Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

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by Derrick Krane

In today’s increasingly degenerate, sensitive society full of a growing number of soft weakling men, and uptight angry women, the threshold for what is traumatizing has been lowered, and the definition of trauma has been grossly expanded.

How is this for discomfort and trauma?

What an insult to those who truly suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and have experienced life changing events. PTSD changes one’s view of the world, themselves, and others. PTSD rips away any prior sense of safety. Children are born innocent, and ideally psychologically attach to their mothers securely.

According to psychologist Erik Erikson, the first 18 months of life or so are critical to develop a sense of fundamental trust in the world, as we are helpless infants, totally reliant on our caregivers for our survival needs. If these needs are unmet in a timely manner, we are fed kept clean, warm, and dry, infants feel a basic sense of emotional safety, which prepares us to navigate subsequent stages of development, and become well adjusted, functioning adults.

Psychiatrist Sigmund Freud held a similar view, but was more metaphoric, referring to the first 18 months of life as the oral stage of development, in which the infants focus was on stimulation of the oral cavity, distressed when the oral needs were not met, and comforted when they received the nipple or bottle.

According to Freud, some men never outgrow these needs, they just project them elsewhere. Thus the male fascination with places like Hooters. Again, when the infant’s needs are met, they develop a sense of safety, and are prepared to reach subsequent developmental milestones and become functioning adults, able to Work and Love as Freud said.

Most people walk around with a degree of denial of reality and the illusion of safety. This is a deeply ingrained coping mechanism that allows us to leave the house and go out in the world every day. It is necessary to function as an adult.  When these fundamental needs are not met in infants and children, or if they are later torn out and forcibly removed by life events, the result is PTSD.

Causes

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs when a person is exposed to an event, or series of events, in which they believe they are in danger of death or serious injury. This can be a one-time only event, such as, or a series of events such as People with PTSD can develop a view of the world which leads them to compulsively seek out similar situations which traumatize them, and replay events in real time, trying to gain mastery over the trauma. This often results not in mastery, but in further trauma, which is termed complex PTSD.

PTSD can result from:

  • Combat
  • Rape
  • Bullying
  • Child abuse
  • Natural disasters
  • Industrial accidents
  • Assault

People will consume alcohol and abuse drugs in a vain effort to shut off the psychological pain. People will sink into depression and become suicidal, self-isolate, or cave dwell, in an effort to shut out the world and reduce it something manageable, because the world just feels to big.

They can’t sleep; because they don’t feel safe, when they finally sleep from exhaustion, it is a fitful sleep interrupted by nightmares. Woe to anyone who sneaks up on somebody with PTSD; there will be an exaggerated startle response and a defensive response. More than one relationship has ended because someone thought it would be funny to sneak up on their lover and surprise them, only to get back handed, or kicked.

The potential for PTSD in the event of societal collapse

People with PTSD will be re-traumatized. About 15 to 25% of the people exposed to the event will later develop PTSD. In a local, regional, or nationwide disaster, there will be many cases of psychological as well as physical trauma.

Prevention: Mindset & CISD/CISM

CISD (Critical Incident Stress Debriefing) is a form of brief psychotherapy which takes places shortly after a potentially traumatizing event. It is used for police, Fire, EMS, military, and civilians who have been held hostage, or been involved in a mass casualty event such as a building collapse or natural disaster.

It may be done in a small group setting, or individually. It will be facilitated by a mental health professional, and anyone who was involved in the potentially traumatizing event will be in attendance. Attendance can be either mandated as a job requirement, or voluntarily.

The purpose of CISD is to process the event, get information on what to anticipate in the weeks or months ahead in terms of emotions, thoughts and behaviors, get a list of Do’s and Don’ts which can either minimize or exacerbate ones response to the trauma, and where to go for follow up. CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) is a more comprehensive and broader approach to managing trauma long term.

A change in mindset is crucial to both preventing and successfully deals with trauma. Is PTSD a curse? Or is it somehow a blessing? The answer is it can be both, or it can be one or the other. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is about change.  People with PTSD are haunted. But they are also acutely aware and more in touch with their surroundings.

Their senses and awareness has been honed to a fine edge in the crucible of their suffering. They are people watchers, they are more alert and observant, and can detect danger when other people are oblivious. While the trauma was costly, it also opened the eyes of the sufferer to a whole different facet of reality that most people miss.

Treatment

  • Therapy Psychotherapy with a therapist experienced in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, sleep disorders, and drugs and alcohol. Methods called exposure therapy and systematic desensitization are the gold standards in treatment. Psychotherapy can also help you understand PTSD, integrate what you have experienced into your life, help you develop coping skills, and lower anxiety levels. A psychotherapist can also provide a referral to a physician for medication if needed.
  • Meds Medication is often necessary for someone with PTSD to have a good quality of life. There are numerous anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications on the market with a long safety record, minimal side effects and good effectiveness at managing symptoms.
  • (Eye Movement De-sensitization and reprocessing. This involves the therapist tapping their fingers or, moving their fingers from side to side horizontally, diagonally, or vertically while the person thinks of the trauma vividly. It is supposed to help people integrate the traumatic memories and provide symptom relief. This had become a highly popular approach of which I remain very skeptical.
  • Therapy dogs are trained to support someone with PTSD. They are more than just great companions. They will enter a dark home and clear the house, stand between you and a stranger, wake you from a nightmare, or help you ride out a panic attack.
  • Social support. Surround yourself with successful, smart, sober, responsible people, whose opinion and judgment you trust.
  • Lifestyle changes and a change in perspective. Take good care of you. Here is something I have seen in my nearly two decades as a psychotherapist: People with long term, complex trauma from child abuse, bullying, and/or repeated molestation do not value their bodies. They tend to let themselves go. They smoke, drink too much, have drunken, insipid unprotected sex, don’t exercise, and eat garbage loaded with fat sodium, and sugar. They are a mess as are their cars and homes. This lack of self-care is about not valuing yourself. Others have beaten, insulted, and raped you. They beat you, raped, spit on you, humiliated you, and used you. They sent a clear message you are worthless and have no value.

Fuck them.

Do not believe that message. Starting today, take better care of yourself, start making gradual changes, just one thing today, and develop healthier habits. By caring for and training your body, you will experience a multitude of benefits.

What you can do if you know someone with PTSD

If you believe you have PTSD, seek professional help. Don’t wait for it to  go away or get better.

If you know someone with it, urge them to seek professional help.

Beware of quacks. People with PTSD have a treatment resistant condition, which is not quickly o readily relieved. After seeing therapists and doctors, taking med, going on weekend retreats and seminars, and still not getting relief, it is easy to become frustrated and seek out relief from any source.

There are a lot of either unscrupulous people out there who want to separate you from your money with false promises of a cure, or deluded individuals who truly believe in what they are doing, but their methods are ineffective.


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1 Comment

  1. i grew up with my dads ptsd and then my husband who was a marine. he also came from a violent home with a very abusive father. didnt ever get any help. my ptsd is from rape and severe abuse at the hands of my second husband. it can come from so many different places and everyone is different in their suffering.

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