Helping Someone Who May Have Post Tramatic Stress Syndrome: PTSD
I Live With It but How Can I Help
PTSD is a widely talked about mental disease, that is controversial and sometimes unbelievable. I spent many years living with the effects of PTSD without any clue what was happening to me. I never even considered Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome as the cause of my depression. I had heard of PTSD being related to post-war and military soldiers but never realized how many people suffered from it for other reasons.
I spent almost twenty years running to the doctor for all kinds of aches and pains, leading to an addiction to pain pills. If only I had the knowledge I eventually received maybe I would have realized I was trying to make my inner pain disappear with medication that was dangerous and just prolonged my recovery.
Nearly five years ago my time finally came and I received the counseling I desperately needed to not only quit taking the pills but finally face my issues. I want to share with you the many things I have learned and point out how many things could cause PTSD.
Any traumatic event can cause PTSD. Here are a few.
Any kind of abuse, rather that be physical, sexual, or emotional.
Any kind of loss, rather that be a death, or loss of a relationship, loss of income or housing.
A motor vehicle accident can also set in PTSD.
Witnessing any of the above-mentioned traumas can trigger PTSD.
Our minds work in different ways so I am not saying all of these things will cause PTSD, I am only saying these are a few things that I am familiar with. I wish that there was a definitive way to know if a person was going to suffer from this illness but truth be told you just don't know what will cause PTSD to set in. You can, however, get help if it does.
Things To Look For
Here are a few things to look for that may be signs of PTSD
Recurring dreams, nightmares are not the only dreams a person can have. Flashback, when a person is fully awake, can also accrue.
You may witness a person waking in the middle of the night crying, sweating, talking in their sleep in a distressed voice. A person may completely zone out in the middle of a conversation while their facial expression completely changes from normal or happy to lost or sad and even angry.
Reacting to triggers that make you believe that you are reliving or about to relive your trauma again.
A person who suffers from PTSD from an auto accident may get nervous or anxious riding or driving in a car. Someone who has suffered abuse may flinch when approached too fast. Someone who has witnessed a shooting may react when hearing a firecracker or a car backfiring.
Avoiding people, places, or things that remind them of their trauma is also something to watch for. If a person is normally an outgoing on the go person and suddenly they have an excuse to stay home they could be suffering in silence.
A loss of a loved one may cause a person to fear to loose again and they may begin to push the closest people away. They may avoid making new friends or staying in touch with old ones. They might begin to avoid all their usually places in order to avoid the memories attached to those places.
Avoiding the trauma may also include sudden changes in habits such as drug use, or alcohol abuse. Many people resort to these habits to numb or dull the pain and memories.
A Change In Mood and Emotions
Mood changes are one of the most noticeable changes among those who have suffered a traumatic experience.
Bouts of sadness or anger.
Someone may become complacent, just start not caring anymore.
Even recklessness is a sign to watch for.
Someone who used to be the life of the party may all of a sudden sit in the corner and then leave for no apparent reason.
Others who were often referred to as the quiet one may become obnoxious and want all eyes on them.
These are a few examples of many things to look for. Just remembering that anyone of us who experience any kind of traumatic event in our lives can become lost and not even recognize that something is not quite right. Maybe they are afraid that people will judge them or that they are not as strong as they should be. Whatever the case it may take an outside individual to observe the changes and attempt to help.
So Now What
Let's be real about this. You can not tell someone that he or she is suffering from PTSD unless you are a licensed professional. The best advice I can give you is, observe the persons actions and look for the signs. If you suspect that PTSD may be part of this person's reason for those actions do your research.
You can start with a search on google and find many articles that give all sorts of information including this one. You will find that there are more medical sites out there that go into much more of the technical information.
You can get nearby experts listings and free groups around your area right off the internet.
In my own experience the best thing I did was just sit down with my own family practitioner and they were able to direct me to the next phase of my journey.
Talking to someone who you suspect to be suffering from PTSD is one of the first steps. Maybe they just need someone to point out that it's not their fault that this is a real thing that exists in many people and that it doesn't have to be unbearable. There are so many treatments available that they do not have to suffer all alone.
Talking to someone who may be using or abusing alcohol or drugs gets a little trickier. They may be on the defense immediately. They may not want to quit because they feel like it is the only way to deal with their inner struggles. If you are going to try and talk to these people go with knowledge and information, not condemnation. Remember they are already feeling alone and confused maybe even scared. Go in peace and with the understanding that they may not hear you the first time. This is a tough place to be, for them and for you.
Never Give Up. You can make a difference in someone's life if you really want too.
Lost And Confused
I drown in my own darkness, just to avoid the light
I numb my body, just to avoid my inner pain
I push those away, just to hide from my embarrassment
I stay lost to push away reality
I don't ask for help because I am afraid to know
I am unsure of my feelings because they overpower my reasoning
Help me find my way, For I am lost and Confused