There are times when we don’t quite know the reason behind random flashing of painful images/events from our life playing incessantly in the mind. Going through a harrowing experience of abuse, torture, witnessing an accident or a natural calamity can be horrifying and frightening. It can be disturbing enough to cause a change in the way we perceive stressful events.
What is PTSD? How is it caused?
Many people are able to ward off the fear, helplessness and other painful feelings associated with a traumatic event on their own. With some people though, these traumatic events leave a lasting impression that affect them for many months or even years,resulting in an emotional condition often referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD). Once known as “ shell shock “a condition only affecting war veterans, PTSD is now recognized as an anxiety provoking disorder that is brought on by a traumatic life event.
Exposure to an overwhelming & frightening situation like death or terminal illness of a loved one, child abuse, serious body injury to oneself or others, rape, terrorist attack and domestic violence can make a person feel excessively anxious, have nightmares or angry outbursts. When the unmanageable feelings caused by the event continue to get worse PTSD is said to have taken over the person.
Why is it so disturbing?
Time and again sudden life circumstances make us lose control. When something you had never imagined occurs, it not only changes the brain chemistry but also affects us emotionally. It makes us search for the reasons behind the trauma we undergo. The disturbance that follows makes us question the concepts of faith, comfort and mortality. This creates a double bind wherein a person is confused and broken on the inside but wears a façade of having moved on.