If you are feeling a bit cagey, jumpy and easily frightened, you may be experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The PTSD language is in vogue in the mental health discussion and is usually par for the course for first responders, military members, and veterans who have experienced traumatic events, such as serving in the theatre of war. Yet, the reality is anyone is susceptible to this condition.
If you were involved in or witnessed a traumatic event during your lifetime, you may experience the signs and symptoms for PTSD. Each traumatic event is unique to that individual. The signs and symptoms can manifest themselves emotionally and physically such as through severe anxiety, nagging arousals, triggers, and haunting nightmares and they may stick with you for awhile.
These traumatic experiences may lay dormant for many years, or they may revisit you daily as a constant reminder. Young children may re-enact certain elements of those traumatic events through play; adults may be paralyzed with the past and act out behaviorally.
Dealing with deep-rooted stressors might be the cause of disruptive sleep patterns or general loss of focus. It is important to seek professional help if you or your loved ones are seeing these kinds of signs and symptoms surface. As a complement to your professional support, we encourage developing self-care habits, be that exploring your feelings and bodily reactions, learning relaxation skills, and restructuring of your thoughts.
Some other self-care tips can be found in our new book The Resilient Warrior: Battle Tested Life Hacks for Military Men and Women, a collaborative collection providing needed wisdom for complete well-being from and for those who serve as well anyone else looking for some life hacks for self-improvement.
Nick Benas, USMC, is a former United States Marine Sergeant and Iraqi Combat Veteran. He travels around the United States training individuals on how to recognize a developing mental illness and how to prevent someone from slipping into a crisis. Nick attended Southern Connecticut State University for his undergraduate degree in Sociology, and for his M.S. in Public Policy. He has been featured by more than 50 major media outlets for his business success and entrepreneurship. He is the co-author of Mental Health Emergencies, Tactical Mobility, The Warrior’s Book of Virtues, and, most recently, The Resilient Warrior.
Buzz Bryan, USN, is currently the Outreach Coordinator for the West Palm Beach VA medical center. He previously served as the OEF/OIF Transition Patient Advocate (TPA) for the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN4) based in Pittsburgh, PA for ten years, working specifically with Iraq & Afghanistan veterans. Buzz was a member of the Navy/Marine Corps team and retired from the United States Navy in July 2007 after 22 years of honorable service as a Fleet Marine Force Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman. He is the co-author of The Warrior’s Book of Virtues and, most recently, The Resilient Warrior.