PTSD Explained And How It Affects You
Have you ever had something so terrible happen to you that your mind makes you relive it again and again? That is what post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is.
PTSD is when the trauma you experienced takes a toll on your mental health. According to PTSD United, 70% of people in the United States have experienced trauma at least once in their lives and 20% of those people experience PTSD. PTSD can come from a number of traumatic experiences including-
The loss of a loved one
Surviving an accident
PTSD can put your body in a fight-or-flight response where you feel like danger is all around you with the need to protect yourself, even when danger is not present. By knowing how PTSD can affect you, you can seek treatment to no longer live in fear anymore.
Living in Fear
Memories normally pass you by once they have ended. For people with PTSD, on the other hand, traumatic memories stay with them. Images or sounds from the memory could come back to haunt you even when you least expect it. You could be having reoccurring flashbacks of the memory that feels as real as when it first happened. These memories could haunt you in your sleep in the form of nightmares as well. When you are constantly relieving this traumatic experience, you feel powerless as each trigger can bring you back to a time you wish you could forget.
People with PTSD avoid triggers linked to the tragedy. They could avoid listening to a particular song, certain places, people, or anything else that serves as a painful reminder. Avoidance can make you want to change your routine around to prevent running into these triggers. When you force yourself to ignore certain thoughts and feelings that can cause distress, it can be best to let these moments pass in order to return to the present. If fear interferes with your daily life, it may cause you to miss out on many opportunities.
Trauma has a way of restructuring the brain that can turn you into a different person. When your stress hormones are affected, you could be avoiding activities you used to enjoy. There are also feelings of blame, having a negative perception of the world, and a loss of the traumatic memory for your brain to protect yourself from it. It feels like you cannot escape the stress and depressive state you are in.
Even though PTSD is a mental disorder caused by stress, it can also affect our physical health as well. You could be having trouble sleeping, eating, or concentrating because you are so fixated on the traumatic memory. Other symptoms may include being angry, jumpy, and easily startled, or believing danger is everywhere. Symptoms like these can affect social relationships as you can be angry at people without meaning to or be in a constant state of worry.
A very damaging symptom of PTSD is feeling like you are alone in your trauma. You may feel like no one can possibly understand what you are going through so you keep it to yourself. Or you may have angry outbursts at times that can cause people to turn away from you- both may leave you without much social support.It is important to remember that even if the people around you have not been through exactly the same thing as you, it does not mean they do not understand. They could be dealing with their own tragedies that they have not shared. They could possibly relate to how you are feeling.
You do not have to live in isolation with your PTSD. A trained mental health specialist can provide you with the tools you need to tackle your trauma and live your life again. Read more about trauma therapy and schedule your first consultation today.