As Pride Month comes to a close, I sit reflecting on the state of the movement. I reflect on my own relationship as a straight ally to the LGBT community, thinking on the progress that has been made as well as the honest look at where we’re at. The unsettled feeling is, of course, still with me as I acknowledge where our society is, in 2016.
Still with us, is the “Misunderstanding American”, those subscribing to a religious doctrine that defines what a homosexual is (or what you deserve for homosexual behavior), the “Silent Ally American”, those who intellectually understand and support equal civil rights, gender equality, and the LGBT movement, but do nothing to challenge homophobia, biphobia or transphobia, and of course, at our very worst, the “Radicalized Hate-filled American”, those willing to take extreme acts of pure hatred on lesbian, gay, bi, or trans people in order to ‘cleanse’ or ‘correct’ society.
Today marks the beginning of June, the summer heat well upon us here in the D.C. region. June is also PTSD (Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder) Awareness Month. The whole purpose of having an awareness month is to become more aware on the issue, and to help share and spread that awareness throughout the community. So, let’s start with a simple education on what PTSD is, as many people have heard the term, but are unfamiliar with the specific symptoms.
*Disclaimer: This article is not meant to be used in any way for an individual to self-diagnose. If you suspect that someone you know may meet some of the descriptions of PTSD or symptoms associated with PTSD, you may want to encourage that person to consult their primary care physician or a licensed mental health professional.*
**Those whose line of work increases the risk of traumatic exposure such as veterans, police, firefighters, first responders, emergency medical personnel, etc. show a higher rate of PTSD (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). If you know someone whose work fits this description, please share this article with them.**
What Does PTSD Mean Exactly?
P, for Post, means trauma symptoms develop after about 3 months (and many times even later than that) from when the traumatic event originally occurred; If symptoms show up right away, it’s quite possibly Acute Stress Disorder. T, for Trauma, means an individual experiencing (directly or witnessing) a life threatening event*. S, for Stress, means the nervous system is overwhelmed by any number of stressor(s). And D, for Disorder, means the classification in a medical book to assist health care professionals in accurately diagnosing and treating a medical condition.
Robin S. Smith is a psychotherapist practicing in Bethesda, MD. Robin created The Couple and Family Clinic Blog to provide useful articles on issues related to mental health as well as articles on local, national, and international news stories. Learn more about Robin on the About Page.