How can you tell if you suffer from Trauma or PTSD?
We all have upsetting events, stresses, and worries that affect us for a short period of time. Some of the reactions we have to those upsets may match some of the signs of trauma. The difference is that those reactions—sleeplessness, fatigue, irritability, etc.—which can be signs of Trauma and PTSD, will go away after a few weeks. But when these symptoms go on for over a month, then this could be a sign that you are suffering from a trauma.
Then you need Trauma and PTSD treatment.
Whereas time can heal some stressful events, it does not heal trauma. In fact, the symptoms of trauma may not even surface until several weeks, months, or years after a traumatic event took place. This time lag between the traumatic event and the onset of symptoms may prevent us from recognizing the trauma event as the source of our sudden outbursts of anger, sleeplessness, anxiety, panic, etc.
But even knowing the signs of trauma may not help to release the grip of denial. Since the symptoms of trauma are usually painful physically and emotionally, a part of us does not want to acknowledge just how damaging the effects are on us and on our families. To face the traumas makes us think that we will have to relive these events over again and rehash the suffering of the past. So rather than face that prospect, a part of the brain prevents us from admitting that we are suffering from the past in the present.
Denial is particularly prevalent in returning veterans with PTSD—Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is a culture of denial fostered in the military. In this way of thinking, to admit to suffering from trauma is to admit to being weak. It’s better to “soldier up” than admit you have a problem and seek help. So returning vets rarely seek help and hope the feelings will go away with time. But as we’ve seen, they do not.
Knowing the signs of trauma will allow you to help the returning vets face the agony they are in and look for help. When vets are caught in denial, they suffer and their families suffer. Trauma has a way of destroying marriages and families. Pointing out the damage they are doing to their families can be the best strategy in encouraging them to seek help. What they won’t do for themselves, they will do for their spouses and children.