"The Story Behind these Hands: Finding Their Way Out"

From "Finding Their Way Out," in the York Daily Record, 2013 Dart Award Honorable Mention

Symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder usually start within three months of a traumatic event. In a small number of cases, though, PTSD symptoms may not appear until years after the event.

Symptoms generally are grouped into three types, listed below, with possible symptoms for each:

Intrusive memories:
--- Flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time;
--- Upsetting dreams about the event.

Avoidance and emotional numbing:
--- Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event;
--- Feeling emotionally numb;
--- Avoiding activities you once enjoyed;
--- Hopelessness about the future;
--- Memory problems;
--- Trouble concentrating;
--- Difficulty maintaining close relationships.

Anxiety and increased emotional arousal (hyperarousal):
--- Irritability or anger;
--- Overwhelming guilt or shame;
--- Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much;
--- Trouble sleeping;
--- Being easily startled or frightened;
--- Hearing or seeing things that aren't there.

Symptoms can come and go. You might have more symptoms when things are stressful, in general, or when you run into reminders of what you went through. You might hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences, for instance. Or you might see a report on the news about a rape and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.
-- Source: Mayoclinic.com

How to get help

If you feel as though you can't get past a traumatic event, talk to your primary care physician about it, advised Dr. Allen Miller, director of behavioral health at WellSpan.
Short of that, he recommended talking it over with someone you trust, if you feel ready.
If you feel you have nowhere to turn, a number of websites are available to help you gauge whether you should seek professional help.
--- PTSD quiz
--- Understanding PTSD
--- Recognizing PTSD

Original Article