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Case studies of Post traumatic stress and its symptoms.

Both Uncle Jake Heinrichs and his twin Anne Ogilvie felt inordinate guilt as a result of sitting in the front seat of the car when their father was killed.   They were only 19.  Each in their own way felt they were in some way responsible for his death.  It affected the rest of their lives in different ways. 

People with PTSD experience continuous trauma. Despite the fact that the traumatic event is over – life has returned to normal – they still feel they are experiencing it.  You are left with a lifetime of horrific memories. The night terrors never go away, the demons follow you where ever you go and the slightest incident can trigger and revive repressed memories.

Symptoms include extreme anxiety, uncontrollable surface anger, depression resulting in obsessive compulsive disorders.  

Doug Brewer, the program co-ordinator of the PTSD program in Western Australia explains: "Recurring memories that won’t go away resulting in flash-backs, nightmares and ineffable outrage regarding unspeakable horror memories challenging your most fundamental values".  

David Adams refers to it as an idea that hijacked his brain. The “snowflake” of a single intrusive thought, as he puts it, becomes a “blizzard” that “blows the snow into every corner of my mind, and lays down a blanket that muffled every surface.”

Trauma is “like a wound that never heals”.   Freud describes trauma as resulting from any excitations from outside which are powerful enough to break through our protective shield  [and is] bound to provoke a disturbance on a large scale  and set in motion every possible defensive measure.  These defensive measures result in trauma standing outside of memory.  Trauma can be extremely debilitating, often called “nerves” or “shell shock” and is today called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Syndrome) PTSD.

We look at how it affected each and how they coped with it in their separate ways.






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