The Mayo Clinic describes PTSD as follows: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
While it may be most commonly used when talking about soldiers or people that have served in a line of duty that may require one to take a life, or something dangerous etc., some people forget that it’s used to describe ANY traumatic event that one has been effected by.
When you were a kid and you fell off your bike and then were too scared to get back on it for a while, that’s a form of PTSD. When you were at a specific intersection driving one day and witnessed a terrible crash and then find it hard to go to that intersection, that’s a form of PTSD. When you found out your partner was cheating on you and lying to you for an extended period of time, and you now have trouble trusting people not to do the same, that’s a form of PTSD. When a relative or friend unexpectedly dies and your entire world is altered because of that, it is considered traumatic. When you were walking through a grocery store and someone attacks you unprovoked, you’re not going to return to that store very quickly. Flubbing a line you’ve rehearsed for a play you’re in during opening night. These are obviously all very different events, and they obviously may not mean the same to you unless you’ve experienced them. Losing a pet can be traumatic. Failing a test can be traumatic to someone. You aren’t allowed to determine if something is traumatic for someone else or not based on how you would (or did) process the same event.
The point is that the human psyche is extremely fragile and how we experience and process traumatic events is unique to us all. Just because something doesn’t seem as “severe” or as “traumatic” to you, does not invalidate that what the person may be experiencing is a form of PTSD in one way or another. People in the military whom have/are continually experiencing PTSD are very common, and rightly so, some of them have seen things we see in movies right before their eyes and if you think that wouldn’t mess you up for a while, I hope you never have to experience something like that. However, my point is not to disparage or pull attention away from military or “service duty” personnel in anyway, but rather to remind people that PTSD and trauma are relative to the person experiencing them and you should not discount the application of the term strictly to those people either. We’re all human, and we all process things differently. Just be supportive to each other, listen to one another. Please don’t ignore the feelings of someone who may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (no matter how mild) just because they weren’t involved in the military.
Thank you for reading if you made it this far. Sorry for the formatting, am on mobile. Just realized last night that a friend of mine had discounted something that I had said was traumatic because he was in the military and I wasn’t, and I just wanted to remind people that military personnel aren’t the only people subject to PTSD.
Edit: Obviously falling off a bike is an extreme example of this and should not be the takeaway here, if you’re focusing on the level of severity of one person’s experience over your own, then you’re the person that needs to be reading this. Trauma is trauma and it is not limited to death and existentialism. The point is to get you people to do your own research into this and stop judging people so quickly for what they feel.
Edit: Thank you for the appreciation and understanding from those that understood the meaning here and didn’t focus on a kid falling off of a bike.
Edit: Be kid. (Pre-event)
Fall off bike. Break arm. (Traumatic Event)
Scared to get back on bike. (Stress from said trauma)
Has nightmares about riding bike. (uncontrollable thoughts and anxiety)
Refuses to ride bike for extended period of time, if ever again. (post traumatic stress from event.)
It may not last as long, and they may overcome it, but for that time, for that kid, it’s trauma. Sometimes that person may not touch a bike until their adult life. Yes it’s an extreme, and frankly incomparable notion compared to PTSD related to death or excessive torment, but it’s literally in the name;
Post (After) Traumatic (a trauma) Stress (emotional or physical tension) Disorder (disfunction)
So yes, It is valid. And you don’t get to decide what was traumatic for someone and what wasn’t, you aren’t that person, you didn’t live their life.