I have friends who suffer from Post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and not all of them served in the military as most people think.
I have friends who suffer from PTSD who have and are continuing to serve with the Prison Service and other ‘blue light’ services.
The biggest issue is that far too many people because there isn’t any outward physical signs of the illness are only to happy to dismiss it as an indication of the individuals being weak.
The problem is many of those who do recognise PTSD also sadly believe that it is all in the mind.
Well the reality is it’s not only in the mind and is not as simple as being explained away as merely psychosomatic with those suffering anxiety and trauma through nightmares and flashbacks to what in the past were frightening and distressing events.
The truth is that PTSD also attacks the body when they are going through an anxiety attack.
The victim – and yes they are victims – on many occasion violently hyperventilate and in doing so damage their rib cages causing them to suffer from extreme costochondritis.
As a consequence they have to take very powerful anti -inflammatories and pain medicines which on top of the other medicines such as anti-depressants they are taking causes other physical problems.
My friends who are suffering try to put a brave face on it all but I would ask that when confronted with having to deal with a victim of PTSD you step back and resist the temptation to say -“suck it up it’s all in the mind.”
PTSD is a serious mental illness and just as with other mental illnesses it isn’t only the mind that suffers – it is all of you – including your physical and neurological body.