June is PTSD Awareness Month.
PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental health condition caused by a terrifying, life-threatening, and/or deeply harmful event or series of events, also known as trauma. People who live with PTSD may experience a range of emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms that can disrupt their daily lives. While PTSD can look and feel different for each person, some common symptoms include disturbed sleep, chronic pain and exhaustion, emotional distress, isolation. They also experience having their nervous system, often unexpectedly, triggered into a fight, flight, or freeze response by everyday stimuli. Most often, we hear about the impact of PTSD when talking about military veterans or survivors of natural disasters.
However, did you know that many survivors of domestic violence also experience PTSD?
Domestic violence, as well as child abuse and sexual violence, can be traumatizing for the people who experience them, and these events can leave lasting impact on survivors’ physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. While not every victim of partner abuse will develop PTSD (and neither does every veteran), it is important for us to recognize the wide range of traumatic experiences that can cause PTSD, and that domestic violence is one of them. It is also important that we recognize how profoundly abuse harms those who experience it, not only so that we can show empathy and support to survivors, but also so that this knowledge drives us to prevent and seek an end to violence and abuse in all its many forms.
At Sarah’s Inn, we recognize that trauma does not simply “go away” for our clients once the traumatic event(s) - the abuse - has ended. While a person may have survived, or even escaped the violent relationship, there can be and often are long-term impacts for the survivor, and they may need a variety of supports and services to aid them in coping in the aftermath of trauma, as well as in moving along their path of healing. Sarah’s Inn’s vital advocacy and counseling services seek to understand how our clients have been impacted by experiences of abuse, to support them in identifying their strengths, and to listen and attend to each person’s unique needs as they seek safety, healing, and peace. If you would like to learn more about trauma and healing, listen to our May podcast, brought to you by the Sarah’s Inn Adult Counseling Team: Sarah's Inn Podcast - Episode 14.
Books on about PTSD, trauma, and abuse:
- Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk