Recently here in the Portland area there have been a few stories in the news that have evoked this thought in my mind:  “Wow, I hope that person gets help right away so she doesn’t develop PTSD!”  One such case is that of a teenager kidnapped recently at knifepoint.  She was clever and fast enough to escape her captor quickly and find safety to avoid being raped and possibly murdered. She managed to avoid the worst, but she most certainly was traumatized to some extent. I do hope that her parents or friends convince her to see a therapist even for just a couple of sessions.  If she gets help immediately, she might be able to avoid developing PTSD at some future time.

This particular teenager has the advantage of being traumatized in an age when stories of men and women arriving home from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD have made it into the popular press.  A lot more people now have at least heard of PTSD.  Many men and women returning from WWI were “shell shocked.”  I don’t know what the label was for people who returned from fighting in WWII or the Korean War.  Shell shock?  Battle fatigue? By the time people returned from Viet Nam, the term PTSD was beginning to appear in journals and, at rare times, in the newspapers. 

Now, PTSD has gained enough recognition as a genuine, damaging, and possibly life-threatening condition to be covered under Medicare.  In my opinion, helping those people who have fought for our country return as closely as possible to the condition they were in before they left for battle or to a condition that will enable them to achieve their goals as civilians is the least we taxpayers can do for them.
Those of us who have PTSD that is not combat-related can thank the returning veterans for helping publicize PTSD and also for helping some of today’s therapists see the necessity for getting the training to help people heal from trauma.  I, myself, am extremely grateful for the fact that Medicare covers some of my bill for therapy. Without that help, I probably could not see a therapist. I am also grateful that I could find a therapist who is dedicated to helping people heal from trauma and who to that end has taken advantage of training in modern trauma therapy modalities.  Without her help, I would not be making progress in reducing the symptoms of PTSD. I do not take my therapist’s help or the help from Medicare for granted!

If you are suffering from abuse/trauma-related PTSD, qualify for Medicare, and have been considering entering therapy, I sincerely hope you find a therapist skilled in helping trauma victims and who takes Medicare and get started! 

If you don’t take that first step, you will never know the possibilities of the journey.