As someone who has had to process my own PTSD. Welcome to the journey.
PTSD is becoming more common - not just from our returning veterans, but the general population has been suffering as well. THANK YOU @SilverBear This is a cathartic way to begin. It is valuable to separate your trauma from who you were before, or who you wish to be when you are no longer burdened by its effects.
Images of breaking the cycle of thoughts is important, think of PTSD as chains, or restraints, or a wall to be pushed through. If visualization is difficult find pictures you can look at and focus on. Infuse them with your meaning -write label on the elements of the image. Tear away the negative -throw them away or burn them.
Visualize encapsulating the trauma into a box or container and floating it away from you - on a boat or a rocket - sending the memories far away. Actively giving them distance and ultimately less power.
I like the ritual and the physical burning the memories on the black candles, that creates a NEW concrete image of separation.
Trauma as guilt - forgive yourself. Find a way to heal what you believe as failure. We are not superhuman we are just human. Find a way back to doing more in the present. The only place we have life is in the moment. Be in the moment.
Depression is often co-morbid with PTSD. I felt stuck, helpless, hopeless.
Dealing with depression… get up… move… do something physical… climb stairs, weed the garden, take a walk, vacuum the floor…any thing that requires focus and movement. (My creativity is my sanity)
Take up a hobby, knit or crochet, tie flies, word puzzles, coloring, etc.
NOTE: Meditation may be difficult if you are suffering looping thoughts. Be gentle with yourself. Keeping a journal is good if you use it for positive focus - challenge yourself to focus on one positive thought a day… even if it is simply “I am still here”
One step, one day, one week at a time.