About my PTSD…To Whom It May Concern
For adults to give to other adults, to help them understand Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
About this statement
This statement was written to help people with PTSD – Posttraumatic Stress Disorder – explain to other people what they are dealing with in their lives, and in their therapy – if they are working in psychotherapy to resolve their PTSD. (See also "Explaining your PTSD to your children":lib_iudb02450_explaining-PTSD.html.)
People with PTSD are commonly misunderstood. Other people in their lives may think they are "crazy" – they aren't. They themselves may think at times that they are "losing their mind" – but this isn't true either. Everyone – other people and the PTSD victim herself or himself – may think that they can willfully control their symptoms. They cannot. Meanwhile, life is often difficult, and some parts of it are nearly impossible..
It can be truly helpful if people associated with those who have PTSD have at least a basic understanding of what's going on with them. This document is to be used to help achieve that understanding.
If you have PTSD, explaining yourself to others, while preserving your privacy about what happened to you to produce the PTSD, can be an important part of your therapy, although it won't take the PTSD away. If you live or work with someone with PTSD, for you to understand that person better can help you very much improve how you relate to, think about, and feel about that person. So…I encourage you to make the effort to achieve that understanding. It will make a difference.
Regarding my PTSD…
Because I have some difficulty remembering things, because of my mental health diagnosis – PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) – I can have real difficulty explaining myself to others. Quite apart from memory problems, PTSD is difficult to explain to people. It is not a simple disorder.
For these reasons, my counselor has written this statement for me, to help with the problem of getting others to understand my situation. I give it to you because when I read it I recognize that it is talking about me.
What you may see with me is that I have serious posttraumatic stress (bad feelings that come up after a psychologically traumatic event is over, which relate directly to that event). This means that various things, people, and situations in my present life may easily "trigger" painful emotional reactions in me that may not make much sense to those around me.
When this happens, I may become rather dysfunctional for a while. I may become frightened, or cry unexpectedly. I may have trouble talking, or thinking. I may become very irritable or even angry. Or I may simply become very quiet and distant for a time. It can take me quite a while to get back my emotional balance.
I cannot predict very well when this problem with "triggering" excessive emotions will happen. My reactions can worry, disturb, and sometimes frighten people around me. This makes me feel bad, but I can't help it.
Part of my therapy for this situation I'm living through is to learn about what's happening to me, and to explain it to others. It's only because of this learning that I can talk about it at all.
I hope you can be patient with me when I actively avoid certain topics, people, or activities (to try to keep from triggering). I also need your patience when I do trigger and have to work through the aftermath of this painful experience. Believe me, please, when I say that I'm doing the best I can. And…I fully expect to do better in the future.
PTSD is treatable. No one asks for PTSD to happen for them, but people to whom it does happen can heal the wounds in their mind, get on with their life, and no longer be tripped up by what happened to them in the past. Many people have done this. It is my hope also to do this. Then, PTSD will just be a part of my history, not a part of my life.
Until then, please know that I need your understanding, and will deeply appreciate any efforts you can make to understand my situation, and to be patient with me while I learn to manage my symptoms while I'm healing. I know that it is reasonable to expect that my future will be an easier and more comfortable place than my present, and that this will be good for all of us. I thank you for taking the time to consider my situation.
How to print this page
Use the page print function built into your browser. It's usually an item in the File menu right below the caption of the window in which this page is displayed.
Only the page's core content will be printed. All images outside of the main content area, all navigation tools and links, and extraneous header and footer material will be omitted from the printed page.
Many browsers also have a print preview function on the same menu - you can use this to see how the printed page will look before you actually print it.