PTSD is a Brain Injury.

A shocking title right?
Not many people realize that PTSD is far more than just a psychological disorder. Other disorders also cause changes in activity but with PTSD, the brain physically changes. The actual damage can be quite significant as you can see from this photo.
Injury
I will admit that as I write today’s post, I am frustrated and upset.
My forgetfulness was used against me as though it is an easy excuse for anything I don’t want to discuss.
A very common hallmark of PTSD is forgetfulness. Not just occasional forgetfulness but constant, daily, confusion causing forgetfulness. It is a big issue for most of the people who I know with PTSD. I am positive that it is frustrating for the people in our lives as well but it is even more frustrating for us. We don’t want to be forgetful. We don’t want to take twice or three times as long to do something “simple”. We can’t even make total sense out of the memories of our traumas. We just remember flashes of details that haunt us. We really do want to remember the good stuff and forget the bad.
We are not hanging on to the past, the past is hanging on to us.

I guess that is why I am feeling that this topic is important today. When we are traumatized, our brain rewires so that we can’t recall all the details. It is our brains way of helping to protect us. With most people, these forgetful patches are largely unnoticeable but with PTSD those pathways have been so rewired that it makes memory in any area difficult. The pathways that once existed in our brains are gone for the most part. That is the bad news.
The good news is that we can retrain our brains to begin to behave more like we did before we got PTSD. This takes time, a knowledgable therapist, a lot of effort and a supportive circle of people around us. When blame, stress, accusations or thoughtlessness enter in to the equation, it stilts progress.

I occasionally wish that PTSD was more visible. Something that others could see so that they would have an easier time being compassionate. Heck, maybe we would be more compassionate of ourselves too.

How about we all work towards being a more compassionate society. More compassionate with others as well as ourselves.

5 responses to “PTSD is a Brain Injury.

  1. Thank U Heather for putting words to thoughts and feelings I have had for many years. It can be quite distressing to know that I have an abundance of intelligence that often doesn’t get presented well because of my forgetfulness. I am trying to and must remember that I am more then my PTSD.

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    • You are welcome Sue and you ARE more than just your PTSD. I don;t know if it helps you but for me? Knowing it is a physical change and not just a psychological one helps me be a tad easier on myself. You?

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  2. Like many illnesses, PTSD is “invisible”. which makes it twice as hard to live with – and of course, makes it difficult to diagnose. : (

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  3. I need help. I was married to a narcissist for 36 years. I left. I am alone, in a different state, w/ no family or support. No money. I was once a capable woman. Am now reduced to almost being homeless. I want to get better. I don’t know where to turn. Please help.

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    • Hi Tamara. First I need to tell you that I am not a therapist of any sort nor do I have any training in mental health besides my own experience. I would love to help you but the only support or advice that I can give you is to read the blog to learn what I’ve been taught to do. Other than that? I suggest you contact your local supports. There are many free ones in every State. Just Google them. Best wishes!!!

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