MYTHS ABOUT PTSD

Common Myths

Many parents caring for an ill or injured child have a hard time believing they are experiencing post traumatic stress symptoms. Some believe PTSD only happens to people in the military. Others may believe that because it’s their child who is sick or injured, they themselves could not be traumatized.

Common Myths

Many parents caring for an ill or injured child have a hard time believing they are experiencing post traumatic stress symptoms. Some believe PTSD only happens to people in the military. Others may believe that because it’s their child who is sick or injured, they themselves could not be traumatized.

Many myths about PTSD, and seeking treatment from a professional, exist. Some of the most common include:

Many myths about PTSD, and seeking treatment from a professional, exist. Some of the most common include:

I am weak if I experience PTSD symptoms.
Some people, especially men and parents, can feel that they have “to be strong” all the time and expressing emotions shows weakness or vulnerability. Unfortunately this is not true and avoiding emotions, or pushing them away, can make them worse, ultimately affecting your mental and emotional wellbeing.
I should be able to cope with my emotions on my own
Reaching out for help, and specifically reaching out for mental health therapy, can bring up many feelings of guilt or shame. A common belief is that adults should be able to cope with their own emotions, and if these emotions ever feel overwhelming, they’re “crazy”. This belief is simply not true. Seeking out professional treatment for mental health concerns in no way means a person has a mental health disorder or is “crazy”. From time to time, everyone experiences life events, like the illness or injury of a child, which overload the ability cope. Working with a professional can help you understand these emotions, find coping strategies that work for you, and create a self-care plan to help you cope in the future.
My child was sick or injured years ago. I shouldn’t feel like this anymore
No matter where you are in your child’s treatment or recovery from an illness or injury, you could experience PSTD symptoms. Even years later, you may notice you still relive the day your child was injured or received their diagnosis. Or maybe you constantly worry about your children and their health and safety more than you think you should. Perhaps your sleep habits are still not the same as they were before your child was ill or injured. Symptoms of PTSD affect some people in the immediate aftermath of their child’s injury or illness. For others, symptoms may not appear until weeks, months, or years later.
A therapist can’t help me. I’m going to feel this way forever
Working with a therapist can help you to understand why your experiencing symptoms of PTSD, what might trigger these symptoms, and will provide ways to cope. Therapist trained in trauma and PTSD will use evidence based treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or possibly medication, to help you reframe and cope with the thoughts and emotions causing you anxiety, depression, or other PTSD symptoms.
I’ve talked to lots of parents experiencing the same emotions and they’re not in therapy
Many parents might know when, or if, they need to reach out for professional help. What should you look for?  Here are some signs you should seek out help:

  1. If your feelings make it hard to get back to (or enjoy) your usual activities;
  2. If you find it hard to talk with your child about happened;
  3. If you seem to be getting worse rather than better; or
  4. If your feelings and reactions that bother you last more than a month.