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What is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)?

In this post, we will briefly discuss PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and what it means to those of us that live with it.  As a result, PTSD also has a very deep effect on those around us.

Traumatic stress is an intense experience that one goes through, and has a profound effect on him/her.  The stressor(s) can be anything from a deep loss in the family, to childhood traumas, all the way to combat (what most associate PTSD with nowadays). These traumatic events play a pivotal part in shaping our personalities and lives as a whole.  As terrible as they may be at the time, and in some cases long after, once we are able to move on from them (no easy task I assure you), then we can continue with our lives, although perhaps in a different way.

Keep in mind, that there is also such a thing as Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) which is the result of prolonged exposure to traumatising events.  This is something that can develop from years of abuse, multiple combat tours (or even from one single long tour of continuous combat) or years of bullying.

It’s normal to struggle with feelings and thoughts for awhile afterwards, and this timeframe is varying for different people. When the feelings and thoughts persist for a long period of time and/or get worse, or when they start to dictate our actions, then we start getting into the “Disorder” part of PTSD. The feelings and thoughts can be very intense (been there, still there) and they can take a very long time to get under control and put in their place (still there too). But, they can be, and we really can live a “normal” life.

Traumas affect different people in different ways and no two people are alike.  One personal may seem fine after experiencing a trauma, while another that experiences the same trauma may struggle.  Absolutely, every experience in our lives (good or bad) has an impact for everyone, this much is certain.  Some may feel depressed or anxious in certain circumstances, some may isolate themselves or try to forget about memories, and some may just keep on going like nothing ever happened.

The big thing to remember is the traumatic stress is not new, is quite normal and there are 100’s of millions of people who have gone through it and are still going through it. When PTSD becomes a “long term uninvited guest”, that’s when we need to address it as a disorder. Most certainly PTSD can be treated.  The earlier the better, but it is certainly treatable. It takes work, honesty, openness and shit tonnes of courage.

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