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Say Something and Support Loved Ones Who May Be Struggling With PTSD

PTSD: “Please Tell Someone Directly”

I coined the phrase waiting for PTSD Journal’s editorial meeting, which we held at Maple Leaf diner in Maplewood, NJ in the early days of the Magazine — 2013 — when we held our meeting in a diner in the early days, as we did not have office space.

Sitting in the our regular booth, in the corner in my regular seat in the corner, on a napkin I doodled and sketched. I was known for showing up an hour early to “recon” the diner and get comfortable with the surroundings. Even though we ate there the same day and time each and every week.

I thought about my own post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how when I finally admitted in 2013 to family and friends I had PTSD, I got nothing but support, and the same response over and over again: “We knew.” While I thought I was hiding it well, I realized I was not. From barricading the door, to being up all hour of the night, staying up for three or four days straight, drinking excessively until 2006; the list went on and on. Yet still I denied it to myself. Then I thought, what if someone had called me on my behavior, would I have listened to then? Most likely not. Please don’t misunderstand though; I don’t have any issue with anybody saying anything.

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So the moral of the story — if you know someone who had a trauma (or maybe you don’t know they had a trauma) and is acting out, ask them in a non-accusatory way  — Is everything OK, is there something you want to talk about, I’m here for you to listen and not to judge.

This may be the first step on the long road to admitting they have an issue and seeking help from a professional, and being diagnosed and treated for PTSD or another mental illness. If you have had a trauma or perhaps you did and don’t remember it, if things feel off, tell someone — a friend, relative, heath care professional, priest, rabbi, teacher, principle, school nurse. Simply hearing yourself saying things out loud can be a huge relief — they were for me.

Getty image by MangoStar_Studio