What Really Is PTSD?
We have been talking a lot about trauma recently. When trauma is left untreated, ignored or mis-understood, something called Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop. Sadly, it is estimated that 1 in 11 people will be diagnosed with this in their lifetime.
Because the truth is, it does not just affect our veterans, but affects each person who has experienced trauma that has gone untreated. Women are twice as likely than men to develop this. And chances are, either yourself or someone you know well will go through this at some point in life.
What is PTSD?
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder ‘is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event’ – The American Psychiatric Association.
Given that we now know trauma looks different to each of us, it makes sense that this can be such a tricky thing to diagnose and understand.
When trauma occurs – meaning when an experience happens that negatively impacts our outlook on life causing us to form limiting belief systems that do not serve us – and we never address the incidents or how we were made to feel, it makes sense that a form of PTSD will develop in us.
Just as trauma looks different in each of us, PTSD does as well. It can cause hallucinations that are very, very real, causing one to relive a very negative/scary experience over and over. PTSD can cause nightmares, negative thoughts, self-destructive behaviors, depression, anxiety, self-harm, memory loss, being easily irritable, self-isolation, paranoia all on various levels unique to the individual. Loud sounds and random things can trigger any of these symptoms to appear at any time, beyond anyone’s control.
These symptoms do not develop overnight and likewise may occur for a while after the experience then go away for a bit. In order for it to be PTSD, one will experience any of these in any variation for more than a month to the point that they are causing problems for the person within their daily lives. Often times, PTSD will not rear it’s ugly head for many years. Lying dormant in our brains, creating all kinds of limiting beliefs and destructive behaviors that go unnoticed for many, many years.
It can be crippling when it hits. Our bodies have physical reactions to things we may not understand at first. We go into one of four modes – Fight, Flight, Freeze or Fawn mode. Our brains communicate danger to our bodies, providing adrenaline that makes us act in ways we can not always control depending on the level of danger our brain is processing us at.
Some fly into a rage, some disappear for a while, some start laughing uncontrollably, some can barely get out of bed, some can’t stop crying, some get super paranoid. I could go on, but I think you get the point. It looks different for everyone and it is very real.
The good news is that treatment is readily available! People can and do live very happy lives with the right help and understanding.
Learning about PTSD is so important, because no one deserves to stay in the dark. Ever. Come into the light with us, we are waiting for you. Contact me here
Malibu Mama Loves Xx