PTSD: Your Condition is Not Your Conclusion

Maria Anna van Driel
4 min readJan 13, 2022

By Maria Anna van Driel,

You have no clue when or how but, somehow you have slid into this odd air bubble filled with millions and millions of thoughts still, a deafening silence is what you hear when focusing on these thoughts. Dozens of familiar and uncontrolled memories are flashing by still, somehow you do not quite recognize them. Even though you know that these thoughts and images are yours, being your past, it feels as if you hear and view someone else’s memories of which some even look as if they are written by an award-winning scriptwriter of the latest horror movie Netflix is broadcasting.

Against your better judgment, you try to get a grip on yourself but, whatever you do, your emotions and thoughts are one big mess! Where you once felt super excited you now feel numb. You are constantly alert, you lose your focus, and have trouble sleeping, “What the heck is going on, am I going nuts?!” Shame and anxiety start kicking in! “What will my surroundings think of me? Will they think that I am batshit crazy?”

And so, you crawl into that, metaphorically speaking, ‘dark corner’, keep it all to yourself in silence because you feel that no one will ever understand what you are going through. “How do I explain this vivid effect that seems to have a tremendous impact on my thinking and behavior?” And, after a while, you retreat while trying to make sense of your emotions experiencing a bumpy roller coaster ride.

Do you recognize these, surface scraping, symptoms? If so, it might be that you, like me, are experiencing a form of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) what, according to many psychologists, is a mental illness and can be treated by you taking a huge amount of medications after they have been categorized you and, labeled you with a grim sounding disorder.

Even though the common thought of PTSD is involving the exposure of the frightening, stressful, and overwhelming experiences like being in a serious accident, being physically assaulted, being involved in a war — either as a civilian or as part of military operations, being involved in a natural disaster, such as a bushfire, flood or cyclone, being sexually assaulted or abused, it also involves the personal experiences of, among others, military personal, police officers, fireman/woman who are working under huge pressure and in unusual situations. Stories no civilian will hear…officially.

There is no doubt that almost everyone who experiences trauma will be emotionally affected, and there are many different ways in which people will respond. For some, the effects can last for years — or longer. Luckily most people will recover quite quickly with the help of family and friends. Meaning, the symptoms of PTSD do not always have to last forever and can be reduced even without treatment from a therapist.

There was a time when I was in a really dark place

To unpack my story so that you have an idea of who I am and, why I speak with the passion that I speak with… as many know, I am the founder and owner of two scientific magazines with which I try to make science more accessible in a fun way and for all ages. But I wasn’t always the publisher and editor of The Next Truth. In my early 20ths, I was an armed, un-uniformed police officer arresting the scumbags. And for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like a failure. I actually felt successful and worthy. I felt like I was good enough.

But, as with everything in life, things have a run-up consisting of several little moments that accumulate day after day, week after week, year after year, and, ultimately, affect your behavior, thinking, and thus decisions. Oh, don’t get me wrong, even though I have witnessed some of the grimmest and gory moments life has to offer, joining the force wasn’t a bad decision. At least, that’s what I realize today.

So, how did I, as a sensitive and empathic kid, end up in an invisible but armed team that was focused on arresting and interrogating, among others, drug dealers, human traffickers, psychopathic killers, (potential) bombers?

To read the full article visit CPTSD Foundation



Maria Anna van Driel

In 2020 I realized I was trapped in a toxic relationship since '00. In Aug. '22 I found the strength to break away, flip my life to become a psychotherapist.