post traumatic stress disorder

An MHFA point of view on PTSD – Could we all be affected at a low level?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Generally the first thing when these 4 letters are mentioned we think of war, combat and war veterans. Of course one of the most common causes of PTSD is combat and we hear about its affect on soldiers all the time on the news.

War’s however are fought on many fronts, every day we all battle with our struggles both big and small. The battle for your mental health is a psychological one . We win some of those battles and we lose some of those battles, day in day out.

The ultimate goal however is to win the war and this will take its toll one everyone one of us!

Mickie Ann, a multi genre author put this perfectly when she quoted “its exhausting to fight a war inside your head every single day.

When you look at it from that aspect and relate it everyday life, we are all in a battle and it’s called life.

So what exactly is PTSD?

The text book answer is – Anxiety or Stress Caused By a Traumatic Event in the Past

Now when you really analyse that description, it’s clear to see that not a single one of us can go through life without experiencing a traumatic event, that’s just a fact of life.

In the modern world with all the information and social media, we are now in an unprecedented era where traumatic events from around the world can be seen on the mobile device in the palm of your hand almost instantly as it happens.

It would be foolish to think even those unrelated events far away, does not have a mental impact on you. In the current world of instant information, this is now an addition to traumatic events that comes with everyday life.

A perfect example of this was the recent killing of George Floyd, a video I personally couldn’t watch until the end. The world was presented with what was essentially a 9 minute snuff video of a human being choked at the neck to death.

This was not just traumatic for the BAME community, this was traumatic for any person watching it. The protests that occurred was living proof of that, as all races and colours were equally offended, traumatised and took part.

The impact of this was so profound even big multinational corporations got involved for the first time. The football premiership of England took the step of putting Black Lives Matter on the T-shirts of every player of every team in the country. Even lloyds of London, Greene King and the Bank of England have put their hands up and admitted to profiteering from the Atlantic Slave trade. Iconic!

Now that was one extreme example, but as an MHFA why would I suggest that we all may be suffering from low levels of PTSD?

Well let’s take a look at the causes of PTSD, so we can understand this viewpoint

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As you can see, it is not possible to go through life without being impacted by one or more of these types of events. The longer you live, the more the impact, the more the events.

As I write this article, we have just gone through the 3 year mishandling of Brexit which still is not over, a general election, COVID19 and the lockdown, the BLM protests and all the mental impact that comes associated those events, events which are still ongoing.

We have had a surge in domestic violence, terminally ill patients not being diagnosed at the same rate prior to lockdown, those who have been are not getting the care they need.

We have had to let loved ones die alone and have been separated from our families. We have had to totally change our lives to deal with job losses, furloughs, company closures and all of the financial implications of that on us and our families.

All of this on top of whatever each of us may have been carrying up until this point throughout our lives, and there is still more to come! If all of this has had no impact on you, you really are one of those very rare lucky people or are you?

Could it be that you are someone that does not realise or brushes aside just how much they are carrying around on their shoulders, every day adds a bit more on. One of those people that just one more thing away from what will be the straw that broke the camel’s back?

If so, you can rest assured you’re not the only one, not if you’re alive!

So as everyday people and not super-humans, it is very likely that we all suffer or dip in and out of low levels of PTSD throughout our lives. The important thing is to be mindful of that possibility and not to allow these low level symptoms to grow into moderate or severe illness

Prevention will always be better than cure, we all can play a very important part in each other’s lives. Especially in these unusual times, talking about it goes a long way to kill the stigma attached. Normalising these types of conversations starting in our households, places of work and where we congregate for whatever reason, will bring on an euphoric healing and prevention process for us!

A mental health first aid course will not only allow a person to start this type of conversation, it also allows you to spot signs and symptoms of PTSD in others and sign post them to professional help.

 Think of it as the driving license to life!

So what are the signs and symptoms?

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If you or someone you know are currently displaying or have any of these signs and symptoms, it definitely time to talk to someone.

Below are some recommended professional organisations that can help, get in touch!

You have nothing to lost other than your mental health and wellbeing!

NHS Choices – https://www.nhs.uk/ or call 111 if you’re unable to get help online.

Combat Stress – https://www.combatstress.org.uk/ – HELPLINE: 0800 138 1619

ASSIST Trauma Care – http://assisttraumacare.org.uk/ – 01788 551919

Rape Crisis – https://rapecrisis.org.uk/ – email: rcewinfo@rapecrisis.org.uk

Take good care of your mental health!

Our Mental Health First Aid Courses can be fund here: https://www.mentalhealthandlife.org/

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