Signs of PTSD and What to Do Next
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#IntrospectiveArt (3)

“Stay busy, stay focused on what’s up ahead.
Keep going.
No matter what, don’t think.
Don’t talk about it.
Can’t sleep.
Brain is a spinning top that turns and jumps, try to quiet it and the invisible hand hits the reset button, round and round we go again.
Drink.  Drugs.  Anything to numb it out.
Can’t deal with your BS right now.
Avoid That!  No point going there.
No, pull back.
Push those guys away.  Nobody needs me in their lives, I’m too messed up.  The world is better off without me.
I can’t turn my brain off.
Can’t sleep.
Push them away…”

When do you know you have a problem?  You already know.  Because up there, that list of thoughts?  That’s your brain and it will kill you if you let it.

Have a flick through this list and see which ones apply to you.

  • sleep patterns are disrupted, you don’t sleep more than 4 hours a night
  • you space out, a strange distant look across face and eyes
  • reality is submerged in a scream or smell, a taste or a flash of the past
  • you avoid situations that you used to enjoy before IT happened
  • you avoid crowds and large parties, unless absolutely hammered
  • emotional sunburn is the order of the day, your stress cup is so full already the tiniest emotional hiccup will hit you so hard you can’t see your way through
  • tempers wound tight, people close to you tip toe around you trying not to set you off
  • loss of purpose, nothing has meaning anymore
  • love is a foreign concept, there is a vacancy where there was warmth once
  • sex is empty, requiring ever more illicit or dangerous behaviour to satisfy or it has disappeared completely from your life
  • fear of the world, seeing danger everywhere, a paranoia that knows no reasoning
  • concentration is difficult
  • short term memory is broken
  • go to a restaurant, always choose the chair with back to the wall?

The step to healing is a hard one to take.  The diagnosis hits you hard, punches you to the ground no matter how prepared you are for it because everybody knows that PTSD is something only weak people get and everybody with it kills themselves.  Look at the PTSD world were so many hold onto their injury like a baby blanket.  Record stuck: I’m broken;  my service owes me; I can’t exist without my dog/coping skills.

Load of horse manure that.  PTSD is a treatable injury.  You can continue to work as a soldier, first responder, doctor, whatever you wish: I can point you to those that prove it.  Ignore the drama queens.  The sooner you get help the sooner you can regain your life.  Ignore it, try to cope by yourself and you will die or morph into one of those guys with a baby blanket called “My PTSD”.  Need more information go to or join in on Twitter every Wednesday 6pm PST/9pm EST #PTSDChat.

Kate Gillie is an artist and writer who has had Early Childhood Complex PTSD since she was young; born in the Rhodesian Bush War (1970-80), living with her young brother on an isolated coffee estate on what was ground zero for the war, she was exposed to all the brutalities of an African war. Having survived suicide, she dedicated her life to bringing an end to the isolation of so many suffer, fight the STIGMA of PTSD, and its myths and misconceptions.  To this end, she and WHOA Media created #PTSDChat and, a global resource for all those with PTSD, a hub of information, blogs from PTSD Warriors, research, and resources across the globe.


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