June is PTSD Awareness Month
PTSD: Building Resilience After Trauma and Finding Hope
It’s no secret that many of us are struggling to try to balance our mental and physical health. Bouncing back after traumatic experiences can be very difficult, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is very common. PTSD often develops after events that threaten our basic safety—physical or sexual assault, combat, natural disasters, and accidents can all contribute to PTSD. It’s normal to feel anxious, have trouble sleeping, or to relive the traumatic event. However, if symptoms last longer than a few months it could be a sign of PTSD.
Some common PTSD symptoms include:
- Recurring memories or reliving the event while sleeping
- Avoiding certain situations, or misusing substances to numb the pain
- Overwhelming guilt, a lack of trust, or an inability to feel happy around loved ones
- Hyperarousal or changes in physical and emotional reaction, including sudden rushes of anger or irritability, feeling jittery, always being on guard, or feeling easily set off by loud noises or events
The good news is that PTSD is treatable, and many people find relief for their symptoms through therapy that includes Cognitive Processing and Prolonged Exposure methods. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is also another effective form of therapy that can help reframe a traumatic event for those seeking assistance. Medication can be another helpful option, but it is important to consult with your doctor before seeking it out.
Many people think they might get better if they just wait it out, or that seeking treatment is a sign of weakness. It could be hard to envision your life beyond PTSD, and how much better you might feel after treatment. The State of New Mexico Human Services Department, Behavioral Health Services Division (BHSD) has put together a long list of PTSD-related resources on their website.
For those struggling with PTSD, the new 988 Lifeline launching on July 16th will be a welcome and much-needed resource. 988 will be a 24/7 free and confidential helpline providing compassionate, accessible care, and support to anyone in need. People can call 988 if they are experiencing any kind of mental health distress, substance misuse, or suicidal crisis, if they are worried about their safety or someone they know, or if they are a service member, veteran, or their family. The 988 Lifeline will be available nationwide for call, text, or chat on July 16, 2022. Until then, those experiencing a mental health-related or suicidal crisis, or those looking to help a loved one through a crisis, should continue to call the current number, 1-800-273-8255.
PTSD is common, and can be developed at any age. Make the effort to embrace mental health conversations with your family, your friends, and your neighbors. In learning together, we can take a dose of wellness and build healthy, thriving communities. Take the pledge to recognize the signs and symptoms of PTSD, and help your loved ones get the help they need.