Cause and Effect


“I have heard it said that this or that person with PTSD can become such an asshole. Hard to live or work with. That his or her having PTSD has made them unbearable.

Well, afford me a moment of your time to comment on that. Bear in mind that I am not a doctor of psychology or psychiatry, I am simply an over 25 year survivor and peer supporter.

It is NOT PTSD that has made them unbearable to live with, or angry, or short tempered. Granted, some of them may have had those shortcomings going into PTSD to start with. If that is the case then we must know that PTSD doesn’t take those traits away. But mostly, PTSD is an anxiety disorder or injury and my experience has been, as a peer supporter, that many good people who are now reacting the way they are is not due to having PTSD. It is because of the stigmatism shown towards them at work, the poor treatment they are offered because they are surrounded by people and leaders who don’t know how to address mental illness in the workplace. And they feel like their dignity has been stripped from them, that they are being disrespected and dismissed as “not all there” and that their ramblings of what ails them can be so confusing because they are stuck in the moment of the tragedy, that people stop listening. Then those with PTSD feel abandoned and dismissed.

It is NOT PTSD that causes them to be short tempered, angry and hard to live and work with…it is how we treat them when we don’t know how to treat them properly to start with that causes them to react the way they do.

Get rid of the “Fog of Ignorance”, educate yourselves as to what must be done to help them through this difficult time; get to know what you truly need to know about reactions to trauma and the mental injury associated with it and most likely you will rarely see anything more than the natural reactions to trauma, which are flashbacks, withdrawal, numbing, hyper-arousal and isolation, all of which can be worked with and addressed by those who know what they are doing to a point of a return to work and life as it should be.

I don’t see violence listed anywhere as a natural reaction to trauma.

Sylvio (Syd) A Gravel, M.O.M.

Staff Sergeant (ret’d.), Ottawa Police Service,

Author of: “56 Seconds” & “How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support” 


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