Schizophrenia is known in the psychiatric world as a Mental Cancer. I believe there is another mental cancer in our midst...and its name is PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental condition whereby, an individual is rendered mentally wounded by a traumatic event which has taken place. The person may be directly connected to the trauma or...psychiatrists are finding interesting...indirectly. An "Empathy Injury" if you will. The study of what is now referred to as PTSD goes as far back as the Civil War, where alterations in mood and personality became apparent.
Scads of research has been done on the origins, diagnosis, and effects of PTSD, and the prescription for recovery. The effort to minimize so many catastrophic endings as a result of the condition trudges on. As a sufferer myself, I feel an obligation to become as aware as possible about the effects of the condition on me, and the experiences I have, and then to find ways of getting that information out in order to educate and spark conversations that can lead to strong solutions . BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! (What's the point!? The image below is for my wife...ha!)
Okay...so...I've recently had an innappropriate response during a crisis. Often I will reflect on an event, evaluate my response and find ways to improve...(kinda wonky I know...but it works for me) In order to protect the innocent, I will spare the details, but I now see, I could have responded better. And it bothered me that I hadn't. Then I thought, "Why...even with all the wellness tools at my arsonal, does this little monster called PTSD still seem to get the best of me?" And then it dawned on me. PTSD is cancerous. It is developed through a traumatic event and is brought back up by events called, "TRIGGERS." These are current events which remind a person of the past, traumatic events, causing anxiety and often, and innappropriate reaction.
From my own experience, I am beginning to recognize that...now get this...the "TRIGGERS" sometimes become part of the TRAUMA. The trauma I experience today, whether large or small, ATTACHES itself to the original trauma like a malignant tumor and grows. I have read and learned about ways to help minimize the negative effects of future traumatic events, but have not seen research which indicates this possible connection. If there is, I am not aware of it, but I think it is significant enough to pursue and here's why...
The nucleus of this mental cancer is the original traumatic event. EVERYONE experiences trauma in their lives...even small set backs take place throughout our journey here on Earth. But as a PTSD sufferer, ALL of them become connected to the nucleus of the problem...the original event. You follow me so far?
So these events become ALL connected... a current, small, seemingly insignificant...issue can increase in significance when it becomes attached through similarities a person draws between what IS happening...and what HAS happened and eventually...in the mind of the sufferer it begins to look like an IMPOSSIBLE disease of which to ever rid themselves. It also becomes attached to other diagnosis such as "Survivor Guilt." And for many...the pain and suffering becomes too much and they lose the ability to cope.
This sounds very grim...but please understand my friends...we will never find better ways to recover from this until we are honest about the way it looks...even if it makes us a bit uncomfortable.
HOWEVER... HOPE is increasing, as we are discovering new and useful ways of changing the way we approach recovery. In my next blog we will discuss some awesome ways of coping with PTSD. Stay with me my suffering friends...their are some different solutions that help. Until then...Be Well...
About the Author
Braden Daniels was born in Saginaw, Michigan and has been writing articles and books for over 30 years.