We all know stress can be harmful, but to a trauma survivor it can be excruciating, even life-threatening. Not everyone who lives through an extreme emotional trauma develops post-traumatic stress disorder, but millions do. An estimated 8% of the U.S. population—about 24.4 million people—have PTSD at any given time.
PTSD is difficult to diagnose, in large part because its symptoms vary widely: nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, rage, emotional numbing, hypervigilance, hyperarousal, depression, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and avoidance. And its effects can be devastating. Here’s how some PTSD survivors have described it:
“I’m unable to accept and process what has happened.”
“PTSD to me is an echo that seems to follow me wherever I go. It is a solitude that embraces my every day. A battle that at times I think is over until I realize it’s affecting me again in yet a different way. It’s as though the person I once was has vanished and those who surround me don’t understand where I’ve gone.”
“I have no sense of personal identity.”
“I’ve lost the ability to differentiate the past, present, and future.”
As terrifying as PTSD can be, there is one upside: It is highly treatable.
That’s where Rewire Me’s good friend and contributing writer Michele Rosenthal comes in. A PTSD survivor herself, Michele is an author and leading advocate for PTSD awareness and treatment. If you or someone you know is looking for more information about PTSD, I urge you to visit Michele’s website, HealMyPTSD.com, and watch the video below.
Visit Michele’s YouTube channel for more PTSD videos.