How PTSD Expresses Itself in Daily Life



The following lists just a few of the delayed stress responses that occur in Veterans suffering from PTSD. They may sound familiar to you and the people closest to you. But, you and they may even, without realising it, deny these reactions when they appear, or manifest. There are other telling clues that you may be suffering from PTSD. Let’s run through a number of the reactions, looking at a few specific ways that they might be expressed in your daily life.

Intrusive Thoughts and Flashbacks
Do you find yourself ‘re-playing’ combat experiences in your mind, trying to find a different outcome to what actually happened?
Do everyday experiences such as these trigger flashbacks: the sound of a helicopter? the smell of urine? the smell of diesel fuel? the smell of mold? the smell of Asian food cooking? green tree lines? dull rainy days? or seeing Asians in the street?

Do you take your anger out against inanimate objects or your loved ones?
Are you subject to a quiet, masked rage which frightens you and those around you?
Are unable to identify or handle things that frustrate you?
Is your anger unexplainable or inappropriate/excessive to the situation?
Do you believe that God abandoned you in Vietnam ?

Do you have very few, or no friends at all?
Do you, or have you isolated yourself from family members – either emotionally or geographically? Do you have a ‘leave me alone’ attitude about your loved ones, or feel that you need no one in life?
Do you think about becoming a ‘hermit’ and moving away from your problems – going bush?
Do you believe that no one can understand you or would even listen if you tried to talk about your experiences?

Anxiety and Nervousness
Are you startled by loud noises like fireworks, vehicles back-firing? Do these sounds propel you into a state of combat readiness? Are you uncomfortable when people walk closely behind you or sit behind you? Are you generally suspicious of others? Do you feel that you can trust no one?

Emotional Constriction
Are you unable to talk about your personal emotions to any one?
Do you find it impossible to achieve intimacy with your wife, family or friends?
Have you been accused of being ‘cold’ or lacking ‘feeling’ towards your kids when they have an accident and are hurting?
Do you repress your feelings?

Do you often feel helpless, worthless and dejected?
Do you usually feel insecure?
Do your good feelings seem undeserved?
Are you sometimes unable to handle it when things are going well, and you try to sabotage your seeming success or well-being?
Do you often feel that life is not really worth the effort?
Do you feel that your life has been foreshortened?
Do you often wish you had never heard of Vietnam ?

Substance Abuse
Do you use alcohol or drugs (pharmaceutical or illicit) regularly?
Do you smoke continuously, regardless of knowing the harm that you are doing to yourself?
Do the smokes or drugs seem to ‘numb’ your pain, memories, or relieve guilt?
Do others tell you and do they think you rely upon liquor or drugs too much?

All or some of the foregoing symptoms of PTSD may have hit you pretty close to the bone?
In fact, we may have just tripped your wire! If so, stop reading now, close the site after bookmarking it, and come back to it when you’re ready to continue. You may even feel pressured or that your feelings are writhing inside you. But, stay with us, because there is a way out.


About Fred Grigg