A few weeks ago, I wrote my first post about my struggle with depression. I shared that one theory about the cause of my depression is PTSD, which has brought on some questions. Some may think that PTSD must be triggered by a large traumatic event, however this is far from the truth.
Yes, in fact, many veterans have brought a face to PTSD, yet they are not the only ones that struggle with the effects of PTSD. I popped over to the VA site for the DSM-V definition of PTSD (the actual DSM-V website was taking eons to load)
According to the PTSD: National Center for PTSD
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association revised the PTSD diagnostic criteria in the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) (1).
Note that DSM-5 introduced a preschool subtype of PTSD for children ages six years and younger.
Diagnostic criteria for PTSD include a history of exposure to a traumatic event that meets specific stipulations and symptoms from each of four symptom clusters: intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity. The sixth criterion concerns duration of symptoms; the seventh assesses functioning; and, the eighth criterion clarifies symptoms as not attributable to a substance or co-occurring medical condition.
Two specifications are noted including delayed expression and a dissociative subtype of PTSD, the latter of which is new to DSM-5. In both specifications, the full diagnostic criteria for PTSD must be met for application to be warranted.
Initial onset may be caused by a much smaller trauma or a series of traumas. And here’s the thing about trauma – what may feel like a trauma to me, may not feel like a trauma to you and vice versa or you may be better equipped from birth to handle trauma. Read more about the DSM-5 Revisions for PTSD here.
Yes, you read that right, they tested a group of PRESCHOOLERS aged 6 years or younger…You see trauma is often something hidden deep beneath the surface and can be rooted before we even have the ability to identify that something is traumatic.
Through a shit ton of work with my most recent California psychologist, I have identified most of my triggers. Triggers being the things that seem to make me most prone to melting into sadness. As part of this exercise, I was also working on thinking back to what may have been an earlier exposure to why these triggers affect me intensely.
Today on my walk, it occurred to me that PTSD can be like a series of small earthquakes, hence the title of this post, or it could be one mother of an earthquake. Mine has been more of the small earthquakes over my lifetime.
When I went on my retreat to Sedona in late 2014, I had the good fortune to attend a yoga workshop with Seane Corn whose work in trauma is incredible. She walked us thru yoga poses where we had to hold them for longer than we had ever held them before. In these extended poses, we released emotions. You may think I am getting all hippy on you, but I shit you not – tears were shed.
So I leave you with this today, whatever your struggles, there are those among us who have faced them too. You are not alone.