10 Things Not To Say To Someone With PTSD

 

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This is a friendly reminder to think before you open your mouth.

 

  1. “What happened wasn’t that bad” – Different things have different impacts on different people. Some people survive assault (just as an example) and have no psychological issues from it whatsoever, others go through a crisis, others develop PTSD. A person might go through several traumas in their lifetime and only develop PTSD as a result of one of those traumas, it might not always be the one that “seems” the worst. Also, if someone tells you about a trauma, there’s a pretty big chance they’re not telling you all the details. Talking about a trauma tends to be traumatic, go figure.

 

2. “Snap out of it”
Go f*ck yourself. You seriously think people re-live the worst moments of their lives because they haven’t bothered NOT to? You can’t snap out of it, no matter how badly you want to. If it was a matter of ‘snapping out of it’, PTSD wouldn’t exist.

 

3. “Have you tried…”
“I’ve had insomnia for 25 years that interacts with my PTSD. I’ve tried everything”
“OMG, have you tried, like, going to bed at the same time every night and having like a routine”
“No, because when I said I’d tried everything I clearly meant that I’ve tried everything except the most basic solution.”
I’ve gotten this from so many people over the years and it’s so goddamn annoying. Another common one is blaming screens. I promise you, I did not have a smartphone or a laptop with me in bed as a kid in the 90’s. I was still an insomniac. When I say that I’ve tried everything, don’t assume I haven’t tried things that would show up on the first page of the search results when you Google.

4. “Drugs can cure PTSD”
There are experimental treatments that involve certain drugs that are classified as narcotics. Those treatments are done under strict supervision in combination with therapy. Getting high does not cure PTSD and I’m certainly not about to risk a criminal conviction for something like this. Self-medication is extremely common among people with PTSD and many people with PTSD end up turning to drugs out of desperation. They do not need you pushing them there. No drug (medical or non-medical) should not be used for PTSD treatment without being used under medical supervision and guidance.

 

5. “Someone I know went through the same thing and they didn’t get PTSD”
Good for them. I’ve fallen off many horses without breaking any bones, that doesn’t mean that Christopher Reeve wasn’t paralysed after falling off a horse.

6. “TRIGGER WARNING”
I am so goddamn sick of ‘trigger warnings’ that I want to vomit. Firstly, if you do want to try to warn someone about specific content, you have to tell them what the warning is about. I don’t know how people think that writing “trigger warning” with no context is meant to help anyone. Secondly, you don’t know someone’s triggers unless you know them really really well. PTSD triggers don’t work the way people think they do. Talking about something related to trauma is not automatically triggering. Triggers can be anything. Thirdly, a trigger does not necessarily trigger a flashback either, it does however tend to cause the condition to flare up. If you’ve survived being shot, you may be perfectly fine talking about guns, but have a flashback when a balloon explodes. You may have nightmares for days after being exposed to a certain scent, but you have no problem watching a movie featuring scene depicting a similar trauma. Life pretty much has a “viewer discretion is advised” stapled on it already, writing “TW” at the end of a Facebook post isn’t helping anyone.

7. “You should exercise/try this natural remedy”
See point 3.  Also, if things like “eat natural foods” would have cured PTSD, no one would have struggled with PTSD after WWI. I used to exercise 8-10 hours a week, it did nothing to relieve my PTSD. Leading a healthy lifestyle can help manage certain symptoms, but it’s far from guaranteed. If my PTSD is flaring up badly and I can barely leave the house, then telling me to ‘exercise’ or ‘just be social’ is like asking me to go to the dark side of the moon, it is simply not possible at that point in time. Unless you are an expert on PTSD and have a license to give medical advice, shut up.

8. “Maybe just lower your ambitions”
There is this stereotype that people with PTSD are doomed to living on welfare and won’t be able to do anything with their lives. This applies to most mental illnesses to be honest. A friend of mine experienced psychosis when they were younger and were told that having a job and an apartment were unrealistic goals. By a doctor. This friend has since been able to obtain both. I have PTSD, I’m not broken or incompetent. I can choose to let this thing run my life, or I can fight for the life I want to have. If you’re happy with having a dead-end job or living on welfare, never leaving your hometown, and never doing anything extraordinary, then good for you. Just don’t expect me to do the same.

9. “I totally know what it’s like”
Do you have PTSD? Have you at least experienced a similar trauma? No? Then no, you don’t know what it’s like. Thankfully this is getting less common as I get older, but I heard this nonstop when I was a teenager.

10. “OMG I’m such a mental health ally, activism is so important”
My PTSD isn’t about you. Don’t use my trauma for your political purposes. Don’t use my pain to feel better about yourself. I’m not your ’cause’.

 

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Meet Gerald

wp-1479997673392.jpgThis is Gerald, he lives with me and my flatmate. He’s about two years old or so and belongs to the people who own the place we stay in.

Gerald’s real name isn’t Gerald. According to my flatmate his name is incredibly complicated and sounds like a word that falls somewhere between chardonnay and Scheherazade. She calls him Cat. Being a strong believer in not calling individuals by the name of their species, I’ve convinced her to at least call him Buddy. I call him Gerald. It’s a West Wing reference and I’ll be thrilled if you get it.

Gerald’s favourite activities include getting people to open doors for him, taking his food out of the bowl and putting it on the floor before eating it, and sleeping on your pillow. He hates drinking from a reflective metallic water bowl and has thus been given one of our planetary bowls (the yellow one) for his water needs. Gerald has on occasion picked fights with dogs and cats and he seems to be losing far more often than he wins. On the occasions when Gerald has had his feathers ruffled he has preferred to sleep in my bed, resulting in my mattress having at least one spot of cat blood on it. Whenever Gerald manages to be King of the Hill on my recently cleaned desk, he looks absolutely triumphant.

Furthermore, Gerald thinks that birds are a great mystery. The fact that he’s meant to be a stealth predator continues to elude him. So he just screams at them whenever he sees them. If he does bring things home, it is either road kill or rats that were killed by poison. To Gerald’s great annoyance, we don’t let him eat poisoned rodents. Gerald sometimes forgets that if he climbs from our deck to the balcony that belongs to the people who live above us, he’s too much of a coward to climb down. His solution to this situation is to simply sit and wait until someone opens the door for him so that he can get down the stairs instead. It is Gerald’s firm belief that laptops and laps are there for him to massage with his paws endlessly, this has caused “me” to like a fair few Facebook statuses I had no intention of liking. Thanks, Gerald. Gerald tends to forget that he’s a massive cat and insist on crawling out through the smallest window he can find, even if he has to bring his hips through sideways.

There are a few things Gerald hates. The time when he got his temperature taken was probably one of the worst days of Gerald’s life. He also hates it when someone has the nerve to go to the bathroom without inviting him. Flea powder is most likely a human conspiracy to kill all the fun in the world if you ask Gerald.

In regards to Gerald’s future plans, he intends to teach the neighbour’s kids to socialise without reaching for his tail. He also seems to intend to psychologically manipulate us into only buying him wet food and once went on a four day hunger strike hoping we’d give in. He calmly plots the assassination of The Fluffy Cat who lives in the area, tries to steal Gerald’s turf, and has the gall to sound exactly like Gerald when he meows.

So yeah, this is Gerald and I absolutely adore him.

B.O.M.B. Challenge

 

I’m always interested in challenges that haven’t been done to death and I recently stumbled upon this one. B.O.M.B. stands for Black Owned Makeup Brands and it’s pretty much what it sounds like. The aim is to complete a full look using only products from black owned brands. I decided to give it a go and spent a healthy sum on cosmetics from Sacha since it’s a brand that I’ve heard a fair amount about and one that is quite budget friendly.
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Rebuttal: TotalBiscuit’s Commentary on Microsoft & Sony’s E3 Conferences

TotalBiscuit is one of the few YouTuber’s who is often able to change my opinion. He is a video game critic I have immense respect for, but this time I was not persuaded.

Before I truly begin my rebuttal, I’d like to point out that I am indeed biased towards Sony. I currently have a PS2 and a PS3 (even a PSP), I cried with happiness when I watched the PS4 E3 press conference, and when I got a tattoo to symbolise my love for gaming, I chose the Playstation symbols. This blogpost is not about which company ‘won’ E3, but about the nature of console players.

The main issue I find with TB’s commentary is that it is very much a PC gamer’s analysis of the world of consoles. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with PC gaming or the culture surrounding it, but there are fundamental differences between consoles and PCs. There are two primary points where I believe TB’s commentary misses the mark this time.

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Rebuttal: The Weirdest Argument Against Trans Characters

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This is a debate that pops up every now and then, especially when a game with a trans character has recently been launched. I don’t have enough space to cover the entire debate in one post, so instead I wish to focus on the single most peculiar argument used against games that contain trans characters.

“There’s no reason for them to be trans”
Effectively this means that the character could just have been a “real” woman instead of a trans woman. Typically this argument comes out when a trans character’s main story line (if they even have one) does not concern their gender identity.
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Why I Play Political Video Games

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I grew up in one of the least exciting places on this planet. Do you like faded trees and muddy fields all covered in a sheet of air that is impossibly grey? A significant lack of other human beings? Zero possibilities to pursue hobbies that required other people or transportation? All wrapped in a damp cold that seeps into your lungs and bones and never ever leaves? In that case I can point you in the right direction…

In order to get some variation and excitement, I turned to fiction in all its forms. I read like a girl possessed for a while but my favourite means of escapism has always been video games. See, books allow for your own imagination to fill in the blanks. Video games bring you a whole world created by someone else and you can modify it if you want to, but it remains entirely independent from you.

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Uni Matters: Imposter syndrome & misconceptions

This is my fifth year of university studies and despite having obtained one degree, there are still times when I doubt that I actually belong here. It’s a really common feeling and it’s not always logical. If you’re feeling on edge or like other people might start thinking that you don’t belong at university but you can’t find the exact reason why, then you might want to google ‘imposter syndrome’. Yup, this blog post is going to be very different from what my readers are used to seeing.

The thing is, many of us are fed the message that the only thing good enough is perfection. I’ve met students who assume they’ll be a complete failure if they don’t get a GPA of 6.5 in their first semester and that anything below a 6.0 means that you should just give up straight away. As someone who graduated with the good but unimpressive GPA of 5.7 and wasn’t thrown in the bin by my uni, I find that thought quite disturbing. In fact, it would probably be a useful idea for universities to release the average GPA of each degree upon graduation. Or perhaps the average mark on assessments. Something that gives students an idea of what an average performance actually is. There are plenty of amazing students out there who don’t actually realise that they are performing well above average because they assume that the standard is a 6.5.

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Stress Management

You may have noticed that this blog has been a bit more quiet than usual lately, the reason why is very simple. I’ve been busy as hell.

I’m finally down to the point where I average three jobs per week (I technically have five, but one has just gone into dormancy and another is just one night every now and then). In addition to that, I still study full time and have that little debating thing going on too. Stress has become a way of life for me and most of the time, it works really well. After next week, I should be back to a regular schedule without too much craziness going on. It’s going to be great.

Stress is something I know a lot of my readers struggle with for various reasons. It seems like it’s almost a part of being human these days. Naturally, this means that it’s worth having a discussion about how to manage it.

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Games that do more: Dragon Age Inquisition

Whenever Dragon Age Inquisition has been praised by bloggers for their content, it has usually focused on women, race, sexuality, or gender in general. It has also been praised for its massive world, mechanics, and writing.

There is one thing they seldom receive praise for but should.

Dragon Age Inquisition is one of the only games to include a nuanced portrayal of a character with mental illness. Ever.

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