Understanding PTSD: How to Know If It’s Affecting You

Imagine going through something really scary, like a car accident, a natural disaster, or being in a situation where you felt super unsafe. After something like that, some people feel okay after a little while, but others might keep feeling scared or upset for a long time. This could be a sign of something called PTSD, which stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Let’s talk about how to know if you or someone you care about might be dealing with PTSD.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is like carrying around a heavy backpack full of scary memories that just won’t leave you alone. It happens after someone goes through something really frightening or feels very unsafe. Their brain keeps thinking about the scary event, making them feel like it’s happening all over again, even when they’re safe.

Signs of PTSD

1. Reliving the Event

This is when you keep seeing the scary event in your mind, like a movie that won’t stop playing. You might have nightmares about it or feel like you’re going through it again, which is called a flashback.

2. Avoiding Reminders

You might stay away from places, people, or things that remind you of the scary event because they make you feel upset or scared all over again. It’s like avoiding the street where you fell off your bike because it makes you remember how much it hurt.

3. Feeling On Edge

This means you might feel super jumpy or easily scared by things that didn’t bother you before. Loud noises or surprises might make you feel like you want to jump out of your skin.

4. Mood Changes

You might feel really sad, angry, or not interested in stuff you used to like. It can also be hard to feel happy, even when you’re doing fun things.

How Can You Tell If It’s PTSD?

Everyone feels scared or sad sometimes, especially after something bad happens. But if these feelings:

  • Last for more than a month
  • Are really strong and make it hard to do everyday stuff, like going to school or hanging out with friends
  • Make you feel like you’re stuck and can’t move past the scary event

It might be PTSD.

What Can You Do?

1. Talk to Someone

Finding someone you trust to talk about how you’re feeling can be a big help. It could be a family member, a teacher, or a counselor.

2. See a Doctor or Therapist

These professionals know a lot about PTSD and can help you understand your feelings and find ways to feel better. They can teach you strategies to handle the scary memories and feelings.

3. Take Care of Yourself

Eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and doing things that make you feel calm and happy can help your brain and body feel better.


If you think you or someone you know might have PTSD, it’s really important to remember that it’s okay to ask for help. Just like you’d see a doctor for a broken bone, seeing a doctor for your feelings is important, too. With the right support, you can start to feel lighter and let go of the heavy backpack of scary memories.

For more information on PTSD, visit our PTSD resource page.

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