This is a guest post by author Robin Rance
PTSD is heartbreakingly real.
PTSD is a mental health disorder triggered by a terrifying, shocking, or traumatic event that causes flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety in those individuals who suffer from it.
I’ve been researching the symptoms and the causes. Soldiers don’t always show signs of the disorder. After speaking to a few who served in Afghanistan, they may not show symptoms, but it is a real disorder.
Going to war isn’t the only way that someone gets the disorder. I’ve heard heartbreaking stories from men and women who were raped, threatened, witnessed something tragic and unforgettable in their life. The memories are always there; they don’t go away.
What do we do to help those going through the trauma and the pain? When they say they are depressed; when they say they can’t handle their dreams, their thoughts, their emotions. It is a cry for help. Listen to what they are saying, seek help for them.
Train medical personnel in hospitals to know recognize the symptoms. Train police officers better; that person threatening to kill himself or threatening others could be a cry for help. Don’t shoot to kill, that just extends the problem and impacts others who might witness the act.
PTSD is a vicious, non-discriminant disorder. It has no age limit, it doesn’t choose the gender, race, religion or social standing of the individual who suffers with it. Help someone you know by getting them help. A doctor could work with them and there are many drugs which could lessen the symptoms and the pain.
I want to share a little bit from someone I know who suffers from this daily. This is what this person wrote back to me when I asked if they suffered from PTSD!
I do. I can’t watch any war movies ever unless I want to cry, become Angry, have nightmares or get drunk. Drinking around vet’s will always trigger it, the experiences we talk about may be good or bad, but always bring a depressed heart in the end if alcohol has been involved in excess and sometimes just in moderation. If someone specifically asks me straightforward questions about it with no personal connection or invasive personal questions I feel like my blood boils and I could choke them. I have a sensitive startled reflex, booms, bangs, loud unexpected noises startled me more than the usual person.
I am not very sympathetic to illness or injury unless I see obvious deformation or hemorrhage, this is something as a nurse I struggle with. I’ve just seen limbs, eyes and lives taken apart from injury and if someone claims their pain is at a level 10, I think what if your leg was blown off… that’s a real 10 on a scale of 1 – 10. Ok, you asked…. I hope I don’t seem like a complete bitch or whatever…. Maybe with you asking me about my PTSD will help me let it out, but if it is a bad trigger I will tell you and I will have to stop. I’m trying to remain strong, after much pain and tears.