Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Having PTSD has made my life extremely hard. Waking up from nightmares, going into panic attacks in the middle of the day, suddenly having a flashback, having horrible social anxiety as if people can just tell about my past and are judging me, guilt about things that happened, and even the awful thoughts about suicide.

While many tend to relate PTSD to veterans that have come back from war, often PTSD is related to other traumas that civilians have experienced – such as childhood abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape, natural disasters, or violent crime (anything that might have caused physical harm or the threat of physical harm).

There are three stages of PTSD. You can experience one stage at a time or multiple stages at a time:

1: Re-experiencing
-Nightmares
-Flashbacks

2. Avoidance
-Staying away from places, events, things that are reminders
-Numbing your emotions
-Having trouble remembering the event

3. Hyperarousal
-Being easily startled
-Being on edge

I did not understand how I easily got through life from 8th grade – 12th grade without having any problems despite being sexually abused and then suddenly fell apart after my rape and other issues in college. Upon talking to my therapist I realized I had been in the avoidance stage at those times and so I had numbed myself and avoided things that reminded me of the situation so I wouldn’t have to face it.

Children will deal with PTSD in similar stages, but they will also have slightly different symptoms as well. Bedwetting, acting out, and being clingy might also occur.

There are different treatments for PTSD:

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Talk Therapy

Group Therapy

Family Therapy

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I currently am working with a therapist at a crisis center that specialized in trauma therapy. We are doing talk therapy at the moment, but focusing on different techniques to help me process through the trauma – rewind techniques, collages, etc. I couldn’t talk at first, but slowly as I have begun to trust her more, I have opened up more. It has been extremely hard, but I know that it is for the best.

As easy as it might be to try and forget that it never happened, eventually the trauma might come up and haunt you eventually. Some people can work through it on their own, but many cannot. It is always good to work with a trained professional and talk through it with them. Let them help you process through your thoughts and feelings about what happened and how you are dealing with it. Having a good support system will also help you out a lot. I did not have therapy as a child and I avoided talking about my traumas with anyone until I completely broke down. Twelve years after my first trauma and 8 years after my second trauma, I am finally facing them. Even though it has been incredibly hard, I know it is the best decision I have ever made because it is going to pay off in the long run for my mental health.

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7 thoughts on “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”

  1. Thank you for this. I am certain my daughter has PTSD from sexual abuse she experienced as a child. We had her in therapy for ages, and it helped immensely, but I know at anytime it may be necessary to start up again. She avoids bathrooms, cannot have a dresser drawer open, has horrible nightmares and has always had trouble sleeping. We have found some ways to mitigate these things, but I wonder how long it will take for her to fully overcome them, or will she ever? I feel for anyone who has suffered abuse and commend you for sharing your journey.

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  2. I know lots of people that do live fulfilling lives after going through therapy for PTSD and do not have to have lifelong therapy or go back. However, sometimes it does take time and some people do have to go back to process feelings or they may be triggered again by another event or stressful situation. There is nothing wrong with having to go back through therapy though, it simply is like going to a doctor for the flu or strep throat — they can be reoccurring illnesses. PTSD can be diminished greatly though with proper therapy, but it will take time, even after therapy, and one must continue to use coping skills and have a great support system. Things will always trigger us though and we can never know when these triggers might show up. We just learn to cope with them better on a day to day basis after going through therapy. Just continue to be there for her. It is wonderful that she has such good support from you. I would have loved it if my parents were there for me as a kid.

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  3. Thank you! That’s terrible that your parents weren’t there for you, but your courage is inspiring.

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