Not all injuries caused by trauma are visible. In this segment of our Mental Health Awareness series, we're going to discuss Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for PTSDopens a new window,"PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. It's normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. If symptoms last more than a few months, it may be PTSD."
Those of us who live with PTSD experience a variety of emotions, including anxiety, stress, anger, guilt, and shame. We may also have insomnia, nightmares and flashbacks of the traumatic event, and self-destructive behaviors.
If you believe you may have post-traumatic stress disorder, please know that effective treatments do exist and recovery is attainable for those who seek treatment.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, the following organizations offer help:
- The Louisiana Warmlineopens a new window, 1-800-730-8375, available Wednesday through Sunday, 5 pm - 10 pm. (A warmline, compared to a hotline, is for when you need someone to talk to but you're not in crisis.)
- Louisiana 2-1-1opens a new window is "a single access point for every day needs and in times of crisis . . ."
- Vialinkopens a new window operates "a 24 hour contact center that serves the Metro New Orleans Area [including St. Tammany Parish] providing short-term crisis counseling and information & referrals."
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifelineopens a new window at 1-800-273-8255, en español 1-888-628-9454, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone and all calls are confidential. National Suicide Prevention's TTY number is 1-800-799-4889. National Suicide Prevention also has an online chatopens a new window service.
- The Crisis Text Lineopens a new window: Text TALK to 741741. After sending this text message, you will receive an automated text asking about your crisis. Your response will help the team pair you with a counselor, and you will be connected to that counselor in minutes.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness Helplineopens a new window, 1-800-950-6264, is available Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm.
- IMAliveopens a new window is an online network that uses instant messaging to respond to people in crisis. Click the "Chat Now" button to begin a conversation with a volunteer who is trained and certified in crisis intervention.
If you or someone you know needs immediate or emergency help, please call 911opens a new window.
Please note: This discussion of PTSD is intended for informational purposes and is not meant to take the place of meeting with a physician or therapist.
We have compiled the following list of St. Tammany Parish Library resources and external websites that have more information about post-traumatic stress disorder:
"A pioneering physician reveals how childhood stress leads to lifelong health problems and what we can do to break the cycle. For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the innovative and acclaimed health interventions outlined in this book will represent vitally important hope for change."
"Through the unpredictability of war and its aftermath, a decorated Marine sergeant and a world-trotting war photographer became friends, their bond forged as they patrolled together . . . and camped side by side in the desert. It deepened after Sergeant TJ Brennan was injured during a Taliban ambush, and both returned home. Brennan began to suffer from the effects of his injury and from the fallout of his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. But war correspondents experience similar rates of post-traumatic stress as combat veterans . . . Finbarr O'Reilly's conscience is nagged by the task of photographing people at their most vulnerable while being able to do little to help, and his survival guilt as colleagues die on the job. Their friendship offered them both a shot at redemption."
"In this harrowing yet unflinching look at her own experience, Michelle, who was inspired to help others heal by becoming a psychotherapist, sheds light on the all-too-real threat of child sexual abuse and the psychological effects on its victims and best methods for healing, based on her own struggle with PTSD and dissociative identity disorder . . . 'Scared Selfless' is an examination at the extraordinary--and inexplicable--feats of the mind in the face of unspeakably horrifying trauma and the story of Michelle's courageous road to healing, recovery, and triumph."
"chronicles the life of Murray Jacobs, a former Navy Seabee, who served in the Pacific Theater and was treated for PTSD until his death at the age of ninety-eight. He agreed to a series of interviews, under the strict conditions that his real name could not be used, and the details of the conversations could not be disclosed to anyone until after he was dead."
"Inherited family trauma is currently an area of growing interest, as science increasingly explores what we know intuitively: that the effects of trauma can pass from one generation to the next, and that the answers to some of our greatest life problems often lie not within our own story, but in the experiences of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and extended family. Even if the person who suffered the original trauma has died, or the story has been forgotten or silenced, memory and feelings can live on in those in the present. And while inherited physical traits are easily discernible, this emotional legacy is often hidden, encoded in everything from gene expression to everyday language."
"The author asks readers to go beyond the act of parades and polite applause and make an effort to listen to our servicemen and women as they describe the emotional and mental anguish they carry as a result of upholding their duties."
"A gripping graphic novel illustrates the challenges of Iraq War veterans as well as their inspiring triumphs After the shock of 9/11, for hundreds of thousands of young Americans there was Ar Ramadi, Baghdad, Abu Ghraib--the war in Iraq. Then came the trauma. From the torment of these vets to their reflections, this book demonstrates the seemingly impossible return of those who aspire to get back to a normal life. The effort is huge: some can't make it and others score their own victory by finally turning the corner."
"some twenty-seven million Americans are believed to be PTSD survivors. Yet to many of us, the disorder remains shrouded in mystery, secrecy, and shame. Now, David J. Morris -- a war correspondent, former Marine, and PTSD sufferer himself -- has written the essential account of this illness." This title is also available from St. Tammany Parish Library's Cloud Library and Hoopla services as an ebook. It is also available as a digital audiobook from St. Tammany Parish Library's Hoopla, OverDrive or Libby services.
If you need help getting a downloadable title from Hooplaopens a new window, Cloud Libraryopens a new window, OverDriveopens a new window, Libbyopens a new window, or any other library resource, please contact your nearest St. Tammany Parish Library reference librarianopens a new window.
If you're interested in reading other posts in the Mental Health Awarenessopens a new window series, look at the column to the left of this panel and select one of the links there.