Posttraumatic stress disorder

Posttraumatic stress disorder … In short PTSD… Some cruel memories or even some dreams leave scars. You are attacked, or you live through a disaster. Every now and then you remember in horror. That moment appears as an image (a flashback), it becomes the subject of your nightmares.

If anyone is asking what a flashback is, I would say it is that moment in which you remember the incident as if you are living it. You try and run away from anything that reminds you of that moment… You keep away from things that remind you of the incident. Energy levels drops, depression sets in, the sufferers are unable to enjoy anything. The joy of life fades away. They distance themselves from friends. They are unable to feel love. Being in love comes to an end. So do any plans for the future. Sleeping problems, nightmares, difficulty concentrating, irritability, being startled easily… They may lose touch with reality, get disassociated. They ask themselves “is this me?” and feel alienated to themselves and everything else… Paranoia may start… Let us remember all this information and briefly look at the life story of a woman… She is a female patient, around 45-50 years of age… She sat down in front of me, a strand of grey hair showing from under her headscarf, with fearful, tired looking eyes that had lost all sign of hope. She was talking with such a monotonous, low voice, as if she did not want to talk but was trying to say “please understand me”… If she had not been startled by the distant sound of a telephone ringing outside the room, you would think it is a pure case of depression. From that moment on I found it necessary to deepen my questioning. Had there been a traumatic event in her life? Yes there had been! Her father… Those cursed evenings… These were the hours when she did not want to be alive. Her father would come home and once again terrorize her mother and the children. It was even worse in later hours, under the influence of alcohol… She wanted to disappear in bed under her duvet, shutting her ears and waiting with yearning for the silence… Once she was married, the slightest raise in her husband’s voice was enough for her to fall apart, to be annihilated… She had no one in the world she loved, nor did she have any friends… Sharing her troubles was not for her. She had to live in pain and with the pain she harboured. She had two children. She had no hope for herself or for the future of her children. Sleepless nights with nightmares, nights where she was awake even though she was asleep, intolerance towards the slightest sound or light, these had become part of her life. Everybody thought so. Worst of all were the tears which she kept inside… She never cried. From time to time she looked in the mirror and asked herself whether this was really her. She was afraid. Every place in this life was a foreign land to her… She was on a journey of sadness which she was praying would end. With a superhuman effort and maybe as a last move this woman, who was just about able to support herself, had come to me. This effort would not remain unreturned. After all, there was a lot of information and experience on this condition with which the medical profession is very familiar… It should be enough to look at traffic accidents, wars, domestic violence, and earthquakes to understand why.

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