Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a life altering diagnoses for anyone that must face it. Not only does it affect the person being diagnosed but it has a very deep and often wounding effect on those who love them as well.
When most people hear anything about PTSD, their first thought is usually military service men and women. Some people may also think of our first responders (police/fire/ambulance/dispatch).
It is very rare for people to realize that the largest percentage of PTSD sufferers are actually none of these. I have been unable to find any really reliable percentages but the general consensus is about 30% of people diagnosed with PTSD are military and first responders which leaves about 70% for the general population.
Some events that can cause PTSD is the general population are severe car crashes, acute illnesses, a house fire, seeing someone die, an abusive relationship, being assaulted, raped, experiencing childhood trauma of any kind…
The list is long. Much longer than I’ve listed here but I am sure you get the idea.
The reason why I chose to call this section “Complex Trauma and PTSD” is that I am acutely aware of a large segment of the population that is often overlooked.
I am one of those people who developed PTSD very young. Childhood trauma of every sort. Physical, emotional, sexual and almost worst of all, being neglected and completely unprotected. This firestorm of experiences has caused what many will refer to as “complex trauma”.
Complex trauma is not very different from PTSD but clinically, PTSD can be caused by a single event. Let’s say a horrible car crash. That person can develop all the symptoms of PTSD but their treatment will revolve around that one event. It is not at all easy for them and their suffering is still horrible but their treatment can have a singular focus.
Complex trauma has also been referred to as “trauma piling”. Say you had that car crash, finally recovered then you got assaulted while at a bank machine. A year later you watch a loved one pass away suddenly and then you develop a life threatening illness. Trauma, trauma, trauma, trauma…. now we are dealing with complex trauma. There is no single focus any longer and the wounds become harder to treat.
Maybe… just maybe, this blog can help someone understand their loved one a little better, a sufferer feel a little less alone, perhaps a bit better understood, possibly even hopeful that they can actually start to heal no matter how horrible their trauma.
This is why I have decided to break my silence. I hope it will prove worth it.