Researching Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I received the first of four research books I’d ordered on PTSD, a subject I find fascinating fortunately, because the heroine in my book seems to be suffering from it. It’s been interesting to see the statistics on who is more susceptible to react drastically toWaterlilies: Morning with Weeping Willows, Detail of the Left Section, 1915-26 trauma…women more than men, younger people rather than older, people with no social support, people with past substance abuse issues.

Many people suffer from the debilitating flashbacks, their hearts race, they sweat, they relive the trauma, they can’t distinguish between the actual event and their episodes of panic. Doesn’t your heart just break for them? Whether they’re Vietnam Vets, rape victims, abuse victims, disaster victims such as the survivors of 9-11…

Aside from book research, I have to wonder why God puts these things on my heart? Am I someday going to be glad for the frame of reference these psychological books are giving me? I’m still at the point in my writing, where any potential for it to have outreach seems surreal. I’m on the verge of thinking of it as more than a hobby, so I do still wonder if writing is the vehicle God knows will land me at a certain place at the right time? Know what I mean? What if I’m not ever going to be published, but will someday be in a White and Purple Water Lilies, 1918position to need counseling, or to be a counselor?

At the writing conference I recently attended, Deborah Raney half-joked about how in the beginning stages of plotting out a novel, you’ll be smacked right down in the middle of real-life research. Heaven help you if you’re writing about a plane crash! I haven’t had anything earth-shattering happen, but perfect snippets drop in my path like inspiration from God. Suddenly every article, every conversation, every sermon–comes alive and pertains to key parts of my story.

So I have to wonder about this interest in post-traumatic-stress-disorder. I really fell into it when revising my first draft of this novel. I’d alluded to the things my heroine was suffering, without knowing anything about PTSD.

At any rate, I know educating oneself is never a waste…so I’ll just enjoy the ride and see where God takes me, and possibly the book, along the way.

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BTW, one of the PTSD books I wanted was $60 plus at amazon.com and I got it for .99 cents at half.com! Isn’t that amazing?

11 thoughts on “Researching Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”

  1. That’s awesome, Mary. Please let me know anything you find that might be of interest for my trainings on sexual violence. Have you checked out bestbooksbuys.com? You might find some good deals there too. I want to write more and learn more this post is giving me a nudge to do so!

  2. Thanks, Colleen, for the bbb.com link! I have to say, I wrote this yesterday, time-stamped for today and right after that I got caught up on my emails. I was about to delete an old “comment” alert in my inbox from MInTheGap’s discussion on pro-life, and decided to read it instead. I saw the situation you outlined and your mention of PTSD! What a coincidence?!

    Anyway, I’ve been devouring the book, it’s got so many great suggestions on how to deal with the after-effects, to plan for triggers, etc. I’ll keep you and what you mentioned in mind.

  3. I have a character who has a bit of the flash back thing going, though I did all my research on line. I just love the internet. When I’m going along in my WIP and come across a research question, the answer is usually a click or two away, some times it takes me away from the story for a while, but we have to get our research right!

  4. Ive suffered from flash backs before they use to be awful havent had any for quite a while now thank our sweet Lord
    Im sure God is using this for a reason

  5. Gina, I used the internet extensively for this also, but kept coming across a couple titles that I thought would help me get a better handle on what it would be like, both to live with it, and to live with someone who suffers from it. I’m keeping my receipts for future deductions…

    Jen, I’m so sorry you ever had cause to have flashbacks. Sadly, they are much more common than I’d ever thought. I’m so thankful you aren’t still suffering from them.

  6. I think it’s awesome that you’re looking for how God will use all you’re learning about PTSD. We live in a world with school shootings, war, and things like the VA Tech shooting where many people were killed and many survived but saw so much evil up close. There are sooooo many people who will benefit from your knowledge that will come out in your books and your prayers.

  7. Bethanie, praying for you and your husband. I’m so glad he has you. If you want book titles, I’ve got several that come highly recommended…on how to work through the issues. They’re secular, but still full of insight and encouragement.

    Same thing for you, Jen. Somehow I knew you were a survivor. You have that strength about you.

    Amy, so glad to see you dropped by!! I’m loving your book, btw. :) Thanks for your encouragement, it means a lot.

  8. Mary I know God has a plan for you and your writings. It all will be revealed to you when he is ready. Just keep on doing what he puts in your heart, and pray that you follow the path he illuminates for your life. Every choice we make brings us closer to God, or takes us away, so keep on making those good choices and trust that he will finish all the good works he has given to your heart. God bless you my friend. Juli

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