At the age of seven, I survived an armed robbery, but witnessed the murder of my mother, her partner, and my godmother, in Harlem (NYC). Although I suffered from a gunshot wound, the mental scars presented the most difficult challenges for me. Several years after this tragic event, I was clinically diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
According to the Mayo Clinic, 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.
Also, the trauma that brings about PTSD is also a contributing factor to depression.
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.
Keep in mind, determining the difference between post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma disorders can be a challenge. Confusing this issue is the fact that PTSD and other anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), often co-occur.
There are six major types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobia, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking an exam or making major decisions. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety doesn't go away and can worsen over time.
If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, please talk to a mental health care provider.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). Current and former service members, use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.