Friday, October 1, 2010

The gift of PTSD

Today I was sitting outside the shop observing a squirrel raiding a garbage can.  While I watched him dart in and out in a hyper alert frenzy something occurred to me.  That squirrel has  PTSD.  I have seen the afflicted move just like that in a hyper alert situation.  The little rodent seemed to be aware of every little rustling leaf or even hint of movement.  He never let his guard down until he had thoroughly searched the entire trash can.  Then he scurried off and disappeared into the treeline.  I have been there and done that.  But when it was over I got to smoke a cigarette and relax, this little squirrel never had that opportunity.  That got me thinking!  Are we supposed to develop PTSD as an awareness tool for survival?  Most wild animals move and act just like this.  It is not until they become domesticated like the sheep or cow that they lose this hyper alertness.  Is it that war and traumatic events are so primeval that they awaken a survival trait that we as a domesticated society no longer have a use for and look at as a disease?    It makes me wonder if our ancestors had this ability and awareness of everything that surrounds them.  It also makes me wonder at what point in human history did we unlearn a survival skill that has managed to keep our people safe for thousands of years.  What other gifts were we born with that we discarded so long ago that we can no longer recognize them for the superhuman gifts that they truly are.  If you are the fortunate recipient of this gift learn to embrace it, listen to what it has for you and take pride in the fact that you have re-learned a skill that mankind decided to live without.  Don't let anyone tell you that you have a disease or a disorder, it cannot be treated only repressed.  Learn to use your gift not repress it, it just might save your life if it hasn't already.


  1. Never thought of it s a "gift", but it has saved my life and kept me out of prison on more than one occasion. Mine came from a "less than optimal" childhood that caused me to develop what most people think is a hyper sense of vigilance.