Showing posts with label PTSD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PTSD. Show all posts

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Is Your Character Considering Suicide? Info for Writers

Detail of The Death of Socrates. A disciple is...
Detail of The Death of Socrates. A disciple is handing Socrates a goblet of hemlock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
TRIGGER ALERT - While this article is a combination interview and basic review of psychology, if you have had any contact with someone who has attempted suicide or suicided, or you have contemplated suicide, this might engage you in thoughts along those lines. Please read safely and with my best wishes.

Fiona - 
I would like to introduce you to The Bergh (how cool is that for a pen name?), a fellow Kindle Scout winner and writer friend. He writes horror - the kind that submerges crazy voices in your head that a year later, when you're lying in your bed listening to the house creak, bouys thoughts of terror to the surface.

The Bergh recently wrote a short story that struck me in a new way - one that is equally frightening but in a different way. Apparently on Twitter there was a discussion about books with "The Girl" in the title - the one on the train, the one that was gone, the  . . . Well, it seems popular books have to have a girl in the title. And thus a challenge was born.

The Bergh - 
I’ve never penned a story or novel based off of an idea for a title before. Usually it’s the story’s idea that captures me and holds me hostage, demanding to be written; so this was a first for me. Yet as much as I thought the title was wickedly clever, I didn’t want this to be just a cheesy satire or an attempt to milk the very teet I was poking fun of. I wanted this to be a story that could stand on its own.

The only idea I started with was that the Girl would be searching for a title to something she had written. But, and I can say this in all honesty, what came out as I continued writing frightened me. It wasn’t the light-hearted story I was attempting to write. Instead, this story dove deep, sinking into a dark place that I have shared with very few people in my life. It’s not an autobiography; it’d have to be called “The Boy Who …” and, quite frankly, books with “Boy” in the title don’t sell as well as those with “Girl.”


There are times when I feel creative ideas, especially exceptional ones, aren’t so much created by their auteurs, but discovered. Like finding treasure buried in sand -- you can’t claim to have created what you find, you just swept away the dirt and grime in order to reveal what was always there but just kept hidden. This story, for me, fell into that category. I don’t think I could have come up with it if I had tried to. Instead, I opened up a vein and let the story bleed onto the page, almost literally.

Depression. Suicide. These are subjects that are difficult to approach. I had no intention of including even the thought of these themes in the story, and yet it’s where the narrative demanded to go. And so, rather than the Girl searching for a title to her story, we discover she’s searching for the title to her suicide note.

Fiona - 
If you are writing suicide or suicidal ideations into your plot, here is some information you might find helpful:

The following information was presented at a suicide intervention talk for the Medical Reserve Corps and is incormporated with the permission of the instructor.

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself such as searching on line or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated, unusually confused
  • Reckless behavior
  • Sleeping too little or too much 
  • Withdrawing from society
  • Showing rage or seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Low or no energy, unable to perform daily tasks like taking care of self or kids
  • Feeling numb or nothingness
  • Fighting with family and friends
  • Thinking of hurting self or someone else
  • Unable to get rid of troubling thoughts or memories
NOW, be careful to only pick a few of these characteristics for your character - your character would not exhibit them all. And perhaps would exhibit them only to certain people and put up a front for others.

You'll see that many of the above signs are also part of mental health conditions. Not everyone with a mental health disorder knows they have a mental health disorder. Most go undiagnosed. Many people who are undiagnosed self medicate with alcohol and/or drugs. You'll see drugs and alcohol on the list below - but frequently it is the overt/obvious-to-others expression of an underlying mental health issue  -- what others might notice. Conditions that are health factors in suicide:
  • Depression (full article)
    • Please note that while this is the diagnosis that most people associate with suicidal ideation, it's important to understand that Most people with depression do NOT attempt suicide BUT most people who attempt suicide are depressed.
    • Depression affects (according to the CDC) 20-25% of Americans over the age of 18 in any year.
  • Substance use disorder
  • Bipolar disorder (full article)
  • Schizophrenia and psychosis (full article)
  • Personality traits of aggression, mood changes, and poor relationships
  • Conduct disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • PTSD (full article)
  • TBI (traumatic brain injury)
  • Smoking
  • Serious cronic helath issue and/or pain
Environmental Factors:
  • Access to a lethal means (example guns in the house)
  • Prolonged stress
    • harassment
    • bullying
    • unemployment
    • relationship problems
  • Life events
    • divorce
    • death
    • job loss
  • Exposure to someone else's suicide
Historical Factors:
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history
  • Child abuse

Is your character going to be helpful?
  • Acknowledge
    • Take suicidal talk seriously. 
    • Be willing to listen
  • Care
    • Talk to the person about what's troubling them and how they feel. It will probably take some effort to overcome reluctance to having this conversation on the part of the helper. It's a hard thing to hear/talk about for both parties.
  • Treatment
    • Get professional help immediately
      • Call a hot line. You can make one up but the real one to find help in your area is 1800-273-TALK
      • Go to the local emergency department or community health center
      • Contact their primary health provider or mental health provider 
      • If all else fails 911
Is your character going to do the wrong thing?
  • Cheer the person up or tell them to snap out of it.
  • Assume the situation will take care of itself
  • Let them swear you to secrecy
  • Argue or debate moral issues
  • Risk their personal safety. (if they're doing it right they'd leave and call the police) - this might be a planned murder suicide in your plot, and you can get your character out and possibly save multiple lives - or not, how do you want your plot to play out?

Some stats to inform your writing from the CDC&P:
  • Approximately 38k people suicide each year (suicide is the end result so differentiate attempted suicide and suicided) Compare that to the 14,196 in 2013 according to the FBI who were murdered
  • 70% of people who commit suicide  give some kind of warning to their friends or family. 
  • 50% have a positive blood alcohol level (for an alcohol level article go HERE)
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for adolescents aged 12-18
  • Females are 3x more likely to attempt suicide, but males are much more likely to suicide.
  • Between 20 - 40% of people who suicide have attempted suicide in the past.
Perhaps your plot line indicates that someone in your character's life has committed suicide. All characters will follow a bereavement journey in their own way. In some this might have them recall a death (especially of a beloved pet which is an immensely traumatic event that isn't recognized enough in mental health and in general) or might uncover a characters own underlying issues. But there are some commonly experienced feelings:
  • Alone
  • Sad
  • Deveasted
  • Angry 
  • Afraid
  • Ashamed
  • Guilty
  • Abandoned
Struggles after a suicide that you can lace into your plot line might include:
  • Disbelief that it was indeed a suicide.
  • Ambivalnece - glad that they are now at peace though they wish the other character had worked out a way to be happy and alive,
  • Coping - coming to terms moving on
  • Review - going over the event sifting through events and conversations
  • Searching - making sense of the loss
  • Renewal - seeing a path to carry on. Reprioritizing  and reviewing values
The Behrg - 
About three or four years ago I was diagnosed with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder). I won’t go into the details of what triggered my disease, but it has been – and continues to be – the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced.

If you’re one of those who have never experienced depression or suicidal thoughts, count your blessings, but know that someone within your sphere of influence is most likely suffering right now. We can all do better at reaching out to those who are down, lifting instead of kicking. 

And to those of you who find every day is a battle, know that you’re not alone. There is help. Seek a professional – believe me, it can be life changing. As difficult as it can be, reach out to a friend, a prevention hotline, ANYONE who can help you in those moments when the darkness seems to surround you from all sides. And know that without the darkness, we’d never appreciate the light.”

Fiona - 
Suicidal ideation (thinking about) is not uncommon. If you read this article, and it has triggered you please talk with someone. A number to call is:
1-888-628-9454 (Spanish)

A big thank you to The Behrgh for sharing. 

As always, a big thank you ThrillWriters and readers for stopping by. Thank you, too, for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you 

helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's Not Over When It's Over: A Crime Survivor's Perspective - Info for Writers with Hannah Byrnes.

TRIGGER WARNING - for those of you who might be triggered by abuse survival stories, please be cautious about reading this article.

At ThrillWriting, I am particularly grateful when survivors come forward to tell what it's like to live with the aftermath of a crime. So many times in books, when a crime is over, the character moves on with life. I have professed many times before, I think it's important to write things right. And writing crime scenes right means writing the effects of the crime on the character.

In the case of crime survival, one important reason for due diligence and correct portrayal is that people without context learn from literature. If we as writers say, "She was held at gunpoint," and in the next scene she's brushed it off like dust from her hem, then that is the expectation for real people in real-life situations, and it's just not the truth.

Today, is mostly about PTSD. You can read about this condition HERE. But I would like to introduce you to another linked diagnosis called NEAD (non-epileptic attack disorder) or PNES (Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures). For today's article, we will call it NEAD. NEAD has many characteristics of an epileptic seizure without the associated electrical pathways associated with epilepsy.

ThrillWriting welcomes our guest Hannah Byrnes; this is Hannah's story:

Hannah -
My story begins at age 7, when a well respected and sought after dog show judge showed an interest in my dog handling abilities.

I was regularly winning competitions with my pets and had qualified for young handler of the year and this was the man everyone said would coach me. Little did we realize at the time but this man was a pedophile who by 1990 was found to have abused over 30 children, including me. No matter what anyone says, there is a lot of guilt, shame, confusion and embarrassment over abuse.

Its often how other people react in the aftermath that causes the most damage. If you tell someone their immediate reaction is to tell you that its not your fault, and of course they are right. Yet every day discussions take place about how "children today are more promiscuous" that girls dressing in short skirts and makeup make them targets. Imagine how that feels at aged 7? 

I went from a happy little girl who danced with fairies in the garden to being isolated, withdrawn and suffering from extreme night terrors. Eventually my brain learned how to block it out completely and until the age of 14 I could not remember anything from my childhood.

But then my brain decided it was time to deal with it and saw the start of flashbacks, hallucinations, absence seizures and depression. To make matters worse I suffered two, independent, sexual assaults as a teenager. The police were supportive and amazing yet there is a lot of ignorance regarding rape and sexual assault that is commonly conveyed in conversations. 

False rape claims are reported in the media yet statistics show that 6% of all crimes are false. I have seen plenty of men convicted of perverting the course of justice in the name of insurance or to get back at someone yet these stories do not attract the same media frenzy as a false rape claim. As a woman, being met with messages not to get drunk, not to give out false signals or wear revealing clothes is victim shaming. I even asked the rhetorical question of "why does this happen to me?" to get met with "you do not walk down the street with your head held high". So, you can imagine it is very difficult to speak openly about any of this for fear of being somehow blamed or treated differently.

But the statistics for women suffering from assault are so high that chances are that female colleague[s] in [your] workplace have experienced the same as me, so from that perspective you should be aware of the effect of 'victim shaming' can have in the workplace. This cultural attitude makes it more difficult for people (men included) to speak out about sexual harassment in the workplace...

Fiona - 
Can you talk about how your NEAD diagnosis came about?

Hannah -
In short, I had started developing seizures when I was 14. It was diagnosed as epilepsy and for many, many years I had frequent seizures, as many as 50 a day at times. I was heavily discriminated against and developed an interest in disability rights and studied law.

It was only when I was 29, when the seizures were so bad that they were considering neurosurgery that they actually reconsidered the diagnosis. That was when they linked it to my abuse as a child.

You see, when someone experiences abuse they can separate from the images and feel nothing, I can describe what happened to me in great detail but be very cold. However, it was when I was working a case involving child pornography that my flashbacks and seizures triggered. 

It lead to the correct diagnosis and ultimately my being cured via extensive therapy. I became an advocate, as PTSD is misunderstood, it is feared like many mental health and films etc tend to tell of the war veteran returning. Yet, 
  • 80% of people with PTSD are women 
  • 1 in 4 women in their lives have suffered sexual assault 
  • 20% of misdiagnosed cases of epilepsy is often NEAD as a result. 
Fiona - 
How did your physicians put this together? What are the symptoms of NEAD? Do they vary person to person?

Hannah - 
I had been dealing with the same team, and then moved. I was referred to a new hospital which just so happens to be the best in the country for NEAD. They went through my entire history, and I was admitted to the hospital for a week. They videoed me; I had an EEG on all week, and they would put me in various situations to induce a seizure. It was then that they found that my brain waves had nothing to do with my seizures. In epilepsy there is a correlation.
The symptoms of NEAD are varied but look like epilepsy, so you will have types of seizures including absences where you just black out, but they may be accompanied by various behaviours as well or occur in particular emotional circumstances

Fiona - 
You were presumably taking anti-seizure medicines all along and they did nothing to stop this - but did they do you any harm along the way?

Hannah - 
The seizure meds did not work, or I would become violently allergic to them very quickly, so lots of hospital trips. Hence why I eventually got referred because of my difficult-to-control epilepsy. 

I was actually on one for several years that doubled as an antidepressant SSRP - that worked for a time unsurprisingly, but then the seizures came back and an increased dose nearly killed me. I had several tonic clonic seizures within 24 hours and could not come out of it, it took 3 vials of ketamine for them to stop.

Fiona -
Tonic clonic seizures are convulsive seizures. 

Is NEAD always correlated with PTSD? 
Do you get a dual diagnosis or does NEAD take the place of a PTSD diagnosis? Can you explain how that works from a clinician's point of view?

(Hannah is under the UK health system. Check your character's country for their diagnostic criteria, as they sometimes differ.)

Hannah - 
PTSD and NEAD are both dissociative disorders that have separate classifications under the ICD-10. 

Fiona insert: USA uses DSM V

Hannah (cont.)
I was diagnosed with both because of my circumstances, but they can occur without each other. Often NEAD is related to trauma but it can also be hormone imbalances or related to another type of mental health disorder. seizures can be convulsive or absence seizures just like epilepsy.

Fiona - 
What is the therapeutic intervention? What kind of health care professionals are involved? And what is the outcome prognosis after someone receives a diagnosis?

Hannah - 
In cases of trauma, like mine, intervention is psychotherapy. Prognosis depends on how willing a person is to face their demons and change. Remember the seizures are a pattern of behaviour that has developed as a form of escapism.

A lot of people relapse. But not me; I'm 5 years clear.

With me, because I was just 7 when I was abused, my young mind learned to put my emotions in my dreams and nightmares. So I was very blocked emotionally for years. imagine feeling no fear, no anxiety, no guilt, no shame yet no love, no joy, no happiness
Therapy for me, involved going back into my dreamworld.

Most commonly, they look at the belief systems you have about yourself and start to unpick those. Deep down, as a result of the abuse, I believed I was defective and unloveable, so I had developed high standards of myself as a result, but when my law career took off, I felt like an imposter. 
So we dealt with that negative chatter in my head first, because I was really cruel to myself, but as we went deeper, it became difficult to unlock my emotions around the abuse, so I went to a hypnotherapist...that's where the major work came.

This last year, I have faced divorce, a change of life, etc...but my dreams have been the key so I started writing and the book is the result.

Fiona - 
To read about hypnotherapy and crime go HERE.

On ThrillWriting, my readers understand that it is important to write it right - and that means not falling into the stereotype trap, but exposing victim issues as what they are in reality so their plotline is correct.  As a survivor advocate, what would you like to see writers included in stories both written and on TV/film

Hannah -
Well firstly, PTSD is not simply a series of flashbacks that cause someone to blow up a house or try and kill someone. Indeed, the flashbacks may not be that obvious either. They are only triggered in situations that cause you to feel exactly as you did at the trauma, and that is why it can seem bizarre.

For example, part of my abuse was that if I did what my abuser wanted, he would make a big show of giving me attention and prizes. So when my boss gathered everyone around, because I had received a client compliment, and he wanted to give me a bottle of wine, I panicked.

PTSD is not always the angry outburst that people tend to write about.

In cases where there has been abused as children, they may have been subject to such severe subjugation that they literally curl up in a ball and shut out the world, thats what I do.

Disassociation causes you to react in ways that protect you from feeling like that again. Relatively nice things can cause flashbacks if, like me, you don't believe you are worthy or have been conditioned to believe that no one can do anything for you without wanting something.

There is a great book every writer should read about life traps called Reinventing Your Life. It explains how life traps are formed and how they expose themselves. It was the book that saved my life.

Fiona - 
So when you received the bottle of wine and felt panic what was the external manifestation? Were you able to hide it? Or was it evident and if it were evident did you then need to explain your behavior?

Hannah - 
I went very quiet. I was able to hide it, but it spoilt the occasion for me.

Fiona - 
As an advocate, you've heard many stories how does PTSD specifically affect a survivor's employment. How could they discuss the situation? What should their expectations be about their employers reaction?

Hannah -
I think anyone with mental health conditions can face stigma and stereotype and a lot of this comes from fears based on inaccurate or dramatic portrayal of those conditions.

I am an employment lawyer, so I handle discrimination cases every day. In the UK there are laws to protect people with mental health conditions from discrimination. In my experience many employers are supportive, but if you are still having seizures or symptoms, it can be a difficult as the employer has to balance the needs to the business against the duty of care towards the employee.

Of course discrimination does occur at an alarming rate. Some discrimination is overt. I have been told that they don't think I can handle the stress. Some is subtle. "Oh, we really need someone who can drive." (for a desk bound job). There is also harassment such as colleagues sending jokes or making remarks that someone is 'mad'. As a result, many people won't disclose their issues until part way into their employment which means they don't get the support they need from their employer
Fiona - 
What message would you like us writers to walk away with?

Hannah - 
Thinking on from a writer's perspective, the real story is in the courage it takes to address your past in those circumstances. 

For me, my abuse gifted me with a wonderful vibrant imagination that I am now using to develop books. It can take a while, but when you are walking in darkness of PTSD, it is realising you hold the light all along that releases you as in The Dragon Children, which contains a lot of totems and messages about facing fears, being your truth was a story of transformation.

Fiona - 
The Dragon Children is a childrens' book that is just coming out.

Hannah -

The Dragon Children:The Prophecy has nothing to do with any of my experiences. However, it came to me at a time where I had completed my treatment and had started to identify everything around me that was keeping me in a bad place. It came to me in a series of dreams, and is about being true to yourself and walking your path to destiny. I learned a lot about myself during the creative process and am happier than I have ever been.

Just like it my truth is to be a writer. I had enjoyed reading and creative writing as a child but through my experiences my creative side got shut down with my emotions so it is a real pleasure to be able to connect with that part of myself again. Writing is not therapy for me. However, it is my passion and my stories come from my heart. I hope that many will enjoy them.

Decades ago, a war raged in Dragonsreach. The Iron King’s giant machines destroyed a whole flight of dragons. Now only two dragons and their nest of eggs remain.

Kai is the shy, studious son of a TV Astrologer. Pony-loving Bridget hates maths and wants to be a Knight. They are the Dragon Children, destined to restore man’s faith in magic. Their arrival means that an age-old prophecy may be fulfilled, and dragons will rule the skies again.

After a legion of iron birds attack, the dragon eggs are lost and Bridget and Kai are separated. Each sets out on an perilous quest leading to dragon hordes, mysterious wizards, invisible temples and ancient magic before facing a deadly foe who is not what it seems.

The Author has pledged 100% of the royalties from The Dragon Children: The Prophecy (at least £5000) to Make-A-Wish® Foundation UK Charity Registration Nos. 295672/SC037479 to help grant magical wishes for children and young people who are living with life-threatening conditions.

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Hannah. 

Readers, you can keep in touch with Hannah on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Your Character: Info for Writers

Found publicly on Facebook
The following information is based on the new diagnostic criteria as it is presented for clinical use in the DSM V. The DSM V is the American  bible for those working in the mental health field. If your character lives in a different country, you can understand the symptoms from this article, but you may want to do a quick search to find out if your country concurs. Also please note, the DSM V is the newest iteration and if your story is not being written in present-time then this will not be the exact information used by your mental health professional.

Video Quick Study (5:39) What is PTSD?

What criteria needs to be met for a PTSD diagnosis?

1. Exposure

In order to be diagnosed with PTSD your character need not have be at the event themselves. Indeed the stressor can be experienced in these ways (only one is required for diagnosis):
* Direct Experience
* Witness to an experience
* Indirectly learning that a relative or someone close to them 
   experienced a trauma - If the event involved a death or a 
   threatened death, it would have to have been violent in nature or
   accidental. So for example someone's spouse dying from cancer
   would not qualify for PTSD.
* Repeated and extreme exposure to aversive details of an event. 
   This is the kind of PTSD that affects so many of our first 
   responders. Events might include repeatedly seeing child abuse 
   cases, or horrific car  accident scenes.

   It does NOT include media exposure. So a character would not be
   diagnosed with PTSD from watching the September 11th event 
   on television, though they might experience a form of anxiety
   following their exposure. That anxiety does not fall under the
   criteria for PTSD.

Here are some events that might happen to your character that would cause PTSD (certainly not inclusive of all)
* Rape
* Criminal attack where one is fear for one's life (blog link)
* Sudden dismemberment - such as from a bomb explosion
* Seeing your spouse die of an unexpected violent act
* Being in a car accident
* Battle

Video Quick Study (4:12) Do different traumas cause different PTSD symptomology?

2. Intrusion Symptoms

(One required)
* Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive memories
* Traumatic nightmares
* Dissociative reactions - such as flashbacks - these are
   experienced physiologically.
* Intense or prolonged distress after an exposure to a trigger. A
   trigger is anything that reminds the character of the traumatic
   event. It can be a scent, a time of day, a way that the body is
   positioned, a sound...

3. Avoidance - The character will make an effort to avoid triggers

(one of these is required)
* Tries to avoid thoughts or feeling associated with the event(s)
* Tries to avoid external reminders. These might include going to  
    the place of the trauma, having conversations about the trauma,
    attempting the same activity, etc.

4. Elevated changes in your characters cognition or mood that began after the trauma or worsened after the trauma 

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.
Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(2 of these needed)
* Dissociative amnesia - not being able to 
   recall key parts of the traumatic event.
* Negative beliefs about themselves and the
* Distorted blame of self or others - feeling that
   the trauma could have been avoided.
* Persistent emotions related to the trauma
   including such feelings as: horror, anger, guit,
Video Quick Study (1:52) Feeling shame after a trauma is a normal reaction

These last three can be misinterpreted as depression (blog link):
* Significant change in engagement in activities
* Feeling detached or estranged from others -
    family and friends.
* Unable to experience positive emotions.

Video Quick Study (4:12) What PTSD can feel like
Video Quick Study (11:03) Talks about visible brain changes
RELATED ARTCICLE - Honeycombed brain lesions only found in those who survived IED and explosive attacks.

English: Cases of PTSD and Severe Depression A...
English: Cases of PTSD and Severe Depression Among U.S. Veterans Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan Between Oct 2001 and Oct 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. Trauma related alterations in arousal and reactivity.

(2 required)
* Irritable and aggressive behaviors
* Recklessness and self-destructive behaviors
* Hypervigilent
* Exaggerated startle responses
* Difficulty concentrating
* Problems sleeping
(these are often self-medicated with alcohol abuse or drug abuse as the result)

Video Quick Study (13:45) Dramatization of PTSD episode. ~ GRAPHIC IN NATURE ~

6. Duration

* The symptoms must be experienced from 2-5 for more than a month.

7. There must be significant distress and impairment to their normal functioning this can be social or occupational in nature.

8. The symptoms cannot be traced back to another issue such as the effect of a medical issue or medications, or substance abuse.

    PLEASE NOTE: There is a different set of criteria for young children

PTSD is a physiological and psychological diagnosis which requires the intervention of trained, specialized health providers. 

US Navy 101118-F-5586B-144 Marine Sgt. Brian J...
US Navy 101118-F-5586B-144 Marine Sgt. Brian Jarrell pets his dog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Your character should seek help from a
    proper mental health provider
* Your character's friends and family should be
   educated on the diagnosis and taught what
   helps and what does not.
   `Listening non-judgmentally
   `Not trying to solve the problem
   `Understanding that there is a brain change
    and the character can't "just get over it"
   `Understanding that this can get better
   `Reassuring the character that they are loved,
     appreciated, and important
* PTSD dogs are enormously helpful. They can
   sense the shift in the affected character before
   the character does and can alert the character
   and engage them in a way that lowers stress
Video Quick Study (7:02)

LINK US government Veteran's Affairs overview of treatment options and information about complex cases (more than one diagnosis ex. PTSD with drug abuse and panic disprder)

PLEASE NOTE: PTSD can lead to thoughts of suicide. If you are reading this blog and have these feelings, please seek help. 

In the United States, call:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 
800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)

to reach a trained counselor

(press 1 to reach the Veterans' Crisis Line). 

If you feel that you might act on your thoughts now

PLEASE STOP and call 911.

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.