Is It PTSD?

What is trauma? How do we know if we’ve experienced it? What are its symptoms? And is it enough to only recognize them? The experts say, no. Knowing the symptoms, experiencing them, and finally, treating them are 3 different things.

According to Psychology Today, trauma is defined as a person’s emotional response to a distressing experience. Further, it states in the article that unlike ordinary hardships, traumatic events tend to be sudden and unpredictable. Though not a comprehensive list, some examples are as follows:

  • Loss of a parent or sibling during childhood
  • Auto accidents
  • Physical violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Military combat experiences
  • Sudden loss of a loved one

 

Here’s a list the Mayo Clinic deems as symptoms of PTSD:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event (triggers)
  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people, or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, difficulty recalling important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb

 

We’ve all experienced hardships of varying degrees. Why? Because the god of this world is after us. He’s powerful, proud, sneaky, and subtle; he’s every kind of evil, and his goal, for the short time he has left, is to destroy us. Period. This is not up for consideration. So, what do we do now? How do we overcome these crippling symptoms, and instead, equip and fortify ourselves to lessen the effects of further disruptions in our lives? The Mayo Clinic suggests cognitive therapy and/or a numbing agent to temporarily relieve the pains of the past. But if Jesus is who He claims to be, and God is supreme and the Creator of all things, wouldn’t it make sense to schedule daily appointments with Him instead? I don’t judge anyone’s decision relating to the treatment of PTSD, as I too, have traveled the therapy route. Some of my dear friends have chosen to make their life’s work that of helping individuals of all ages rummage through their past and clean up the residue from various traumas. But if you haven’t tried focusing on God by reading His word and offering up consistent prayers to Him, this might be your answer to everything. I use the word might because it takes commitment, extreme discipline, an open mind, and the ability to seek change in yourself, as you’re the only one suffering in your own trauma.

 

I believe we all have some degree of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) laying around in our psyche, developing mold and other bacteria. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to be treated by the best Counselor and then released.

 

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

 

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. Psalm 91:4-6

 

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

 

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. Joel 2:25

 

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 135:18-19

 

“I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, and have forgotten the Lord, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor? He who is bowed down shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the pit, neither shall his bread be lacking. I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name. Isaiah 51:12-15

 

Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

5 Responses

  1. Helpful – thanks for sharing! Your balanced and sensitive perspective on therapy is especially appreciated.

  2. Read your 2/9 piece, “write,” with interest. An unsolicited piece of advice should you decide to send that letter – make sure you have the correct address. Pretty basic I know, but this past summer I sent an old friend a note…I think to the wrong address. Did not have any contact with this person for years, but when I learned that they had remained faithful to the Lord despite the ups and downs of life I was so happy for them I felt compelled to send a long distance “pat on the back.” Appears that I missed entirely and shot an airball. I don’t regret sending the note, but would have liked some reassurance they were not currently in prison or under house arrest.

  3. Another comment about your 2/9 “letter” post. With a loss that fresh, it seems that your condolences could be a great help, especially coming from someone who has been there.

    And somewhat unrelated – no new posts lately…hope you are OK!

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Suzanne Sommerville

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Christ-follower, daughter, mom, Mimi to 6 grandchildren, teacher, writer, and musician

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