Healing After Trauma

Kanaka Menehune, via Flickr

Liz Waid and Mike Procter look at how people can recover after extremely difficult events. Some people experience problems that become a mental disorder.

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Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Mike Procter. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

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A Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, fight is about to begin. Two men stand in the fighting area. It is surrounded by a linked metal fence. People watch as the fight begins. The men wrestle on the ground, holding each other tightly. They kick and jump. They hit each other with their hands. MMA is a very rough sport. The fighters are often injured. But today one of the men is using MMA to help him heal.

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Kyle DuBay is a war veteran. He went overseas with the United States Army three times. He was not well when he came back from fighting in the army. DuBay was negatively affected by the terrible things that he saw in the war. He had PTSD. Today’s Spotlight is on healing from problems caused by extreme trauma - a condition called PTSD.

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The letters PTSD stand for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This mental condition affects people after they experience extremely difficult events - events like severe injury or seeing someone else die. These events are called trauma. PTSD is common among soldiers and people living in conflict areas. War creates a lot of trauma. But other events in life can also cause PTSD. The sudden death of a parent can cause PTSD in children. A person who is sexually, physically or emotionally abused or attacked may also have PTSD. Other people have PTSD after natural disasters such as terrible storms.

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It is difficult for people with PTSD to live a normal life. Most people feel fear and anger when they experience traumatic events. But for people with PTSD, the trauma causes a disorder. This causes the feelings to remain, even after the person is safe again.

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People with PTSD cannot stop remembering the traumatic events. They often have bad dreams. When they are awake they think about the terrible events that happened to them. Many people with PTSD do not want to remember. They try to avoid any situation that will make them think of the trauma. They may hide away from people. Or they may react with anger. People with PTSD may not be able to be calm. They may always feel like they need to defend themselves.

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When Kyle DuBay returned from fighting in the US Army he had many of these problems. He was always worried and angry. He even slept with guns near his bed. He told the news organization NPR:

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“You feel anger just spreading into your arms, into your fingers. And your heart starts just beating really fast. You just want to shout. And I did not know how to get rid of it.”

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It is not possible to change the events of the past. So what can people with PTSD do? There are many ways to decrease the effects of PTSD. People can talk to a therapist - a psychiatric doctor. A trained therapist listens to the patient. She helps the patient to express how he feels. The therapist encourages the patient. She does not judge. And the therapist often helps the patient find new ways to solve his problems.

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Kyle DuBay talked to a therapist. He also took medicine for his PTSD. But he still had a lot of negative feelings. Then he began Mixed Martial Arts. He found that physical activity or exercise was good way to deal with stress. Some people may like a different kind of physical exercise such as swimming, running or dancing. MMA helped DuBay alot. He told NPR:

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“I felt better. I felt happier, less anger, less worry. I felt great.”

Voice 1 

Scientists are also using new technology to help treat PTSD. Brian Sullivan has PTSD after serving in the US Army. He talks to a therapist. But he also has a special program on his cell phone. It helps him to record his thoughts and emotions. And it plays quiet music to help him to be calm. Sullivan told the BBC:

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“It is a therapist that I carry with me. When you are sitting at home or if you are out somewhere, you can put on a set of headphones and listen privately.”

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But technology cannot replace a person. One of the best ways to heal is through healthy relationships. Dr. Marla Handy is a university lecturer. She has PTSD because she was abused as a child. But she found ways to live a good life. She told her story to the organization Gift from Within. Dr. Handy talked about how other people have helped her:

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“I have wonderful friends who were able to be supportive of me when neither of us knew what was going on. My husband has been able to be very supportive. Humour is also very important to me. It is having the sense to not treat me like I am weak.  But to accept that that is part of my life and just get on with it.”

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PTSD is very difficult but there is hope for healing. K Waheed suffered traumatic events as a child. For many years she continued to suffer from PTSD. She is now healing. She wrote to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

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“I am thankful that I have had lots of support and great professional help. I also really wanted to recover, and I was willing to work to overcome all of my trauma. Other miraculous help has come from my spiritual beliefs and practices. Today I know I am safe. That is the best feeling in the world!”

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Rena Dam. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Healing after Trauma’.

Voice 1 

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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What helps you calm down and stay focused?


Avatar Spotlight
said on February 13, 2013

When I read program’s story,I really a little scared about consequences of war.Although,war was over but wound of it still remain and make humans feeling suffering from PTSD.Through that,I hope around the world,war will never appear like help people heal trauma afer war…

Avatar Spotlight
said on April 03, 2014

In the life we struggle with difficulties. We struggle with not good things. We struggle with ourselves. We are in battle between the good and the evil. Wounds need to be healed. Traumas need to be treated. Sufferings need to be eased. Lives need to be recovered. Beautiful good things develop the life. Beautiful good things exist. Not good things destroy the life. Not good things need to be pushed away.

Avatar Spotlight
said on April 05, 2014

Healing the people’s soul after they experienced the extremely traumatic events is possible, however, it is not simply, easy or fast. The sensitive persons often suffer from consequences of terrible experiences all their life, they cannot stop remembering what happened to them, they are not able to forget. Only the professional therapy can help the evil victims, the treatment is necessary for people with PTSD, because only in this way they will be able to have the normal happy life in future.
Thanks for interesting article!

Avatar Spotlight
Ecir İsiyok
said on September 25, 2019

thank you very much for all.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on October 05, 2019

From .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To spotlight program
Subject to answer the question below
Location São Paulo city SP brazil
Saturday 05, October 2019

Dear Rena Dam, Liz Waid, Michio Ozaki, and Mike Procter

Thank you for producer more one great article for us brazilian people and others around the World.
Question 1 - What helps you calm down and stay focused?
Answer 1 - I am always sure what I want to do and before to do anything I put God at the front of me to help me about everything. Thanks God.
God bless you
Your regards,
Severino Ramos