Dickens and Job had PTSD: Who Knew?

Who knew Dickens suffered from PTSD?

Who knew Dickens suffered from PTSD?

Did you know that Charles Dickens suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

He writes about being “curiously weak… as if I were recovering from a long illness,” after surviving a train crash that killed 10 people and injured 49.  Dickens expressed his feelings in letters to others stating, “I begin to feel it more in my head. I sleep well and eat well; but I write half a dozen notes, and turn faint and sick… I am getting right, though still low in pulse and very nervous.”   After the train accident, Dickens avoided trains because he always got the feeling that the train was tipping over, saying he found the feeling to be “inexpressibly distressing.”

Despite PTSD being a fairly new word (it didn’t actually enter our vocabulary until 1980 when it became part of the DSM – III) symptoms of it have been documented for thousands of years.   Ancient texts, including the story of Job in the Bible—written in 420 B.C.—describe the hopelessness and extreme psychological anguish one gets when faced with life altering consequences involving physical and psychological trauma.  Job, in a very short time lost all of his possessions, his family and his health almost simultaneously.  This would be a crushing blow for anyone.  Yet Job lives as an example that in time we can, if not heal and recover, Continue reading

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Musings on PTSD

PTSD pic
When I first developed PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), I never thought I’d end up being a spokesperson against domestic violence.  I certainly never thought I’d tell my story.  Shame and disgust ruled my world.   I wanted to hide from life.  At times, I wanted to die to ease the ache of betrayal and loss.  I grieved deeply for who I used to be.  What I’d never become.

Who am I? I asked myself over and over.

“Nothing,” echoed in my mind.

I told no one of this deep dark secret for many years.

When my brain would blank out, trying to protect itself against triggers, I’d forget the most basic things.  And people thought I was stupid. Continue reading

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