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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Efforts to avoid activities and situations Day 5 of National PTSD Awareness Month

Efforts to avoid activities and situations that remind you of the trauma: This is another protective symptom. Avoiding triggers becomes the most important thing.
You may avoid being given orders or a job to do because it can get you killed, so you don't take out the trash, because on some level that you can't even identify, it may get you killed.
You avoid crowds, because one rule in war is "Don't bunch up. Makes a bigger target."
Cookouts bring up memories of burning flesh, parked cars or roadside trash bring up memories of IED's, family parties bring up memories of those who died and don't get to be with families. Sometimes parties are also full of people who want to know why you aren't over it yet, too. Not helpful so you avoid them.
The sound of children crying in the war zone has made you unable to listen to your own kids cry so you avoid that. If you and your family don't understand what is going on, everyone gets mad.
There is also a progression of triggers. Say you are shopping in Wal-Mart and someone drops something big making a loud bang and you hit the floor or some kid is crying and you have to leave. Walmart can now be a trigger you have to avoid. Or you see someone who looks Iraqi or Afghani, while chewing gum and drinking beer in the park with your friends and have a moment of terror. Now gum and beer and friends and parks can become triggers. Needless to say, being triggered by gum is going to make you feel nuts because how does it relate? Not everything will be a trigger, but odd things may become triggers. It helps to see if you can trace them.
Some of the problems veterans have with the VA are based in this symptom. Good old hurry up and wait or SNAFU's, so common in the military, can trigger people in the VA where waiting and SNAFU's are also common.
Tomorrow: Loss of interest in old activities you liked before the war or trauma.
Please share with anyone it might help. You can also follow my Facebook Recovering From the War page to get all the posts this month, National PTSD Awareness Month. I will post every day.

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