Have you experienced a traumatic event in your life and are not sure if you have fully recovered? You could be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Dr. Laurel Shaler explains where PTSD comes from.

“PTSD occurs after you directly experience a traumatic event, or learn that the traumatic event happened to a close family member or friend. PTSD can even occur as a result of repeated, first-hand exposure to difficult details of the traumatic event.”

She outlines several symptoms to be aware of when questioning if you are struggling with PTSD.

Intrusion symptoms

“This could include recurring thoughts of the traumatic event, feeling like you don’t have any control of these thoughts entering your mind. I could also include experiencing really difficult dreams or nightmares. Even during the day, you can feel like you’re back in that moment experiencing that trauma.”


“This can be avoiding thoughts, feelings, or even reminders of the traumatic experience. I know folks who become professionals of avoidance. They dodge treatment, friends, family, or any reminders of the event. Think of the woman who won’t drive past the abortion clinic or the individual who won’t drive past the cemetery where their loved one was laid to rest. They want to avoid all reminders of the event.”

Negative thoughts or moods

“Maybe it’s having trouble even remembering the event or having negative beliefs about yourself. You feel like you can’t trust anyone or that the entire world is out to get you.”

Alteration in arousal

“This is where you become increasingly aware of your surroundings. That person always has to sit with their back to the wall facing the door. Maybe you’re easily startled, you can’t concentrate, and you have trouble sleeping. Maybe you’re even involved in some self-destructive behaviors. That’s the alteration in arousal.”

If you experience these symptoms on a regular basis, chances are you are suffering from some level of PTSD. Fortunately, there is help. God wants you to free. Find a trusted friend, family member, or professional counselor and begin the process of working through the trauma in your past.

Laurel Shaler, PhD, is a professor at Liberty University and a speaker on faith and emotional well-being. A national certified counselor and social worker, Dr. Shaler is a former psychotherapist for the Department of Veterans Affairs, where she specialized in treating trauma. She is also the author of Reclaiming Sanity: Hope and Healing for Trauma, Stress, and Overwhelming Life Events.

Laurel Shaler on hope and healing for trauma, stress, and overwhelming life events

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