Post traumatic stress disorder and the experience of stress in general was once believed only to happen to people who experienced grotesque gore, like veterans of war, police, and first responders. Today, trauma has taken on a new definition. Trauma is simply defined as a “deeply distressing or disturbing experience”. It is not restricted to violence. Most people will experience something they would call trauma at some point in their lives. Trauma can be experienced first hand (trauma happening to you), second hand (witnessing trauma happen to someone else) or third hand (being related a graphic experience of trauma). Though most people will experience trauma in their lifetime, few people will develop the full characteristics which would qualify them for a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder. It is possible to struggle with numerous symptoms of PTSD, as an effect of trauma, but not be fully diagnosed with PTSD. You might feel a connection to some of the symptoms of PTSD but not experience them in full extremity.
- Hallucinatory Flashbacks And Re-experiencing Memories: Severe PTSD is characterized by having flashbacks of a traumatic event as if they are happening in real time. Sometimes in sleep and sometimes in daytime, there will be a sudden onset of memories and visualizations, as well as auditory disturbances. PTSD is also characterized by re-experiencing memories. As PTSD develops, as well as when PTSD is healed, the brain will slowly release memories which are triggering and uncomfortable. After a re-experiencing episode, it is common for someone with PTSD to dissociate, or seem detached from reality.
- Avoiding Traumatic Triggers: Constantly feeling triggered, on edge, hypervigilant, and afraid, is uncomfortable. Someone with severe PTSD might find themselves avoiding any kind of social situation or condition which might trigger their PTSD. Unable to manage their flashbacks or calm themselves down when triggered, it is easier for them to isolate and avoid triggers than attempt to cope with them.
- Coping With PTSD: PTSD is highly co-occurring with drug addiction, alcoholism, and other forms of mental illness. People struggle with PTSD have a difficulty regulating their own emotional experience. Detaching from their feelings as much as possible, through any way possible, is common.
- Changes In Outlook On Life: Trauma is disturbing, as it is defined. Experiencing trauma can drastically change the way you look at life. You may no longer feel safe, believe that safety exists, or that there is any hope in the world. It is common to have these feelings and thoughts. If your outlook on life has changed tremendously and it is affecting the way you function in your life or your relationships with others you might be living with untreated PTSD. Remember to have HOPE- hold on, pain ends.
There is hope for recovery from PTSD and co-occurring issues. Getting started on finding treatment and taking care of responsibilities can be overwhelming. Hired Power is here to empower your experience of recovery by supporting you through every step of your journey. For information, call us today at 800-910-9299.