Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is a common anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.
PTSD refers to the big events – Military Combat, Violent personal attack, Kidnapping, Hostage taking, Terrorist attack, Incarceration as a POW, Torture, Natural or man-made disasters, Severe motor vehicle accidents, Childhood sexual trauma. (Representative of the list in DSM4, the psychiatry manual of mental disorders, under PTSD)
The majority of people exposed to trauma do not develop PTSD, only 1 in 4 does. However, many people not involved in one of the “listed” PTSD sources, display symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. That is where “small t” comes in.
Small t is a term coined by practitioners in the “trauma” field that refers to any event that causes a person stress and for which they have no resolution. While these small ‘ts’ may not be listed as PTSD events they can be none the less debilitating for the person.
Any event in a person’s life, whether they have been caught up in war or natural disaster, or whether they have been bullied, put down, become locked into grief, overwhelmed, or sustained an injury; anything that stimulates the subcortical brain into a reaction of fight/flight or of feigned death collapse, is going to be a trauma to that person. It is a challenge that they have felt helpless in the face of and have been unable to meet.
Any event that they have not been able to resolve will render that person unable to express their true self free of symptoms and inappropriate adaptions.
To reveal the pattern of PTSD and small t in RESOLVE we use the terms Trauma, Shock, Threat, Dread and Fear (TSTDF). There is a crossover in these terms and there are many other terms that could be used, but these are the ones that have consistently tested as effectively revealing the person’s Unresolved Patterns.
Event – Life threat while powerless – Fight and Flight Characteristics of TSTDF (Trauma, Shock, Threat, Dread and Fear)
Trauma – Great Distress and Disruption
1. A serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident.
2. An emotional wound or shock that creates substantial, lasting damage to the psychological development of a person, often leading to neurosis.
3. An event or situation that causes great distress and disruption.
Medically, "trauma" refers to a serious or critical bodily injury, wound, or shock. In psychiatry, "trauma" has assumed the meaning and refers to an experience that is emotionally painful, distressful, or shocking, which leads to lasting psychological or emotional impairment. A psychologically upsetting experience that produces a mental disorder, or otherwise has lasting negative effects on a person's thoughts, feelings, or behaviour.
Shock – Sudden, unexpected, unforeseen
1. Something that jars the mind or emotions as if with a violent unexpected blow.
2. The disturbance of function, equilibrium, or mental faculties caused by such a blow; violent agitation.
3. A severe offense to one's sense of propriety or decency; an outrage.
Physiological shock refers to the organs and tissues of the body not receiving a sufficient flow of blood. As a result of the imbalance of oxygen supply and demand, a buildup of waste products occurs and can cause damage to the organs. This shock can result in collapse, coma or even death if it is not treated immediately.
Psychological shock is a sudden disturbance of mental equilibrium. May occur when a person hears disturbing news about a loved one or have endured a traumatic experience. Can occur after a physically or emotionally harrowing incident and the state of mind is affected.
Threat – Menace, intimidation
1. An expression of an intention to inflict pain, injury, evil, or punishment.
2. An indication of impending danger or harm, generally involves a perception of injury, physical or mental damage, act or instance of injury, or a material and detriment or loss.
3. One that is regarded as a possible danger; a menace.
Something that may have not actually happened, but they feel it could at any time, or it could have happened and be continuing/reoccurring. It can be a real threat or a perceived (imagined) threat, or they could be responding to an inherited threat.
Dread – Anticipation with great apprehension or fear
1. To be in terror of, or profound fear of.
2. To anticipate with alarm, distaste, or reluctance.
Fear – Expectation of danger
1. To be afraid or frightened of.
2. A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.
3. To be uneasy or apprehensive about
4. A feeling of disquiet or apprehension
5. A reason for dread or apprehension
Other words that define fear:
Fright is sudden, usually momentary, great fear. In my fright, I forgot to lock the door.
Dread is strong fear, especially of what one is powerless to avoid. His dread of strangers kept him from socializing.
Terror is intense, overpowering fear. “And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror" (Edgar Allan Poe).
Horror is a combination of fear and aversion or repugnance. Murder arouses widespread horror.
Panic is sudden frantic fear, often groundless.
The fire caused a panic among the horses.
Alarm is fright aroused by the first realization of danger: I watched with alarm as the sky darkened.
Dismay robs one of courage or the power to act effectively: The rumour of war caused universal dismay.
Consternation is often paralysing, characterized by confusion and helplessness:
Consternation gripped the city as the invaders approached.
Trepidation is dread characteristically marked by trembling or hesitancy: "They were … full of trepidation about things that were never likely to happen" (John Morley).
Phobia is a persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels a person to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous.
Practical Example from my Easternview Clinic:
Although based on a real life situation, any examples used here are intended as an illustration of TSTDF and any similarity in the reader’s situation is purely accidental. The explanation of the example given here is for educational purposes and is not to be taken as medical advice for any person.
“Y” is about 40 years old, single, and works fulltime.
‘What is your immediate thought if I say “Abuse”? If you have had any experience with sexual abuse, you may think that is what abuse means. If you have had experience with drugs, you may that is what abuse is. Both could be right for the client you are working with, or it could be something quite different.
If I said:
“Accident” what would your initial thoughts be? Perhaps a car accident or a fall, or something else, again depends on your personal experience."
(Be careful not to judge by your own experience, or your own “first thought”. First thoughts can be very good (intuition) but verification with NRT is essential. (See Accident case study below))
Case Study: Accident – (Unresolved Trauma – Shock – Threat – Dread – Fear). In this case the TSTDF was Accident
“Y” is 40 years old, single, and works fulltime.
She presented with the symptoms: fragile, emotional, I don’t want to be here anymore, sore gums teeth and nose, teary, weird dreams, pain in clavicles and right shoulder and arm. “I don’t know what is wrong. I am fed up with myself”’
“Y’s” pattern revealed as:
TSTDF: Accident (Unresolved Trauma – Shock – Threat – Dread – Fear).
Conflict: Not able to spit something out, expel something undesired.
I am a burden on my family.
Development conflict: Intense fear of eminent danger. Massive threat to life.
Development of emotional needs: (Stress on) Forgiven
Context: Inner Self in Time and Space.
“Y” told the story of her birth and her life. She was the second child born just 11 months after her sister. Her parents did not want another baby, and could not afford another baby. Life was not easy for them now with the two babies. She was, and has always felt she was a “burden on my family”.
As it turned out – She, “Y”, was the accident!
From her earliest memories she was blamed for the “woes” of the family. All through her life her family have expected her to be at their beck and call to fix whatever was wrong.
The relationships in the family that she grew up with have always made her “wrong” and she has had to be constantly on the alert, vigilant, for the next thing that she will be blamed for. .
Intense fear of eminent danger.
She never learned what it was like to know that you could be forgiven if what you did was not right (Development of emotional needs – normally learned between 9months and 3 years old).
Relationships have been very difficult for her and her self-esteem is very low. She doesn’t avoid people, but she does find them overwhelming.
With her mental state “infected” by this unforgiving family – mother in particular – and the lifelong sense of “injustice”, she long ago stopped putting her life energy into living from the heart – too much pain there. With all her intelligence and creativity going to survival, she has been unable to create her life from the heart.
Always being on alert, makes it difficult to know “what position to take”.
Aside: For effective treatment I, as the practitioner here, need to be alert to the 4 parts of “Our Human Existence” that can together affect our subconscious, our consciousness and our ability to “Move On” after I have applied my Resolve Beyond Neurology discoveries to my client. This Case Study is outlined here. So the four areas I address here are: Physically: Mentally: Emotionally: and Energetically.
Neck muscles, confused about what position to take have confused proprioception, with confused signals to the brain about where (whether) the head is on the shoulders – a threatening situation! Hence the pain in clavicle and right shoulder.
What direction do I take? Lead in with my right shoulder? Face in? Constantly having to face the injustice…. Can’t fight back….
People are overwhelming, and therefore: “Y” is constantly emotionally fragile.
All her energy goes into surviving against the injustice, so she was feeling weak and tired all the time.
The good news is that after a few sessions “Y” is getting her life back on track and she has never felt better.
Easternview Education Centre 5 Ross Street, Fernhill NSW 2519