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Mass Shootings, PTSD and Politics

The sad part about the Las Vegas mass shooting is that it will be politicized like many other past tragic events in America. Large volumes of money will be raised by the NRA and groups that favor stricter gun control laws. What good will that do for the deceased and those that witnessed this life-changing event? I hope the victims seek and obtain much-needed professional counseling because their future will be filled with a plethora of mental challenges. One, in particular, 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.

Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while, but they don't have PTSD — with time and good self-care, they usually get better. But if the symptoms get worse or last for months or even years and interfere with your functioning, you may have PTSD.

Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical in reducing symptoms and improve function. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within three months of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.

What took me such a long time to deal with PTSD and major depression was that I chose to suppress my negative emotions by avoiding any topic in reference to what I witnessed as a child. Ultimately, this led to a troubled and unmanageable lifestyle.

Also, according to WebMD, with major depression, it may be difficult to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy friends and activities. Some people have clinical depression only once in their life, while others have it several times in a lifetime. Major depression can sometimes occur from one generation to the next in families, but may affect people with no family history of the illness.

During the fall of 2013, I finally realized that avoiding discussions in reference to the trauma I witnessed did more harm than good. All the trapped in guilt, shame and anger were taking a huge toll on my mental and physical health. This wasn’t an easy process at first, but as time progressed it became second nature for me to attend appointments on a consistent basis, which is what I failed to do so many times in the past.

Whether you're for or against stricter gun control laws in America, it will certainly take more than rhetoric from conservatives, liberals, and clergy to help decrease the number of mass shootings in this country. In the meantime, I refuse to get caught up in endless debates.

If you're feeling depressed and thinking about harming yourself or others, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Current Military/Veterans: use the same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.

Also, if you know someone that needs help, reach out to them and encourage them to get help.We are in this together!

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