Sometimes I can see doubt come over people when I tell them I have PTSD. Perhaps they have images of people lashing out with guns, heads hung low in depression, or faces in shock (dissociation). While these images are examples of some cases, this is not how life with PTSD is all of the time.
The brain is plastic. And unlike old beliefs that our brains stop growing and deteriorate with age, the brain is actually able to heal and form new neural connections.
For those with PTSD, the difference between representing that feared imagery and being highly functioning patients is a factor of how they choose to cope. Thanks to my studying Jungian personality type theories, I learned early on that being around people inspires my brain. There were days when I simply wanted to die yet forced myself to go to the neighborhood bar to be around people. Sometimes I wouldn’t talk to anyone, and had to tell people, “I don’t feel like talking,” but it always helped. Other coping strategies are those used for ADHD, such as making lists, writing down everything possible, and not holding on to things. I have many coping strategies and I’m working on a book to include them.
The worst case scenario is likely someone who lost all of his friends and has no one else who supports him except maybe a social worker. A brain that doesn’t engage with other people could go in the other direction of plasticity and spiral into other mental illnesses.
The important thing to note is that PTSD has a stigma, and like all stigmas, it needs to be ignored in order to be able to treat PTSD patients with respect and without bias.