PTSD and Violence: Is there is a correlation between the two?

This post is a scary one for me to write and probably also very controversial, too. Let’s first look at PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a (common) life threatening condition that’s attributed to a person’s experience with a traumatic episode. This condition emerges when the following occurs:  car/plane accidents, witnessing a crime, war, losing a loved one, experiencing a natural disaster and more etc. More than likely, a person will immediately start experiencing symptoms of PTSD right after a trauma event. Sometimes a little later. It also depends on the individual.

When most people think of PTSD, they quickly associate it with war veterans. In most cases, that’s true. My grandfather fought in World War II and his entire platoon was wiped out and he barely made it home. He never (I mean never) talked about his experiences. I understand! However, I’m still grateful everyday for his service, but he suffered PTSD for a while. He didn’t resort to violence at all and had his usual Manhattan everyday after work, but that’s all.

But PTSD isn’t just something war veterans get, just about everyone can and probably will get it. My first encounters were when I was younger with snakes back in a previous post “Nightmares”. The most recent ones are Hurricane Harvey and witnessing a brutal stabbing at my old store. For me, I was shocked (of course), but didn’t feel the effects until a very short time later. What did triggered PTSD very quickly was when I was in college. I was driving home from my shift in Wisconsin. It was winter time and my area was getting slammed by a bad snowstorm. I was going no more than 45mph on the freeway and got hit by a semi-truck. I couldn’t see the median of the road because of the way the wind was blowing and how heavily the snow falling to the ground. I had to keep control of my vehicle by gently applying the brake and avoid hydroplaning and landed in a ditch. I wasn’t physically hurt, but emotionally, I was terrified. I had never been in that kind of accident ever in my life. When I moved to Houston, on two separate occasions I witnessed a car rollover in the lane that I was while driving 65mph on the freeway. So scary. Not too long after that I was coming onto the feeder and heading towards the freeway when a car in front of me blew out a tire. That car did a complete 360 in front of me and both times I had to swerve to avoid being killed.

PTSD made my depression worse, but it made the anxiety even more worse than before. At one point, I refused to get in my car and go around the block. I didn’t want to hit something or have car come at me.

But the question I pose is: Is there a correlation between PTSD and violence? Better yet, is there a correlation between mental illness and violence in our society and in our schools? Experts have their own theories regarding violence and mental health. I firmly believe that there’s a connection between the two of them. They may even go hand in hand. Again, this is just my opinion. But think about it! If you look at mass shootings, 9/11, and other terror events that have happened over the years: doesn’t it beg the question? Are the people that do these kinds of atrocious acts really mentally ill?

I firmly believe that there is a underlying cause that is the root of the problem. There is something that causes people to act irrationally enough to commit these atrocities and mental health just may be one of many problems. Why would a normal, sane, rational person do that? I personally, think it’s someone who’s mentally ill and that becomes violent and starts acting out irrationally, is probably the kind of person that would do that.

Whether the perpetrator is bullied, using drugs and alcohol or insane or just cold blooded, there’s always something that triggers people to do things that they wouldn’t normally do at all. When you’re mentally ill and don’t take care yourself and seek treatment, some turn to violence as the solution. This should never be the solution. But when this does happen in our society especially in schools, you can’t ignore your health. I watched closely on television when Columbine happened, 9/11, Boston Marathon bombings, and the various school & mass shootings that occur too much in this world. Sad but true fact: my father had a ticket on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Towers, but luckily, he didn’t aboard because he fell ill that day.

Whenever, I see an event like this, I always ask the same questions: What could’ve been done to prevent this? And why isn’t anything being done at all to protect innocent lives? I’m sure I’m not the only person in this world that feels the same way. But I don’t like seeing innocent people who had lives, families/friends, and futures; get snuffed out by a violent person. It sickens me to the core. I can’t imagine (I mean, I can’t imagine at all!) what those families are and will forever go through. I can only guess shock (initially at first), then disbelief, anger and pure sadness. I cried my heart out watching these tragedies and they’re becoming way too common in our society. As a society, we can do something. We can take action and be the change. I always say “Be the change, not the problem.”

The violent acts that take place in our society is alarming. We live in a very dysfunctional loving and very cruel world. And everybody is capable of just about anything. It’s naïve to say that “This only happens to others and not me”. It can and probably will happen. A friend and former co-worker of mine is from Chicago and Chicago’s becoming more violent as each day passes. This year alone, I read in the news that there’s been over 1400 shootings since 2018 started. Can you believe that? I can’t imagine the kind of sadness and depression that those families must be enduring because of that. You didn’t even want to know how many shootings occur on a daily basis. Let alone the growing number of injured or deaths that’ve occurred. When you experience an ordeal like that, PTSD will set in and can lead to severe depression and anxiety. I mean, think about! I fully agree that there’s a correlation to a certain extent that mental illness and violence go hand and hand. (Again, this is just my opinion!) But it does make you think! We can’t keep sweeping mental illness under the rug anymore.

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