June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. While I haven’t talked much about it because it is not something I have personal experience with, I know others who do struggle with it, and wanted to make sure I discussed it briefly before the calendar pages flip.
First, PTSD is not just for first responders and military personnel. Anyone can get it and many of the sufferers have PTSD related to physical or mental abuse suffered as a child, emotional traumas, or accidents (such as a serious car crash or injury at work).
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), roughly 3.6 percent of U.S. adults had PTSD in the past year, with the lifetime prevalence coming in at 6.8 percent. It had a higher prevalence among women than men and just over a third of sufferers experienced serious impairment in their daily lives (36.6%), while another third suffered moderate impairment (33.1%), and the final third suffered mild impairment (30.2%). The U.S. adult population is roughly 230 million, so that is roughly 8.28 million people suffering with this disorder, with a little over 3 million of them suffering serious impairment.
And many of them, particularly homeless sufferers, suffer in silence as society looks past them. As a society we need to change this.
I know how the demons of my mind can claw at my sanity, so I can imagine the horror of a demon from your past trapping you in a traumatic state of mind. Even if you don’t struggle with a mental illness, we’ve all had hard times and all known fear, and based on that alone we all have to capacity to show those suffering with PTSD compassion and kindness. We are all shaped by our pasts, but some are haunted by it, and we as a society must do more to help them exorcise those demons.