Author: Anna

The New PTSD Problem

The New PTSD Problem

Op-Ed: The pandemic, Hurricane Ian and me — a doctor whose friends say I have PTSD

Linda and I were just back from our last trip to the South of France, where we celebrated our anniversary. And today, I’m sitting here, writing this piece about a new problem in this country — a new disease that hasn’t even been formally diagnosed: Post-traumatic stress disorder.

I’ve been hearing that phrase around for a while now, but I haven’t believed it. I haven’t let it affect my life, or my ability to do my job. My wife says I have more than PTSD, which might be true, but I’m a man of many parts and if a part isn’t working, I’ll take the whole person out, because my whole person has to be whole.

I’m not saying PTSD isn’t real, but I’ve known some people with it. I know the symptoms — they’re real. It’s not a matter of being overworked, or too exhausted, or too scared. As is the case with me, it’s a matter of having been through a traumatic event, and then having lived with the aftermath.

What does PTSD have to do with the flu? It’s hard to say. But what I’m saying is that we’re not seeing the whole story here.

The flu is like a fire. It burns things that have no business burning — those who have been burned in the past. In some cases, it could be said that we have a PTSD condition.

I’m the first to admit that I come from a family that was built on a hardscrabble existence. The oldest of seven children, I bounced from one place to another during my adolescence, from one state to another, and always on the run from what society considered me — a juvenile delinquent.

And to be completely truthful, on some level, I know where I sit now.

It’s where this man sits now

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