As a result of trauma, I suffered from PTSD for years. I was jumpy and always on edge. When I had kids, I knew I needed to fix that. Kids jump on you, they surprise you, they do all sorts of things that aren’t compatible with PTSD. So I did. I spent years working on it so that I wouldn’t have such instant reactions. Reactions that could hurt my child.
But I was never sure. Was it gone? Was I “fixed”? I do still find myself scanning my surroundings. I find it difficult to have a one on one conversation in a room full of people because the person in front of me is not a threat – so my attention focuses where there may be one and doesn’t allow me to focus on the person I am speaking with.
For the past 8 months or so, I have been taking Krav Maga classes. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a self-defense martial art form that, unlike many other self-defense styles, is designed to inflict maximum damage on your attacker. It was developed by the Israeli Army and is designed for close combat.
Last night as I was leaving the grocery store, I felt something in my back and heard a voice say “give me your money”. I paused. I hesitated and turned to look. It was my Krav instructor and I ‘failed’ the test. He wanted me to react by sweeping his arm away while delivering a strike to the face. But I didn’t. 5 years ago I would have though. So while that may have been a failure on one hand, to me it means my PTSD is no longer controlling me.
For me, that’s a “win”.
Scientists have discovered the brain chemicals responsible for the development of PTSD in rats. This could lead to better and more effective treatment.
I’ve heard good things about turmeric in the past, so this wouldn’t surprise me if this study panned out. Although they haven’t yet tested this on humans – only rats – it is an interesting concept. In a nutshell, they have noted that curcumin, a compound derived from the spice turmeric, has been found to alleviate PTSD symptoms in rats, possibly by easing inflammation in the brain. I don’t know how dramatic the change would be if you switched to adding more turmeric to your diet, but I don’t think it would hurt…. now where is my recipe book…
Although the most frequently thought of group when thinking about PTSD, it’s not just those who have been in combat that suffer from it. PTSD following rape and industrial accidents is just as likely, yet isn’t recognized as such.
Most people think of flashbacks and a general “jumpiness” when they think of PTSD symptoms. But those symptoms can also include (among other things):
- Anger and irritability
- Guilt, shame, or self-blame
- Substance abuse
- Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
- Depression and hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts and feelings
- Feeling alienated and alone
- Physical aches and pains
Having PTSD sucks. I know because I suffered from it for years. It’s hard to live a “normal” life when you’re stuck in those patterns, and it’s hard to get help when people don’t consider the fact that you may have PTSD even if you haven’t been in combat. It happens. It’s real. PTSD isn’t just for our military.