Old Pueblo Academy

PTSD: Recognizing and Making a Difference

Typically worn by a soldier post-war, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, more commonly called PTSD, is something many people experience. Though more typically associated with Veterans, PTSD does not discriminate. Anyone who finds themselves in a situation leaving them feeling fear, loss, anger, or depression may experience some form of PTSD. Your colleague, neighbor, even a family member may have PTSD without realizing it. My own brother suffered PTSD through continual night terrors for years. PTSD can affect anyone, from anything. It is imperative to understand what those with PTSD are dealing with, in order to even know how to begin to help them.

A loved one going through PTSD can push family members to the limit — you may be left feeling depression, avoidance, anger and guilt towards a loved one with PTSD — however, it is important to remember that we are not the only ones suffering. When my brother would suffer a night terror, I would wake up. Seeing him in that state terrified me. I never felt comfortable talking to my brother about his and grew distant and avoided him for about a year. Both myself and my brother suffered; we missed being able to play and be free with each other, and yet, we didn’t understand why we had drifted apart. I couldn’t understand what my brother was going through and he couldn’t understand what I was going through. We may both be battling our feelings, however, our loved ones with PTSD are suffering their own battle.

Many common effects of PTSD include: nightmares or night terrors, flashbacks, anxiety or fear, anger or aggression, and difficulties sleeping or focusing. Every PTSD case is different and so symptoms are not the same in all individuals. If you suspect a love one of having PTSD, it is important to observe your loved one’s behavior. My mother observed my brother and noticed that at night he would thrash about, and on occasion attempt to leave the house. She asked him about it in the morning and he had no recollection of it ever happening. My mother suspected something was not right and sought out help for my brother. If they exhibit behaviors similar to those listed, you may want to begin to get your loved one help and treatment. There are many different treatments available. Working with a doctor to determine the best form of treatment is the best way to treat PTSD.