I think folks are feeling shell-shocked and numb with the post -election results; all the hijinks and tomfoolery that occurred have folks reeling because our security has been violated. We feel we have been hoodwinked, robbed of truth and lied to.
Half the population feels we don’t matter at all and as a result I believe folks are experiencing various degrees of a syndrome called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
(Note: Before I go further, I need to say that I am not a Psychiatrist but I have been an RN for 35 years with a specialty certification in Psychiatry.)
PTSD can occur because of trauma, life threatening events or perceptions and rarely needs intervention unless you are extremely depressed and unable to function. Since the election, there have even been some reports of attempted murder and suicide in the news directly related to the election.
A “catastrophic event” varies from person to person but I can only tell you my perception based on the fraud and trauma I’ve surpassed living with a narcissistic abuser for 16 years. Regarding the elections, Conservatives have been under assault daily learning more and more about the corruption that has occurred. As a result, our security and hope for the future is impacted. No jobs, less money, more taxes, and more laws all pile the stress on Americans.
Lies and corruption are forms of abuse and as Americans we have been abused continuously for the past four years. Now we have the additional stress of the prospect of four more years of ‘living with our abuser’, who is completely unpredictable (other than for spending and raising taxes).
So here are the basics of PTSD, a syndrome I believe every conservative American is currently suffering from.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating psychological condition triggered by a major traumatic event, such as rape, war, a terrorist act, death of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a catastrophic accident. It is marked by upsetting memories or thoughts of the ordeal, “blunting” of emotions, increased arousal, and sometimes severe personality changes.
Officially termed post-traumatic stress disorder since 1980, PTSD was once known as shell shock or battle fatigue because of its more common manifestation in war veterans. However in the past 20 years, PTSD has been diagnosed in rape victims and victims of violent crime; survivors of natural disasters; the families of loved ones lost in the downing of Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland; and survivors of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the random school and workplace shootings, and the release of poisonous gas in a Japanese subway; and, most recently, in the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks. PTSD can affect adults of all ages. Statistics gathered from past events indicate that the risk of PTSD increases in order of the following factors:
- female gender
- middle-aged (40 to 60 years old)
- little or no experience coping with traumatic events
- ethnic minority
- lower socioeconomic status (SES)
- children in the home
- women with spouses exhibiting PTSD symptoms
- pre-existing psychiatric conditions
- primary exposure to the event including injury, life-threatening situation, and loss
- living in traumatized community
(for brevity of the article I am only listing Criterion C symptoms )
Criterion C: Avoidance and numbing symptoms
Criterion C PTSD symptoms involve persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness, as evident by three or more of the following symptoms that were not present before the trauma:
- Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
- Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
- Inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
- Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
- Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
- Restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
- Sense of foreshortened future, where the interviewee does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span.
Criterion C symptoms involve avoiding reminders of the trauma. These reminders can be internal cues, such as thoughts or feelings about the trauma, and/or external stimuli in the environment that spark unpleasant memories and feelings. To this limited extent, PTSD is not unlike a phobia, where the individual goes to considerable length to avoid stimuli that provoke emotional distress. Criterion C symptoms also involve more general symptoms of impairment, such as pervasive emotional numbness, feeling “out of sync” with others, or expecting to be deprived of attaining normal developmental goals due to trauma experiences.
Epidemiological research suggests that as many as 70% of individuals living in the United
States have experienced one or more traumatic events during their lifetime. The prevalence of lifetime PTSD in the US is higher for women (10-14%) than for men (5% – 6%). For the subgroup of individuals exposed to traumatic stress, approximately 14 – 24% develop PTSD, though the prevalence may vary, depending on the nature and severity of the traumatic exposure. For example, about 30% of Vietnam veterans have had a lifetime episode of PTSD, and well over half of former prisoners of war have PTSD. These findings suggest that traumatic stress exposure is highly prevalent in the US. In fact, many individuals appear to have had at least one lifetime episode of PTSD (approximately 20 million Americans), making this diagnosis one of the most prevalent of all mental disorders, surpassed only by substance use disorders and depression as major public and mental health issues.
As if that is not enough, following is another form of PTSD and this one is literally complex:
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is a psychological injury that results from protracted exposure to prolonged social and/or interpersonal trauma in the context of either captivity or entrapment (a situation lacking a viable escape route for the victim), which results in the lack or loss of control, helplessness, and deformations of identity and sense of self. C-PTSD is distinct from, but similar to, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), somatization disorder, dissociative identity disorder, and borderline personality disorder.
Though mainstream journals have published papers on C-PTSD, the category is not formally recognized in diagnostic systems such as Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). However, the former includes “disorder of extreme stress, not otherwise specified” and the latter has this similar code “personality change due to classifications found elsewhere” (31.1), both of whose parameters accommodate C-PTSD.
C-PTSD involves complex and reciprocal interactions between multiple biopsychosocial systems. It was first described in 1992 by Judith Herman in her book Trauma & Recovery and an accompanying article. Forms of trauma associated with C-PTSD include sexual abuse (especially child sexual abuse), physical abuse, emotional abuse, domestic violence or torture—all repeated traumas in which there is an actual or perceived inability for the victim to escape.[
So what is the cure? According to a PTSD website, recovery occurs in three stages.
- Establishing safety
- Remembrance and mourning for what was lost.
- Reconnecting with community and more broadly, society.
Basically, we all need to find our “safe harbors”. Our lives and our nation depend upon our RECOVERY!