Have you experienced PTSD?
What is PTSD?
PTSD symptoms are more than described in the DSM IV-TR, but for purposes of the DSM it only lists the more common major symptomology.
These symptoms are:
Fear, Helplessness, Horror
Avoidance or shutting off of emotions
Audible remembrance of an event (Gunfire, explosions)
Difficulty sleeping (REM disruption)
Intrusive thoughts, images, or perceptions
Distressing dreams of event(s)
Acting and feeling as if the distressing event was recurring
Illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashbacks
Triggers (internal or external) that cause psychological distress
Physiological reactivity to the cues from a traumatic event
Avoiding thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with trauma
Avoiding activities or areas, including people that arouse recollection of the trauma
Inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
Diminished interest or participation in activities
Feeling detached or estraged from others
Restricted range of affect (e.g. not being able to feel love)
Sense of a foreshortened future ( not expecting to have a career, children, marriage, or shortened life span)
Irritability or anger
Exaggerated Startle Response
May impair ability to work, be social, or other areas of functioning
Acute is less than 3 months
Chronic is more than 3 months
Delayed onset means that the symptoms appear 6 months after the stressor.
There is much more of course for symptoms, rapid heart rate, flushing or tingling of the skin after a flashback, you get the idea.
The picture above was created after being treated for PTSD, and I think it explains itself for the most part, but here is just a brief overview. This is depicting one capsule related to several traumas in a point in time, there can be several capsules with different traumas, or as some call it Complex PTSD.
The picture represents stages that take place when a person encounters PTSD related to flashbacks, feelings, emotions, and thoughts. At the beginning, the person may not realize they have PTSD, but they know something is intrusive or cannot stop visualizing it in the mind, largely scattered, and may not be intrusive all the time. The second stage is a little bit more organized, but is largely unconnected and can be intermittent, emotion related to the event is more pronounced, and the third stage, the person has lived with it long enough for organization to occur of the memories, flashbacks, thoughts and emotions that are attached. If you have any questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of you living with PTSD, I hope you are able to find a psychologist with the training on EMDR Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, and while you cannot get rid of it, you can learn to tag the memories so they exist only in long term memory and they are no longer intrusive in your daily life, in your dreams, or when your overtired. PTSD is not the end, it is your new beginning to life, and happiness that you can again experience.