What Happened to You? - Deepstash
Back to School Basics for Parents

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Back to School Basics for Parents

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Trauma at any age can cause a cluster of symptoms that occur in the wake of a distressing incident. There are 3 components of trauma, the 3 E's:

  • the Event
  • the Experience
  • the Effects

PTSD is about the effects. It is one of the mental disorders in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM). A person diagnoised with PTSD has 4 main symptom clusters:

  1. Intrusive symptoms
  2. Avoidant symptoms
  3. Depressive symptoms
  4. Arousal/Reactivity symptoms

It is really important to note that PTSD is not the only way trauma impacts our mental & physical health.


690 reads

Intrusive Symptoms

This is the first cluster of PTSD, which includes recurring, unwanted images & thoughts of the traumatic event, and dreams or nightmares. This is related to the brain's effort to make sense of the world. Trauma is threatening & far outside of our usual experience, shattering our inner landscape and worldview. This process involves both conscious and unconscious repetitive "reenactment" behaviors, or writings, drawing, sculpting, or playing. Again & again, revisiting the moment, looking through the wreckage, take something and move it to a safe haven.


551 reads

Avoidant Symptoms

These arise when someone feels distressed after being reexposed to people, places, or other reminders of the original traumatic events. In some ways, avoidant behaviors are an attempt to regain control over what feels like the uncontrollability of the traumatic experience. It is a part of the dissociative response to a threat, especially when it is unavoidable & distressing, to give yourself the sense of protection.


472 reads

Arousal/Reactivity Symptoms

This alteration in arousal and reactivity are derived from the sensitized stress-response networks being overactive and overly reactive. They include anxiety, hypervigilance, increased startle response, high and variable heart rate and sleep problems. Having the survival mode of fight, flight or freeze activated even in the absence of presence threats causes the body to lose a calibrated response to normal daily life.


423 reads

PTSD is Just One Of The Outcomes From Trauma

When all 4 of these categories are present, then it is labeled as PTSD. The majority of the long term effects don't manifest as PTSD.

The effects of trauma stretch far & wide across generations & communities, & it is important to come to the central question with compassion:

What happened to you?

The objective question helps you to remove the personal narrative assigned to your traumatic experience, with the intention of bringing yourself into the awareness of what occurred and how you were impacted.


336 reads

Adversity Vs Connectedness

Findings show that your history of relational health - connectedness to family, community, & culture - is more predictive of your mental health than your history of adversity. Connectedness has the power to counter balance adversity.

The timing of the adversity makes a huge difference in determining overall risk. Put simply, if you experience trauma at age 2, it will have more impact on your health than the same trauma taking place at age 17.

Experiences of the first 2 months of life have a disproportionate important impact on your longterm health and development due to rapid brain growth.


377 reads



People die because of a lack of knowledge. Understanding makes the blind see. Wisdom is the principle thing


Trauma, PTSD, and how Connectedness counteracts them

Curious about different takes? Check out our What Happened to You? Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.

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