Coping with PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition brought on by experiencing or witnessing traumatic events.  When most people think of PTSD, they think of a battle worn soldier coming back from war, someone who may have seen his brothers in arms shot, or experienced the explosion of a road side bomb. Thanks to an important awareness campaign by the US government to help soldiers deal with the trauma they experienced in war, most of us are familiar with this type of PTSD.

But it’s not just soldiers who suffer from this horrible disease. Any terrifying event can bring on PTSD, not just the violence of war. People who have survived domestic violence, a bad car crash, or been through a robbery may develop PTSD.

Anyone who goes through a traumatic event may struggle to deal with what they experienced. For most people, there is a period of adjustment before they are able to settle back into their normal lives. For some though, even after months or years have passed, the trauma stays with them and they struggle to be able to function because of how the events changed them.

Common symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Intrusive memories that can come in the form of recurring and unwanted flashbacks, or as nightmares that make it difficult to sleep at night
  • Avoiding anything that could trigger a memory, such as certain places, topics of discussion, or activities that might remind you of the traumatic event
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty with personal relationships
  • Irritability
  • Self destructive behavior
  • Anger
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • And others

When these symptoms become debilitating or when they won’t go away, you may have PTSD. If you think that you may be suffering from PTSD, you should immediately seek help.  PTSD is very serious and it will not go away on its own. It requires professional care from a therapist and sometimes a psychiatrist. Getting help is not a sign of weakness, it proves that you are strong enough to stand up and fight against this disease so that you can reclaim your life.

In addition to the professional help you should seek from a mental health provider, there are other things that can help you cope with your PTSD. One of the key ones is to build a support network of people who understand and are willing to help you.  There a lot of ways to do this.  Some people lean on their family and friends to help them get through.  Others seek support groups that meet regularly. And others find their community of support online.

You’ve already taken a first step by coming to this site.  We are a community of people who have suffered trauma and are living with PTSD.  We are here to support and help each other in our daily struggles with this disease.  Through regular blogs designed to provide relevant information and tips on how to cope, we come together to share our experiences with PTSD.

This is not a passive blog. While you can just read it and take what you need, I encourage you to help build this community. Comment on what you read.  Ask questions.  Share your personal experiences.

Talk.  Share. Cry. This community will be here for you to help you through.

PTSD is a horrible disease, but it can get better.  We can help each other through, and that’s what this community is all about.

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