One of the first steps in recognizing PTSD is admitting that you need help. It isn’t always easy; especially for people who are stubborn. It can be difficult if you are an independent person who often solves problems on their own. It’s not fun to admit that you want help at times, but when you do this, you’re taking your mental health into your own hands. Some people have families who have told them that mental illness isn’t real. That isn’t true, and if you take it a step further, that notion is ridiculous. Physical health issues and mental health ones often work hand-in-hand, and if you address your mental health, you’re in better shape physically.
So, you have two choices. You can ignore your mental health issues, or you can address them. You know that it’s going to benefit you to confront them, rather than putting them under the proverbial carpet. The first step to addressing mental health issues is figuring out what’s troubling you and causing you distress in your life. In this article, we’re going to talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you think you may be suffering from this mental health issue, which is extremely real, you deserve help.
What is PTSD and how do I recognize the symptoms?
It may be helpful to first identify that PTSD often has a stereotype of being an illness that only affects veterans or people that are in the military. This is a misconception that needs to be clarified. PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health issue that affects people who have experienced any form of trauma. Whether that is a sexual assault, childhood abuse, or a car crash, these are just a few examples of ways that a person can develop PTSD. What happens to someone who has PTSD is this – they relive the traumatic event after it happens over and over again. They do this because something in their life triggers them to remember the traumatic event that they experienced. If you find yourself remembering something traumatic that happened to you and you experience symptoms that cause you emotional and physical distress, you may have PTSD.
Before we get into the symptoms of PTSD, let’s talk about triggers. Triggers are the things that remind you of the traumatic event. Let’s say that you experience a sexual assault on a particular street. If you walk down that street, all of a sudden, you remember what you went through. You begin to have a panic attack. Panic or anxiety is one of the most common symptoms of PTSD. So, one thing that you work on in therapy is recognizing what triggers you to have symptoms related to PTSD. Then, you work through those triggers with a licensed therapist who specializes in this condition. Noticing the signs themselves is crucial. Here are some common things to look out for that may indicate that you have this illness:
Fits of rage
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please consult a licensed therapist. You may have PTSD. If you’re experiencing even just one of the signs, it’s essential to consult a mental health professional. Even if you don’t have PTSD, you could still benefit from therapy or counseling.
The next thing to know is that it’s okay to be afraid. Sometimes, confronting these issues can bring up fear. Be proud of the fact that you are making the step to seek help despite your fear. There so many ways to get treatment. Whether it’s with an online therapist or with someone local to your area, you can get the help that you need.
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.
Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with panic disorder. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.