PTSD is short for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which is a disorder in which you have failed to recover after witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event.
This can develop in war veterans, abuse, rape or violence victims, or anyone who has witnessed a terrifying or harmful event. It can affect you at a behavioral, psychological, mood or sleep standpoint. Emotional detachment and unwanted thoughts are common.
According to PTSDunited.org, over 70% of adults experience some type of trauma, however only 20% of these people go on to develop PTSD. That means that only 8% of the United States population lives with PTSD.
Mental Health professionals used to doubt that PTSD was actually a disorder, until 1980 when it became recognized as psychobiological mental disorder with specific symptoms that can be diagnosed. It became associated with changes in the brain function and structure.
However, unlike popular belief, PTSD doesn’t just affect war veterans. It is twice as likely to affect women who are victims of domestic violence. They are also twice as likely to go undiagnosed and without treatment, and twice as likely to be accused of lying or exaggerating.
PTSD in abused women is widely characterized by fear based anxiety, sleep disturbances, flashbacks, feelings of detachment and inability to trust. It is quite the opposite of men, who are more likely to lash out, show anger and rage and demonstrate explosive behavior.
Now, on a more personal level. Behind the statistic and the studies and all the fancy doctor articles from professionals that claim to understand…there are real people. Real women who have undergone such abuse and tragedy that it affects their live even after the event is done and over.
Whether she can never look at another man again, or simply can’t stop herself from flinching when the one she loves moves too quickly, she hates herself for it. She hates that she let a person as unworthy as that affect her life.
She begs herself everyday to forget the pain. Just sleep without nightmares, just love without consequences, just trust people, stop watching those short horror movies in her brain that were once a reality.
She spends a lot of sleepless nights tossing and turning, and the little sleep she does get is interrupted by nightmares. Some days she doesn’t eat. Some days she doesn’t get out of bed. Some days she wishes she would drop off the face of the earth. Some days, she is a bright and beautiful disaster.
When taking care of someone with trauma, be aware that she can go from being perfectly fine to falling apart within a few seconds. PTSD changes a person and hijacks identity. Recovery is going to be very fragile and very strong, all at the same time.
When living with trauma, please remember that you’re not alone.
You are not crazy and you are not overdramatic.
You are not a victim for sharing your story…you are a survivor.
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