By Christian M. Benedetto Jr.
These are six misconceptions about living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD):
1. All wounds are visible.
It sounds so simple, we have all heard it over and over again, but people don’t seem to get it. Just because someone is not missing a limb, or does not have a seven-inch scar across their face, does not mean they are not suffering the same if not more than someone with a physical wound. A broken leg will heal over time, a wounded soul will not as easily, and like a broken leg, needs attention to the wound or it will not heal correctly.
2. There is an “easy” cure.
I wish there was. We did not ask for PTSD, we did not deserve it or want it. PTSD is manageable and the symptoms can lessen, but it doesn’t just go away. So if you have someone in your life with PTSD, give them space when they need it and encouragement. There is such a thing as post-traumatic growth. PTSD is not the end of someone’s life, it’s just a new normal and you can grow from it.
3. Everyone with PTSD is over medicated.
While many of us with PTSD take a variety of medications, not everyone with PTSD is a walking pharmacy.
4. PTSD is a sign of weakness.
Some say you get PTSD from being too strong for too long, the reality is it’s a normal reaction to a trauma.
5. People with PTSD are a threat to others and themselves.
Hollywood gets it wrong way more often than they get it right when it comes to
people who have PTSD. PTSD does not mean you can’t function, hold a job or be in a loving relationship. It may mean you just need to work harder.
6. Only men get PTSD/PTSD is just a military disorder.
Anyone can get PTSD from a car accident, near drowning, dog bite, an attack or mugging, being a victim of domestic violence, being a corrections officer, being a first responder, a sexual assault victim, burn victim, bullying and about 1,000 other ways. PTSD does not discriminate against anyone, male or female.