Post-Traumatic-Stress is subjective. That means that it isn’t for anyone to decide what constitutes trauma except the person who has experienced it. An event that one person experiences as traumatic, another person might only experience as a tough time.
Post-Traumatic-Stress is often more acutely painful and much more difficult to recover from when the pain or suffering or loss has come about due to another human being’s choices or actions. There can be many reasons for this:
When your house is destroyed by an earthquake or a flood, it is sufficiently devastating and life-changing to leave a person traumatized. But if your house was burned down by another person, it is often even more disruptive to a person’s ability to heal because their ability to trust people has been greatly impaired. What causes this?
When there is an earthquake, we don’t usually believe that someone is out to do us harm. The earthquake isn’t attacking us personally, privately, invisibly. The earthquake isn’t still lurking just around the corner looking for another opportunity to try and hurt us again. When it comes to hurt resulting from another person’s choices and actions, we can’t quickly return to feeling the safety of predictability afterward. This resulting in fearful apprehension and distrust of others frequently interferes
with one’s ability to seek and accept “help” from human beings afterward.
Even though a person might know that another earthquake could happen again, they don’t usually get trapped in the nightmare of thinking that maybe they did something to deserve the suffering they experienced. When it comes to suffering at the hands of another, not only does the “victim” naturally worry about the concept of deserve, but the perpetrator often exploits this ideation. Worse than that, untrained, insensitive, misguided, yet well-intended comments from non-involved persons often imply that the victim experienced their suffering due to some sort of negligence, fault or deficiency within them. This is often referred to as victim-blaming. Even a well-intentioned and perhaps appropriate question that simply asks a victim what they’re going to do to protect themselves in the future can imply that they didn’t do sufficient to protect themselves in the past.
But we don’t usually blame victims of a flood for their suffering and loss. Yet we often unwittingly do this when suffering and loss come through human means. Perhaps that’s partly because we see an attack by another human being as somewhat preventable and frequently provoked, whereas we don’t typically see an earthquake or flood as either preventable or able to provoke.
Moreover, when something like an earthquake or flood hits, you usually aren’t alone in your experience. When trauma comes from another human being, you’re often alone and isolated. The isolation often occurs partly because the painful experience is being visited upon a single individual or a select group of persons, and partly because the painfulness of the experience often goes unnoticed, unrecognized, or even outright denied after it’s been expressed. Secrecy and denial are often the very methods used by a perpetrator.
Lastly, while some suffering and loss occur as a result of deliberate and malicious intent, it can equally as painful — or even far more painful — when the suffering or loss occurs as a result of innocent and noble intentions. Sometimes a hurting individual’s pain can be painted over by the justifications of the well-meaning inflicter. In instances like this, the rescuer, or hero steals the spotlight, so to speak, and their actions — for better or for worse — receive the most focus, and the impact upon the victim gets almost completely ignored. So sometimes a person sits and suffers in silence, either by choice, or by resignation, and never gets a chance to have either their initial hurt nor any subsequent hurts acknowledged. And when hurting isn’t acknowledged, well, it’s rather like saying there really isn’t any hurt that one needs to heal from. So the hurting never really stops. And because it’s still an open wound, it’s not likely the wound or the person will ever heal.
What can we do that’s really helpful? Two strategies I usually employ are:
1) Don’t just DO something; Stand There!
That means I compassionately care with all my heart about the individual that’s in pain. I look bravely at their pain and give them my full attention, my full and total presence, my fullness of patience, and all the sensitive compassion I can. With all my heart and all my being, I simply listen to everything they are saying, verbally or non-verbally. I listen and I care. I focus on caring about HOW my caring is being experienced by the individual.
2) Ask them what they might find helpful.
Sometimes a person doesn’t know what they need, nor what might help. I am sometimes then prompted to ask them if they think maybe A or B might be helpful. And then I go back to step 1 again. I keep returning to step 1 again and again because this is how I communicate — often without words — that I care. Slowly, we work together to try to discern what they might find helpful, and then, if I am able, I try to provide it in a way that’s appreciated by them.
Rene, I just saw this, I was editing and using Grammarly to make the corrections in spelling, etc on your first. I deleted the comment.
But let me cancel that article and post this one because you might have something new in it. I will tell you when I post it. Take Care
Hello again my dear. William and I will try to see if we can stop by on your call on Saturday if its the same time and number. God willing we will and let everyone know once again we miss them and you.
Prolonged severe stress may lead to a mental break.
Psychotic disorders or episodes arise when a person experiences a significantly altered or distorted perception of reality. Such distortions are often caused or triggered by hallucinations (false perceptions), delusions (false beliefs), and/or disrupted or disorganized thinking.
Depersonalization disorder is a psychiatric disorder affecting emotions and behavior. It is characterized by an alteration in how an affected individual perceives or experiences his or her unique sense of self. The usual sense of one’s own reality is temporarily lost or changed.
Severe stress, such as major relationship, financial or work-related issues. Depression or anxiety, especially severe or prolonged depression, or anxiety with panic attacks. Using recreational drugs, which can trigger episodes of depersonalization or derealization.
Boanthropy is a psychological disorder in which the sufferer believes he or she is a cow or ox.
Nebuchadnezzar is the most well-known example of this
Nebuchadnezzar was humbled by God for boasting about his achievements, lost his sanity, and lived like an animal for seven years, according to Daniel, chapter 4. When his sanity was later restored he praised and honored God.
He also had another odd behavior porphyria, (a group of enzyme disorders that manifest with neurological symptoms including hallucinations, depression, anxiety, and paranoia) or general paresis or paralytic dementia caused by syphilis.
Hey Jacqueline so embarrassed I posted my first draft instead of the final one. This one should be easier to read and if you can go ahead and delete my first post I would be much obliged. Take care my friend and tell Henry and the others William and I have missed you all terribly but we are by Gods grace hanging in there.
I haven’t been on for a while, these are indeed strange days. I need to give you my new number lol. I have had two surgeries this past year and a lot of support from God in ways that I am still trying to wrap my head around. I had to stop though and comment about PTSD because I wanted to let anyone who might be seeing know that sometimes the effects can be delayed.
PTSD can manifest itself in
1) A life threatening event. This includes a perceived-to-be life threatening event. …
2) Internal reminders of the event. These symptoms typically present as nightmares or flashbacks.
3) Avoidance of external reminders. …
4) Altered anxiety state. …
5) Changes in mood or thinking.
Because people might expect these signs to come on right after the event, they may not know what is happening if symptoms manifest 6 month after when the trauma might have been long past.
One of the best methods in addition to medication and other forms of therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy for PTSD AND anxiety.
It is in short a system that allows people to stop troubling or racing thoughts (that result from changes in mood and altered anxiety state that really can distort the way we normally think and challenge), and replace those thoughts with better ones.
For example an individual might blame themselves for things that were out of there control or others that may not in reality be responsible. They may also have a fear of objects places or people that trigger anxiety or avoidance of the trauma. The bible has been an invaluable tool in helping me personally to combat anxiety during these times because the bible goes to the most stable part of our being and that is our faith.
Our faith is a powerful weapon against fear, trauma and anxiety because it takes the focus off of us to solve problems when we feel powerless, and plugs us into a God who can provide solutions to our problems because he is all powerful. If anyone is reading this who might feel they are suffering from symptoms of PTSD or anxiety over the troubling things they see around them, (or are experiencing first hand) I want you to stop and find a quiet place to think.
Allow what is bothering you to come to the surface and then mentally stop the thought that is troubling you and examine it. Take it apart and make it stand trial against reasonable questioning. Will what has happened or what I am afraid of threaten me in this moment? Am I safe in this moment? Why am I safe in this moment? What help do I have in this moment that is guaranteed and accessible to me right now?
Before this thought becomes stressful to you recall a scripture to mind that can command a believer to not be anxious about what we are suffering.
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Remind yourself that these are not suggestions. If it were not safe to believe this OR if it were impossible for us to surrender our worry and anxiety to God (to yield to him in these moments) then would God would have spoken through the prophets and Jesus in the bible? “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
If we are worried about whether or not God is still with us remember, “Do not fear because God is with you (Deut. 31:6). 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
If we have trouble in believing that God loves us then believe that he loved his perfect righteous son whom he gave for us in order that we might be saved. This is an immutable fact!
None of us are outside of God’s love (unless we have taken the mark of the beast or are unrepentant sinners) and we should not let our environment dictate where God is or is not in our lives. God is above our thoughts and is not subject to the whims of our environment and therefore sees clearly what to do, and more importantly when to do it for each of us. Despite whether or not we are capable of seeing it ourselves during a crisis.
What we perceive as changes in our life may ultimately have little to no bearing on what God thinks of us and we should not use our present circumstances as a measure of what our relationship with God is presently. Job and his situation is a good example. We should also praise God in our difficulty because we may be going through tribulation and have a unique opportunity to show what the faith of righteous man when he trust God is capable of Proverbs 27:11 Be wise, my son, and make my (Jehovah\’s) heart rejoice, So that I can make a reply to him (Satan) who taunts me.
What I also like to do is grab a list of scriptures that outline what my obligations are to God as a believer in that I “must” wait on him patiently, pray constantly, and do everything reasonably possible to resolve my problems and (up to and) following that, rely on God.
In reality I must as a human being acknowledge my limitations and imperfections in that I was not created to navigate any aspect of my life without guidance. No believer should blame themselves when they are confronted with situations in which there is no clear solution. Sometimes one of the hardest things to do as a believer is to wait when you have no other cards to play and you have done everything that you can “Reasonably do” in your situation.
Psalm 46:10 10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
I like to remind myself that God is with me even when I make financial, ethical, moral or any other decisions because he knows I am imperfect. God has promised to help me in any situation I find myself in regardless of how I got there if I come to him with a sincere and humble spirit. If I am willing to yield control and simply acknowledge reality that my problems are bigger than I feel I can navigate them, and that it would be short sighted of me to not believe (the reality) that God is waiting and has already helped me. God has and always will help me even if I do not always understand what is happening or know how to plan my next steps.
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do so much more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
One of the most valuable features of what I will jokingly call “Spiritual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” is that it stops thoughts from producing a stress response. Stress responses in of themselves are a gift. The mind takes information in and if the mind decides you are in danger or need to act, the body prepares itself in that your senses become very focused, your body releases glucose and energy stores, muscles tense, cortisol is released. This happens because your body is preparing to defend itself. But when we are actually in no present danger (but experiences stress remembering trauma or fear we will be in it) this process wears the body out, and leaves the individual in an aroused and exhausted state and unable to have energy and resources to deal with other problems they may face.
Our stressful situations may be one that lasts longer than we ourselves have the resources to endure becoming chronic responses to how we are feeling. This will become depleting and will exhaust our internal and external resources. It is vital that we plug ourselves into an inexhaustible resource that is God through prayer and supplication as we can and will give out if our trials exceed our ability to cope. But God can through prayer refill our depleted resources both physical, emotional and spiritual if we rely on him. But also keep in mind that trial and stress can produce good as unlikely as it may seem.
Romans 5:3-4 ESV More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
When we feel a stressful thought the body sometimes has problems recognizing weather it’s in genuine trouble and this is the problem with PTSD as our body’s are acting on what our mind has determined to be real. Imagine that one kid in your class that sets the fire alarms off when there is no fire. The whole school scrambles and responds in order to get to safety. Well if this happens at unexpected times and quite often you can imagine the stress this would cause. Imagine if the school had cameras and could see Billy triggering the fire alarm and could tell everyone its ok, its just Billy again, the response would be very different.
This is why I urge everyone to keep a few things in mind when coping with stress and PTSD. Stress responses are normal even if you have PTSD. God knew this when he made us. What he has called us to keep in mind though is that while we are in Satan’s system, Satan knows that he can trigger our fire alarms if we let him. But keep in mind that when we reflect on God, his promises, and our faith, that even when we are not in control, God is always in control. We can then isolate and manage our stress responses scrutinizing when we have thoughts and feelings of panic or alarm in order to determine when we are in actual danger of a fire and when Billy is setting the fire alarms off.
Remember always there are limits to what we as humans can do. We can’t read other peoples minds, we cant predict the future, but we do have an obligation to do what we can to be obedient to our faith, and that God sees us and has not let go of us even when we think we are in a hopeless and desperate situation.
This is an unprecedented time for me and probably many from my generation. But what I have learned through this ordeal is that we have a higher calling to defend our faith through our acts of kindness to one another, to show compassion to ourselves in being patient with our limitations, and to rest firmly on God and his absolute guarantees of salvation for not only the greatest of us but also the least. May God’s blessings and kindness be with everyone of my brothers and sisters out there who are still hanging on and keeping their faith. I love all of you
Hello! Rene, Henry, and I have been talking about you. In fact, Henry called me and mentioned you just yesterday. Text me your new number. I hope you are recuperating well.
This has been a year indeed.
Let me stop and say I will make this a permanent article as well as leave it up for an article.
Now let me go read the whole thing and make it an article.
I am just so glad to hear from you. How is your brother? Hopefully you can come on Saturday or Thursday to see everybody and tell us your journey through surgeries amidst a pandemic, WOW!
Just so glad to hear from you! Jacqueline
We don’t have to be so strong in this difficult time of Covid-19 , financial, and physical collapse. PTSD is setting in now.
Remember Jesus had help carrying the cross. God could have given him a second wind but instead, he gave him help.
Jesus had been beaten so badly that he didn’t resemble a man and even his beard had been plucked out. No one had seen him without a beard so he wasn’t recognizable.
Sometimes we have to let Jehovah and Jesus help us. So we pray fervently and obey the guidelines set forth by the government without anger but obedience and we may be able to escape severe harm. (proof text below). I also wear a face shield with my mask.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him[a]—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness—
Isa 50:6 6 I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.
“31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.