Posts Tagged ‘Trauma’

Can one memory shape your life?

November 23rd, 2014 1 comment

Can one memory define you?

Do memories shape us, or do we shape our memories? Can one event change your life forever?

Researcher Yochai Ataria from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem argues one traumatic event can change a person’s sense of self, and their identity. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “a traumatic event is an experience that causes physical, emotional, psychological distress, or harm. It is an event that is perceived and experienced as a threat to one’s safety or to the stability of one’s world.” Traumatic events can include a death of someone close to a person, hospitalization, terrorism, violence, physical injury, mass disasters, and other horrific events. Traumatic memories have the power seep into a person’s life, making it unable for the person to do anything but think of that event.


Maybe some of you have experienced a traumatic event, but I hope you haven’t. Unfortunately, I have. I watched my Dad pass as I held his hand. I often can’t get the image of him taking his last breath out of my mind, or the last time he said “I love you.”

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The Difference Between A Trip Up The Stairs and PTSD

April 30th, 2013 4 comments

We’ve all experienced it in some form. The sweaty palms, the pounding chest, the gasp of breath: the reliving of some unfortunate memory. Maybe it was a trip up the stairs, or a poorly executed class speech. These minor traumas delay our hectic lives for a moment; give us a second’s pause. But for some people, that pause lasts years instead of seconds.

So where is the distinction between these inconsequential daily events and a true trauma? What constitutes a true trauma for people our age? In 2006, Dorthe Berntsen and David Rubin designed a study to establish that distinction between a trip up the stairs and Post Traumatic Stress. The formal American Psychiatric Association (APA) definition for PTSD is “a history of exposure to a traumatic event meeting two criteria and symptoms from each of three symptom clusters: intrusive recollections, avoidant/numbing symptoms, and hyper-arousal symptoms” (APA, 2000). In other words, a mental roadblock.

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