First off, we need to know what PSTD is, its cause, effect, and of course how therapy can play an important role.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) is an anxiety disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a traumatic event, say a near death experience, assault, or even an accident.

Understand that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event develops an anxiety disorder like PSTD, and when I say experience, I mean either it happens to a person directly or a person witnesses its occurrence. Either way, the individual is conscious of such trauma.

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The cardinal purpose of the brain is our survival, so it uses all our senses to look out for danger and seek ways to avoid it. On exposure to trauma, some people develop paranoia. They sometimes re-live the pain in their head, have sleepless nights, and even when the sleep comes they have nightmares relating to the traumatic event.

They equally become emotionally numb, try to block out the feeling of fear, anger, guilt, etc. thereby blocking some other emotions, places, and people who remind them of that event. Sometimes they get irritated and angered easily.

In some cases, there is also the inability to remember important aspects of the traumatic event, and this is not due to any head injury, alcohol or drug use, the brain just shuts out that information in a bid to protect us and ensure our survival.

It's quite difficult that some people go as far as not being able to forgive themselves in cases like sexual assaults when they obviously couldn't help themselves.

  • There is also this feeling that the world is dangerous and no one can be trusted.
  • They blame themselves or others about the cause or consequence of the traumatic event.
  • They have persistent fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame, in some cases, a combination of all the bad feelings and they develop a diminished interest or participation in significant activities, persistent inability to experience positive emotions, feel detached or estranged from others, and sometimes develop aggressive tendencies.
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It is however worthy of note that PSTD has its varying effects as people differ. What may be the effect of PSTD in an individual may not be same in another. Also, not all traumatic events lead to PSTD. The likelihood that a traumatic event would lead to PSTD is determined by some factors such as: being physically close to the traumatic event, high intensity of the trauma, the feeling of not being in control, the feeling of being ignored which in all, is heartbreaking.

However, the good news is that there is a way out of this indisposition.

The first way to go about it is to seek for very positive and highly energetic company of people who make you feel good. In this case, if the trauma is ever to be discussed, it should be in an upbeat manner because any attempt to mentally relive that experience and talk about it in details could make one sad or even bring about depression.

Avoid 'support' groups where people with similar experiences seat in a circle and talk about how much their life sucks. Always bear in mind that people pass through unpleasant experiences almost every day, but this time it happened to you.

Do not let one event that took less than an hour of your day ruin the rest of your life, be positive and a lot of positivity would be attracted to you. I once read of a man who got robbed on a lonely road at night, and for close to a year he couldn't use lonely roads at night until he finally got sick of the involuntary fear and decided to take steps to regain his peace. He consulted a therapist who asked him to put himself in uncomfortable positions, so he started taking long walks on lonely roads at night.

Initially, he was very alert and avoided close contact with people sharing the road with him until about a month of steady night walks without experiencing any form of assault or weird occurrence. He soon fell in love with the idea of strolling on lonely roads at night as a means of clearing his head claiming it made him sleep better, and wake with optimism about the next day.

We all are a part of a very wonderful world, and we are here to gather experiences - the good with the bad, and the happy with the sad as part of our evolution.

Letting one sad experience alter the course of your life is not a good way to live. Remember, with every sunrise, the earth is made anew, and this could mean a fresh start for everyone who needs it. You only get one life, live, love, laugh.

For more information and to speak to a therapist, please visit our PTSD counseling page or call at 919-647-4600

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