“PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions.” – Susan Pease Banitt.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is an anxiety disorder triggered by a terrifying event that left the person feeling helpless and hopeless. It usually develops within 3 months after an extremely traumatic event.
Why do people get PTSD?
The subconscious mind never forgets. The stories are eerily similar. The patient awakens from a terrifying recurrent dream, sweating, heart beating fast, and often unable to fall asleep again that night. Young and old have suffered trauma on the battlefield, others at home from rape, abuse or crime. Recurrent nightmares are the most defining symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder. Memories stay locked in the subconscious is to protect you from reliving past trauma and shock.
Hidden stories may protect you, but they are like a monster that lurks in your subconscious and repeatedly haunts you. This hidden stuff has a way of creating lots of drama, blame, and distractions. It also drains your energy and keeps you from experiencing the life you want. Only when you bring this stuff to surface awareness can its energy be released and its cyclical appearance cleared. It is when you unlock your subconscious that you can regain control and dissipate its hold.
What is the difference between nightmares and night terrors?
Nightmares are vivid and terrifying nocturnal episodes in which the dreamer is abruptly awakened from sleep.
Night terrors are associated with autonomic discharge, confusion and vocalizations, often a “blood-curdling” scream.
What can lead to PTSD?
- Childhood neglect
- Terrorist attacks
- Natural disasters
- Car /plane/train crashes
What happens after a traumatic event?
After a traumatic event, it is normal to feel incoherent, numb and anxious. Your mind and body are in shock. Once you work through the events tough, the symptoms disappear.
With PTSD, the symptoms remain because your mind and feelings are detached. You may have total amnesia of the event but still relive the event through intrusive recollections, flashbacks and nightmares. The thoughts are uncontrollable. It can completely shake up your life and inhibits normal development in children or functioning in adults.
“The greater a child’s terror, and the earlier it is experienced, the harder it becomes to develop a strong and healthy sense of self.” – Nathaniel Branden
Can children also develop PTSD?
Symptoms of PTSD in children:
• Stop talking
• Aches & pains complaints (stomach ache)
• Refusal to play or go out
What are the symptoms of PTSD in adults?
Symptoms of PSTD:
• Sleep disturbances
• Compulsive behaviour
• Avoidance of things that remind you of what happened
• Easily startled
• Trouble with concentrating
• Emotional numbness
• Irrational fears
• New phobias
Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) is a form of post-traumatic disorder caused by prolonged, repeated trauma.
“I remember one of my first ritually abused clients confessing to me that for a long time, she had remembered being abducted by aliens but had not told me because she did not want me to disbelieve her other memories because of it. We worked through the “alien abduction” memory and discovered that the “spaceship” was parked in the cult training centre’s courtyard.
A child who is being abused on an ongoing basis needs to function despite the trauma that dominates his or her daily life. That becomes the job of at least one ANP [alternate personality], who the child creates to be unaware of the abuse and multiplicity and “pass as normal” in the real world. The ANP is just an alter specialized for handling the adult world—in other words, the “front person” for the system.”
– Alison Miller, Healing the Unimaginable: Treating Ritual Abuse and Mind Control
Causes of Complex PTSD can be
- Physical & sexual abuse in childhood
- Recruitment as a child soldier in conflict situations
- Continuous exposure to domestic violence
- Being a victim of human trafficking
- Being tortured
- Being a victim of genocide campaigns, organised crime
Traumatic events, in some instances, can be too emotionally & mentally disruptive to cope with. A person can develop PTSD and other psychiatric disorders to cope with the trauma. Some develop Dissociative disorder in an attempt to cope. Dissociation means a change in consciousness, memory, identity, or how one views their surroundings.
Different types of dissociation:
1. Dissociative Amnesia: In dissociative amnesia, a person has one or more experiences of being unable to remember or recall important information about himself. It differs from ordinary forgetfulness in that the person cannot recall a specific stressful or traumatic event.
2. Dissociative Fugue: Someone with this disorder will suddenly forget about his past and unexpectedly travel away from home. The person may also experience some confusion about his identity or even assume a completely new identity.
3. Dissociative Identity Disorder: A person with dissociative identity disorder will have two or more separate identities that each have their own way of thinking and relating to the world. To have this disorder, a minimum of two of these identities must also take control of the person’s behaviour again and again. The person with dissociative identity disorder may also have difficulty remembering personal information that, like dissociative amnesia, goes beyond simple forgetfulness
4. Depersonalization Disorder: In depersonalization disorder, a person feels “detached from” their thoughts or body. They might feel they are outside their body like in a dream or floating by.
5. Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified: The DSM-IV uses this term to describe a dissociative disorder where the main feature is still some dissociative experience, but criteria for other dissociative disorders are not present.
There is a definite link between PTSD and dissociative disorders. If you experience this because of trauma, you need to seek professional help.
Test yourself – do the quiz on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder