"Heal Your PTSD: Dynamic Strategies That Work," by Michele Rosenthal, Conari Press, $18.95, 256 pp.
In the 35 years since the American Psychiatric Association added post-traumatic stress disorder to its definitive Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, PTSD has become a part of our national conversation -- originally focused on combat veterans but now widely recognized among rape victims, disaster survivors and others who have experienced extreme trauma. A new book suggests positive responses to this often crippling condition.
In her teens, Michele Rosenthal suffered toxic epidermal necrolysis syndrome, a very rare allergic response to medication, searing off the top two layers of her skin as if she had been burned all over her body. Her physical scars healed, but she suffered severe PTSD, involving nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks and anorexia, for more than 20 years. In her book, Rosenthal encourages others with the disorder to use the lessons and tools that she says turned her life around. (Today she's an author, blogger, radio host and life coach.) This is a cheerleading, you-can-do-it kind of book, with step-by-step lifestyle modifications interspersed with such boldface exhortations as "Healing happens when you value who you are" and "You are not in denial. You are coping!"