What is PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a debilitating illness that myself and many others have suffered with. This disorder was known as shell shock because it was from veterans coming back from wars. They were still living in the stress from their past, or post, traumatic situations.
Here is the breakdown of PTSD:
- Post – a past trauma that still affects a person today
- Traumatic – it had a traumatic effect on the person
- Stress – it is brought on by a stressor and causes turmoil
- Disorder – it is not normal, not orderly in the mind
Many people are diagnosed by a medical professional, but a lot of people don’t seek out the help.
PTSD is Unique to the Individual
PTSD is unique to the individual. This disorder is triggered in childhood and as adults. Some people who have experienced the same events will get it and others don’t. It has to do with how resilient a person is, their upbringing, and their genetic makeup.
PTSD is unique to each person, so a person shouldn’t compare themselves to others or cut them down. An example, if a person experienced an ambush in a foreign war and another person who has been through worse, they shouldn’t judge them. What is bad for one person may not be bad for another.
Even though I said don’t compare, I give a veteran of a foreign war a lot of credit if they have PTSD or not. The stuff that a person has to experience or see in a war zone would be traumatic. The lucky ones are the ones that didn’t get affected much when it was over. The ones who were affected by war are the ones that are getting much attention these days
Four ways of PTSD – Healthy Mindsets Underneath it All
Children contract PTSD as well as adults.
- Adult with PTSD that had childhood trauma-worse scenario (they have no way of falling back
on a healthier mindset when things get bad)
- Adult with PTSD with a good upbringing – they are “sometimes” able to handle bad things
- A child with a good upbringing will be able to handle stressors better
- A child with a crappy upbringing and won’t be able to handle an incident – They suffer from
PTSD for a long time and if they are affected they have to find unhealthy ways to cope and
Different Ways of Handling PTSD
N.B. – Tools are the things needed to handle life; Problems are traumatic events that happen in life
A Personal Experience with PTSD
My parents were arguing, drunk, and fighting all of the time. It happens to a lot of kids I know. Add to that, being a highly sensitive person it made it worse. My senses were in overdrive at an early age, mostly inherited traits, making me more affected by the events. I never found a solid foundation of normalcy. Add to this, I can’t recollect much of what went on. That makes it the worse when the subconscious is running the show as you are still in the event, but you can’t remember what it was.
The events seem like they were hellish. I was a little kid and getting yelled at the top of my step dad’s drunken lungs when I messed up a little. My mom didn’t provide much comfort at all. Not having any normal “tools” to work with, it was a living hell. It happened over and over for seven or eight years. I did whatever weird behaviours I could to survive. One of them was Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). That was thirty-two years ago and now at age forty, I am still trying to get out of a traumatic way of thinking. If you don’t get control of it, it keeps controlling you.
The only thing worse in my case is if I had to go into the military and a war zone. If I would have observed things that others have seen, I might be living in a cardboard box. Worse, I might have been one to commit suicide. This is why I give the people with no foundation early in life and then traumatic events happening later the most credit.
I have mentioned before, that people with a good foundation early on, might be able to handle events later on better. I could have only dreamed of a mother that helped when I fell down and be brushed off and told to try again. This would have been a better tool than to say nothing when I had a “traumatic” hurt, for that age. Later, when a trauma happened, I would have some tools.
PTSD Effects – On Guard 24/7
PTSD is not a fun thing to have. It is like being a watchdog, being alert at all times. It is like
something from thirty years ago is still going on. This disorder tends to make a person on edge
all the time and you don’t dare surprise one of these people. It also tends to wear on the body, as
it is under stress all day. For myself, you don’t dare make a loud noise or surprise me or I’ll come
around swinging. The jolt of adrenaline is something I can’t describe, you have to experience it. I
know of many others out there that behave the same way.
Hope and Help for PTSD
PTSD is improved by changing your thinking and medicine, to name a few. Changing your thoughts, from automatic thoughts to a new way of thinking helps a lot. For example, I have to make sure my stepdad, or anyone, doesn’t take me by surprise with anger. I could change this to, I have to live and relax and if someone surprises me, most of the time won’t be bad and I’ll be able to handle it. Just relaxing is another way to help out also.
Medicine might help out a person also. There are many drugs out there and this can be discussed with a medical professional such as a psychiatrist. It is best to find a mixture of talking and medical treatment.
There are also other personal therapies:
- Affirmations daily;
- Talking out loud and getting it out;
- Writing a book to express the problem;
- Crying out a lot of the pain;
Whether you have childhood PTSD or adult PTSD, it can be made less severe. A better quality of life is within reach.
- PTSD is not a fun experience. Being on edge and watching all around is not fun. I am personally
affected by this disorder.
- PTSD can happen by having a bad traumatic event in early childhood, such as myself or in
adulthood. Many adults get it in a war situation, but any traumatic event can trigger it.
- PTSD is becoming less stigmatized now and there is help available. It is not an easy road to
overcome, but it is definitely worth it.
– This story was written by Jason McKean as a testimony of living with PTSD.