I want the old me back, before my PTSD and TBI, not a New Normal - What can I do?

Photo of a rainbow in the upper right over rolling hills and a winding road up a green hill with "New Normal" printed on the asphalt

People keep talking about accepting a “new normal” after TBI and PTSD from being in combat. But the thought of never being me again kills me. I don’t want a new normal. I want the old me. How can I come to terms with this?


There are effective treatments that work. Prolonged Exposure Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy have helped many trauma survivors take their lives back after trauma. You can take your life back from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and brain injury (TBI). In addition, it is important to know that there is no way to erase the memories or go back in time. The very fact that you survived these experiences means you will be different. However, different does not have to be bad, and different should include that you are living a life with meaning and doing the things that you want to do and that you value.


For more information about treatments for PTSD and TBI please visit The Treatment Hub.


Posted on BrainLine August 31, 2021. Reviewed August 31, 2021.

About the author: Sheila A.M. Rauch, PhD, ABPP

Sheila A.M. Rauch, PhD, ABPP, is the Deputy Director of the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program and Director of Mental Health Research and Program Evaluation at the VA Atlanta Healthcare System. Dr. Rauch has been developing programs, conducting research and providing PTSD and Anxiety Disorders treatment for over 20 years. Her research focuses on examination of mechanisms involved in the development and treatment of PTSD and improving access to effective interventions.

Professional headshot of Dr. Sheila Rauch smiling at the camera, wearing glasses in a royal blue top