While the Christmas season and other special days are joyous times for most people, it’s may be tough for those coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or some other traumatic experience.
More than 30 people gathered at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Columbus on Saturday to learn more about stress, some of its triggers and the reason people may erupt into a different mode from Dr. Scott A. Ketring, an Auburn University professor and international speaker on family relationships and therapy.
Ketring said some people are agitated, in a hostile mode, grumpy and angry, but don’t know why they were like that. A common cause for people with PTSD is the anniversary effect, he said. For some soldiers who served in combat, a trigger may be the day someone was killed. “You feel kind of like a moral pain,” Ketring said. “I did something. Someone will say you did nothing wrong, but you beat yourself up.”
Other triggers might be related to someone being abused on their birthday or a violent thing which occurred at Christmas time.
There is a lot of power in relationships people have with one another, because human beings are relationship creatures. “Most people who have a loved one with trauma have no clue of what to do,” he said. “In terms of helping them, they want to help but don’t know what to do.”
Sometimes, a person can sense when a love one is angry. When that happens, a person may agree to give that person a break from watching a child and give the person some time alone. “ A lot of what we can do in calming ourselves, there are things I can do to calm my partner,” Ketring said. “There are certain rhythms in life.”
During moments of peace and reflection, your brain instantly goes to things you might want to avoid. “People tend to keep themselves very busy and when they calm themselves down, intrusive thoughts come into their minds,” Ketring said. “There is a lot going on, and people can be majorly affected that way.”
A traumatic experience can change the way people think about different things. Ketring asked a woman what happened after she broke her arm while climbing a tree. The woman didn’t stop climbing trees, but said she didn’t climb as high. “The body sends out sensations,” he said. “It protects itself.”
Survival is the most important reason for living, followed by social connection. “There are windows of opportunity of love,” Ketring said.
Another woman was asked what happened to her 3-year-old after the child moved to the United States. A year later, the child couldn’t speak Russian. “If it is not used, it is pruned. We have Southern,” he said to the crowd laughing.