With recent instances of unexplained violence locally and around the country, we begin to see many more cases of PTSD popping up nationwide. Arizona is making national news, again. And it is not good. Anyone who has turned on the TV has heard about the Phoenix I-10 shooter. Police think they have the culprit in custody, but the damage is already done. How many people have taken the long way to work or avoided driving altogether in order to avoid the I-10? What has this twist of violence in our own backyard caused to our personal safety and its ramifications?
Another shocking headline is the recent campus shootings in Oregon. Why our schools? What are the perpetrators thinking? Why? So many questions are on our minds with unanswered results. More often than not, we are experiencing unexplained violence that is terrorizing and threatening our safety within our communities. The violence of this magnitude affects the general population in one-way or another. People react in various ways. For instance, there are those who will arm themselves, others will not leave their homes, a few might change their schedule and we have those who will be in denial. We all cope differently.
Most people recognize the general acronym Lol. Is PTSD becoming the new “recognized” acronym? There is nothing to “laugh out loud” about PTSD. But do we really know what PTSD is and what causes someone to get “it”?
PTSD is becoming more widespread domestically—not just from combat experiences. In fact, it is becoming more and more common for people to start experiencing the symptoms of PTSD without ever stepping foot in combat. It may start in the so-called “safety of our homes.”
So you may be wondering what exactly are the causes and symptoms of PTSD and how can we help mitigate these effects. Well first, PTSD can be set off by any traumatic event. Sometimes, it can be initiated by a fear of something happening, experiencing an event vicariously, witnessing a horrific crime, or simply watching the television or Internet. This leads us back to recent violence in America and how it may already have caused an increase in PTSD sufferers.
With the occurrence of these traumatic events, it is important to be aware of behavior changes, mood swings, and outbursts of crying or rage. PTSD may not show signs immediately or may not show up at all. Many people who experience the same trauma may never be inflicted. Then there are those who will forever have their lives changed including children. The first step is to recognize the symptoms and seek professional help. Providing care and support is integral in maintaining a safe environment for this person and their family/peers.
A person experiencing PTSD may have flashbacks and nightmares of the event. Anything or anyone can trigger a symptom. For example walking past a schoolyard, a certain smell or taste or overhearing a conversation between two co-workers may spark off ballistic outbursts. Practicing daily learned skills on how to manage symptoms may lead to a productive and quality of life. In living with PTSD not brought on by combat, I share practical coping tips in my book, Nana’s Helping Hand with PTSD. It was so incredible to me that my first book became a bestseller in just two days on Amazon.com—because there is a crying need for families seeking urgent help to cope with America’s mental health epidemic.
Will PTSD become as familiar as the acronym Lol? If so, we need to educate and provide support for people with PTSD as quickly as possible. PTSD is a silent and possibly deadly illness. No one knows when it will rear its ugly head or if it will simply go away with time. With recent instances of unexplained violence both locally and around the country, we may begin to see many more cases of PTSD popping up nationwide and hopefully hear more of coping success stories.
Even as flu season is upon us, we must also have an awareness that a new epidemic is ravaging America. We need to wake up to how PTSD impacts families and the workplace. We can vaccinate against the flu but not PTSD. What will you do?
Anita Miranda, USN Retired, M.Ed., bestselling children’s author of Nana’s Helping Hand with PTSD knows how PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) disrupts lives. While Miranda’s PTSD is not from combat, her book catapulted to bestseller status after two days on Amazon.com—underscoring America’s crisis that we must accept and deal with—because families are crying out for urgent help in coping with PTSD. To reach Anita Miranda, please email email@example.com or visit www.anitamiranda.com.