Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is something you have likely heard of but really may not understand what it is all about.
Everyone encounters a certain amount of trauma in their lives. You may be a bit traumatized by seeing a car wreck. You may become the victim of a crime, or witness someone who is severely injured. Even someone speaking harshly can be traumatizing. Trauma comes across our media every day and we see and hear about shocking and horrible events in the world, and as we see and hear we must in our own heart and mind deal with them.
One of the very first very traumatic events I still remember to this day in my life, was seeing a preview for a movie at the drive in with my parents. The title of the film being previewed was called Blood Feast. It was a very nasty "splatter film" which had a warning as the preview came on, but I looked anyway as an 8 year old boy. What I saw was a horror scene on the big screen that I have never forgotten. I dreamed about it for years. I have seen much in real life as a police chaplain but the fact is as a child I was traumatized by a movie trailer.
When we encounter trauma we must cope with it in various and normal ways. Sometimes this is fairly easily or simply accomplished and we return to our normal selves relatively quickly. The type and intensity of the trauma of course are significant, as well as our entire life condition. Our physical environment, our emotional, mental and spiritual make up will have a part in how we deal with each and every trauma we may encounter. But when the trauma is severe our normal coping tools may not be sufficient and we are overwhelmed by the thing that has happened. Natural disasters, life threatening events and of course repeated and ritualistic events can bring severe trauma to a person that the individual cannot deal with by way of ordinary and routine coping skills.
Now let me explain the difference between Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Everyone has stress related to traumatic events in life. But not everyone has prolonged issues because of the traumatic event or events. Here is a quote from the Mayo Clinic:
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.
The effects of trauma are very real. We all have some trauma in our lives. Your coping and dealing with negative and terrible events is dependent on my factors. But you cannot and should not diagnose yourself with PTSD. This is a professional diagnosis and just because you have undergone some traumatic event this does not mean you automatically have a case of PTSD. Mental health professionals say that like most mental illness there is no cure for PTSD. However PTSD does respond very well to therapy.
Most of us get over the traumas we face but some can stay with you much longer than others just like the movie trailer I saw. Cumulative stress is a real factor in many people's lives now days. A feeling of being overwhelmed is all too common among people who have difficult and high pressure professions. You may feel a bit overwhelmed and therefore connect it with trauma.
What are some things we can do?
First see a counselor if you do feel overwhelmed or are having trouble with your ability to function and deal with stress and trauma. But realize that eating right, exercise, rest, relaxation and just talking with those who know and love you the most are going to go a long way toward helping you to cope. But in addition to these a regular feeding of your faith in God and trusting Him to help you will be the real answer to overcome stress and negative and troubling events in your life.
The Lord gives us comfort and strength to endure and keep going. Trust Him and see Him and He is going to be with you in all situations. Too many times I think we look for help for our troubles including how to deal with the troubles in life in all the wrong places. God's word has comfort and strength for all of us.
2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.