PTSD AND THE UGLY TRUTH … TRIGGERS ARE LIKE WALKING THROUGH A LIGHTINING STORM
with the current situation in the NHS and the pandemic, health professionals are increasingly vulnerable to PTSD. The symptoms are largely due to damage sustained by the amygdala which makes emotional very difficult. Surges of activity through neural pathways that trigger the fight or flight response. PTSD relates to one causal event. CPTSD is a collection or ongoing stressful situations. The major effected areas of the brain being pre-frontal cortex, amygdala and hippocampus. The main issues arising are emotional processing, decision making and reasoning.
PTSD AND THE UGLY TRUTH
when everyday is worse than the last. Constantly surrounded by death. Each day they say “tomorrow will be better” only it turns out to be worse. Seemingly trying to save people that ignored advice and didn’t give you a thought before they held a house party. How do you think they feel ? wear their shoes just for 10 mins in your mind. Now tell me if you wanted to save the guy you know caught COVID because they refused to wear a face mask. Then witnessing the death of a lady whose children and grandchildren are destroyed because they were not able to tell her “goodbye” or “we love you, thank you for being you”. The pandemic is claiming as many lives as a war. Nurses, doctors and health workers are fighting a war.
More over the enemy isn’t just the virus, in many cases it is being spread by people those you love and respect. When you are not feeling well yourself or have an underlying health condition that compromises your own immune system. How do you choose between which patient you answer first when they all need your attention at the same time. On top of all that you are dressed in a hazmat suit that is cooking you. Not forgetting the head gear that looks and feels like an atom bomb was dropped. Now how do you feel ?
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN COVID IS UNDER CONTROL AGAIN and we are starting to forget?
Reading some of the comments on social media from a minority that disagree with lockdown and protecting others along with themselves. ” you chose it for a job” was one that caught my eye. Yes they did, my sister included however I don’t see comments on social media relating to other frontline workers and those in the armed forces who “chose their job”. If a person chooses a job that puts their own lives in danger and in some cases loses them to save others they deserve respect. If protestors are fighting for the right not to self isolate etc etc etc then the NHS staff should have the right not treat anyone they insists the NHS is controlling them and this is all a conspiracy.
when we are all merrily getting back to normal and walking away from all this the effects of mental illness, predominately PTSD will still be felt for many years to come. So have your opinion, you’re entitled to it, however one that is clearly that offensive needs to be kept to yourself.
WHAT DOES PTSD DO TO A PERSON?
it’s brain damage, literally ! forging neural pathways in the brain called trauma paths are created. Therefore making it, in cases permanent. The symptoms can be very severe and debilitating. Causing flashbacks, self harm, negative self view, difficulty regulating emotions. That’s just the start.
LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF
if you have the symptoms of PTSD then look after yourself and try not to give to negative thoughts of yourself and the cause of the trauma. It’s such an easy way of thought to get into and very difficult to get out of. Obviously being diagnosed with it means, medical attention and medication will be offered to help. There are ways in which you can help yourself also to cope with the issues that arise.
meditation helps in many ways with sleep deprivation and any flashbacks you may suffer. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) can help with changing negative thought patterns and teach you coping mechanisms.
Help with addressing feelings that seem overwhelming and make daily life almost impossible. Regular exercise and making time for activities you enjoy. Exercise and “me ” time helps with physical well being and mental health. If you feel better physically then the negative feelings towards yourself will lessen. If you experience difficulties with relationships and find you are feeling isolated then make sure you spend quality time with friends and those you feel a deep connection with. This may seem difficult at first as one of the foremost symptoms is dissociation. However this can set in and become a very firm way of life. Some habits are very difficult to break so it’s easier if you recognize it and guard against it.
PTSD AND THE UGLY TRUTH medication will help in the short term.
in the short term and under the supervision of a doctor, ssri medication will help . Prozac, setraline and paxil are all good in the short term while you learn coping mechanisms to cope with the more difficult issues that arise. Relationships can become more difficult as emotional processing and dissociation become the brain’s way for dealing with the trauma. Your partner or a close, trusted friend can help you with this with positive reinforcement and encouragement.
Planning for when you feel better can be a great incentive for a patient with PTSD. Achievable goals and the knowledge that those who care for you most will stand by you are the best long term medication for a PTSD brain. The mind will fight the more negative effects easier when you feel safe and loved. It is , in some degree, as easy as that. If you are close to someone with PTSD then try very hard not to focus on their negative behavior. Try not to make it about you. It is just as hard and crushing for those living with and around someone with PTSD . However one of the over riding emotions they feel is guilt. There is guilt everywhere they turn.
one of the most common emotions felt by those with this condition is guilt. Feeling that they don’t deserve love or the approval of loved ones. People pleasing is something they do a lot !! anything for a quiet life and I have been witness to some supposedly close to someone with PTSD that use this trait to their own advantage. Using a person’s mental health against them is not love in any form. it’s true that loving and being close to someone with this condition is hard, really hard at times but using it against them to make them people please is nothing short of abuse. It will only serve to make any behavior you find it difficult to live with even more so. The PTSD brain will rebel in the end and for those with a sufferer it really is a case of love me love this bit too.
this part is bewildering for the patient and those around them to an equal degree. Dissociation will be with those that the patient often feels the more overwhelming emotions for. In terms of a soldier with this condition, it makes them generally pull away from and feel at odds with a normal life. They isolated and that they really don’t fit in anywhere. Nurses, doctors and health care workers could associate the trauma with patients that don’t survive and therefore see each lost patient as a failure on their part. We know that sometimes there is nothing further that can be done and it is just a person’s time to leave the physical world. PTSD brain doesn’t work like that.
Compassion fatigue is very common among frontline workers. They tend to be empathic in nature and take on responsibility for their patients suffering, therefore going above and beyond to end that suffering. Should the patient still not make it, the nurse or doctor with PTSD will often take that upon themselves. Compassion fatigue is emotional burn out. That horrible feeling of having nothing left to give. When that happens, speaking from personal experience , that goes for everyone around you. You feel hollow and empty. Not able to give a ” you know what ” about anything or anyone. Not even yourself. You don’t care less what happens next, literally, WW3 could start in your back garden and so be it.
All those people you have been giving empathy to for ages, relentlessly, tirelessly are among the first to say ” oh what’s wrong with you”. This only compounds the feelings of low self esteem, guilt and worthlessness.
be around those that appreciate your empathy and try to lead you away from the guilt. That know that you have trouble showing your feelings and that’s ok if you don’t show them all the time as you normally do. If you’re on the other side of the coin and you notice your significant other needs a bit of recharging time, allow that to happens for a short period of time. It will be rewarded ten fold when they feel better. Sleep is a good way for them to recharge. You are not being ignored, let them sleep and boast back up.