To all of those who have served, especially those who did so with the intent to cause positive change in our world, I thank you. As a way of doing that, I’d like to spread a little information about a common, unseen, disorder many soldiers bring home with them: PTSD.
Short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD results when an individual is subjected to severe or ongoing trauma. It can result from abuse, violent forms of discrimination, horrific accidents, combat and a range of other events.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, some symptoms include:
- Avoiding triggering situations
- Flashbacks to the events
- Being on edge
- Lost interest in things previously enjoyed
That list is far from exclusive, but it’s a start.
This disorder is rooted in our natural instincts to fight the threat or run away from it. Everyone has experienced those urges, but when they extend over a month and begin damaging every day functioning, it’s time to be evaluated by a professional.
There is no shame in suffering from PTSD, regardless of the cause. There are several different treatment methods available, and like everything relating to health in general, it may take some experimentation to find what works best.
If you have friends or family who are coping with this disorder, allow them space if they need it, but make yourself available if they need to vent. They will need your love and support throughout the recovery process.
Most importantly, do not judge them for their struggle. Remember, everyone reacts to trauma differently. It’s all a part of life, and although proportionately few people develop PTSD, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them. It just means they need a little extra help in coping with what happened and discovering their new normal.
For information on how to get help if you suspect you’re suffering from PTSD or have a loved one who is, the Mayo Clinic offers more information on how to cope with this disorder.