This week I took an in-depth look at post-traumatic stress syndrome... otherwise known as PTSD. My experience with PTSD is both personal and community orientated. Some of my family knows that I have this diagnosis, but for those that do not... I am coming out of the closet ;) I was diagnosed with PTSD three years ago stemming from experiences that occurred before I was eighteen in my parent's household. (I am not trying to be mean about my parents … I frankly think at this point that they did the best they knew how and complaining or blaming doesn't change anything.) I have some friends who also suffer from this disorder and some acquaintances who struggle with it so badly that they really find it difficult to get through the day... every day. One challenge that people with this disorder face every day is that this problem isn't normally visible to the world around them. Unlike someone who is in a wheelchair or has a different physical problem, the world around you doesn't know for the most part that you need certain care, what that care is, etc... So when a situation changes and puts the individual into instinctual action, everyone surrounding you for the most part is unprepared to deal with it and the individual themselves just struggles to hold themselves together and pull their mind and feelings back to the present.
1. Re-experience - These symptoms include flashbacks and /or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or much longer. Some people get difficult dreams about the traumatic event(s)
2. Avoidance - Some symptoms include the attempt to try to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event, avoiding activities or people that you used to enjoy, feeling hopeless and anxiety about the future, difficulty with memory as well as emotional challenges (such as feeling numb or unable to feel much), and difficulty concentrating as well as maintain close, personal relationships.
3. Arousal - Some symptoms people may feel are increased anxiety, irritability / anger, trouble sleeping, being easily startled, frightened (jumpy), large quantities of guilt or shame, self destructive behavior in an attempt at self medicating or suppressing the problem, and even other mental disorders that can be caused by the heightened emotional and mental challenges
I would love to hear some of your thoughts... Do any of you have experience in helping people (or yourself) with this problem? What has been successful and helpful for you? If any of my readers feel comfortable sharing, please feel free to continue the conversation and we can learn together. :)