Hypnotherapy & Life’s Battles: Stress, Shock and PTSD.
It’s the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme this month which was the bloodiest battle of the First World War which started on 1st July 1916 and lasted until November of that year. Shockingly on the first day of the battle 19,240 British soldiers were massacred and 38,231 injured; mown down predominantly by German machine gun fire and Howitzer shelling. So many casualties were young Newcastle, Durham and North East infantrymen.
When the war started in July 1914, there was great excitement. Young British men and women were carried away by the optimistic patriotism of the day, seizing the opportunity to find adventure away from their humdrum lives, poor wages and unemployment to join their pals fighting for glory just over the Channel, with the belief they’d ‘be home by Christmas’.
Just imagine how terrified they were as the realities of trench warfare unravelled around them. What we now classify as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was uncategorised back then, although accounts of psychological distress following military trauma date back to ancient times.
In The Great War, symptoms of PTSD were defined as “shell shock” because panic attacks, anxiety and sleep problems were seen as a reaction to the explosion of artillery shells and were thought to be caused by physical damage to the brain from shockwaves. It was only when soldiers and non-combatants far distant from the frontlines had similar symptoms, that people realised this was a psychological condition.
Stress is ‘Slow-Motion’ Shock
Exposure to traumatic experiences has always been a fact of life. From Stone Age battles to 21st Century terrorist attacks, psychological shock to survivors of trauma is a very serious condition which can actually cause death.
There are sudden shocks and more lingering, drawn out shocks which can link to stress causing major damage to the body over a longer period.
Unwelcome or sudden change like divorce, death, redundancy and recession can be a massive shock to the system, flipping stability and threatening the very foundation of our lives. Since the 2008 recession began, I’ve seen a huge increase in people attending my Newcastle hypnotherapy practice to enquire about coping with change and managing stress. As the downturn dragged on, and uncertain times extended some experienced a sudden loss of control over a previously manageable situation and struggled with the mental and physical aspects of long term stress as they battled to keep their job or businesses afloat and pay the bills.
Coping with the unknown
Brexit last week was another big shock. Thanks to mainstream-media messaging even the ‘Leave’ voters thought Bremain was a certainty to wake up to the next morning. Whichever way you voted we will all be confronted with a huge programme of change which will prove stressful for many.
I predict the same for the EU transition. There are many unknowns and knock-on effects which will be both positive and challenging for the country and individuals as events unfold. There will also be casualties, because the situation is no less a battle than recession or war, where words and actions become the bullets. I anticipate many more stress related consultations for hypnotherapy support and addictions over the coming months. The specialist techniques and tools I use and teach offer new approaches and powerful coping strategies for both individuals and groups.
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