Though not yet an official diagnosis according to the American Psychiatric Association, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is being informally recognized as a more severe form of PTSD caused by prolonged trauma. Often, that trauma begins in childhood. Trauma that takes place during a person’s formative years is incredibly damaging. It establishes a sense of normalcy around abuse, creating a harmful pattern that can be extremely difficult to break from–or even recognize. The earlier the trauma begins, the more difficult it becomes for the victim to understand her experience as abnormal.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stigma is alive and well. If you have PTSD, you’ve probably heard someone tell you to “just get over” your trauma. Maybe it was a well-meaning friend or family member, like my father who was frightened by my suicidal ideations. Or maybe it was a less well-meaning stranger, like the rude New Yorker who recently commented on my blog telling me to “grow up and take responsibility for [my] life.” Whether the statement comes from a place of love or stigma, it doesn’t make sense in the context of PTSD. Here’s why.
Today’s guest post on social systems and PTSD comes from a freelance writer covering some of the ways in which our society worsens the experience of trauma survivors, even while trying to help them. This is an issue near and dear to my heart, which I feel embroiled in personally myself (and have for a while). I have been covering related issues about addiction, and I grateful to guest writer Avery T. Philips for taking on–at least in part–the enormous issue of society’s failing treatment of those with PTSD.
Once you’re done reading this essay, don’t forget to read my exclusive and super honest interview with author Amy Dresner–you can even enter to win a free copy of her book and all you have to do is like, go to Facebook or send a tweet. Seriously. It’s that easy…so do it.
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.”