As many of you will be aware, the 10th October is World Mental Health Day. In order to mark the day I have decided to create a blog series to publish in the run up to World Mental Health Day with the help of contributors with lived experience. The series will run over the , covering a variety of mental health problems. The aim of the series is to remove some of the 'clinical' feel behind the descriptions of mental health problems and humanise it by describing how it feels to those experiencing a mental health problem.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.
Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt (NHS).
"You could just be sitting in a café with a friend, and then a get a waft of a certain smell across the room, or you hear a specific sound, and then suddenly, you are back there. You see the people, feel the same feelings, smell the same smells, hear the same noises, and experience all the same sensations. Your heart rate rises, your breathing gets faster, and your palms get sweaty. Unsurprisingly, at this time, thoughts go to escaping the situation and making yourself safe, because it can genuinely feel, that even if you are in the safest place in the world, you are back in that traumatic event. At other times, when you do not feel as though you are really back there, it can be very difficult to stop thinking about it. Your mind can wonder, and before you even realise it, you have spent hours thinking about the trauma. You can have an intense desire to revisit the event. Not because you want to relive it. Far from that. But because you want to change what has happened. You can convince yourself that if you had done something slightly differently, then the traumatic event wouldn’t have happened. This can lead to frustration and hatred towards yourself, and the development of the unhelpful, and ultimately false belief, that it is your fault." - Becky Reed
"Even though, the events that triggered PTSD haven't happened in a long time, hypervigilance is something that I feel every single day. Almost anything can be a trigger. It's like living in a constant fight- flight mode, scanning constantly for anything that could be classified as 'dangerous'; aka anything that I'm not in control of." - Kay Ska
Hopefully reading the personal experiences has helped to provide a more human understanding of what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is, what it means to those who experience it and how it feels.
Sending positive vibes,