June 27 is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day. It’s important that we understand what PTSD is and how to support a loved one with PTSD.
PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after someone experiences a traumatic event. Some symptoms might include intrusive and distressing memories, nightmares, and flashbacks relating to the trauma. Some people may experience these symptoms immediately after the traumatic event, and for others they may not appear until months later. Symptoms of PTSD can also include avoidance of things associated with the traumatic event, negative beliefs about oneself and the world, irritability, feelings of guilt or shame, and hypervigilance.
When most people think of PTSD, they think of soldiers who come home from war after witnessing horrific events or scenes. However, people of any age, race, gender, and identity who experience any type of trauma can develop PTSD. People often react differently to traumatic events for an array of reasons- and not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD. Approximately 1 in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime.
If you know a family member or friend who is experiencing PTSD, remember that they need love and support now more than ever, even while it may be hard for you to understand what they are going through. The best place to start is just to ask how you can support them. They may need space and time to recover on their own, but it is important to continue checking in to remind them they are not alone. You can also offer to go see a counselor with them if and when they are ready to seek treatment. PTSD can be incredibly lonely, so it is important that you educate yourself on this mental health condition and acknowledge the reality of your loved one’s struggle.
If you would like to learn more about PTSD check out this informative instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/ptsd.awareness/