Scripps Ranch and Bankers Hill Therapist Sara Cole.
When you hear the phrase Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD for short, what comes to your mind? Many people think about combat or war veterans or survivors of torture. These are examples of trauma, but there is also so much more that can be traumatic. For example any experience where a person's life is at risk or they even feel like their life is at risk, is traumatic. The loss of a loved one, witnessing violence or death and extreme changes are all potentially traumatic events.
One of the biggest factors that influences a person's response to a potentially traumatic event, is whether or not the person felt like they had any control over the situation or the outcome. And if you think about it a little, this sort of makes sense. Lets say you decide to go sky diving. That is a risky behavior that could feel overwhelming and life threatening and for some people it feels exhilarating. Now consider being on an airplane that has engine failure and you have to jump out as your only chance for survival. The second scenario is much more likely to have a negative impact on a person. The big difference between these two situations is the part where a person feels like they have a choice over how, where, when and with who they jump from an airplane.
Trauma and trauma treatment is a huge topic and I am only touching on it here. My purpose in bringing it up is to say its okay to say you feel traumatized by an event. There is no rule about what is bad enough or anything else. People often say that they feel like they should just be able to get over what happened, but sometimes its not that easy. Sometimes we need help to get past something bad happening and it doesn't make you weak. Facing the reality of whatever has happened can be hard. But I think that carrying it unresolved for as long as your whole life, is worse.
There are lots of treatments for trauma and as many or even more theories about trauma. The good news is that there are options that make it possible to find the treatment and the therapist that feels right for you. Signs that you may have PTSD or just need help getting past something, include the following.
Call it whatever you want, but if you have the symptoms, please get help. Things can get better.
Life does not have to feel like a painful struggle everyday. We are meant to experience a range of emotions in life, including sadness, anger, fear, joy, and so much more.
Do you ever look around and say "wow my life is pretty good" "why don't I act like it" or "I should be happy"? In other words, does it seem like your emotions or mood don't match with your environment or situation in life? That might be depression.
Do you ever find yourself crying and realize you are not exactly sure why it is that you are so sad?
Do you have a list of things to do, but cant seem to get motivated to do any of it?
Or, does anything extra feel like just too much to handle?
That might be depression.
Are you easily frustrated by things that wouldn't usually bother you? Do social activities sound more like work than fun? Have you ever felt like self care activities are sort of pointless?
That might be depression.
Depression and too much stress can often look alot alike in terms of how they affect a person. They often also happen together.
Do you feel hopeless that things can get better? Do you feel like no one would care if you were gone? Do you use drugs or alcohol to feel better or feel numb?
If you answered yes to these questions, stop what you are doing and get yourself some help. Suffering alone has not worked for you and its time to try something new. See a therapist, talk to your doctor, call a help line, talk to a friend or family member. Do something though. Don't do what you have been doing because doing nothing will not change things for the better.
A 7 days a week 24 hour a day, support line is theSan Diego Access and Crisis Line. It is staffed by therapists and interns who are trained to help. They can talk with you, listen and also help to find resources you may need. The number is (888) 724-7240.
Sara Cole has been providing mental health services in San Diego for 15 years. Sara specializes in working with women and teen girls to overcome trauma and major life changes, including postpartum depression and anxiety. She is also passionate about providing treatment to those whose lives are affected by the addiction of a loved one.