We all need an explanation of PTSD

Photo Credit: Erase PTSD Now

Photo Credit: Erase PTSD Now

Abygail Fiddler, Senior Reporter

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is caused when a person goes through or even witnesses a traumatic event. About 70% of people in America go through events that are traumatizing but only around 20% of those people will actually develop PTSD. 

Many people who have PTSD need time to fully cope and be able to understand how life now is going to work for them. It takes time for someone to realize what happened to them such as abuse, sexual assault, or even military combat. I myself suffer from PTSD due to an abusive upbringing that occurred in my life and still to this day trying to cope and realize what happened. 

Traumatic events in one’s life can be temporary. they might be able to deal with them in a healthy manner and take time to heal from it. Many don’t fully heal or are able to fully cope with the events which can lead them to use substances in order to numb themselves from the pain or in an attempt to help them forget what has happened. 

I didn’t realize I had any symptoms until I reached middle school. I couldn’t put two and two together. I was about 11 or 12 when I realized I wasn’t like my peers; everyone else was still in their fairy tale princess phase and I was more mature and talking about the future. Due to the trauma I faced as a child and into my early teen years, I am different. I tend to look at the bigger picture and often give people multiple chances even after they betrayed my trust. 

As I continue to grow, knowing I have PTSD makes my life a little easier to deal with but also more difficult in some ways. I still have some flashbacks to my traumatic events and even have had dreams in the last few months about it. The trauma will never be gone but I can subside to things to keep my mind busy or even just be comfortable with the fact that I went through something traumatic, knowing I have something to blame. I even see a therapist who helps me with coping skills as well as lets me rant to her about whatever is going on in my day-to-day life. 

Symptoms of PTSD can take up to a month to show but it can take years for the traumatic events to affect a person. But, then, it affects a person’s thoughts, work, and how they perform in a school or job environment. It can even affect a person’s daily life and tasks they used to complete regularly and easily but now don’t do as much of it anymore, it can also affect the way they show their love in relationships and friendships. 

Around 3.5 percent of Americans are diagnosed with PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can include:

  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Avoidance and isolation
  • Negative changes in your mood or thoughts
  • Changes in physical and emotional reactions 

The intrusive thoughts can consist of: reliving traumatic events in your head like having dreams or flashbacks about the trauma. 

There are quite a few risk factors that come hand and hand with PTSD, many people develop anxiety and depression when they are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Blood relatives can even have mental illnesses that can add to one’s PTSD symptoms and sometimes even make it difficult to tell if it’s PTSD or a different mental disorder. 

A healthier way of coping with PTSD could be going to a therapist, but therapy isn’t for everyone. The type of therapy one can do to help is group therapy, if they are comfortable with speaking in groups, people can even do art therapy, by drawing their feelings or expressing themselves by using art. 

Avoidance is a big factor in PTSD because sufferers try to avoid any thoughts about the trauma, avoidance can also be avoiding places that bring back the memories. A negative change in mood and thoughts can affect one’s life big time. It becomes harder to keep a steady mood and a calm state of mind when it’s constantly racing. Negative thoughts can be you just thinking about how hopeless the future will be because of what the person went through, it can even be feeling emotionally numb to anything around them. 

Many people to this day, including myself, still are struggling to cope with PTSD. It isn’t an easy mental disorder to cope with especially if you have underlying illnesses that can affect the symptoms of the disorder and even cause them to be even more extreme.