Want to find out about how PTSD impacts women, go to #FacesOfPTSD.
By Christine Cissy White
Men. Soldiers. Brains. I was shocked.
I know men get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My father was a Vietnam veteran unable to work, get sober, or support himself and his family. He was homeless, violent and though we never spoke as adults, I’d bet good money that he had PTSD.
Men should be pictured. Soldiers suffering PTSD should be recognized, too. The problem is what isn’t shown, getting nearly as much attention. The problem with the words above isn’t that men aren’t mentioned. What about women? My concern about women being left is warranted.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, “About 10 of every 100 women (10%) develop PTSD sometime in their lives, compared to four of every 100 (4%) of men.” Women get PTSD more than twice as often as men. PTSD is as severe for women as it is for men.
Our symptoms, suffering, and recovery are real. PTSD does not discriminate against women, and we live with the same numbness, rage, anxiety, and attacks of despair and shame. I was diagnosed with PTSD in my early 20’s. No part of my life has been untouched. Basic functions like sleeping, eating, or having sex have all been tackled by my PTSD. Forget about daily tasks like parenting, working, socializing, or feeling safe outside. At best, managing PTSD is a part-time job that one didn’t ask to get and doesn’t get paid for. At worse, it hijacks my emotions, energy, and attention full-time. It can be all-consuming and life-threatening.
It makes me angry that women with PTSD can feel alone, even though so many of us share this diagnosis. And I was content to vent, as I did on Facebook until a friend suggested taking action. Turns out, she has PTSD. Then two other women we know offered to discuss what their lives were like living with PTSD.
Spontaneously a grassroots group was formed. We simply asked women to post selfies using the #FacesOfPTSD hashtag. Our goal: To get Google, Yahoo! and Bing to start acknowledging, noticing, and indexing the images.