Breaking the Chains of Silence: Speaking Out About PTSD and Stigma


PTSD is a serious mental health condition that can lead to depression and substance abuse. However, it’s not as simple as being triggered by something in the past and then feeling stressed or depressed. PTSD is caused by trauma, which can be anything from a scary situation to sexual assault or war. The symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares and avoidance of situations that are reminders of the traumatic event—all of which make it difficult for someone with PTSD to live their life like they used to before they experienced trauma.

PTSD is a misunderstood condition.

PTSD is a misunderstood condition. Many people believe that those who suffer from PTSD are crazy or weak, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: PTSD sufferers are strong individuals who have been through something traumatic and continue to face daily challenges as they work toward recovery.

In order to help others understand what you’re going through and why you need support–not judgment–it’s important to share your story with them directly so they can see how their words and actions affect you. If someone has said something hurtful about your experiences with mental health issues, try asking questions rather than arguing back at first; this will give them time to reflect on their own attitudes toward mental health problems before jumping into an argument that won’t solve anything anyway!

What is PTSD?

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can occur after a traumatic event. It can be triggered by events such as natural disasters, physical or sexual assault, warfare, or other violent situations.

The brain’s reaction to these experiences is normal and healthy: it helps you cope with the event by storing it away so that you’re able to function again. However, if these memories become too intense for the brain to process over time (for example because of repeated flashbacks), then they stay stuck in your mind and begin affecting other parts of your life–causing flashbacks when there aren’t any reminders around or nightmares when sleeping at night.

Symptoms include avoidance of things associated with the trauma; flashbacks; nightmares; trouble sleeping; irritability or outbursts of anger

Who gets PTSD?

Anyone can get PTSD, including:

  • People who have experienced a traumatic event. This includes victims of crime, sexual assault, natural disasters and war veterans.
  • People who have been exposed to a traumatic event (but did not directly experience it). For example, survivors of domestic violence may develop symptoms of PTSD after hearing about another person’s experience with domestic violence or watching news reports about it on TV.

Why do people get PTSD?

People with PTSD have experienced a traumatic event that caused them to feel fear, helplessness or horror. This can be a single event or multiple events. People who have been in combat, for example, may develop PTSD following their service because of the trauma they experienced during that time period.

People who have experienced sexual assault may develop PTSD as a result of what happened to them and how it affected their lives going forward. People who witness violence as part of their job duties might also develop PTSD if they experience enough stressors due to those experiences (i.e., seeing someone get shot).

What is stigma and who experiences it?

Stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person. It can be attached to mental illness, physical disability and sexuality. Stigma can lead to discrimination and exclusion. Internalized stigma is when people who experience stigma feel shame about their own identity because they believe society’s negative attitudes about them are true.

When we perceive ourselves as being different from others in some way – whether it’s because of our race or gender identity – we may experience prejudice based on those differences. When this happens on a large scale within a community or society at large (like racism), it’s known as systemic discrimination; when it happens within smaller groups (like sexism), it’s called institutionalized sexism; when it happens within one person’s mind (like internalized homophobia), we call it internalized homophobia

Breaking the Chains of Silence, Speaking Out About PTSD and Stigma

You may be reading this and thinking, “I don’t have PTSD.” You might be wondering why I am talking about it, or what it even is. Or maybe you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD but don’t know how to talk about them with others in your life. It’s okay if any of these things are true for you–there are many people who feel that way!

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a serious medical condition that affects all kinds of people from all walks of life–men, women and children; young adults; veterans from overseas wars; first responders who respond to traumatic situations like car accidents or fires; caregivers who take care of elderly relatives with dementia…the list goes on! PTSD can affect anyone at any time during their lives–even if they’ve never been through anything traumatic before! It doesn’t matter where someone grew up or how much money they make; everyone has an equal right to live without fear or guilt because no one chooses how their brain works after experiencing trauma (and no one should ever feel guilty about having feelings).


We hope that by reading this article, you’ve learned more about PTSD and the stigma surrounding it. We also hope that it has helped you feel empowered to break the chains of silence and speak out about your own experiences with the condition.

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