Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event - either experiencing it, or witnessing it. It can be characterised by symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Although at the start of research into PTSD, it was found only in soldiers returning from war, there is a common misconception that this illness only effects soldiers, and this is not true.
Many people living with PTSD, often don't realise it for many months and sometimes years. It is a mentally debilitating illness, that often results in a deterioration of other aspects of your health, such as insomnia, crippling anxiety and strain on your internal organs.
Often, one develops PTSD after a traumatic experience, this can be anything from returning from war, witnessing or being in an accident, experiencing abuse (physical, verbal, sexual, domestic or emotional), witnessing continual abuse, rape, illness, being physically hurt. These events can occur in childhood anywhere up until and during the age you are now.
A lot of people chose to ignore initial PTSD symptoms, by putting them down to nightmares or a bit of anxiety about things that they do not believe to be connected.
1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men develop PTSD at some point in their life.
This is a huge number and as is the case with a lot of mental illnesses, the less we talk about them, the less we know and then the less we can help.
If you yourself has dealt with something particularly traumatic, or have a family member or close friend who has, please pay extra attention to how they are coping with their situation. It is very easy to pass of someones 'jumpiness' or 'shakiness' with just being a jumpy person. But this is a symptom for PTSD. Someone who is particularly paranoid about something, or appears to be fixated and unable to move past a certain event, needs help. Whether they realise it or not, they are suffering with something that can be helped.
PTSD can be treated, without medication, through various forms of therapy including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which will give the sufferer techniques to help them through this difficult time.
Reliving a traumatic event is emotionally and physically exhausting for the person, and can leave them on edge, tearful and what appears to be extremely distressed by an event. It is important to note that these episodes can be brought on by something that reminds the person of a behaviour that have experienced in the past.
If you are suffering from this illness, please speak now and speak out. It is hard, it is terrifying, but the first step to recovery, is speaking about it. You never know how much you could be helping yourself until you do. You are probably scared, frightened and confused. But please know, that we are here for you.
We are here for you every step of the way, so feel free to share your journey and get on that path to recovery!
-LF, LR and MG