Three Ways Trauma Affects Your Brain

November 27, 2013 Michele Rosenthal

3 important facts about how trauma affects the brain that every trauma and PTSD survivor should know.

We know that trauma affects the brain. Science has proven that. Yet, have you ever had someone say to you any of these things:

"PTSD isn't real; it's all in your head."

"Just get over it already!"

"Only veterans get PTSD."

I speak all over the country about PTSD symptoms. Mostly, these audiences are comprised of civilians: survivors, caregivers and healing professionals. Sometimes, too, there are people who have no PTSD connection but have been invited to hear the presentation. Inevitably, whether it's before the presentation has started or after it has finished, someone addresses me to say some variation of one of those three things (on a really awful day, all three!).

Why don't people get what it means to struggle with PTSD?

Essential PTSD Information

As a PTSD survivor I hated those comments while I was in recovery. They made me feel powerless, invalidated, stupid, pathetic and as if people believed I was actually choosing to feel as miserable as I did.

3 important facts about how trauma affects the brain that every trauma and PTSD survivor should know.Now, as a healing professional I make it a point to educate everyone I meet about what symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder are, where they come from and what can make them go away. A few years ago, I wrote 10 Tips for Understanding Someone with PTSD. It was meant to inform outsiders what it means to be on the inside.

Those ten things were my own ideas about why we behave the way we do and what we need while we're working on coping. It occurs to me now there is even more basic information that we as survivors need to spread around.

How Trauma Affects the Brain

The science of PTSD, which we know now more than ever, should be shared with every trauma and PTSD survivor. So, today, three important facts about how trauma affects the brain that every survivor should know - and share with those who don't understand:

Fact #1:

During trauma your amygdala (an almond-shaped mass located deep in your inner your brain) is responsible for emotions and actions motivated by survival needs. In threatening situations it:

  • increases your arousal and autonomic responses associated with fear
  • activates the release of stress hormones
  • engages your emotional response
  • decides what memories are stored and where they should be placed around the cortex
  • applies feeling, tone and emotional charge to memory (including the creation of 'flashbulb memory': when strong emotional content remains connected to a visceral experience of fear or threat.)

Your amygdala tunes to dominant experiences. The fear induced by trauma makes a deep imprint on your amygdala and hypersensitizes it to danger, which makes it seek out threat everywhere. In some PTSD cases, the amygdala has actually been shown to enlarge through excessive use. (In healing, this change often reverses.)

Fact #2:

Adjacent to the amygdala the hippocampus is responsible for the formation, organization, storage and retrieval of memories. Technically, it converts them from short-term to long-term, sending them to the appropriate parts of your outer brain for storage.

Trauma, however, hijacks this process: the hippocampus is prevented from transforming the memoriesand so those memories remain in an activated, short-term status. This stops the memories from being properly integrated so that their effects diminish. In some cases when the hippocampus' function is suppressed it has been shown to shrink. (In healing this change often reverses, too.)

Fact #3

Lastly, the prefrontal cortex (located in the front, outer most layer of your brain) contributes two important elements of recall:

Your left frontal lobe specializes in storing memories of individual events; your right frontal lobe specializes in extracting a theme or main point from a series of events.

After trauma a few things can occur:

  • your lower brain processes responsible for instinct and emotion override the inhibitory strength of the cortex so that the cortex cannot properly stop inappropriate reactions or refocus your attention
  • blood flow to the left prefrontal lobe can decrease, so you have less ability for language, memory and other left lobe functions.
  • blood flow to your right prefrontal lobe can increase, so you experience more sorrow, sadness and anger

There are many reasons why we know PTSD is not "all in your head", and why you can't "just get over it". With the three offered above I'm hoping we start a conversation around proof of what you and I know to be true: if PTSD were easy to heal from, you would have done it yesterday. Since it isn't, respect must be paid and support given.

Michele is the author of Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity. Connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and her website,

APA Reference
Rosenthal, M. (2013, November 27). Three Ways Trauma Affects Your Brain, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Michele Rosenthal

March, 17 2019 at 2:54 pm

I was molested by my brother (age 13) when I was 5. I only remember him asking me to take off my panties then touching me. The rest of my life, including childhood is very vague. Bits & pieces of memory, but most is a blank. So i do not know the extent or how long this went on. I’m gonna guess it continued for years as I began wetting the bed (til age 11) was obsessively masturbating at 5 yrs, and I mean obsessively! Anywhere...scool, church at home w/ others in the room. Night terrors, sleepwalking. I did not remember the molestation until age 35 when I was 6 mos preg. I am now 54. I have been seeing psychiatrists since age 20, for BiPolar 1 & ADD. Anyhoo, recently came upon a site about complex PTSD, and said well damn, there you go, this explains alot. I do not feel that relieving the trauma, digging up buried memories is beneficial in the least!!! My brain chose to lock “whatever went on” away for a reason, and i will not re victimize myself by doing so. So...idk, magic pill anyone?

Sean Morris
February, 12 2023 at 1:28 pm

Hi there, I appreciate this information shared and I am truly sorry for all that you have been through. Yet amazed at you knowledge and capability to recover.
I had a stroke. I was in a coma, awaking a month later and starting life over. I met my family at that point. I’m trying to learn more.

Kay H
March, 14 2019 at 4:07 am

I have been exploring PTSD because I think i have it and so do others.
I am amazed to read on the site that all i can do is "choose" not to have PTSD. I do see that some choice will affect things. However, the thing i got PTSD through is not something one can really tell everyone. Given that till now, im now 63, i did share on what i thought was "a need to know " basis. " However, i havent had one experience where i look back and think i am glad i told so-and-so. Not one. This makes me wonder if i should tell it to anyone in the future.
I was 15 when i came home from school went indoors expecting to see my father there. I went upstairs to go to the toilet as you do. Thats wen I saw him - hanging from the loft in one of mums dresses. To cut a long story short he was found to have died of asphyxiation while carrying out auto erotic sex !!!
I was so shocked i ran screaming downdstairs to my grans house next door crying my eyes out in a panic.
At school the reaction to news in the local paper was of titillation and wanting to avoid the daughter of someone like that.
As no-one has responded to me in a supportive way this makes me wonder if i should tell anyone i might get close to in future. This has raised more questions in the minds of those who support peoplre that i need therapy.
No-one tells everyone everything anyway. why should that be such a problem for me....
The truth is itd be so good to stop letting people stir me up and then convince me i need "help"
I never taken quite that stand before.
This keeps getting dug up cos my sister and i talk about it and i get emotional trying to explain it to her. shes an unemotional person as a scientist. My Dr has also seen me cry and puts that down to anxiety.
I "surrendered" and that lead me to a place where they do support those with mental health issues and thro it im getting a free course that might help me get work.
So good may come out of this episode but id like to let sleeping dogs lie as far as my father goes.
I find things that explore why we are as we are interesting n did long before my Dads death. but the issure probably is making use nof the experience as well as telling anyone in future.

May, 11 2018 at 9:58 am

We are researching topics in health class, and I chose PTSD. This really improved my knowledge of how PTSD can affect an individual's mental health. Thank you for sharing your story and the effects that a traumatic event can create. I am glad I got to research this topic, and you have helped me to reach the goals of how trauma affects the brain

Oberwaid Hotel St. Gallen
October, 16 2017 at 6:18 am

One of the key areas we provide treatment and rehabilitation for in Switzerland. It's incredible how the amount of people suffering from this has increased in the past few years. Thanks for your post and your blog is read often by our medical support team at the Oberwaid. Keep the informative and beneficial content coming.

How Trauma Impacts the Brain – Upside Therapy
July, 26 2017 at 7:36 am

[…] Three areas of the brain highly affected by traumatic events are: the amygdala, hippocampus, and pre-frontal cortex.  The amygdala has multiple responsibilities, such as telling your body to release the stress hormone cortisol and controlling emotional response related to survival. Following trauma, it inappropriately responds to the environment and it triggers a person to be hyper aware at all times; this type of hyperarousal keeps cortisol, or the stress hormone, levels higher than they should be.  The hippocampus is the memory manager of the brain; after trauma occurs, it has trouble sending things to long term memory. Therefore, the unpleasant memories of an event are “trapped” in current thought. The pre-frontal cortex has many functions, but it serves an especially important role in focusing attention. Post trauma, it is unable to focus attention as it normally would. This means that distressing thoughts become incessant. […]

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 20 2019 at 11:44 am

Excellent comment. I agree with your assessment. Thank you.

July, 10 2016 at 5:03 pm

Domestic Violence was the onset to my PTSD. Repeating my story continually to Gov't agencies and programs has done more harm then good, as I was continually hiding from couch to couch, town to town in fear.(RCMP didn't know his whereabouts, yet He was to report to the Staff Sargent once/WK). 7 yrs later I settle near my adult kids (support of reminding me of what Truth, Honor and Integrity is), and trying to build trust with a medical support system (which consists of mostly immigrant medical professionals in Alberta). I've had to claim bankruptcy and give up my business. My counsellor has told me that we are on step 1: learning safety and security.(which is challenging when as an adult earning $920/ $850/mth). I've told Victim Service workers that I would tell anyone.. Do not go thru court.. Move to another Province, change your phone # and name (if need be) and get counselling to carry you thru the phases of your next journey of life. I had awareness and self esteem before, since the incidents I am disconnected. I know that warm fuzzy feeling of love when holding a grand child, but haven't had that feeling in 7 yrs..(and ohh how I miss it with the latest g'kids) . I find medicinal marijuana helps me thru the turmoil.

Lynn Litten
September, 10 2015 at 1:33 pm

Michele, thank you for this article. I suffer from PTSD and I am 61 years old! I am a survivor of incest and I wish when I was young we had this information. I couldn't function well at school or get close to anyone. I was and still feel like the outsider, always looking in but never invited to be with the party. You are right, PTSD does affect the brain. I cry during my therapy sessions, but I think this is good as a release mechanism. I am keeping a copy of the article because I can educate others who are of the; "you look fine," "get over it already," and the awful: "you're a little old to still feel like this." Thanks again!

May, 20 2015 at 5:14 pm

It's been a hard process to pick up the pieces... Thanks to your article I finally now under stand why I have turned into this emotional mess ... Before my marriage and divorce I was strong and never really cried and now it's like I can't turn it off ... At least I know now I am not crazy...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michele Rosenthal
June, 2 2015 at 4:02 pm

@Lily, for so many years I thought I was crazy, too. That's the nature of PTSD -- but it's a myth. You have the ability to feel completely sane; you just have to find your own personalized healing path.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

John Deeth
September, 10 2017 at 4:26 am

Thank-you for somewhat validating what I refer to as having to personally tailor my recovery after giving up on any mental health professional helping. My experience was that with the exception of the few who actually listened enough to put things together the majority only exacerbated the condition through THEIR lack of cognitive skills.Unfortunately as luck would have it in both cases where progress was made they moved on.
I sincerely believe we are the only people that canhelp ourselves overcome our individual cases. (Happy to say I've been SSRI and anti-psychotic free since deciding to regain control

Rob Coomber
May, 13 2015 at 4:00 am

Hi Michelle... I did inbox your messages as well with more detail... and thanks for a brilliant article that will assist me greatly while I write a chapter summarising my notes of what to say and what not to say to a PTSD victim.
It is proving to be an excruciating emotionally charged and difficult chapter to summarise from 6 years of I am approaching it from a number of different perspectives...simultaneously so am working out a "pattern" and "sequence" .... cripes... a method to present my ideas systematically for the simplest and most needy people to grasp... if they are in too much distress while reading...
...anyway... I am after 2 things from you... or your readers and/or fellow victims of PTSD.
(1) Contact with an editor who has lived with PTSD or treats PTSD victims as intellectual equals.
(2) Contact with other PTSD victims who are also writing a book on their experience and struggles to heal from PTSD.
My PTSD stems from being raped at age 6 and I have had a couple more compounding events like my heart almost stopping...till I could hardly see or move...while lying on the roadside alone... then suffocating to blackness...people seem to think the terror is death...but I know the terror is knowing you are dying...afterward their is blackness of my case until... they shocked me back to life in ICU...after the bypass op. I blanked that out for 6 months until having a total emotional and mental shutdown...but that is my book...
Please... if anyone could hook me up with other writers and editors who have walked in PTSD shoes... I will be most grateful. Thanks again... Rob

July, 4 2014 at 6:34 pm

I relate to all three. I never knew it was PTSD till I was in my late thirties. I am on a healing journey now but most of my life has been affected from this and not getting the right help sooner. I understand they did not know as much at that time either. I have a husband who is totally disconnected from life and works at a job that helps him disappear. I find it triggers my feelings of abandonment and security. I know he cannot face his demons. How can I live with someone who lives two lives , he loves one and hides fro the other. PTSD is very real.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

valerie withers
June, 2 2017 at 7:44 pm

I have had full blown ptsd for ten years now as an incest survivor,being raised in an alcoholic mentally abusive home,being sold by my grandfather to a housefull of marines,marrying a raging drug dealer,having to live on welfare for three years as the only white woman there,having to form my own cleaning business from the ground up,fighting off the sexual advances of my rich male clients,and men at church,and men I hired to remodel a small home I bought,and having to fight off my family,and having to fight off my ex husband who stalked me for 30 years,and fighting off my sicko earthly family,especially my sociopathic mother,and raising my daughter alone,and fighting men off of her body,sending her to private Christian school and then getting a college degree myself.After carrying this load on my back com0pletely alone for 43 years,I CRACKED.IT WAS OOOOOGGGGLLLYYY.Also the earthly abusive family I had cut off fifteen years prior,contacted me because my father was dying of asbestos poisoning.I chose not to go to his funeral.I had to fight my own mother in court to get my inheritance,all at the same time.I have been institutionalized five times.I have truly forgiven all of my past abusers.I limit the time I have with my earthly family,we are all older and wiser now.I am finally married to a godly man now,who by gods grace,bought me a home,loves me unconditionally,and now I am on disability.I am slowly creeping back into church.I had always went to church,but we are all messed up sinful people.Sins I refuse to tolerate are,pedophiles,drunkards,addicts,and criminals.We only get one life,its me now or them.See you in the next life.But I have triggers every darn where.My husband works at night,because he has his own issues,and I am trying to focus more on his needs than my own.but everytime he leaves the house I don't think he will come home.If your husband is medicating in any way you must put your foot down.Mine brought beer in the house and I totally freaked out.I over reacted.It was too familiar.So I told him I would leave and take my disability with me.He backed down,quick.He has abandonment issues as well,and his own hurts.I pray for him,that is all I can do,but enablement is a dealbreaker.I take meds,but will not let the shrink zone me out.I refuse to take more than two pills.I have to stay in shape and get well.I refuse to be victimized again,by a church,a family member,a companion,or anyone else.our men have to work,a real man does.So that's when our ptsd kicks in.My husband is a workaholic due to poverty and rejection as a child.he is ultra sensitive,so I try hard to speak softly.And I read the Bible a lot,go to church and pray.I have got to change my self,the world is not going to.I go to therapy,and have stopped being codependent,I read a lot while he is gone and do Bible studies online.Anything to fill my head with healthy thoughts while he is away.But we ptsders,DO OVERREACT To EVEN THE FIRST SMELL OF A THREAT.I have to go to my therapist twice weekly,take meds and really take care of my body,and avoid where I don't need to go.I have to fight my codependence to help others right now.Even in church.People like us are sensitive and will help others quickly before we help ourselves.Hope this helps,GOD BLESS

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 14 2017 at 6:16 am

You have gone through a lot. I have also been suffering from ptsd since I was about 8 years old, and can't even write all the things that have happened to me, being victimised over and over and told I didn't deserve to live. After 2 decades of feeling suicidal literally every single day, not getting any adequate treatment, apologizing constantly for my own existence just so I didn't lose my original mother (abuser)'s 'love', and being shamed into isolation anyway because I couldn't 'get it together', I turned to alcohol. Not to party, to end my life. After failing at that too, I was sexually assaulted (again) in rehab.
So I'm a 'drunkard', an addict, a "sinner". But I am suffering, just as you are.
And I am sensitive too...

Joan Kilpatrick
April, 23 2014 at 11:48 pm

Hi! My name is Joan! When I was 7-8 year's of age, I would have this reacurring dream/nightmare's of a young man in the military in the Vietnam War of him a standing there and it is like he is NOT ALL THERE in my dream, and there are many dead bodies all over, and a big bull-dozer a scooping up all of the many dead bodies in a large pile together! *And, then I would hear very much weeping/or I just sinced it and I would always wake up a crying, and I would say Lord please take these nightmares away from me (Joanie)! And, well in June of 2004, I meet my Jimmy D. Gibson/the man that I had dreams of when I was 7-8 year's of age! I had just recently lost my 2nd. husband a U.S. Marine who served in the Vietnam War as a Welder, Rory L. Howard passed away on October 23, of 2003 from Head and Neck Cancer(Lymphoma Cancer/a progressive cancer)! And, he (Rory) had told me his wife that he wished for me to hurry up and to get married again as long as I could keep the medical health insurance off of his 30 year retirement from his Welding work! Well I truly did fall in love with my Vietnam Veteran U. S. Army, Artillery, Infantry, and a Expert Shooter and he/Jimmy served during 1967-1968, and in the tenth offensive (the very worst of that Evil Hell War called, "VIETNAM"! He moved in on me on July 1, of 2004! He (Jimmy) had already prosed to me (Joanie) and if the lady that I hd talked to thevery first time wouldn't have lied to me I and Jimmy would have been married on July 4, of 2004! So, as far as I'm concerned we were married (common law married on this date)! And, later when I had called my insurance again that lady told me that I was lied to by whoever I had talked to the first time there! So, Jimmy and I/Joanie go to Miami, Ok. at Laverns Wedding Chapel on September 26, of 2007 (just 2 day's before his Birthday)! *We went in his 1966 T-Bird on Route 66 all the way to the Grand Canyon, later that night Jimmy was trying to delete the date on our wedding picture's off of our camera and he accidentally lost all of our wedding picture's! So, then my Jimmy promises me that on our 1 year anniversary we will go back and we will get recaptured wedding! True to my very good husbands word we did do this and I now sleep with our recaptured wedding picture on my pillow beside of me in my bed and I touch it everyday and I say the Lords prayer everyday when touching our recaptured wedding picture! My Jimmy lost his 100 percent V. A. Disability on his PROSTRATE CANCER, from the AGENT ORANGE and the many other TOXINSthat our U. S. Government had sprayed on my Jimmy while he was fighting in the jungles of Vietnam for our Countries Freedom, and fighting for his very own life! Anyways Jimmy is so very ill/sick that I end up having to call 911 on him on October 15, of 2012 at around 8:00 a. m. approximately! The very last few year's of our marriage he (Jimmy) put me through a "LIVING VIETNAM HELL, and I still feel so very sick/ill myself from all of the ABUSE THAT HE PUT ME/THE WIFE #6, (HE DID NOT COUNT THE #5 WIFE/HIS COMMON LAW WIFE)! HHe has servere PTSD, and the Wichita, Ks. V.A. Physcic Hospital had diagnosed him with BAD PTSD AND DEPRESSION back in 1984 (but they deniedIit! It don't matter because I have the papers on it all (on my very kast husband/Jimmy)! I was told by his very own brother (Raylene) that I needed to move(run for my life) get the HELL OUT before he (Jimmy) gets out of jail for his (Jimmys) a threatening my life 2 times with a fully loaded hand gun, pointed at my head and the hammer pulled back on it! Well he done that to me (his wife #6) a lot! He interogated me a lot/daily/nightly! He had told me (his wife) that I was going to lose and that I was going to lose a lot! I said, "What do you mean that I'm going to lose a lot?" He said, "You are going to lose a lot!" And, right before he threatened my life on October15, of 2012 he (Jimmy) said,"I'm picking a fight with you!"?'s Why?'si don't know but I(Joanie) lost my 100 percent paid off in full house in town to him (and our government) because he (Jimmy) did not let me to get to put down at least $90, 000.00 down on the really very nice Berm house that he(Jimmy)had preasured me/Joan Howard into buying (that was true love on my part to do this big leap of faith purchase in my name only! Yah, I saved someone from being foreclosed on when I went and I bought this house! Yelp! And, are U. S. Government went and dropped his100 percent disability to a 0 percent disability! Ha! Not funny, because that all became my faught! Yah, Jimmy was a full blown alcoholic and it was always all my faught on everything, and maybe 1 percent his fault is what Jimmy would tell me/Joanie often! My leap of faith, because I'm just a handicapped Chrian lady that works at a Wal-Mart Store, and I did NOT even make $10.00 per hour when I purchase this $175, 000.00 Berm house with a 4 car garage and 2 Shops all attached together! On about a 2 and a half acres with 2 wells/sprinkler system, and really nice Arkansas rock all on the front of this 2, 000 square foot house with 2 bathrooms in the house, and I bathroom in the first Shop (Jimmys Office)! And, a pond in the front yard! Plus, it has its own propane tank! And, a really nice wood fireplace in the house and one out in the first Shop! House fireplace is also solar paneled! Very nice house! And if he/Jimmy would have let me/Joanie put down what I had wanted to put down on my Berm house when my house in town sold then I probably would have only owed $0.0 - $20, 000.00 on it and I could have kept my inheritance of a house that I had once had 100 percent paid off in full! No, I had to end up quik claim deeding it over to him/Jimmy so that the Bank did Not Forclose on it! Yah, I was lied to on that Berm house closing or I would NOT HAVE EVEN BOUGHT IT, THEY ALL LIED TO ME AND THEY PREASURED ME INTO BUYING IT TO KEEP THE OWNERS AT THAT TIME FROM BEING FORCLOSED ON! YELP, I HELPED THEM/THE BOAT PEOPLE! And, I truly still do forgive my ex/Jimmy since I was told that I best get a divorce (a byforcarion-not normal divorce)! *Plus, I truly do believe that all of the PTSD, maybe even DEMONS, full blown alcoholic from that evil HELL WAR called, "VIETNAM! " Plus, I believe that he has Parkinsons Desease! And, they can't test him on it unless he STOPS HIS DRINKING FOR GOOD! And, he has Really Bad NEUROPATHY! His ears beeld from being blown off of a ammo bunker! And, he has a TUMOR/CYST A GROWING IN HIS BACK! And, I had him go into the V. A. Hospital when I first meet him because he had a really large knot on the side of the neck and it was really good that they removed it, plus they had to remove well I believe that it was a Cancer from his chest and they had to go a little moredeeper than they had thought at first! Jimmy would NOT have went Iin if it was NOT for me a peasuring him into going in to get the large knot removed from his neck, and that is when they found the spot on his chest that they removed from him! And, George at the DAV here at the Wichita, Ks. V. A. HOSPITAL had said to me (Jimmys wife#6) you are NOT getting the $469.00 per month for taking care of him (Jimmy/my#3 husband)! * I said, "NO!" YELP, I did NOT get it they turned me down! They said, "That I/wife did only one hour of work once a week with him /Jimmy! *All lies!!!!!!!!! George said, "That I should get it and that I should get paid from the first of our marriage to our divorce! I did NOT get it! *I lost my at one time very good and a most loving husband, TO SICKNESS, FROM ALL OF THE AGENT ORANGE, AND THE MANY OTHER TOXINS THAT OUR U. S. GOVERNMENT HAD SPRAYED ON MY JIMMY DALE GIBSON; while he was doing what they had sent him to do FIGHTING FOR OUR COUNTRIES FREEDOM, AND HIS VERY OWN LIFE IN THE JUNGLES OF VIETNAM! AND, JIMMY AND I/JOANIE USED TO TELL EACH OTHER THAT WE LOVED EACH OTHER EVERYDAY! PLUS, WE PRAYED BEFORE WE ATE AT THE TABLE AT HOME EVERYDAY, OR EVEN WHEN WE ATE OUT WE DID THIS! WHAT HAPPENED????????'s And, I was in so very much TRAUMA FROM ALL THAT HE PUT ME/HIS WIFE THROUGH! Jesus did come and talk to me in my Shoe Department the Saturday before la

yesenia Guerra
April, 22 2014 at 11:49 pm

When I was 23 I had zeisures and an Infection went to the brain and left me some lessions in my brain. Furthermore when I was almost 6 months pregnancy I had Severe Preclapsia. I was really very sick that almost die. I had an Emergency C-Section.My little and very premature baby weigh only 1 pound. He was in Intensive Care Unit for almost 3 months. After all of this I was with a Severe Depresion but I didn't notice it right away. I couldn't take care of my babby for that reason. My psyquiatrist and psychology told me I had PTSD.Have medicines and terapies and I'm better.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michele Rosenthal
April, 23 2014 at 3:14 pm

@Yesenia -- I love hearing about success stories! Thanks so much for sharing yours. I'm delighted you received the proper diagnosis and treatment so that you are feeling better. Here's to a future of joyful freedom....

Banbie L Couch
April, 22 2014 at 6:49 pm

I was traumatized around 18 months ,short storie mother left ,was adopted ,abused through child hood , Skipping 3 marriages to the 4th ,Married a pedophile ,of course I did not know . Have 3 children ,I was around 38 , well long story but when my middle daughter turned 14 she started crying a lot ,told me some bs about a boy in H.School harassing her . I went to school talked with everyone ,wasn't satisfied checked her out of school .went to a cousins and started drilling her (myself) she finally broke etc,...I dialed 911 was picked up and went to prison . He(husband)ruined all3 children . I was in an out of hospitals for over a year . Its been since 5/3/2001, and I still survive on anger an want to put a bullet in his head ,after he served his time was released . Started all over again ,same town with another female an her daughter ,plus he was stalking my 2 daughters , proved it now he is back in prison . I suffer from Manic biopolar depression borderline personality disorder ,and dia.w/ADHD I have cut everyone off from around me ,just cant deal . I totally lost it .

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michele Rosenthal
April, 23 2014 at 3:16 pm

@Banbie -- I admire your strength, courage and determination to keep your children and others safe. That would all take a big toll on you. There is healing to be had if you'd like to feel a release from the anxiety and shadows of the past. Some ideas here if you're interested:

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

ann green
April, 23 2014 at 3:49 pm

Add me on fb if u ever need a friend.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michele Rosenthal
January, 2 2014 at 6:08 am

@Sky -- Fantastic, thank you soooo much for sharing the link. I love collecting resources and learning new things that can be helpful.

Pat H
December, 11 2013 at 11:44 pm

PTSD is not hard to heal for the most part, and there are only some minor side effects. Most know what those are if you have it, and used something like EMDR, biofeedback, or other processes to rid it. One does not need to speak of the trauma in order to heal it. I have written about PTSD on my blog and diagramed it from personal experience with it. Good luck and great post.

Carol Hopwood
December, 7 2013 at 7:39 pm

THANKS for this helpful article. I referred folks to it (and to your web site) in my recent blog post.
I like to refer my clients to your site because it is such a useful resource. Thank you.

George Berger
December, 4 2013 at 2:38 am

As far as I know, nothing "heals" PTSD, although symptoms can be reduced in intensity and frequency. I benefitted by a hi-tech version of EMDR, in 4 1/2 intense but interesting sessions.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 11 2014 at 8:18 pm

EMDR has saved my life. I am a survivor of PTSD with DID and thriving. I am med free!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 22 2014 at 10:13 am

Thank you Linda. I have a young child with PTSD. This gives me hope for her future! I am so glad I have found this website!!

Francis Onyekwue
December, 3 2013 at 5:11 am

Please, i am the project Director to a non governmental organization based in Nigeria, we work with victims of trauma, we often do these through training,awareness and education etc, we also have a counseling section. but our challenge is that majority of Nigerians do not want to accept the fact that they are traumatized, they always associate trauma with a result, we will like to partner with yours to see how our capacity will be built and how to spread the massage to Nigerians so that they will come to terms with this issue.

Jennifer Todd
December, 2 2013 at 11:09 am

how does one heal? i've had PTSD for 30 years. i also have a dissociative disorder, does that make healing harder?
thanks , jen

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michele Rosenthal
March, 5 2014 at 6:24 pm

@Jen -- My apologies for the delayed reply! While all of our recovery journeys are individual many people can experience elements of and even complete healing. There are many ways to approach PTSD recovery. We're all unique, so you must find the way that most resonates with you. Check out this page for some ideas:
A dissociative disorder can make recovery more complex, but I do know survivors with that element who make extraordinary process, so it is possible.
Onward toward freedom....

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

james r
May, 27 2014 at 7:43 pm

I have ptsd. My problem is i have lost almost my entire memory b4 the trauma . Yet i remember almost every thing during the trauma . The memories i want i dont have and the memories i have i dont want help

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 13 2015 at 6:14 pm

I had (have) PTSD. I had exactly what you describe James. There are a few things that helped me restore memories and reduce the loss of the prior memories (although I also had a distorted memory of the actual event).
I call them my tools.
1. Notebook: Whatever memory pops up I write it down chances are if I didn't I would forget
2. Sense of smell/smellovision: If I could connect to prior events with a memory, i found certain smells from childhood doubled the chances I'd recall. I exposed myself to hundreds of smells. 1 a day. Some times I'd have no memory triggered. Sometimes there'd be a rush.
3. Tape recorder: only to be used when you have a rush of memories. Try to describe them.
4. Storytelling: I'd ask family and friends to describe the same event from different directions. Sometimes I'd not remember at all, sometimes it would quickly unlock.
5. Childhood revisitation: I'd spend a lot of time going to places from my childhood. I'd also go to toy events like toy fairs to find collections of toys from my past. Sometimes a toy would trigger dozens of memories out of sequence or order.
6. Coloring book: after every memory I'd sit down and pull out a coloring book and color with crayons. Yes that sounds very child like yes it works
I am surprisingly a lot better off than I was. My PTSD is so minimal I barely recognize it and severe symptoms don't pop up at all. Took a lot of work. But you know what? You are worth it.

December, 2 2013 at 9:50 am

My spouse has PTSD and was never in the military. It is very hard to explain to friends and family what and why we live as we do and certain accommodations must be made for his well being. Statements like "pull yourself up from your bootstraps" are not helpful and have caused much hurt as have comments that my loved one is "crazy". They are quite sane and rational, a panic attack causes a visceral reaction which is helped thankfully with meds. People need to understand that and give them space and time Lone when that occurs.

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