As A Man Thinks – Christie Dobbins
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that by definition is triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. In the wake of the recent tragic shooting that occurred last week here in Dallas it is important to educate ourselves concerning this illness. Hundreds of thousands of people across the DFW area witnessed this horrific event live via television and millions more across our country later viewed the replay of a peaceful evening turning deadly. With countless hours of news coverage as well 24/7 discussions on social media, the memories of that night, July 7, 2016, has made an indelible imprint in our thinking organ, our mind. Many of us have images and thoughts about that night that continue to remain prevalent in our psyche.
While not everyone exposed to a traumatic event will develop PTSD, it’s important to know and recognize some of the possible signs of a person dealing with this illness. It is natural for everyone to experience fear during and/or after a traumatic event, but those who struggle with PTSD will sense fear even when they aren’t in danger. A few symptoms of PTSD are staying away from places that are reminders of the traumatic experience, avoiding thoughts and feelings related to the traumatic event, difficulty sleeping and distorted feelings like guilt or blame. One or two symptom is not enough to diagnose PTSD; it is the combination of multiple symptoms. To receive an accurate diagnosis, see a Mental Health Professional.
In an effort to educate and increase awareness of mental health illnesses, such as PTSD, AGW’s African American Faith-Based Mental Health initiative is hosting two Mental Health Conferences this fall. The first conference is September 17, 2016, hosted by Windsor Village Church in Houston, Texas, and the second conference is November 5, 2016, hosted by Concord Baptist Church in Dallas, TX. The purpose of these conferences is to educate, equip and empower local churches and the community as a whole to move from the stigma to solution.
Scripture tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7) Our brain is our thinking organ, yet it is an organ nonetheless. Just as we have annual exams for our physical health, a mental health check-up is vital to live a healthy, whole life. Tragedies seem to occur more and more frequently these days, and it is in these times that we need to rest, reflect (think) and recharge. We must balance the amount of negative images and news that we consume because our thinking organ, our brain, can only digest so much.