PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

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The NYE incident of mass molestation on M.G. Road- Brigade Road in Bengaluru has been much condemned by the mainstream and social media alike. But what is more abhorring than the actual incident is people’s attitude towards it.

We follow the western calendar. We have simply adopted the western calendar over the ages to maintain a sort of regularity and universality in the whole world. It has become a norm all throughout the world. Different dates for the same day could mess up things beyond imagination. Therefore to live in a more organised world it was essential to follow one calendar. So when we have adopted it, live by its norms, celebrate and remember our birthdays according to it, then what’s the harm in celebrating and welcoming the New Year? What is the harm in acknowledging this incident as a crime? Why can’t we stop victim shaming? Why not for once can’t we stop blaming it on the women? Why can’t women enjoy the same liberties as any other man? Why do they have to claim their independence and be punished for it? Not all the women who were molested on that day were donning on skimpy clothes. Some were even clothed from bottom to top, which reveals that molestation has nothing to do with the length of one’s skirt. It is a mentality, a patriarchal setup which restricts the women to move out of their houses.

The nature of outrage which we have these days is very short-lived. Ten days down the line nobody will be talking about it. Nobody will even bother to find out if the police was actually successful in cornering the culprits? The only people who will not forget this incident in their lives are the victims. They will live each day in fear and most of them will grapple with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sometimes we experience things which are so traumatic and stressful that it can lead to permanent physical changes to our brain.  Not only that, women who are victims of sexual assault start feeling disgust about their own bodies. They feel that they have done something wrong. Even if one is strong enough to absolve oneself of guilt, the society that we live in makes it sure that the victim feels that way.  PTSD strongly affects the part of the brain which is responsible for learning and memory. Therefore in numerous ways it hinders our mental capabilities. It can also affect the medial prefrontal cortex which regulates our emotional reaction to both fear and stress.  PTSD is not just a psychological thing.  It also has a physical basis. Some of the symptoms of PTSD are given in the box below.

  • Difficulties with memory and concentration.
  • Nightmares of the incident can keep resurfacing for several nights leading up to years. Nightmares can take different manifestations as well.
  • Sleep problems: insomnia, excessive sleep hours, fitful sleep.
  • Flashbacks of the event or the times surrounding the event as though one were re-living it.
  • Physical manifestations of the flight/fright response such as sweating, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, or nausea in reaction to any reminder of the event.
  • Feelings of great distress and depression.
  • Extra vigilance and heightened startle responses.
  • Great anxiety and fear when discussing the traumatic event.
  • A feeling of emotional numbness.

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