Our Lives With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury


Post-Traumatic …

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Bill of Rights

by: Todd Burgess (tburgess57@yahoo.com)


Adapted from The Grieving Person’s Bill of Rights

by: Dr. Alan Wolfelt


  1. You have the right to experience PTSD. Everybody has experienced different trauma and your PTSD reflects this. You have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Do not allow anybody to tell you what you should and should not feel because of your experiences.

  2. You have the right to talk about PTSD. Talking about PTSD will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you talk as much as you want without judgment.

  3. You have the right to experience a range of emotions. Sadness, anxiety, anger, guilt and happiness are some of the emotions you will experience. Never allow anyone to tell you what you are feeling is wrong.

  4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits. Your ever changing moods and emotions will leave you tired. Respect your body and mind and what they tell you. Get lots of rest and do not forget to eat. Do not allow others to push you into things you are not ready to do physically.

  5. You have the right to experience panic attacks. PTSD can overwhelm you without warning and this is a natural part of PTSD. Respect your panic attacks and get to a safe spot and call a friend if you need help to calm down. Avoid doing anything drastic to try deal with your panic attack.

  6. You have the right to experience PTSD as a journey. All journeys will include wrong turns and steep hills but with patience you can arrive at your destination. PTSD too is a long journey that with patience you can overcome. Mistakes in this journey are yours to make and are a part of the journey.

  7. You have the right to search for meaning in your PTSD. Some questions will have answers and some will not. Accept that some questions will never have answers. Avoid cliche answers such as “It’s God’s will.” or “It could always be worse.”

  8. You have the right to make use of therapy. Seek out a therapy and a therapist you are comfortable with. Do not allow anybody to question your therapy or therapist. Not all therapists are right for you so accept that finding a therapy and a therapist will involve some trial and error. Find a therapist you can believe in even when you can not believe in yourself.

  9. You have the right to flashback and experience distressing images of traumatic events. You will feel fear, helpless, horror and even anger at having these memories. Accept they are a normal part of PTSD and with therapy and time they will become more manageable.

  10. You have the right to fight the good fight. No apologies or explanations are ever needed. Be prepared for the unexpected and always have a plan in place in case things go wrong. Battles will be won and lost but the war is yours to win. There is no shame in asking for help and admitting defeat. Self-harm or suicide is never an option and never be ashamed to ask for help if you reach this point.   

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