PTSD

Today’s post is about PTSD.
A horrible disorder. Yet, it also saves lives, as it allows people (and animals) to recognize dangers, and potentially deadly situations.
Last night, some unknown distant neighbor decided to play with their shotgun for half an hour.
Bailey doesn’t do well with gunshots, or thunder.
In fact, last night, he shook so hard, and so long, he drooled all over the bed, and panted as if they were next to his ear. Even though he is a hyper food motivated dog, he wouldn’t take a treat to get his calming medicine. I had to put the pill down his throat, and it still took over an hour before he relaxed.
We shouldn’t have to medicate our rescue dog because someone wants to play with guns. There is no reason to be playing with guns around here. Too many homes.
What exactly is PTSD? PTSD is a hyper awareness to certain triggers, or signals that may, or may not represent a danger to a person, or animal.
Most people recognize PTSD in the military. In fact, there was a frightening Twilight Zone episode about it. I think that episode represents when PTSD goes unrecognized, and is made fun of by those around the sufferer. I haven’t seen it in over 30 years. However, it is as clear as if I saw it ten minutes ago.
Which is what PTSD does to the brain.
It puts the sufferer right back into that time, situation, and circumstances, as if no time had passed. If the precipitating event occurred when the person was young, and physically healthy, it is technically possible, that their reaction to a PTSD trigger could be at the same velocity, and intensity as the event itself. Even if 50 or 60 years have passed.
Anyone can suffer from PTSD. Car accidents, seeing a car accident, domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, and combat are all legitimate causes of PTSD. These events also affect the animals around us.
The triggers are there for a reason. They protect us from being in the situation again. They warn us to avoid, or escape, before a situation escalates to dangerous levels.
Sights, sounds, smells, textures, lighting, buildings, and so much more can be a trigger. Often, it is a combination of these events and situations that trigger a PTSD event.
PTSD events should never be taken lightly, or made fun of. For most, they create a fight or flight situation. In the Twilight Zone episode, the former combat veteran grabbed a gun and shot a bar room full of customers and employees because he PTSD made him think he was back at war in a major battle in, I think it was Vietnam.
As the episode shows, the person experiencing an episode does not see, hear, or feel their current surroundings. They are instantly returned to that time and place. The man stands up from his table seat. The bar walls turn into a jungle. The customers and employees transform before his eyes into the enemies he once fought. After the battle, he walks out. The scene returns to the bar room. With the results of a gun fight when only one person had a gun.
PTSD can be treated. Sometimes. If the originating event is a car crash, or fireworks, or something similar, treatment may include becoming accustomed to the trigger, much as phobias of spiders are treated.
However, for those who have PTSD due to abuse, this is not an acceptable practice. Normalization of abuse should never be used to treat PTSD. Our bodies react to the hidden signals of abuse in a different way. For their safety, and the safety of everyone, abuse victims need to keep that recognition. Victims of abuse do not need to be further victimized. That very recognition can be used when trying to determine if others have been abused.
In general, abuse victims with PTSD do not lash out. They try to hide, cry, become compliant, and quiet. Out of body experiences are not uncommon. Which is why they may not later remember the abuse of the abuser, except in triggering situations. Very difficult to treat.
So what happened to our Beautiful Baby Bailey Boy? Why is he terrified to go outdoors between 5pm and 10 pm? Why is he so frightened of gunshots? He is a Beagle and Boxer mix. Why is he so frightened of thunder? Is there any way to treat him, other than to medicate when we know there are going to be thunderstorms or fireworks?

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