We have psychologists who can help with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
No matter who you are Post-Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is hard to live with. Whether you've undergone something traumatic or live with someone who has, it's very difficult to enjoy a quality life when you suffer from its symptoms. PTSD effects both the person who went through the trauma and the friends and family around them. It's not something we just bounce back from, no matter how tough we may be. It just doesn't work that way.
A large part of recovery depends on what kind of trauma we went through. Was it on-going and chronic, like childhood/sexual abuse or living with domestic violence, or was it more episodic, something that occurred during a specific, more brief period, like combat exposure/military deployment, being physically assaulted or raped. A lot of the impact also depends on whether it was caused by other people, such as an act of violence or cruel discrimination, or by the will of nature, such as a hurricane or freak accident.
The truth is, we are all susceptible to trauma and none of us are excluded from its repercussions. Many of us believe that because we're physically or mentally strong events like these won't effect us or we believe that because someone we love is strong and capable that they'll work their way through it and be fine. But the reality is that unresolved trauma, like unresolved grief, doesn't just go away on its own. Many of us think it will. The reality is that if it goes untreated the symptoms often just get worse and worse.
How Do We Heal?
A lot of people fear that we'll have to go back through painful memories to let it go. But that's not always true. Sometimes it does help to talk about feelings that still bother us - feelings of anger or shame for example. Or, we may not be able to mourn important losses because we have conflicting feelings of guilt or blame. Sometimes we have more complicated memories that are tied into our pasts that make recovery challenging.
Doctors often will prescribe medications to help us sleep or manage our anxiety and panic attacks. We may have compounding depression, trouble with anger, or alcohol abuse, even chronic pain. These are all normal symptoms, but they need to be treated with more than just medication or relaxation techniques. In addition, sometimes a serious trauma may have also resulted in a physical injury such as the loss of a limb, wounds from a physical assault, or traumatic brain injury (TBI). These may also change the roles we've been able to play at home and work. Our finances and our ability to continue our goals and dreams, our comfort with intimacy and trust may also be effected. We may feel hopeless and unable to recover and feel as though we have a foreshortened sense of future. In addition, if we're the family and support team we may develop what some call compassion fatigue or "secondary PTSD" as a result of trying to help someone with PTSD that hasn't received the right care.
The truth is that no matter what part of the relationship we're in, and how resilient we may be, having a little help can make all the difference in the world when it comes to resolving PTSD. And quality of life is so important, that after having gone through something traumatic even more so we're deserving of our happiness. That's a right we all need to have, no matter what's happened in our past or what part we played in the trauma because our state of mind effects everyone around us and we need to be putting good things back into the world.
So do yourself and those you love a favor and look at yourself in the mirror, or talk to the one you love, and gently acknowledge that this really is hard, that it's not something that anyone deserves to live with, and that going it alone is just not worth it. Because with the right kind of help PTSD can be healed for good, and you, or the one you love, will be onto living a fulfilling life.
In the meantime, if you're a spouse or family member of someone with PTSD you could probably use a little TLC yourself. If your children are living at home they may need someone to talk to too. Taking care of ourselves should never be a burden, it should be a natural, obvious thing we do. We ALL deserve it and at GoVa Counseling we are committed to your happiness because we know how precious life is and we know no one should live with PTSD.
Some of the Common Symptoms of PTSD:
- Extreme Moodiness - anger, panicky, agitated, depressed, etc.
- Feeling Weak-Minded
- Drinking Excessively
- Trouble Sleeping - using sleeping pills or alcohol to sleep
- Sudden Rage
- Numbness/Emotional Disconnection
- Trouble Concentrating
- Intense Avoidance or Fear
- Shame, Guilt, Isolative Behaviors
- Difficulty Trusting Others/Paranoia
- Helplessness/Hopelessness/Feelings of Foreshortened Future
- Personality Changes
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Reckless Behaviors
- Sexual Promiscuity or Complete Avoidance
Difficulty with Normal, Routine Tasks and Social Interactions