Okay, finally getting into a topic I have been wanting to talk about for quite some time. I feel like this mental illness is perceive for only people in the military. Though it is the case, it affects other people in different circumstances. So I am happy to break this down for you get a better understanding on this subject. **adjusts bow tie and leans on telephone booth** Run away with me in this booth and let’s explore a different dimension within the mind. **insert Doctor Who theme song**
FANTASTIC! Now… what does PTSD stand for? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is when people is faced with a traumatic event and they have an extremely difficult time to get pass through it. These events are usually death, threatened death, serious injury, or actual / threatened sexual violence. People that has PTSD displays sign of anger, depression, anxiety, intrusive thoughts or memories, flashbacks, fatigue, nightmares, loss of concentration, increased startle, hypervigilance, avoidance, isolation, emotional numbing, lack of trust, and suicidal ideation or suicidal thoughts.
Now, keep in mind everybody is different. So what might not be a big deal for one person, may be traumatic experience for another. Also, a person does not have to be a victim of the trauma to have PTSD. It affects people who have witnessed an event (ie: watching someone get killed or rape). This is called secondary trauma.
So what can trigger the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Almost anything that reminds them of the incident; sight, sounds, scent, and feelings. For an example, a song plays on the radio, which was the same song that played in the background of the occurrence. Or looking at an object (toy gun) that look similar to an item during the situation (guns during a war). When a trigger happens it bring back memories of the trauma and cause intense emotional and physical reactions, such as raced heart rate, sweating and muscle tension.
According to PTSDUnited.org, 70% of Americans have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives. That’s 223.4 million people! Up to 20% of these people develops PTSD. That’s about 45 million people! An estimate of 8% of Americans, about 25 million people, have PTSD at any given time. Just to give you a clear picture of what 8% looks like, that’s the total population of Texas. Unfortunately 1 out every 9 women develops PTSD; making them twice as likely to develop it than men.
Let’s keep the ball rolling with the statistics, because I still don’t think some of you really don’t know how serious this is. According to Traumaline1.com, 30% of military veterans, 36% raped adults, 45% battered women, and 50% of abused children are likely to suffer from PTSD. As well, statistics from SAMHSA states the age between 18 and 25 are most likely to suffer from PTSD. And I’m pretty sure PTSD within the African American community is on high. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find statistics, because it seems like there hasn’t been a lot of research within the black community on it and not many African Americans won’t come forward about the issue.
Which is one of the reasons why I wanted to do this post. I know a few friends of mine who have been at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and have gotten shot in broad daylight. Fortunately for them, they get to live another day, but the event have affected their mental state. I know black innocent men who have been abused by the police, and again, blessed to live another day, have damaged their mental and emotional health. The same person who have vowed to protect their city and citizens had almost killed and dehumanized them. How can you not be traumatized after that?
I hate to say this, but why am I not surprise on the statistic about women are twice as much to develop PTSD than men? With the whole MeToo movement shedding light on rape and rape culture, is great and all, but I hope it opens the doors on the victims state of mind after the event. I have post my experience, Me Too, a while back. I have failed to mention having PTSD from my moment. I had dark, vague and scary dreams every night for months. I thought I have gotten over it once the dream stopped, but for 6 years after that, around the timeframe of the occurrence, I had nightmares. Hearing stories from other women give me flashbacks. I’m a HUGE geek, but I can’t watch Game of Thrones for the sexual violence/assault it has. I start to tremble and cry.
As much as I support our military and our vets, they are not the only one suffering from this. I don’t mean to belittle the trauma, because what they have gone through is horrific. I don’t care how much the men and women have been trained to fight, no human can be ready to witness seeing their follow soldier laying lifeless and covered in blood. No amount of training can prepare the human mind to be okay seeing dead children bodies scattered on the ground. For some soldiers, the chaos can become their new norm, but for others it’s just straight hell. If you’re a veteran and you’re reading this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m sure you hear it alot and to some of you, it don’t mean shit, because you been through a lot. I wish my words can heal all you have experience, but I wish you the best my friend. I wish for you to keep going.
And how can anyone with PTSD can keep going? There are communities out there for people who have suffered that same experience. People usually go to the meetings and talk things out. Listening and expressing their thoughts and feelings helps. That reminds me of talking it out, seeing a therapist can help as well and of course talking to someone within your support group. Taking a creative activity like pottery, arts and craft, or painting can help. Physical activities can be a great way to channel the anger out. Go to the gym, take karate lessons, or dance lessons can help. Of course, basic self-care is a must.
This is something that takes time and one must be patient with. If you have PTSD, remember you can get through it, you just have to adult one day at a time. xoxo
PS – If you know someone who has PTSD or you have it, please comment below. If neither apply to you, please comment on what you think about the entry. I love when people share.