What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder~ PTSD?
Today we’re digging deep right from the beginning. Let’s talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that affects our mental health. The Canadian Mental Health Association says that “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness. It involves exposure to trauma involving death or the threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence.”
The American Psychiatric Association, Psychiatry.org says that PTSD is a “disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape, or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.”
I have read hundreds of articles on the subject of PTSD. There are too many to quote, but they all report that a “traumatic event” is classed as an actual experience, witnessing a traumatic event or even a perceived threat.
Why I Started This Blog
I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When I saw this post below on Instagram I decided it was time to start sharing. After over 30 years dealing with PTSD, I feel it’s time to help others, and in a way, find more healing for myself. Talking (even writing) about PTSD is scary. The reason I started this blog to begin with, is to share my struggles with PTSD, and to help others who have suffered from trauma, or challenging emotional situations, to manage and/or overcome them. If nothing else, I want to let people know that you are not alone. You are not crazy. You have an injury as a result of a crime, or disaster of some sort.
I was diagnosed 14 years after the traumatic event in my life. Like many others, I thought I was fine after. I thought I was handling it as well as could be expected. It was over and I was moving on with my life. What I didn’t know at the time, was that some of my future decisions in life would be based on that trauma.
What Causes PTSD?
Here is a list of some common events that can cause PTSD:
- Childhood physical abuse
- Sexual violence (sexual assault, rape)
- Physical assault
- Being threatened with a weapon
- Natural disaster
- A serious accident
- A terrorist act
- Being threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury
- Actual or threatened death (e.g. witnessing a murder, an earthquake, a serious car accident, war)
- Serious injury (e.g. extensive hospitalizations, severe burns)
- Mugging, robbery, or other crime committed against you or someone you love
- Plane crash
- Torture, kidnapping,
- Life-threatening medical diagnosis
- Other extreme or life-threatening events
- Work related stress
- Ongoing physical or emotional abuse
- Difficult childbirth
The Mayo Clinic says that “PTSD symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.” I can tell you that nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia and hypervigilance are a major part of my experience, but there are so many more. It’s absolutely exhausting. The fear of something bad happening to loved ones is a daily event. Daily.
Most people who go through a traumatic event do find a way to cope, manage, and heal but some people are more deeply affected. It’s not fully understood why, but scientists are working on it and making interesting discoveries which we will discuss later.
Here is a short list of symptoms of PTSD:
- Being unable to stop thinking about what’s happened.
- Fear, anxiety, anger, depression, guilt
- remembering/”seeing” full or partial images of what happened
- Noticing sounds, smells or tastes connected to the trauma
- Feeling physical sensations, such as pain or pressure
- Experiencing emotions that you felt during the trauma.
- Increased startle response
- Inability to trust
- Feeling that the world is not a safe place
There are so many more negative effects from PTSD. There is also hope for healing. Check back next week for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Part Two, as we continue to delve a little deeper into causal events, triggers, emotions and how you can find help and improve your life and mental health.
Thanks for reading~
Carol~ Parts Of Ourselves