Last week marked PTSD Awareness Day, but mental health—in some capacity— should be on folks’ radars every day. An individual’s level of stress, anxiety, and depression directly impacts every facet of their life, from the way they navigate interpersonal relationships to their ability to hold down steady work. Many people are actively battling sadness and low self-esteem but haven’t put a label on the source, which could be some sort of trauma.
Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing experience. It can be caused by a range of factors: a bad breakup, verbal abuse, living in extreme poverty, witnessing acts of violence and more.
PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a condition often associated with veterans who’ve experience trauma during combat, but can impact anyone who has experienced an incident that is emotionally and/or physically painful—think car accidents, rape or life-threatening events. The condition affects people in different ways, but is debilitating for many. Symptoms of the condition include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety attacks or other physical and psychological interruptions that impend daily activities.
Luckily, PTSD is treatable, with help. According to the National Center for PTSD, support comes in three main forms:
- Staying connected to family, friends and romantic partners.
- Joining support groups that create safe spaces to talk.
- Connecting with a professional therapist to help build coping skills.
It’s important to know that admitting you’ve experienced trauma and getting help for PTSD doesn’t make you weak. There are certain events in life that can deeply shake you. It’s easy to let ego, complacency or fear, prevent you from moving forward. But the choice is simple: remain in pain and unhappiness or do the work to move forward. You may not be able to control what has happened in the past, but you can shape what occurs in your future. If you, or a loved one, has experienced trauma fight for the life you want. Get help.