have observed clients reduce their PTSD through floating. The reason is because floating frees up a lot of brain circuitry and it helps people amplify deep meditative brainwave states. It takes them out of the “flight or fight” response pattern and to a non-emotional state. In this state they are training their mind to calm down. They are also freeing up circuitry to eventually identify what they put in their mind.