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Category: A Writer’s Life

What is PTSD?

What is PTSD?

PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

From MayoClinic.Org:

Overview

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD.

From my perspective:

The worst part of experiencing an event so traumatic is that it literally impacts and changes your entire life from the moment of that event. Everything after that is determined by how much that trauma has changed you. For a child still in development, trauma changes everything, how you grow emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically, and even how you relate to everyone in your life and everyone thereafter and the worst part, you have no idea how someone without trauma is supposed to act, think, or be.

One of the first things I said to my therapist was that having been a toddler, I know have no idea who I was before or who I was going to be, before. And if your life is faced with more than one trauma, every traumatic event changes you even more. My first trauma – toddler, my second trauma -3, my third trauma – 5, and so on until I was well into adulthood.

How common is PTSD?

Well, how common is abuse? How common is child abandonment? How common is rape? If you think about, everyone who has gone through these personal traumas not to mention war and murder, all of these are capable of causing trauma to the psyche of the victim.

What are the symptoms or signs of PTSD?

From MayoClinic.Org:

Symptoms

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event

Avoidance

Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

For children 6 years old and younger, signs and symptoms may also include:

  • Re-enacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play
  • Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event

Intensity of symptoms

PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time. You may have more PTSD symptoms when you’re stressed in general, or when you come across reminders of what you went through. For example, you may hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences. Or you may see a report on the news about a sexual assault and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.

My Best Friend

My Best Friend

aka This Shit Just Got Real

Maybe I should add a warning, Graphic Language, some nudity (just kidding, maybe) and this is my reality so be prepared.

My Best Friend, Lover, Confident, and truly the only person in the world who knows my demons, my scars, my skeletons all hanging in a closet in chronological order, and hasn’t run away screaming. Okay, maybe a little bit of a screaming but as he’s gotten older he’s more of a sitter than a runner.

But, anyway, he has severe Bronchiectasis (it’s a lung disease that prevents bronchial tubes distorted by infection to return to their normal size/condition when the infection is healed.) And because of this, he is more prone to infection and his lung capacity has been greatly reduced over time. There is no cure.

 

Coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Three years –

It was was three years ago that I realized I had PTSD and that it occurred my first night of my first duty assignment while in the Air Force. Later, I would realized that that was the beginning of my adult PTSD but that I’d been living with my childhood PTSD for far longer. My first traumatic childhood event – when I was toddler.

I’m 60 years old and I realized I had PTSD three years ago, why am I posting this now?

Because this past year has been a time of significant change and healing for me and I want to share all of this with the hope that it will help someone else. I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve been through and this is the most pragmatic way I can think of to help.

The Downside

The Downside

Hello old friend, you called me today

And disturbed the grave of a memory once buried

Do I thank or curse you for the walk

Down memory lane, you in your self-obsessed

Fantasy world sought me out and forced me to join you

Amongst the boxes and filing cabinets layered in dust

And pushed aside, within the busy confines of my mind,

Did it never occur to you that I may be happy, that I

Had moved on since you? No, apparently not, you’ve

Made choices that stagnated your life but I, no,

My life is a river, the current at times slow and constant,

But more often swift and harried like a white crested rapid,

And now, thirty years later you come back into my life…

 

Ah, the downside of social media.

The Lake

The Lake

That door, that blessed door,

So tightly locked, hammered,

And nailed forever shut,

Why open it now?

The pain, that inexhaustible reservoir of pain,

Why dive within its murky depths?

Is ignorance not bliss

Like a vast underground lake, dark and foreboding,

It lies there, but if I turn my back, it doesn’t exist,

And I can live my life in peace, ignoring the pain.

Copyright 2014

The Fairy Princess

The Fairy Princess

The blonde fairy princess glides across the room

Ever searching for what precious, unclaimed gems may be spotted

Olivia, her mother calls, time for bed

Olivia smiles but stays on her hunt, there is much to discover tonight

And it’s too early for bed.

Copyright 2007

Longing

Longing

I do not handle well

My life in constant motion

No ground beneath my tired wings

I so yearn for steely foundation

And dust covered shelves marking stay

Yes I yearn for a home, a permanent residence

Our name upon the mailbox

But I am not so foolish as to sell my soul to wayward sand

Or long-term borrowed residence.

Copyright 2010

Jumpstart

Jumpstart

Oh to fall in love again

To write with passionate prose

The verses dancing in my head

Their beauty to expose

I exist, short for words

Where once so awe-inspired

My poetic soul now on the mend

Emotions…false-start, FIRE!

Still struggling with each breath

Digging to find depth

I free my passion deep within

My captivity at an end

Once locked behind a steadfast door

The words I feared were no more

Are syllables racing down my pen

And I, I am in love once again!

 Original Copyright 2007

Into Darkness I Must Go

Into Darkness I Must Go

To face fears of long ago

With each word I must profess

I want so much to write

That which may be of a delight

Yet my thoughts are dark

Unseemly implications spark

My controversy within

I say out loud, “It’s not a sin!”

To reveal my deepest emotions

I have no hidden motives

My meaning is inspired

By the muck and the mire

Of where I’ve been and what I’ve learned

In retrospective my past discerned

And so in darkness I proceed

To uncover memories still afresh

Where my innocent heart did once bleed

The crimson flow of childhood unhappiness.

Copyright 2014

I Am ALIVE

I Am ALIVE

Though rusty, I have found my voice!

No fear of ridicule, free from assassination

I write and sing to my hearts desire

The crypt is open, the walls broken,

The freshest air ever breathed surrounds me

The bluest sky overwhelms me

I cry the tears long kept hidden, my soul refusing to be broken,

The crypt keeper is dead, long gone, vaguely remembered, better forgotten,

She was a lost soul, better left in her royal splendor.

My soul surging within me takes flight to the heavens

It cannot be contained any longer

The wicked witch is dead and I…

I am ALIVE!!!

Copyright 2007

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