Essential oils have been an enormous help on my trauma and mental health journey. Generally, I use Ylang Ylang essential oil applied topically at regular intervals throughout each day to help keep my anxiety at a more manageable level. This also helps with muscle soreness throughout my body from anxiety tension as it helps me to be a little more relaxed and in less physical pain.
Topical application and smelling a certain essential oil blend has been helpful in calming the horrific effects of flashbacks containing disturbing physical sensations and emotions present at the time of the original event(s) that leave me immobilized, unable to speak, and shaking in terror.
At times when anxiety is extreme, I also use Vetiver essential oil applied topically to help decrease anxiety. When depression is stronger I use another essential oil blend applied topically and also inhaled to improve my mood and allow me to function a little better and help decrease thoughts of suicide.
It is often challenging to sleep at night so a combination of these essential oils depending on the severity of my symptoms enables me to be able to sleep.
When I experience a dissociative state—“going away” mentally, darkened vision, excessive sleepiness, not feeling real, feeling physically cut off from people and the world, inability to function or speak, having a very clouded mind—it helps me to smell Peppermint essential oil and sometimes apply it topically. This helps to make me more alert and brings me back to the present moment.
I am living proof that smells can reach the brain and affect mood more quickly than any other sense. For me, smelling essential oils helps improve my mood and some symptoms almost instantly and enables me to be able to get to a point of functioning where I can incorporate other coping skills that can also help. Essential oils have also helped me to cultivate a sense of safety.
Trauma healing is not possible without a felt sense of safety. Through consistent use, essential oils have become familiar to me as I repeatedly smell the scents, get accustomed to them and associate them with a decrease in terror and unbearable physical and emotional symptoms, and an increase in calm. There is an added sense of safety for me as I know the oils come from plants that God has created and are grown and made in safe, non-toxic ways that promote health for my body and whole self.
The use of essential oils has enabled me to be able to think more clearly, become more grounded and work through trauma in therapy. I am so thankful for the many ways essential oils help me to continue to grow, recover and be here with and for the people around me.

-Amanda C.