What It Feels Like To Learn To Have PTSD

Mental health issues be it any, are a cause of concern and should not be ignored. People very often ignore their mental health, either because of embarrassment or the stigma attached to it. Trauma is one such disorder that can have an adverse effect on your brain and wreck you mentally and emotionally. Recovering can be much worse when you are suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder, as daily functioning becomes a task and your state of mind is disturbed. 

“PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions.”- Susan Pease Banitt 

Here, Susan Banitt rightly acknowledges and highlights the fact that not only physical health but mental health and emotions are affected in PTSD. PTSD is a disorder that is characterized by the failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a tragic event. The tragic event can be anything, varying from terrifying events of war, natural disasters, serious injury, events of murder or suicide, sexual harassment, devastating events like fires, accidents, robberies, accidents, etc.  

PTSD can last for months or at times even for years.  When you’re exposed to life-threatening events, chemical and neuronal changes take place in your brain, thus causing PTSD. A person suffering from PTSD can have single or multiple symptoms at times. A person can have flashbacks repeatedly. These flashbacks are randomly triggered, by sound, taste, object, image, smell, or a place and person, etc. and can hinder their ability to differentiate the real from the unreal. Along with flashbacks, one could also have nightmares, that can lead to sleep depreciation and fatigues. A person is always in an alert mode, also known as hyperarousal. If you are suffering from PTSD, you may also find the individual may struggle with adversities but is ready to seek help and support and get back to normalcy. Immediate solutions are provided to problems. This stage may go two ways where the person may feel overwhelmed by the love and support they receive, whereas it is also possible that the individual may feel completely disillusioned and cynic. The individual may feel that they’re better all by themselves and need not depend on others. d yourself overwhelmed by emotions of fear, anxiety, stress. It is crucial that you have a treatment for PTSD as soon as possible. 

Usually, a person goes through four phases, however, they’re not fixed and can vary.

The four stages of PTSD are

  • Impact 

This phase, also referred to as the ‘first outcry’ or ‘emergency stage’ occurs soon after a person has experienced a traumatic event. The person is in a state of shock where it becomes difficult to process the whole situation and come to terms with it. This stage may last for a few hours or even days, depending upon the severity of the event. In this stage, the instinctual ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ mode kicks in as a response to the situation.  A person becomes hypervigilant and is seen struggling with emotions, fear, anxiety, and stress.

  • Denial 

This is the second stage of PTSD where an individual struggles with accepting the reality and come to terms with it. Not everyone who has PTSD goes through denial however, it is important to acknowledge, address denial during treatment. An individual is still dealing with the initial shock and will try to avoid difficult emotions such as pain, grief, sadness, anger, etc. Avoiding emotions is a classic way of the mind to reduce the high levels of stress and anxiety, however, bottling up emotions will only cause further harm to you in the end. Consult doctors for stress and anxiety to overcome these feelings. Post denial, despite your efforts to avoid the emotions, the person might face flashbacks or nightmares which reminds them of the trauma. Dealing with such intrusive nightmares or flashbacks can be difficult and many people become vulnerable to using stimulants like alcohol, drugs, cigarettes etc.  

  • Intermediate recovery 

The denial stage is followed by the intermediate recovery phase where the individual finally confronts his/her emotions and beings the first step to recovering. Here the person puts in the efforts to return to the normal life again. 

  • Long term Reconstruction 

While the person still might be dealing with the post-trauma effects, this is the stage that focuses on rebuilding oneself while dealing with personal problems. The negative symptoms of trauma such as nightmares, flashbacks, hyperarousal, anxiety, etc. are reduced through therapy and self-care. One learns the various coping mechanisms and moves on in life. While the traumatic event itself might not be forgotten but the grief and shock attached to it is reduced. Getting to this stage may take some time, but it is not impossible. With the care and love of your loved ones and constant support of doctors for PTSD, this condition can be treated. 


Learning that you have PTSD doesn’t make you weak. All you need is a proper neurocritical care and support of loved ones. Your focus should be on not losing hope or being weak, but instead coming out as a stronger individual.