Most people notice that their loved ones at times act in a dysfunctional manner. They sleep, drink, or eat too much or too little with no apparent medical cause for such behavior. Maybe they work too much or have trouble getting or holding a job. Perhaps they have too much emotional baggage to relate in an open and honest manner. We may have been taught to love and accept people just the way they are, when the way they are causes a lot of pain to themselves and others, not to mention their lives are so much less than they could be. What do we do with this common scenario?
I would assume that your loved ones are suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS) of some form. After all, we live in a traumatic world! Most people don’t teach effective methods of dealing with all this trauma; they teach the inadequate coping mechanisms they were taught. As a result, the vast majority of us have PTS to various degrees. First of all, I’m not just talking about the official diagnosis of PSTD which typically focuses on the trauma that threatens sexual assault, injury, or death to the physical body, although there is plenty of that. I’m also talking about the human life-threatening stress to our psychological bodies, our souls, which I believe is just as important. We have all had people treat us as less than human, and this is traumatic to our developing souls.
I define souls as our psyches, which include mind and heart–our emotions. The younger we are psychologically, the more traumatic these threats to our humanity are, whether they are physical or psychological (the two are so often connected). Usually part of us remains stuck at the age where each major trauma occurred–until we receive treatment. Trauma can also lead to regression. Have you all heard about how children who are traumatized regress in their development? For example, a child who has been toilet trained may start wetting the bed at night. A baby who has learned to say a few words may stop talking.
Whether our physical bodies are young or old, untreated trauma to psychological bodies tends to lead to post-traumatic stress. Since everything that happens to our physical bodies impacts our psychological bodies, PTSD is part of PTS. I don’t use the term PTSD because if we’re looking for the awareness of physical trauma to make the diagnosis, we’ll be missing a lot of traumatized people. Also, the majority of traumatized people don’t appear disordered. My experience has taught me that PTS is epidemic in our nation–the average person has it. In further blog posts, I will be teaching you how to recognize post-traumatic stress, why most people don’t notice the symptoms of post-traumatic stress, and what we can do to treat the ever-increasing population of traumatized and regressed people we find around us and within us. For now, just know that the symptoms PTS are all contained within two categories: 1. automatic re-creations of past traumas and 2. automatic avoidance of what’s reminiscent of past traumas. Please note what your loved ones are re-creating and avoiding, and write down your observations. You will begin to notice that they are giving clues to what has happened to them from which they have never recovered.