The Need for Education
PTSD is a disorder where previously well-functioning individuals, many of whom formerly thought of themselves as being emotionally strong and tough, suffer a complete emotional breakdown, finding themselves overcome with anxiety and depression. Suddenly, they become completely unable to function or cope with daily life.
The victims of PTSD cannot figure out what has happened to them. They become angry, despondent, withdrawn and depressed over their inability to pull their lives back together. But even worse, the very people that PTSD victims rely on for empathy and support–their families and loved ones–are just as bewildered and frustrated by the person’s sudden inability to cope with life. Victims begin to feel like their families don’t understand them and are abandoning them. Both the victims and their families become desperate to find somebody who can help the affected person.
When PTSD sufferers reach out for help, they are often initially diagnosed with some kind of anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, or both. They will usually receive whatever limited counselling their health plans or community services provide for people with anxiety and depression, usually with little improvement. PTSD victims know they need something more, but they don’t know where to go and soon become desperate to find somebody who understands their situation and can help them.
Ultimately, many PTSD victims become disillusioned, becoming increasingly withdrawn, antisocial, and hopeless about their future. The rate of suicide in PTSD victims is high, as evidenced by frequent news reports about veterans who return home and take their own lives when they don’t receive the help they need.
During the course of my job as a psychologist, one of the biggest challenges I face with clients who seek treatment for PTSD, is to give them hope that they can be well again. Giving them hope is essential, since before a person can begin the long journey to overcome PTSD, they must first understand the nature of the beast that they are fighting. And in order for their spouses and families to provide emotional support during that journey, they too must understand what their loved one is going through.
Soon after I began taking extra professional training for treating PTSD, I recognized the enormous need for education to help PTSD victims and their families understand PTSD. So, over the years, I have brought together the things I’ve learned in my training, combined with my clinical observations of hundreds of PTSD victims, to create a model that helps people to finally understand what has happened to them as a result of the traumatic events they have experienced. The model I’ve developed resonates with my clients. The look on their faces when they realize that somebody has finally understood and validated what they are going through, is priceless–it is the first ray of hope they have had since they suffered their emotional breakdown.
The model I share with my clients, which I am going to share with you, the reader, and with the public in the coming weeks, is not based on neuroscience or technical psychobabble. It is based on clinical observation–and it brings PTSD down to earth and explains it in a way that resonates with ordinary, everyday people everywhere, and is intuitive and easy to understand.
The publication of this blog is fitting–it comes on the day when Bell Canada, one of our country’s larges corporate citizens, sponsors its annual ‘Let’s Talk’ day–a day where Canadians join in to break down the stigma concerning mental health problems. To help further that cause, this blog is the first in a series of blogs that I will be releasing over the coming weeks to share my model with the public. With the series, it is my hope that I can help shed some light on PTSD for its victims, their families, and the public–to help everybody better understand the nature of PTSD and what is needed to overcome it.
Part Two - Your Brain Before PTSD
Part Three - Diagnosing PTSD
Part Four - What is Dissociation?
Part Five - Treatment of PTSD