Monday, March 21, 2016


Symptoms of PTSD: Being easily startled or frightened.  Is this you?

Of Toxic Friendships and PTSD

I saw the list for symptoms of toxic friendships on Spirit Daily and had to read them.  Yep.  I have had friends like that.  Family members as well - including parents.  Maybe I'm toxic?  Contaminated?  Contaminated as in the sense of one having survived a nuclear power plant accident?

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is something I think of in relation to wounded warriors or survivors of the Holocaust, or survivors of terror, torture and so on.  In many cases, the diagnosis has been expanded to include survivors of abuse, sexual or otherwise.  For a long time I didn't believe in PTSD.  To a certain extent, I do now.

Holy Week may be a ritualized form of PTSD - wherein we recall the Sacred Passion and Death of Christ.  In a kinda-sorta way, maybe?  Over the centuries, mystics seem to have relived the trauma - showing signs of whatever form of stigmata they had - sometimes in very dramatic fashion.

Just thinking out loud here, but a lot of our stigmata may show up this week.  The invisible kind, that

Yeah, huh?  I'm not really seeing it, but if you say so...

For your convenience, here is a quick list of symptoms for PTSD:

(Check it out thoroughly before calling 911.)
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event


Symptoms of avoidance may include:

Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

Negative feelings about yourself or other people
Inability to experience positive emotions
Feeling emotionally numb
Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
Hopelessness about the future
Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Changes in emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
Always being on guard for danger
Overwhelming guilt or shame
Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
Trouble concentrating
Trouble sleeping
Being easily startled or frightened - Source

I hope that's helpful for all of you stigmatists who read me.

Song for this post here.

Avoiding places, activities or people 
that remind you of the traumatic event.


  1. Yesterday after Mass I ran into a woman who lost her son two years ago. The retelling of the Passion brought out her pain. I think Holy Week does that for all of us. Then it's a question of what we do with it. If we can join our suffering to that of Christ, we'll have used the opportunity well. But I don't want to make it seem easy; it's not.

    1. This is why I think devotion to the Passion is actually very important - to grow in love. Life is a vale of tears.

      And I post Catherine Tate videos.

  2. Oh dear. It seems to me we ave become a society driven by "me too" isms. We all have symptoms of every Pharmo commercial on TV. All dogs are therapy or rescued dogs. I was recently in the Dollar Store. At checkout the girl in front of me had a small dog she was carrying, cradling really. The clerk very nicely told the girl that dogs were not allowed in the store so please remember that for her next visit. The girl replied, she is my therapy dog. She goes with me everywhere because I am so anxious." The clerk did not blink but said fine be sure you have your papers that support that next time. As I left the store, as usual, she had a handicapped parking space since she was disabled! Probably for the poor dog who could not walk the extra steps. Meanwhile with two bad knees and arthritis seemenly moving to a new spot each day I just walk slow and thank god I amstill independent. I never want a handicapped spot or a rescued therapy dog or another pill which promises to make me 18 again. God forbid I confessed all those sins years ago. I do not need the energy to only get the old temptations! So forgive me Terry if I am a bit skeptical of PTSD. Everyone has it to some degree. It is what you do with that matters (I do not discount those who have had truly horrific life experiences just the rest of us.)

    1. I think we're on the same page about that. :)

      Years ago I was supposedly diagnosed with panic attacks and offered a prescription - I said I didn't want it. Asked how I got through the panic attacks I said I prayed and made acts of contrition and went to confession.

      So I guess I do believe these disorders exist - but in my case, I see the associated difficulties as something to 'offer up'. It works for me - probably wouldn't work so well for others.

      I do think there is a rush to diagnose these issues by doctors and therapists and to over medicate. That said - I have no doubt that wounded warriors and victims/survivors of terror experience very real PTSD.

  3. anybody else reminded of the song, "They're coming to take me away ! Ha Ha Ho ho, to the funny farm, where life is..." can't remember the rest !
    well Some of us will reveal our ages once confessed of recall....
    I am often on the edge, and feel that awareness: of the suffering of all life: - I tend to view it as a gift. Also it enables one to reach out so much more eagerly with great need and desire for God. the pain and suffering of/in life, if not afraid to experience it with really open arms is a true grace - just my opinion.
    I ended up concluding that the deep deficits I have, as result of such a deeply screwed up 'family of origin' (aka alcoholic parents, also narcissists/immature the whole works) - well I guess I am having trouble expressing this: its like: being always all my life on 'the outside', a failure: it is this that has drawn me to Christ, to a deep inner gratefulness : because these very wounds I have suffered, the same ones over and over: I see as a great gift. wish I had words. oh - Happy Lent: my fav season, naturally.

    1. Don't take this down - I know exactly what you mean. You say failure I say shame - I always felt ashamed - ashamed even for my parents - you definitely know what I mean. God bless! A blessed Holy Week!

    2. Yes ! it is Shame ! thanks for the word.
      and....I Was going to take this down - but I won't.
      a most blessed day, week, forever to you, dear Terry.

    3. Haha! I knew it! Thanks for leaving it up though. I wish everything good to you as well!


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.