You had heard about that particular path on a number of occasions and every now and then walked it yourself as it usually cut a good 15 minutes off your journey home. You were aware that people had been accosted late at night and it was not advisable to take the route. But on this occasion, you needed to get back as quickly as you could as your train had been delayed and you were supposed to be going out with your partner for a few drinks with friends. Then it happened. Out of nowhere, you were attacked and badly beaten. The cuts and bruises eventually healed but the emotional scars still remain. Now you are terrified of leaving your house and going anywhere on your own, day or night, and no amount of reasoning or consolation can comfort you.
Or perhaps it was your first day at a new school. You had just turned seven and wanted to make friends. Instead, the school bully picked on you, punched you on the nose and ran off with your lunchbox. All the other kids laughed. You were deeply upset. Even now, many years later, you are extremely wary and apprehensive about meeting new people.
Two seemingly unrelated scenarios, different only by the severity of the incidents. But not to each victim and not to the victim’s thought process. Two different people, each in their own way still carrying the torment and anguish they suffered with them. Feelings that have left an indelible imprint on the mind, which has no concept of the various grades of severity, or of time and space, only the emotions and thought-processes attached to the original event, memories now locked in the subconscious and repeated in the mind over and over again.
This is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is loosely defined by the following characteristics in the sufferer who:
Has been exposed to one or a series of traumatic events, which have then resulted in feelings of helplessness, fear, anxiety, panic, alarm and deep apprehension
Constantly and persistently relives the event/s, days, weeks, months, years after it (they) have occurred.
Whenever possible, to an obsessive degree, avoids stimuli associated with the trauma and becomes over-aware of such stimuli.
Experiences real distress and impairment in their personal and professional lives as a result of the incident.
Those who are likely to suffer from PTSD tend to fall into the following categories*:
Primary Victims: Those who experience the traumatic event first-hand
Secondary Victims: The family and friends of victims
Tertiary Victims: Onlookers or witnesses to the event/s
Rescuers and Carers: Whose job demands they become involved with Primary Victims
The mind is a powerful computer, processing every negative thought, feeling emotion and experience we programme into it. Over the years, we become excellent programmers. So why not redirect our talents and install positive, rather than negative code? We utilise psycho-cybernetics, CBT, mindfulness, Emotional Freedom Techniques, gestalt psychology and (where appropriate) hypnosis to empower you along the road to recovery, altering the emotional imbalance and inner conflict that rages in your mind, enabling you to adopt a positive, forward-looking approach to resolving the negative thought-processes you are currently experiencing. It is a life-changing series of encounters leading to permanent transformation.
* As identified and categorised by David Kinchin: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Invisible Injury (Success Unlimited Books/2005 edition)