The Mighty Logo

3 Issues That Can Make or Break Your Life With PTSD

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

If you speak to people living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), most will have experience with the trifecta listed below. These things can feed off each other, sometimes making you a shell of who you were before PTSD took over.

• What is PTSD?

From my experience, three of the most important issues that affect people living with PTSD are sleep, anxiety and a living, sustainable wage.

1. Sleep

Sleep, or lack of sleep, is the pillar and base of the PTSD Trifecta, strongly anchoring where the wheels come off the bus for people with PTSD. When you don’t want to close your eyes because you know only nightmares are waiting for you, it makes for a long, long night. Which makes for a cranky, grumpy, carbohydrate, sugar and caffeine-needing person. It’s a never-ending cycle.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety and PTSD go together like peas and carrots as Forrest Gump might say.  Anxiety is often a byproduct of trauma, and stress plus lack of sleep only adds to anxiety. Then perhaps a little or a lot of paranoia steps in to fill your dance card.  Add a panic attack into the mix and depression just joined the team.

3. A Living, Sustainable Wage

When you don’t like to interact with people, can’t sleep and tend to be irritated by, well, everything, it’s tough to find the perfect job for yourself, let alone a career that pays a living, sustainable wage. While stocking shelves on the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift is good honest work and affords you the opportunity to be left alone, it also creates even more separation for society and the people who care about you.  It’s a never-ending cycle that gets worse and worse each year. It’s a little harder to be the employee of the month and advance your career when you’re tired, have anxiety, are grumpy and like to be alone.

In 2021, there are simply more people with PTSD than there are lighthouse keeper and Park Ranger jobs in Montana. Just because our wounds are invisible, does not mean they don’t hurt as much as physical and visible wounds. When you have PTSD, you get labeled very quickly and for no reason — again, not something that advances your job or career.

This is one trifecta you don’t want to win and it never pays off. You never know what is going on in someone’s mind, be mindful of all you encounter.

Getty image via Overearth

Originally published: May 11, 2021
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home