A recent NBC news story talks about how a PTSD diagnosis can break an individual. Yes it can, but I believe what is broken can be healed. We can defeat PTSD. A life destroyed, can be a life reborn.
From the NBC news article: PTSD can really ruin peoples’ lives, says Gean. “PTSD is associated with horrendous symptoms within the individual. It drives them to do things that a person who is not affected by PTSD would not do,” she said. It can break an individual.”
Not only that, the stigma associated with PTSD is great. This means that many who are suffering from PTSD try to keep it hidden and avoid acting on it. They don’t want the label almost as much as they don’t want PTSD.
Broken is a good word for PTSD. It is the basis for the talks and workshops I teach. PTSD really just means broken and anybody can be broken. Get broken because of a traumatic, life threatening event, meet a few other criteria, and they call it PTSD. There should be no shame nor stigma in that. No one on this planet is so strong that they can’t be broken. Why run from the truth? It is in the truth that you find hope. Hope is what begins the journey of healing, and hope is what convinces us that we can defeat PTSD.
Getting better starts with understanding that if you’ve been broken you can truly build a new life. The key is taking those first steps to get the PTSD out of the dark. Keep it in the dark, it will grow and overwhelm you. Get it out in the light, find someone you can talk to about it – a friend, a parent, a loved one, a counselor, a preacher, whoever – and you are on the road to living again. I get e-mails all the time from people suffering and you can literally see them change as their hidden demons become transparent.
PTSD is not a death sentence. PTSD doesn’t mean you are weak. PTSD doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to get better. It just means you’ve been broken. You can overcome it and live again. You can defeat PTSD. I’ve worked with thousands and have the heard the most horrific stories you can imagine. I’ve seen miracles, I’ve seen relapses, I’ve seen men and women overcome incredible pain to live.
I believe in you.
Here is something you can do today – grab a piece of paper and pen or pencil. Write about the darkness you keep hidden. It can be one sentence, a drawing, a poem, a short story, it really doesn’t matter. When you are done, burn or throw away the paper. Do this until you are ready to talk to someone about it. I’ve had many people do this. Give it a try, it works.