• 5 Things to Stop Saying to People with PTSD

    despair1. Just get over it.

    The truth is, that without proper treatment, people with PTSD can’t “get over it.” Trauma creates a biological fight-flight reaction that “freezes” one side of the brain while “locking” the terrorizing experience in the other side. The brain is unable to process the experience with a beginning, middle, and end and place the event in the proper “filing cabinet” in memory. People with PTSD are unable to decide to process their experience fully and completely without appropriate treatment.

    2. Aren’t you better yet?

    One of the greatest frustrations of PTSD is the feeling of being “stuck” and unable to move forward. PTSD survivors typically feel judged and as though others view them as failures. They may have tried numerous times to break free from addictions and self-harming behaviors, only to find themselves chained by the challenges of trauma symptoms.

    It can take years for PTSD survivors to find the most effective treatment or treatments for their symptoms. They need support and understanding for challenges that will remain with them for a lifetime–not judgment, condescension, and toe-tapping.

    3. You can’t have PTSD, you’ve never been to war.

    This is perhaps the greatest myth associated with PTSD. The truth is that PTSD can be caused by

    medical trauma
    pre-birth child loss
    natural disaster
    domestic violence
    sexual abuse
    exposure to violence at work or in one’s environment
    as well as any event that causes terror or the belief that one’s life is at risk.

    4. PTSD isn’t a real diagnosis.

    PTSD is a mental health condition caused by exposure to a terrifying or life-threatening event. It is recognized not only by mental health professional, but by the U.S. military as one of the most significant contributors to increasing mental health challenges within our military ranks. Trauma-informed care is also a hot topic in education and reflects the growing impact of violence in urban areas in our nation.

    The realities of PTSD and its influence on our nation’s health and well-being cannot be denied.

    5. If you trusted God and had more faith, your problems would go away. 

    This statement is a flat-out insult to the suffering.

    God doesn’t promise to erase our problems, but He does promise to never leave us or forsake us in our suffering. He walks with us, gives us strength, wisdom, and the power of the Holy Spirit. But the Bible tells us that as Christians, we’re to expect trouble and tribulation in this broken world (Jn. 16:33). Why? Because God grants us freedom of choice, and He doesn’t erase the consequences of our sinful and stupid decisions.

    So when parents neglect or abuse their children, their kids will likely go on to suffer with the symptoms of trauma for the remainder of their lives. Sin brings consequences–spiritually, physically, and emotionally–and our world is a place of broken lives slamming into other broken lives at every turn.

    Look at the heroes of the faith in the Bible. They all went on to live lives complicated by poor choices–their own or others. While God can and does perform miracles, our faith is not a golden ticket to automatic healing.

    Do you struggle with PTSD? What insight would you offer?





4 Responsesso far.

  1. Gayle says:

    In #5, faith and God were isolated to Christians. I have CPTSD. I’m not Christian. Thanks a lot.

    • admin says:

      Many people with PTSD and CPTSD find criticism from those within the church because of their lack of understanding. This post is an effort to help educate those from a faith perspective who do not understand the issue, as well as those who do not come from a faith perspective.

  2. Amy Viets says:

    Thank you for confirming for me that grief and caregiving can result in PTSD. I’ve always had a guilty feeling that I was just being melodramatic when I identified my own feelings as being similar to what I understand about PTSD. I was the caregiver for my seriously depressed husband for so long, and went through so much trauma as a result, that there are some things – even all these years later – that send me into a downward spiral. Excellent post.

    • admin says:

      Caregiving can absolutely be linked to PTSD. And we’re finding more and more literature that confirms this. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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