MASON CITY, Iowa - June is PTSD Awareness Month, with June 29th designated as PTSD Awareness Day. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 8 million adults experience the disorder annually, with roughly 8% of the population experiencing PTSD at some point in their life.
And this is a time of year when PTSD can be aggravated. So far, a pandemic, as well as social unrest, politics, layoffs, event and travel cancellations and other uncertainties have dominated headlines and attention around the globe.
"All of these unknowns can affect everyone differently."
Holly Ruter with Turning Leaf Counseling has heard from some clients who find themselves or have social anxiety are doing better now before the pandemic because they're able to stay inside.
"The forced stay home is a relief. I don't have to go anywhere, and it's socially acceptable for me not to go anywhere, so I don't have to worry, I don't have to push myself to do that. But then there's the people that are really social and they really want to be out doing things, and they've become increasingly more anxious or depressed."
At the beginning of the quarantine period a few months ago, Ruter heard from clients that they felt fine, but would then notice it began taking a bit of a toll on them.
"People were good. They were saying, 'I don't have to go to work, I don't have to go to school, this is awesome.' Two or three weeks into it, we started hearing people say, 'I'm bored, I want to get out and do things. I'm getting nervous about this.'"
If you're looking for ways to keep your mind off of what's going on, Ruter challenges people to do something positive.
"Whether that's posting a positive picture or a positive saying or whatever it is, because I need to feel positive. When we're giving positive, we feel positive too."
In addition, Ruter encourages people to go outside and get some fresh air, utilize deep breathing exercises, or socialize with a loved one via technology. And if you have to turn off the TV or social media for a bit, that's OK as well.