July is PTSD Awareness Month and I couldn’t be more excited to bring some education and truth to the subject. Most people are unaware of what it is exactly and reserve the diagnosis for those in the military coming back from war. And even then, it is hardly talked about and treatment is rarely sought because it seems ‘weak.’
A large number of folks I have spoken with have downplayed their symptoms because they were either unaware their symptoms were serious or they felt ashamed and embarrassed they couldn’t just ‘get over’ the trauma. So, instead of reaching out for help, they continue to unnecessarily suffer. Here are some questions to ask yourself pertaining to the trauma.
Do you have continued thoughts or memories related to the event?
Do you have recurring dreams about the event?
Do you have flashbacks of the trauma?
Do you have a difficult time when anything triggers a memory of the event?
Do you try to avoid thinking about the trauma or avoiding memories of it?
Do you try to avoid people, places, conversations, objects, or activities that are associated with the trauma?
Do you have a difficult time remembering details of the trauma?
Do you have negative beliefs about yourself such as ‘I am bad’ or ‘people are untrustworthy’?
Do you blame yourself for the trauma?
Are you in a continued state of feeling guilt, shame, anger, fear, or horror?
Do you have less interest in activities you used to enjoy?
Do you find it difficult to experience love, joy, happiness, satisfaction?
Are you have difficulty sleeping?
Do you have difficulty concentrating?
Do you have anger outbursts?
Are you in a constant state of worrying about something bad happening?
Do you behave recklessly or engage in self-destructive behavior?
Did you answer ‘yes’ to some of these questions?
If some of the above symptoms resonate, it is important to seek professional help. As much as we would love to believe these signs will disappear with time, the reality is the opposite. As time progresses, without proper treatment, the symptoms will only intensify. These indicators will eventually make it difficult to even function in life. Far too often, a level of shame enters into our being. We stop talking about it and begin to isolate from others. Once we isolate, we have little to no resources in place and life becomes unnecessarily difficult. There is help available, though, and it is critical to seek it out. Please recognize there is no shame in needing help.
Michel Templet wrote, “Always remember, if you have been diagnosed with PTSD, it is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is proof of your strength because you have survived!”