PTSD

Melissa Powex • 12/11/17

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - 

‘a psychological condition, characterized by anxiety, withdrawal, and a proneness to physical illness, that may follow a traumatic experience’ (Oxford dictionary.)

PTSD was initially identified after the war as a problem when soldiers returned having experienced highly stressful life events and had been traumatised from their experiences. Losing close friends and family, watching terror and destruction, being frightened at all times while fighting for their country.

PTSD from a soldier’s perspective is probably quite clear to most. I was watching the film Dunkirk recently – there are many other’s too where you can get a sense of the mental images that might haunt someone who was actually in that moment.

PTSD symptoms -

PTSD can cause horrid nightmares which will disrupt sleep, it can cause reactions in day to day life to certain noises or experiences that might feel or look similar to the trauma experience. It may result in increased anxiety because your brain has almost been reprogrammed to be scared and to respond in a fight or flight way at the most uncertain times. 

PTSD today -

PTSD however, as I’m sure I don’t have to point out, can apply to any situation – not just a war torn experience. People today maybe have experienced being somewhere near or amongst a terrorist attack, but people (including myself) may start to attribute certain sounds (sirens, bangs, loud crowds) to something that might be frightening and might need a fight or flight response.

PTSD is often seen in my daily work in relation to abuse – physical, sexual, emotional. Every person’s story is different and every person ‘adapts’ to their experience differently. Some people have ‘dissociated’ experiences and need bringing back to the room as their minds go off in to a difficult memory that is difficult to come out of. Some people will visibly display their distress with facial expressions in relation to unpleasant stimuli. Some people – are great at covering everything up. Unfortunately covering up doesn’t make it go away.

Do you have PTSD?

Are you having nightmares about a relationship you were in? Are you avoiding certain places because something bad happened to you? Are you avoiding certain people because the memories that come back when your with those people are too difficult to think about?

If the above might fit for you – and you think things aren’t quite right – you need to speak to a qualified therapist/GP/health professional who can advise you.

Get help for PTSD - Supporting your friend or trying to help is absolutely something that I would advocate – however, PTSD is sometimes a very difficult issue to understand and unpick. An experienced therapist or health professional needs to try and help a person work through their trauma – but doing this too quickly can make things more difficult.

Just like I have said on my instagram – I love the increase in awareness of mental health issues – however, people train for many years within the profession to make sure that they don’t cause further problems for people.

Practical tips to support PTSD symptoms to come….