Understanding PSTD doesn’t need to be like solving a mystery. PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. It can happen to anyone. It develops after a life-threatening or traumatic event that we are either directly involved in, witness, or learn about. The effect can be because of one event or cumulative events. You need have no psychological conditions before the occurrence.
After over a decade working and meeting with those suffering from PTSD from all over the country, it has become clear that we all can be broken. And the path to brokenness can happen in a million ways.
PTSD develops. It can happen to anyone, no one is immune. There should be no shame, no stigma, no fear in admitting that life has broken us.
From the DSM – V – “The development of the characteristic symptoms….”
This is from the first line of the psychiatric diagnostic manual on PTSD, it is vital in understanding PTSD. It contains the most important word associated with PTSD, development. We all take hits, all our lives have cracks. When we get enough of them we can break. Understanding PTSD begins with this fact. It can happen to anyone!
While PTSD is a specific diagnosis, it doesn’t mean that we all can’t understand the cracks of life that “develop” PTSD. And if you have PTSD, don’t think you are weak, or alone, or different. Anyone can be broken. Anyone.
We see PTSD manifest itself both in our personal and professional lives. We call in sick to work regularly for the first time in our careers. We are irritable and angry to people who had never upset us before. We can’t sleep, we can’t concentrate, we feel vulnerable and threatened, life is different and seen through a cloud.
We all have that room where we try to lock away all the trauma, trash and darkness of our lives. When we can’t keep a lock on it, it can begin to take over the rest of our lives. This is why if you show me someone who has PTSD, I’ll show you someone whose entire life is threatened – work, marriage, kids, you name it.
As we fail to control the intrusive thoughts that plague us, control, or lack of control can be an issue. When we can’t control our thoughts, we try to control the things we think we can – our wife, our job, our kids, our friends, etc. But that doesn’t last long, we don’t control those things. And when we realize we don’t have “control” anger and bitterness can consume us. Some just want to get away where they can be alone. Alone is dark hole that is tough to escape, alone. We need others.
Effective PTSD therapy ultimately must lead to building a new life. In the short term acute sense, we might need drugs and a whole host of therapies to overcome our demons. But long term, we must learn to live again as you can’t run from the darkness forever.
A new life begins with a clear identity and purpose, something you would crawl through the dirt for. It also requires we be completely honest with ourselves and to at least one person who will hold us accountable. It is only then that we can begin the journey to building a new life.
My work is dedicated to helping others understand that they are not alone and there is hope. Thank you for your support and concern to help equip others to live again.