The month of June is PTSD Awareness Month.
PTSD stands for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. It develops after a person experiences a traumatic event, like sexual assault, war, a serious accident, etc. A big percentage of those suffering are veterans.
An estimated 8 million Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.
Those with PTSD can experience depression, anxiety, violent thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks, trouble sleeping, physical pain, feelings of hopelessness, lack of concentration, and other symptoms. They are also at a higher risk for self-harm and suicide.
Children under 10 are less likely to develop PTSD. The intensity of the trauma, not being in control of the traumatic event, lack of support after the event, and being physically close to the event can lead to a higher likelihood of developing PTSD.
Good news for some PTSD sufferers, medication and therapy have helped some people. It’s also good to talk to others that have experienced a similar traumatic event. Although these treatment options may make it easier to cope, symptoms usually never entirely go away. The earlier treatment is sought, the more likely symptoms will be reduced or prevent it all together.
If you suspect a family member or friend is suffering from PTSD, the best thing you can do is support them.
PTSD is close to our family because my husband suffers from it. He is a combat veteran and developed symptoms after returning from war. His symptoms include anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks, trouble sleeping, and more. Although, he has tried medication and therapy, he now manages symptoms on his own.
The symptoms come and go, except there are certain triggers and times of the year where they usually always come back.
Fireworks are a huge trigger for my husband. He said that they sound just like bombs going off. July 4th and the weeks around that date can get really bad for him. We usually stay inside and try to focus on fun things with the family. He also has noise cancelling headphones he uses sometimes.
Holidays are other big triggers. Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and Christmas usually always bring on some of the worst symptoms.
My husband hates bothering me with his issues. That’s another symptom of PTSD. They feel like they are a bother to you. He also frequently questions whether I truly love him. They feel less of themselves so they can’t understand why you would want to be with them.
There are many nights where he has woken me because he’s so shaken up by a violent dream. It is tough watching someone suffer through all of these emotions.
I hope more awareness is brought to this disorder. For those that suffer, please know that there are people that truly care for you. While we may not understand everything you are going through, we want to be supportive and help you in any way we can. For those that don’t have PTSD, educate yourself so that if someone you love develops this disorder, you will be prepared to support them.
Those with PTSD need lots and lots of encouragement and love from us!