Top 10 Highlights
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop after a person is exposed to traumatic events such as sexual assault, warfare etc. According to ptsdunited.org 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event, that is approximately 223 million people. Up to 20% of these people go on to develop PTSD. As of today, that equates to approximately 44 million people who were or are struggling with PTSD.
10. IT DOES NOT GO AWAY
Most people think that PTSD will go away eventually. In reality, what makes it PTSD is the fact that it doesn’t go away as time passes. Some try to view it like a funeral, that it will become more bearable. With PTSD, it isn’t the case. It will stay with you. In time it may get easier, or more manageable, but it does not go away. With that in mind, it doesn’t mean it can’t be managed. One way to start managing it is to learn your triggers.
9. LEARN YOUR TRIGGERS
Triggers are things, or events, that triggers a memory of the traumatic event. It can cause flashbacks, accelerated heart rate, irrational thinking, anger, and can release adrenaline. If you learn your triggers, you can anticipate those moments. That is important to being able to control your PTSD, and manage your life your way. Large crowds, fireworks, lack of control, and being woken up suddenly are just a few of the more common triggers some people experience. Figure them out instead of ignoring them.
8. DON’T IGNORE YOUR PROBLEM
Ignoring your PTSD is like ignoring a ticking time bomb. If you pretend it doesn’t exist, it will not make it go away. You will just be standing there listening to the ticking with no control of the outcome. Accept your PTSD, learn what you can about it, and begin the difficult task of defusing. Not it’s not to say you will blow up like a bomb, it is just a metaphor to help you understand why it is important to understand your PTSD. It will not stop ticking on its own, so you must do it. Do it for those around you, but mostly do it for yourself. After everything you went through, you deserve to have as normal a life as you can.
7. WORK ON YOUR TRIGGERS
As stated above, your triggers set off the traumatic event in your brain. You can have anger triggers, flashback triggers, and almost any kind of triggers you can think of. Sit down and think about the times you got angry over something small. Figure out why you got so angry. Do you feel bothered in a large crowd? What can you do during those moments to recognize your trigger, and what can you do about it? You can avoid them at first, but if you want your life back then working on them can help minimize the effect they have for you. This way, you can get back some of the normality you want in your life.
6. ACCEPT SUPPORT
It can be hard to admit you need help. It doesn’t mean you are weak, but instead it means you are courageous. It takes a lot more bravery to grit your teeth and admit to needing help. It will give you the back-up you need to handle your PTSD. There is no shame in getting help. The only shame is by not getting it when you need it. It better to have back-up, then to be on your own. Seek therapy, medication, or try to at least get support from those closest to you.
5. TELL THOSE CLOSEST TO YOU
When your family doesn’t understand what you are going through it can lead to distance, and frustration on both parties. It’s not your fault when you have a problem during a family function, or avoid it all together. Just as it is not their fault for being upset by it. If they knew why the crowd was so hard to handle they wouldn’t fault you, but instead try to help you. They can only add to the help and support by knowing. Give them the chance to understand. It may help you more then you think.
Image from www.time-to-change.org.uk
4. YOU ARE NOT BROKEN, OR MESSED UP IN THE HEAD
Things like parties, or even sleep, come easy to everyone else, but can be hard for you. It doesn’t mean you aren’t normal. Something that triggers bad moments also doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. Everyone is different, but you are not as different as you feel. You have gone through things that most can’t even comprehend. Of course it left you changed forever. As bad as you want it to go away, it won’t, but that doesn’t mean you are the only one who is going through it.
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3. YOU ARE NOT ALONE
30 percent of men and women who have been in war zone, return home with PTSD. If you decide to try group therapy you will find just how many people are just like you. You are not alone as long as there are others who have gone through something too. The stories may be different, the level of their PTSD will be too, but you all are brought together by a common thing. PTSD can be the opportunity to know others who are having just as much of a hard time as you are. When you are around others like you, it can help make you feel less abnormal. Take advantage of that. It never hurts to try, and it may even help.
Image from filer.case.edu
2. IT DOES GET BETTER
Although PTSD never really goes away, it can be managed. When you learn to deal with it you can live a somewhat normal life. At first, your life may seem out of control. You will trigger at random times, and feel trapped with no way out. Night terrors, flash backs, and uncontrollable anger will engulf your life if your PTSD runs the show. If you figure out what triggers these things, work on your triggers, and seek help you will see a significant difference in your life. PTSD doesn’t have to control you. You can control it.
1. YOU WILL BE OKAY
It may not seem like things will ever be okay, but it will. As long as you are willing to work at it, improve it, and manage it, you will find out just how “Okay” you can be. You can have a life, you can be who you once were, and you can make it through this. There is no easy switch, but nothing worth having is easy. You will be okay, maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually. Don’t try to work too hard at it. Take your time to understand it. It will not be an easy task., and there is no easy button for something like this. Hard work, patience, and time will help you the most. Don’t give it, because it will be worth it in the end.