Until recently, post-traumatic syndrome disorder, also known as PTSD, was a veteran’s mental health condition for me. I couldn’t think in a million years that I could be diagnosed with something like that. Although looking back, it is pretty obvious. As a matter of fact, I experienced and witnessed many terrifying events. I have seen many mental health professionals, traditional and non-traditional related to what I was dealing with. Unfortunately, it took a while for me to have the proper diagnosis. Keep reading if you think you may have PTSD due to a problematic or life-threatening event.
What is trauma, and what leads to PTSD?
Seeing your grandmother naked or walking on your parents during their love-making may be disturbing; however, it is less likely to create PTSD. According to the American Psychologist Association, trauma is the lasting emotional response that often results from living through a distressing event. In such an event, your fight, flight or freeze response mechanism is active. Trauma is also defined in a more comprehensive jargon as an event that shakes your world views to the core. Trauma will make you question your values and beliefs and make the world around you somehow unsafe, untrustworthy and generally depressing. If combined with stressful situations, some elements are likely to create that mental health condition.
- Being exposed to a severe traumatic experience once or more in your life
- Family history of mental health risks
- Having an imbalance in the way your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones in your body releases in response to stress
- Sexual abuse /sex trafficking/sexual assault
- Childhood trauma/neglect/abandonment
- Jobs that increase the exposure to trauma, such as military
- Lack of support system
- Serious automobile accident
- Ongoing domestic abuse
- Repeatedly witnessing violence or abuse ( Ex. a child in an ongoing domestic abuse home)
- Experiencing war/having to fly your country because of war
- Having your basic human needs unmet for an extended period without knowing when they will be
What are the symptoms of Post-traumatic syndrome disorder?
Health professionals aren’t sure why some people develop this mental health condition, and others do not. With this in mind, one sure thing is a complex cocktail of factors causes PTSD. Therefore, symptoms will show up about a month after the event in many cases. Although, it is not uncommon for PTSD to manifest many years after the trauma. Here is a shortlist of common symptoms;
- Experiencing flashback
- Having nightmares or recurrent dreams related to the event
- Experiencing severe anxiety attack
- Having uncontrollable thoughts about the event
- Having intrusive memories
- Having an adverse change in thinking and mood
- A significant change in physical and emotional reaction
- Difficulty going about your daily routine
- feeling unsafe
- feeling angry consistently at everything, everyone for little things
- substance abuse such as drogue, alcohol and food
- Having poor boundaries
- Having toxics patterns
- In a codependent relationship or with a narcissistic
Due to the severity of these symptoms, your day-to-day life in all spheres is affected. For instance, if, for you, what could be a simple task for ordinary people, becomes a heavy burden to overcome, you may be dealing with PTSD.
What can help?
To emphasize, if you have been in one or more of these situations above and have been experiencing an increasing intensity of your symptoms, please seek the help of a professional mental health specialist. First of all, I would recommend is to talk to your doctor. They will refer you to a mental health professional that fits your values and beliefs. Alternatively, you could speak to someone anonymously through the Prevention lifeline 24/7 1800-273-TALK (1800-273-8255). At any time, if you feel like hurting yourself, please dial 911 for immediate help.
What worked for me
Everyone is different. With this in mind, what may work for me may not work for you. However, I did a few things that helped me go from the victim and shamed mindset to survivor and now to thriving with complex Ptsd.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment initially designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories.
- Mindfulness, meditation & yoga practice helped me create new neural pathways and ground myself in the present. It is fantastic to release stress and anxiety from your body. Interestingly enough, your hips have a lot to say about your trauma, they hold much of your emotional baggage.
- Hypnotherapy worked like a charm on me. I experienced the relief of my symptoms instantly after one session. Until today I feel great most of the time. When faced with triggers, my symptoms are mild and never last long as they used to be.