PTSD is a real physical injury.

“PTSD is a Normal Reaction to Extreme Trauma – Just as Bleeding is a Normal Reaction to Being Stabbed.” ~Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote

Since the discovery of modern brain imaging technologies, multiple studies have found that early childhood neglect and abandonment, as well as severe trauma occurring at any age, can damage the brain – by actually changing the brain’s structure and function.

This is why we can’t “just get over” certain types of trauma. Like a person paralyzed in a car crash, the traumatic event may be in the distant past, but the injury it caused is still present.

I have had a number of people tell me that all I need to do to get over my PTSD is to stop thinking about my traumas, forgive my abusers, and focus on living in today. This is about as helpful as telling a quadriplegic that he could get up and walk if only he will stop thinking about the car crash that severed his spine, forgive the drunk driver who caused the accident, and keep his mind firmly in the present. Although the car crash may have happened decades ago, the injury it caused is still present. The same is true for PTSD.

The good news is that brain imaging technologies have also found that the injured brain can heal – literally rewire itself – when the traumatized individual is in a SAFE environment, and in the context of at least one loving and affirming relationship. But from what I have seen and personally experienced, most trauma victims never get what we need to heal. Instead, we too often get the opposite: shamed and shunned by society and even by our own family, for the “crime” of being injured.

Browbeating and rejecting someone who is psychologically injured will only make matters worse. Would you whip a quadriplegic to get him to walk again? Of course not!

The single most humane and effective treatment for those of us who have been psychologically injured is simply this:

Treat PTSD with CARE: Compassion, Acceptance, Respect, and Encouragement.

Lucky Otters Haven

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12 thoughts on “PTSD is a real physical injury.

  1. luckyotter April 19, 2016 / 1:15 am

    Thank you, Linda Lee, for reblogging this! It’s important to get the word out about this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee April 19, 2016 / 8:03 am

      Thank YOU for posting these very informative graphics. I already have most of what I have written here, on my “How to Heal PTSD” page, posted on my old blog over a year ago. But that page is so long, this information may be overlooked. Thanks to your graphic brain scan images, this very important truth about PTSD now has a chance of getting the attention it deserves.

      Liked by 2 people

      • luckyotter April 19, 2016 / 3:20 pm

        I’m glad I posted it and thank you for sharing it on your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Object of Contempt April 19, 2016 / 7:02 am

    Thank you for this. Not many people use those direct words, “just get over it.” A lot of people still expect it.

    Seeing the images and the list of effects on the brain is powerful. I have strongly felt the effects of several of those symptoms. It makes me angry. Even if the trauma itself were something you could just get over, the brain changes are not. I was an intellectual type. Had a really fabulous memory. I desperately want it back. I don’t even know if that is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee April 19, 2016 / 8:31 am

      I believe it is possible to get back much of what we have lost to trauma, if not all.

      In 1967, when I was 14 years old, I had a nervous breakdown after experiencing a series of extreme childhood traumas. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder did not become an official psychiatric diagnosis until 1980. Even then, for many years it was widely believed to affect only combat veterans. So when my PTSD symptoms first became apparent, way back in the dark ages, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. And then, although my behavior was never out of control or threatening in any way, my abusive parents jumped at the chance to get rid of me, by committing me to a state insane asylum.

      I was released from the asylum almost two years later, when a new psychiatrist decided that I was not mentally ill. Since that time, I have had numerous doctors and therapists tell me that I must have been badly misdiagnosed, because I am not the least bit schizophrenic and schizophrenia is supposedly incurable. But, according to my research, there are a handful of psychotherapists who believe that schizophrenia can be caused by extreme trauma, and that it is curable. Pete Walker, who wrote the best-selling book COMPLEX PTSD, is one who believes this. (I highly recommend his book.)

      It is tempting for me to agree that I never was really “psychotic” for two years as a teenager. But I remember what it was like to be inside my head during that time and the truth is that yes, my traumatized brain was so badly broken, I really did have the symptoms of what is called schizophrenia. And, thanks to a couple of truly caring therapists, I got over it!

      Today, almost half a century later, I still have some symptoms of PTSD. But I am so close to being fully healed that I believe complete healing is possible for most, if not all, trauma victims.

      I also believe that my PTSD would have healed many years ago, IF I hadn’t been re-traumatized over and over and over again, by ignorant, cruel people who seem to think that if you have ever been given a “crazy label,” you are fair game for further physical and verbal abuse. My momster and my first husband were the worst of these offenders. Truly, it is a miracle that I am alive and sane today! If it weren’t for a small minority of caring and empathetic people, I don’t believe that I would be here.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Mary Cathleen Clark April 19, 2016 / 9:08 am

    So many people who have never experienced abuse cannot relate…they have no idea what it does to one’s mind. The “get over it” attitude doesn’t quite cut it. I’m happy to hear you’re close to a complete healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carrie Rubin April 19, 2016 / 9:21 am

    Great reblog, and I liked what you wrote to introduce it. Great points.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jncthedc April 19, 2016 / 12:36 pm

    This is an important message because PTSD has become a “buzz word” and diagnosis that loses credibility based on the attention or rather lack of attention it deserves. It’s a condition that requires time and patience often to see improvement. There is no specific time frame to correct this imbalance. This frustrates many doctors leading to prescriptive treatments and avoidance. When people aren’t good at doing things in life they usually avoid them. PTSD is one of those diagnoses many doctors at poor at addressing. I agree with your concluding sentence:
    Treat PTSD with CARE: Compassion, Acceptance, Respect, and Encouragement.

    This would be a great step for anyone involved.

    Liked by 1 person

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