PTSD Understood: A multi-media journey

PTSD is the anxiety disorder that we investigate and study to satisfy the “anxiety disorder” component of the IB psychology learning outcomes.

Your Task:  You must go online to discover 1 article as well as 1 youtube video that elucidates the symptoms of PTSD but in a way that gives you true insight into the disorder. I do not want you to go to wikipedia and cite a list. I want you to read personal accounts, exposes by large news magazines (Time, Rolling Stone, NY TIMES, etc). I want you to develop EMPATHY via your reading and watching. 

After you have completed the above, comment on this blog post with the following commentary: 

“This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because….”  as well as “This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because….” 

Additionally, provide the links to both the article and the video in your comment. If for some reason you’re not allowed to comment on this post, address the aforementioned in a word document!!

19 thoughts on “PTSD Understood: A multi-media journey

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/opinion/returning-home-a-veteran-war-reporter-wrestled-with-old-wounds.html?ref=topics&_r=0
    This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because it recounts the personal story of Dominic Di-Natale, a sufferer of PTSD and his struggle with the illness before he took his own life. This article showed to me how real and destructive PTSD can be, and from this article I gained a new-found perspective on PTSD suffers.

    This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because the personal account of the PTSD sufferer in the video showed to me how he had no control over his behaviours and how desperately he needed help. The video showed the magnitude of the trauma he experienced and how he was able to get back on his feet to support his family, even if it means getting help from drug treatments.

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  2. The article I read is linked in http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/personal-stories/my-story-survival-battling-ptsd and the video in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5CldcnKKBI.

    The article is about a women who was diagnosed with PTSD after experiencing sexual abuse and an attack at knifepoint. This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because she talks about what she feels as a PTSD patient. She says that PTSD is not only about remembering her traumatic event but also being afraid of similar thing happening again to her and her family members. She also says that it feels like there is no safe place in the world, and this makes her obsessed with checking the safety of her place. After 3 years being diagnosed with PTSD and refusing any help, she could not even perform any normal or simple daily tasks.

    The video I watched is about a Iraq War Veteran called Ian. This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because he not only talks about his experience as a PTSD patient but also his motivation to get better. After witnessing other soldier’s death from an explosion, Ian was diagnosed with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD. Since then, he couldn’t perform any daily task. But Ian says that is when everything falls apart and traumatic memories are recalled. His memories also come back when he hears thunder or lightening or even when he sees a flashing light. However, unlike the women in the article, Ian was desperately willing to get better because he has a girlfriend who he really cares for. He wants to get better because he wants to socialize as he used to and make a family.

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  3. This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because it informed me on the daily life of an individual suffering from PTSD. They sometimes sit in their car because they feel unstable and cannot go to work or have to distance themselves from others due to temper issues. This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because it allowed me to understand what it’s like for an army veteran to go home after serving a long time in the army. The physical and emotion struggles such sleep walking, sleep deprivation, hallucinations, and even reminiscing on past soldiers.

    Article: http://gawker.com/ptsd-and-me-true-stories-from-military-veterans-1167107848
    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Fc6_aTnRXQ

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  4. This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an Anxiety Disorder as it shows how debilitating PTSD can be. It shows the emotions that are behind such a disorder and the good emotions that come when the person in question figures out that they can treat such a disorder. The article shows the effects of PTSD, and allows you to empathize with the narrator.

    The video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an Anxiety Disorder as it shows the day to day life of a PTSD sufferer. It has graphic images that are shocking, exemplifying the horrible nature of the flashbacks. Furthermore, it shows how just about anything can set off triggers and cause anxiety in the protagonist. The video, while not a testimony, definitely shows that PTSD is a very debilitating disease, and the video shows just how intense it can be.

    http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/personal-stories/my-story-survival-battling-ptsd

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  5. I read an article about Lisa French, a PTSD patient who was injured by a bombing attack while being on the bus in Tavistock square (link below). This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because her symptoms and her change in behaviour reflected abnormal behaviour. After the injury, people around her realised that she was jumpy at sirens or even just unexpected noise, and as she describes, the noises are extremely loud. She also said that she
    “could hear [the noises] all day”. This implies that she experiences noise hallucinations, although not extremely severe. She also said that she started to dread travelling, and was afraid that a train she was supposed to take would crash. This shows that she also experiences paranoia, and is constantly in fear of being on vehicles. These examples are signs of abnormal behaviour, because such behaviour can prevent people from living life to the fullest, and can also cause the people around them to be affected. If they do start affecting people around them, they might develop a negative self schema, which can in turn cause them to lose confidence in themselves.
    http://www.therapyforyou.co.uk/About-Therapy-For-You/Case-Studies/PTSD.aspx

    After veteran Brian Mancini was hit by a road side bomb in Baghdad during a tour, “glass and materials [was] embedded into [his] eye,[he] was choking in [his] blood, [and] choking in [his] teeth”, he developed PTSD. This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because he acknowledged that PTSD doesn’t just affect one person, but it affects a wide range of people. At first, he thought only he was affected, as he says: “for me, driving was a trigger, a lot of noises, lots of people in my space, [it] makes me real anxious”. However, he soon realised that PTSD isn’t simply overreacting to situations, but it completely changes him as a person. He was married when he came back, but he knew that “[he] couldn’t love [his wife] well, and it teared [their] marriage apart”. PTSD changes the cognition of a person, which in turn affects behaviour. Brian acknowledges this fact as he says that “the family has to deal with this new person coming back”. When even the closest friends and family can’t recognise you after you go through a traumatic event, then your mental state has indubitably changed. Brian states that as a person is going through PTSD, the people around that person experiences active traumatic stress, because they’re affected by the change in pattern in “the individual they love”.

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  6. For this activity, I found a blog post by a civilian who suffered from PTSD mainly trigger by abuse and a youtube video of an account of a veteran (who was an army specialist) because I wanted to see the similarities and differences between civilians and veterans who suffered from PTSD.

    Link of the article: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/blog/recovering-from-trauma-abuse-experiencing-self-stigma

    Link of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5cYw_5vSP0

    Because of security reasons, the name and gender of the patient in the blog post was kept confidential. This article is valuable to me because it further emphasized the symptoms (flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks) of PTSD. The description was very hopeless, and the confusion and weariness became very real to me. It also brought of the idea of self-stigmatization, which PTSD patients, which is a way of blaming oneself for oneself’s symptoms, thinking that one is abnormal, which leads to a decrease in the confidence level and makes one plunge deeper into the disorder. It is very dangerous, but then the patient started talking about coping mechanisms such as keeping a journal, drawing the flashbacks (which makes the truth more obvious to oneself instead of backing away) and disassociating oneself with the traumatizing event (so as to attribute the disorder to the event instead of one’s vulnerability, which increases self-confidence), which were effective in alleviating symptoms.

    As for the veteran, Constantine, symptoms also included increased aggression, timidness and trouble sleeping, adding on to the symptoms previously mentioned. What struck me the most in this video, though, is when he says that he can’t really relate to anyone else in the world because he developed his personal stories through the war, and nobody except for those who’ve been through the war could understand him. One reason for that could be because he is an orphan and lacks parental love, which could have shaped his feelings of loneliness and unconnectedness, but I think it should be mainly attributed to the event (war). He talks about how the counsellors don’t understand what he had been through, so all the suggestions of coping methods (such as going to the beach and doing yoga) were not really effective for him. This raises the question about how psychiatrists can understand the patients’ situation, which connects with the theme of this task.

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  7. These articles were valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because it taught me it’s not a phase that one can snap out of it. When the sufferers are diagnosed with PTSD from some form of assault (sexual, mental to physical), they usually have other disorders coupled with PTSD. Their symptoms would include: never feeling safe anywhere, recurring nightmares about the perpetrator[s], horrific flashbacks. Basically it sounds like they are trapped in the past and can never move on. In other cases sufferers would lost their jobs because they start to avoid people, marriages fell apart because both sides did not acknowledge the problem. Others would alter their realities by drinking, and that leads to alcoholism.
    One of the biggest problem was sleep. Sometimes people (usually vets) would wake up in a puddle of their sweat, beating their partners, or sleep with a knife and gun in hand. It’s terrible to not sleep properly (IB), but to have to sleep knowing when or how you will wake up is scary, coupled with more nightmares during the day, I developed empathy towards people with PTSD.

    Sources:
    http://www.pickingupthepeaces.org.au/ptsd-disorder/ptsd-symptoms/living-with-ptsd/
    http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/personal-stories/my-story-survival-battling-ptsd

    These video were valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because they taught me how these survivors fought PTSD by using a wide array of treatment techniques. The videos I found were people who is in a much more composed state (in some cases recovered), talking about how effective their treatment was. As a result I learnt more about their treatment approach instead of their symptoms. That being said, video interviews cover a lot more symptoms as one video has numerous PTSD sufferers’ testimonies. In addition, the comment sections under the videos allowed me to read what others thought about PTSD. For instance, some people would supplement the video’s content by saying how they recovered by following the same steps.
    Sources:

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  8. http://www.pickingupthepeaces.org.au/ptsd-disorder/ptsd-symptoms/living-with-ptsd/
    This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because it provided stories of people living with PTSD, and these stories included symptoms that were not commonly taught to those learning about the disorder. The stories were also written in first person, so it felt like reading from another person’s diary–which becomes very personal. Overall, my attention was drawn to the 3rd story, which at the end, the writer said “Treatment since has helped; the flashbacks are gone, I can now shop and walk in crowded areas, and loud noises rarely send me into a quivering mess. I still hit the wall, but the good times are lasting longer.” I did not even realize that one of the characters in a tv show that i am currently watching is going through what this survivor has previously gone through. The character is no longer able to walk within crowded areas acting like the normal girl who everyone thinks she is (there are more symptoms), and i just realized that these were symptoms that lead to up PTSD.

    This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because both the patients’ and psychiatrist’s input of the symptoms were introduced. I like how the video gives the audience a walkthrough of people’s experiences from being able to come out by admitting to their PTSD to going through different types of therapies for it. From the video, you can really see the pain that they are going through while trying to speak up–they are sweating, covering their faces, avoiding eye contact, etc, etc.

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  9. 1. http://psychcentral.com/lib/two-stories-of-ptsd/000165 –> This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because I gained a better understanding of the sense of guilt that many PTSD patients feel, as well as the feeling of constantly being alert and irritable. The latter feeling really got me reflecting: if I had to constantly feel alert and irritable, I don’t think I will be able to cope with it. People always say we should “live life on the edge, and take risks.” What they don’t realize is the magnitude of the consequences a statement like this can bring, especially for PTSD patients.

    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCrZimA5bKs –> This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because I understood that a potential root of developing PTSD is excessive cognitive dissonance. This patient was struggling with cognitive dissonance ever since a kid, and she has suppressed this uncertainty all her life. It was through recognizing and accepting that she is in pain before she could move onto the path of becoming better. More importantly, the symptoms she describes largely involves irritability (sirens causes her anxiety), crying a lot, not making sense of what’s going around her, and she just wants to hide from everyone.

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  10. Article of personal account with PTSD:
    http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/personal-stories/my-story-survival-battling-ptsd

    This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because this woman showed symptoms of PTSD. First of all, she started having PTSD from various events such as a problematic childhood as well as an attack at knifepoint. Due to these various forms of physical, mental and sexual abuse, she developed PTSD. The symptoms of PTSD is shown in her description. She mentions how she has “horrific nightmares and flashbacks” and also insomnia since she kept playing the traumatic events over and over in her head. There was also an exaggerated startle response because of how she kept checking her windows, doors and locks. She also had intense distress, and was anxious all the time because she was scared if anybody would go into her house and harm her or her daughter (she started thinking about her daughter during the second elapse of PTSD). She also couldn’t concentrate on anything and also lost all interest in activities and was socially withdrawn. She couldn’t keep her modeling job because she was afraid to go outside. In this personal account, the woman mentions many other symptoms of PTSD and how hard it was for her to face her problem.

    Video of PTSD:

    This video is very powerful because she talks about her own experiences. She also showed the symptoms mentioned by the women in the article. This video is very well documented because it also shows her with her support groups and shows the effects of group treatment. This women mentioned also discusses in depth about her traumatic experience and it seems that she remembers everything that happened in the war (or at least the event that caused her to suffer from PTSD).

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  11. http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/personal-stories/my-story-survival-battling-ptsd

    This article I chose is about a person suffering from PTSD triggered by several factors, from traumatizing childhood with physical, mental, and sexual abuse. One of the worst experiences was an attack at knifepoint, leaving the victim scarred with a near death experience. The victim describes that after the traumatic events, it felt like there were no safe places in the world, and the world felt hard to fit into. This article gave me a deeper insight to PTSD, as it shows how PTSD victims feel on a daily basis, and that PTSD is not something that just happens every once in a while, rather than something that haunts their daily lifestyle. Many PTSD victims also feel that there is no cure, no final healing, but there are ways to treatment to minimize the intensity of the PTSD symptoms.

    This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD because it makes me realize that PTSD is not always just from typical traumas like abuse or war. From Lisa’s story, it shows that as a PTSD patient, many different things can trigger PTSD symptoms, even if it’s not the exact same event. However, though CBT and rapid eye movement therapy, Lisa has found herself improving and having minimal PTSD symptoms.

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  12. Article Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/JusticePorn/comments/1g37jz/drunk_fratbro_gets_tazed_in_subway_for_actin_a/cagpqf3

    Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkWwZ9ZtPEI

    This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because it not only elucidates why and how PTSD sufferers go through, but also explains why some people cant handle it and self medicate. This is important as I believe most of us, despite knowing consciously why they drink, still believe it is abhorrent or “their fault” for letting themselves go and giving up on the world. I think it not only portrays PTSD well, but also goes further to explain why people self-medicate, and not in a superfluous or rudimentary way either, but a well written piece to explain ones actions.
    This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because it is well put together in that it shows me using visuals the life of a PTSD sufferer, which is one of the best ways to be put in their shoes. It allows me to “see” what they go through from a first persons perspective, which helps me envision what it is like to go through what they go through every single day. The movie editing also helps it as it sets the tone and general sensation that is experienced.

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  13. http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/personal-stories/my-story-survival-battling-ptsd

    This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD because it showed me that individuals often hide their troubles with PTSD behind a seemingly normal life. The personal account revealed how a traumatic event (a knifepoint attack in which the PTSD victim could have died) can cause distress by constantly haunting the victim in her dreams. It also shows how the symptoms can build up over a long period of time if the PTSD is left undiagnosed. The victim did not show symptoms for many years, but was anxious and insecure all the time. Finally, this account made me realize that being diagnosed with PTSD may not actually be a bad thing, because in this case the victim was relieved when she was diagnosed with something she realized was treatable.

    This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD because it showed me that people could become victims of PTSD just by watching videos of traumatic events. Here, a doctor watched a video of an army ex-colonel sexually assault two women as part of a police investigation. I thought that a video footage would not directly affect the individual enough to cause them to develop PTSD, but apparently other people investigating the rape case also developed PTSD. In other words, traumatic events do not need to directly happen to an individual, from what I’ve observed; people can develop PTSD by viewing traumatic events.

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  14. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/17/after-ptsd-more-trauma/?emc=edit_th_20150118&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=48522603&_r=0

    This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD because the story told had many smaller details about life with PTSD, such as the one where he talks about how he realized his disorder, whilst at the movies with his girlfriend. His elaborate account on his multiple repetitive visits to the therapist also helped me understand how treatment for PTSD is difficult as it is linked to such a personal level and clearly in this example, sometimes it will have a counter effect, rather than treating it.

    This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD because it helped me understand that sometimes, the PTSD does not occur right after the event, as stated in this video that she thought it “just happened”. Also, because it was so related to experience, someone who had been through the same thing seemed to be useful in treatment.

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  15. Article: http://www.reddit.com/r/JusticePorn/comments/1g37jz/drunk_fratbro_gets_tazed_in_subway_for_actin_a/cagpqf3

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkWwZ9ZtPEI

    This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because it not only elucidates why and how PTSD sufferers go through, but also explains why some people cant handle it and self medicate. This is important as I believe most of us, despite knowing consciously why they drink, still believe it is abhorrent or “their fault” for letting themselves go and giving up on the world. I think it not only portrays PTSD well, but also goes further to explain why people self-medicate, and not in a superfluous or rudimentary way either, but a well written piece to explain ones actions.

    This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because it is well put together in that it shows me using visuals the life of a PTSD sufferer, which is one of the best ways to be put in their shoes. It allows me to “see” what they go through from a first persons perspective, which helps me envision what it is like to go through what they go through every single day. The movie editing also helps it as it sets the tone and general sensation that is experienced.

    Like

  16. “This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because….”  
    http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/living-with-p-t-s-d-and-allowing-myself-to-get-help/
    According to the author, ‘ Being a United States Marine means showing no weakness, no pain, especially to your subordinates. As I button my shirt my facade takes shape, and I am off to fake the day.’ I think that this article envelops the different emotions felt of PTSD and their effect on a person’s mental and physical state. The author also gives several examples of his anxiety such as ‘disturbed patches of dirt’ being ‘potential roadside bombs.’ Although this article doesn’t have much tone to it, the underlying meaning really allows the reader to delve into what their lives are.

    “This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because….” 

    Despite the video being an interview that just looks over her symptoms and her treatment and overall story, I think that just by watching her face and emotions pealing through them as she continues describing them. In this sense it is valuable because it really shows how PTSD can affect a person’s life and people in their life despite the person having a strong facade.

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  17. “This article was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because….”  
    http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/living-with-p-t-s-d-and-allowing-myself-to-get-help/
    According to the author, ‘ Being a United States Marine means showing no weakness, no pain, especially to your subordinates. As I button my shirt my facade takes shape, and I am off to fake the day.’ I think that this article envelops the different emotions felt of PTSD and their effect on a person’s mental and physical state. The author also gives several examples of his anxiety such as ‘disturbed patches of dirt’ being ‘potential roadside bombs.’ Although this article doesn’t have much tone to it, the underlying meaning really allows the reader to delve into what their lives are.

    “This video was valuable to my comprehension of PTSD as an anxiety disorder because….” 

    Despite the video being an interview that just looks over her symptoms and her treatment and overall story, I think that just by watching her face and emotions pealing through them as she continues describing them. In this sense it is valuable because it really shows how PTSD can affect a person’s life and people in their life despite the person having a strong facade.
    http://m.bbc.com/news/health-30595105

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  18. http://www.buzzfeed.com/emaoconnor/this-is-what-a-veteran-looks-like?utm_term=.pbpkaObVYx&fb_ref=click_share#.lx2dlXZXg

    This post help me understand more about this anxiety disorder because it shows a different perspective on how people should view this disorder. This is a shocking and contreversial photo shoot because it illustrates the raw and reality of war and how it makes people feel. This article is about 5 different soldiers and their view about PTSD, and most of them have thought about suicide. To them everyday is a struggle and the only thing that keeps them alive is for the people around them. Their friends and family that don’t understand and will never understand how they feel, but are there to support them. One man said that he simply just doesn’t want to be another number of soldiers who committed suicide.

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  19. This is an amazing slam poem by Briana Zora called Trigger Warning. She shares her experience after being raped. This has helped me understand PTSD better because it shows how one experience can completely turn someone’s life around and affect their relationships months and years afterwards.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/us/02suicide.html?_r=0

    This article about the rates of suicide among veterans has given me more insight into PTSD because it highlights the guilt that veterans face after coming home from war, and how their experiences can destroy their friendships and relationships back at home. This long article also talks about how suicide is extremely complicated and that people who have come back from the military may go through a gradual downward spiral after they come home from war.

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