PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after going through a life-threatening event or our brain or nervous system register the event as threatening. Even if we deny or minimize the event we can develop PTSD. It can be terrifying and disrupt your life. Symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but may not happen until months or years later. It may also be tied to a build up from multiple events, not necessarily just one. The symptoms may come and go over many years.
Symptoms may include:
- persistently re-experiencing the event
- re-current, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
- avoiding stimuli associated with the traumatic event
- general feeling that you were negatively changed since the event
- nightmares or upsetting dreams
- flashbacks or feeling the same horror and fear that you did when the event occurred
- you may feel that your life or others are in danger
- easily startled, have trouble sleeping, find it difficult to concentrate
- agitation or mood swings, angry out bursts, heightened irritability
- you may feel depressed, not wanting to do the things you usually enjoy, an emotional disconnect, withdrawing from participation with family and friends, weight gain, increased use of alcohol and /or drugs
- self-doubt and low self-esteem making you question your ability to function in normal daily activities
- heightened stress and anxiety/panic attacks
- feeling like you have no control over what is happening
- hopelessness...why did this happen to me, why can't I fix this
Some believe that in seeking help they will be perceived as weak; but, it takes great strength to realize you need assistance and address this situation head on.
Thomas Edison said, “our greatest weakness lies in giving up, the most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.
More information can be obtained from the National Center for PTSD the website has a lot of good information and is not just for veterans. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/
Learn about the risks of PTSD in firefighters in the June 2014 article from NFPA Journal
Learn about how one firefighter beat PTSD in the April 29, 2016 article from Fire Chief Magazine
Learn about police officers and PTSD in the 2017 post by Ellen Kirschman PhD on Psychology Today