what is ptsd?
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
by Jamal Ross
There are events in our life that seem to create permanent painful memories that are etched onto the fabric of our minds. These memories arise from traumatic events that instills a depth of hurt so deep that it seems impossible to rid ourselves of these thoughts. It shapes our interactions with others and can serve as a hinderance to living a fulfilling life. When thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks of a painful experience affects your daily activities and how you interact with others, this is called post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Let’s find out more about what causes PSTD and, more importantly, what the bible says about our recovery from the thoughts and trauma of our past.
PTSD is a common psychologic illness that can be triggered by an array of events. About 9% of all adults in the United States are affected by PTSD over a lifetime. About 30% of those with PTSD have experienced sexual abuse as a child or adult. Another 30% have experienced an unexpected death or illness of a child or loved one. Another 25% have experienced, seen or participated in a form of violence. Even motor vehicle accidents or a physical illness, such as a heart attack or stroke, can also lead to post-traumatic stress order. (1)
The appearance of post-traumatic stress disorder can take many forms, but there are some key features of PTSD that should grab our attention. In particular, those with PTSD experience flashbacks, severe anxiety and combative behaviors in response to a traumatic event. There can be recurrent, involuntary and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event as well. There can be recurrent dreams related to a traumatic event. Irritable behaviors and angry outburst with little to no provocation can be witnessed. Reckless or self-destructive behavior, an exaggerated startle response and hypervigilance can also be seen. Importantly, as a means to compensate and avoid these intense emotions, those with PTSD tend to engage in persistent efforts avoid people, places, conversations, activities, objects and situations that remind them of a traumatic event. (2) Moreover, those with PTSD can be affected by depression, anxiety of personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder.
With such a heavy weight of our past trauma, it seems impossible that we can forget the pain of our past. But remember, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things as possible.” (Matthew 19:26) This includes healing from you past. God so deeply desires to make you forget with past with a blessing that will overtake you and shatter what you thought was possible. Like Joseph, in a moment’s notice, or in a blink of an eye, the hurtful memories of your past will be no more as you come to know God as the “God of Manasseh” – The God who cause me to forget (See Genesis 41:51) Every painful memory you have will be taken captive and made obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) I am excited about your future and can’t wait for you to step into your new life where PTSD, or any negative thought or emotion, has no place.
1. Posttraumatic stress disorder in adults: Epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, course, assessment, and diagnosis. In: UpToDate JS Sareen & MB Stein (Eds) UpToDate, Waltham, MA (Assessed December 24, 2022)
2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.)