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I know this blog post is not that topical but I'm publishing it anyway

Written by my good friend Uche Belinda Nnoka 

I was reading a blog post a couple of days ago written by a gentleman who provides resources for people experiencing workplace bullying. He had set up this organisation as a result of his own experiences with bullying in the workplace.

His post was about workplace violence where victims, after prolonged harassment and injustice, snap and kill their colleagues. The author made statements along the lines that not enough work place bullies are shot and killed and it serves them right when it happens!

It was obvious that the author was still deeply affected by the workplace bullying he had endured some years ago. His article was written in such a way that if someone read it and upon doing so decided to kill the colleagues who were causing them such anxiety, he could potentially have been implicated for inciting violenceIt was obvious that the author was still deeply affected by the workplace bullying he had endured some years ago. His article was written in such a way that if someone read it and upon doing so decided to kill the colleagues who were causing them such anxiety, he could potentially have been implicated for inciting violence.

What is PTSD?

This again made me ponder the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The National Health Service (NHS) website describes PTSD as follows:
PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event or it can occur weeks, months or even years later. It is estimated to affect about 1 in every 3 people who have a traumatic experience, but it's not clear exactly why some people develop the condition and others don't.

From what I understand people that suffer from PTSD will either explode or implode. We've all either read or heard about the tragic shootings that have taken place in US schools, but there are debates about whether or not these shootings were manifestations of PTSD as a result of bullying or some other trauma. For arguments sake, let's say that 50% of the shooters were bullied; their actions show that they exploded. They lashed out in revenge at those around them. Then you get the following group who we typically hear about. These are the ones who self-harm; they cut their arms, they take drugs, they drown themselves in alcohol and tragically some commit suicide. These are the ones who implode, or harm themselves instead of those around them.

People affected by PTSD

There is yet another group of people who we do not hear about as much, but who also have a form of PTSD. I have a suspicion that this group is the majority, but there aren't any concrete statistics to back up my theory. These are people who neither implode nor explode as in the examples given, but just limp through life. They have been emotionally scarred by an incident or incidents, and although though they do not lean towards either extreme, their entire lives are lived in the shadow of what happened to them.

I'll give you an example. During the 50's-80's it was common for families from African and Caribbean backgrounds who wanted a better life for themselves and their families to go abroad to the country of their choice and leave their children behind in the care of relatives whilst they tried to get themselves established. The logic was they wanted to send for their children once they had found a decent home for the family to live in along with secure jobs so that the transition for their children from one culture to another would be as smooth as possible. This was the situation that my friend Anna found herself in. Anna had been left in the custody of her aunt and unfortunately, like a lot of other children in the same situation, she was horribly abused by her mother's sister.

Anna's mother would send money to the aunt to contribute towards the food shopping and other expenditures, but Anna was starved on a regular basis. Clothes that were sent from Anna's for her to wear were instead given to her cousins by her aunt, so she was both hungry and unkempt. One day, unable to endure the hunger anymore, Anna snuck into the kitchen to get some food. She was caught by her aunt, who promptly beat her and tied her to a tree in the yard for the entire night. This episode led to Anna having a life long struggle with food; she would only ever eat a small bowl of food (which is the portion she was allowed when she lived with her aunt) in the evenings which was not particularly nutritious and was the cause of her weight issues. As Anna explained all these things to me, I recalled her also saying in a previous conversation that if she could live life without eating a meal, she would. Her trauma over her abuse lasted nearly 40 years.

There are many people who are living like Anna as well as like people in my previous examples. I would love to be in a position to work with these people to help them work through their trauma and help them get their lives back on track. One of my goals is to be able to study what PTSD truly is and get a professional qualification. One of the things I would love to be able to do is to give sound counsel to those I meet on my travels who are suffering in this way. If you would be interested in helping me realise this goal, please visit my GoFundMe page. When I start the course I will keep people abreast of my progress via this blog so keep checking in!

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