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What is PTSD & How do you know you have it?

Updated: Feb 4

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a set of alarm responses that occur when a survivor’s nervous system remains on high alert after trauma in order to protect against further harm. PTSD can occur after being involved in or witnessing a distressing event. This is why it is common in military veterans and emergency services. It can also occur in people involved in natural disasters, a traumatic labour & birth of a baby, or any event that is severely distressing to an individual.


People experiencing PTSD are stuck in viewing their life and experiences through a trauma lens of a video replay from the past. The body reacts to the stored trauma with a physiological stress response that results in irrational thinking and responses to any perceived threats. This is a physiological response and often can’t be controlled and is not intentional. People suffering from PTSD can often be misunderstood and unfairly judged due to their outbursts, withdrawal or emotional dysregulation that is perceived by others to be their chosen behaviour, and not the involuntary response to trauma triggers that are playing out in their body and mind.


Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is similar to general PTSD and occurs when someone has experienced severe, repetitive trauma over a long period of time, rather than a one-time event or short period of time. The symptoms are the same as core symptoms of PTSD but may also include changes in self-perception & beliefs and difficulty with personal relationships. Some causes of C-PTSD include long term domestic violence, living in a war-torn country, childhood abuse or neglect and growing up in a dysfunctional family. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), can be experienced by anyone. So how do you know if you have PTSD? Take a few minutes to answer the following questions:

  • Is your trauma, stress, depression, anxiety dominating and consuming your thoughts day and night?

  • Is your life being controlled by ongoing impacts of pain of past trauma?

  • Are you in survival mode rather than living a rich and fulfilling life?

  • Are you at a point in your life where you just cannot see a future and you have resigned yourself to feeling this way forever?

  • Are you reacting to challenging situations in an irrational manner and become dysregulated?

  • Are you addicted to a substance (drugs or alcohol) or a behaviour (gambling or pornography)

  • Do you have significant & uncontrollable overreactions to situations that trigger the pain?

  • Do you feel alone and disconnected form relationships with others?

If, you answered yes to any of the above, underlying trauma may be resulting in the development of PTSD/CPTSD, and I would encourage you to reach out for help and support.

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