PTSD And The Stressor

Real Relationship Advice

This week we are discussing the reality of PTSD. PTSD is not unique to veterans. Yes, thanks to veterans and those who support them, we have made strides in diagnosing and understanding PTSD but the reality is that we all can suffer from PTSD without one shot being fired or being in uniform. The T, as Paul pointed out, is not for Tickle. The T is for trauma and anyone at any age can experience it. Statistically, we all will experience some sort of trauma in our lifetime.

An adult will carry a trauma with them throughout their lifetime. We live, we love and carry on with life as if nothing ever happened to us. Depending on the type of trauma, a person can go through life without a single symptom. As we mentioned on Monday, the Stressor has the following attributes:

1. The person has experienced, witnessed, or been confronted with an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others.

2. The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. (APA, 2000)

There is no time limit placed on when the stressor was experienced. This means when you were a little kid and you were involved in an accident or was molested or witnessed violence, perhaps our parents fighting, or was the victim of physical or emotional child abuse (as simple as an adult saying “I’m going to kill you”) , all of these and many more would be a stressor.

The problem with PTSD and adults is that we like to discount our experiences. We are minimizers. We are notoriously dismissing our childhood and life experiences as “not a big deal”. In the words of our Vice President, Joe Biden, “It’s a big fucking deal!” Yes, these experiences make us who we are and we have no intention of encouraging anyone to be a victim but when we deny a trauma it will always bite you in the ass. Whether we have a hard time trusting or we seek love in inappropriate places, these behaviors have precursors. PTSD is often the reason why we react violently or overwhelmingly to a stimulus.

We have all suffered trauma. Most of us have overcome the deleterious effects of that stressor. For a significant percentage of us, we live with the memories of an event that changed us profoundly. An event that made us believe we did not deserve a happy life. An event that made us believe that humanity was evil, untrustworthy and generally bad. An event that affects every relationship we have. We can deny it but when no one is watching we know how hurt we really are.

CoupleDumb is all about being happy but true happiness is virtually impossible to live a life worth living if we are numb to the world; disconnected from the moment we experienced that trauma. This is why we need people to talk to, professionals to guide us and faith that you can overcome the trauma. Come back tomorrow for ways to heal the traumas.


One comment

  • ConnieFoggles

    I’d like to add that not only the trauma, but PTSD itself is not your fault. Instead of being guilty, get help to feel better. Looking forward to your next post.

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