PTSD is Not Just For Veterans, But Anyone
Today I would like to describe what exactly is PTSD. How PTSD is not just for veterans. I will be using an article from the National Institute of Mental Health.
Have you ever experience a very extreme scary event in your life? Think of the emotions that happen. Or rational thinking tends to go out the window, your muscles tense up, your heartbeat races etc. What these reactions are called is your fight or flight response. For some people this response changes things in their brain and they have harder time moving past it. Anything that reminds them of the event can trigger the flight or fight response in them.
I know for me, so many similar trauma’s plus my brain injury makes it hard for me to move past the fight or flight response to my triggers.
PTSD is not just for veterans
Signs and Symptoms
Not everyone who has PTSD has been through a life threatening event. Some experience severe emotional trauma like death of another, emotional abuse, so on. The symptoms can come on as early as 3 mo. after the event or even years after. But the deciding factor on if it is PTSD or not is if it affects a persons daily living and relationships and lasts more than a month.
For me, I do not remember when I have not been the way I am. Not many like to be around me because it is hard to know when I will react irrationally to things. I do not have any friends other than my husband and in laws where I live. Everyone is online. My traumatic events are sexual abuse many different men in different times in my life, and my brain injury.
ptsd is not just for veterans
- At least one re-experiencing symptom
- At least one avoidance symptom
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms
My qualifying criteria
- I re-experience my fear symptoms every time my husband and I try to be intimate
- I avoid intimacy or even facing people because I have been hurt
- I quit regularly get very angry to the point of blind rage
- I have depression, and anger issues, plus I cannot think straight when I am triggered
To further explain these symptoms I would like to share more of the article and add how the show up in my life.
Re-experiencing symptoms include:
- Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
- Bad dreams
- Frightening thoughts
I sometimes get crazy nightmares and cannot sleep well. When it comes time that I want to be intimate with my husband my mind gets triggered. I want to love my husband, but my brain says no, I get scared. Then also it seems in some conversations, I lose all control of my emotions. I think this was first affected from all the fights I had with my first husband. When I see anyone being belittled, treated badly, or if anyone suggests anything that appears to go against me in any way triggers me. I shake, I say nasty things, I breath fast, get tunnel vision etc.
Avoidance symptoms include:
- Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
I do both of these. I hide at home so I do not have to possibly face people in the world that could trigger me. I also do not like to think or feel negative feelings. When I get so blind angry I then get very depressed and blame myself. Then I feel like pulling away from what triggered me. I am in a women’s group, I get triggered regularly by someone in the group. I left it once, but I am now determined to have God help me. I am staying in the group but, that does not mean that the urge to run does not happen often.
Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or “on edge”
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having angry outbursts
Out of these my biggest issue is angry outbursts. My biggest need to help me cope with life is to feel I have control. I believe this is because I lost control of my life to so many abusive people. So, if it appears anyone is getting close to taking any kind of control from me I blow up emotionally big time. I can be very mean and ugly with my words. In raising my kids, I could not control them, so they often got the brunt of my rages.
When I am in a group of people I am always tense, waiting for something to hurt me, or someone to hurt me. Waiting for someone to say how bad and wrong I am, what a terrible person I am.
Cognition and mood symptoms include:
- Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
- Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
- Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
Wow! I fit all of these!
Between my brain injury and abuse I do not remember my past much at all. I remember some of the abuse, who did what. But it is all like a fog most of it.
Negative thoughts about me or the world?! Ya! I do not like myself at all, I am scared of the world. I am scared of living with my husband again.
[spp-tweet tweet=”Guilt or blame, ya I blame myself for all the men I brought into our lives. I feel guilty for all the pain that happened. ”
Loss of interest? Hum, staying home all the time say anything about my loss of interest?
PTSD is not just for veterans
Do you recognize any of this in yourself? I would like to encourage you strongly to seek professional help. It is not easy, but there is a way out. Between God, counseling, and spiritual warfare there is peace and healing God wants us to live with.
If you need to talk, please do not hesitate in joining my site as I seek healing for my life.