Let’s Write PTSD

I touched a slight bit on PTSD in the Let’s Write Fear post, but I figure this is a complex emotional state and needs more detail.

Of course, I’m not a mental health professional, just a writer, so this is in no way aimed to be an educational post for someone in the clutches of PTSD (if you are, please seek out pro help if you can). The aim of this post is simply to inspire authors to dig deeper when it comes to writing more dimensional and realistic characters.

So, I’m just going to insert this trigger warning here.

This is a post about how traumatic events might influence characters, which means traumatic events will be mentioned. Not in detail, but they’re there. You’ve been warned.

This is also a topic close to my little heart, as I feel that so many stories out there neglect to touch on or remotely handle the trauma (both emotional and physical) that characters have suffered. So often characters just breeze through whatever horrible things happened to them or they were forced to do, with nary a care after a week or so. I personally believe it will remove the stigma from mental health issues in real life if we see fictional characters dealing with their shit.

Before we begin, I’d recommend you check out my posts on writing fear, sadness, nerves, and anger, as many of the physical sensations and behaviours of PTSD are similar to those we experience when feeling sad, angry, nervous, or scared. Also, I’ve written about my personal experiences with panic attacks, which might be useful to you if you’re writing those. And panic attacks likely will come up when you’re writing about PTSD.

So, are you ready? Let’s write.

Most Important

What is PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)?

Trauma Triggers

The Body Language and Speech of PTSD

What PTSD Feels Like


As a final note, every person will handle their trauma in a unique way. Though certain symptoms might be similar, trauma is a deeply personal thing, and every brain will find its own way to navigate it. There is no right or wrong. The most important thing is to seek out help if you’re dealing with this. You’re not alone.

If you’ve found this post to write about PTSD, I hope this little article helps you out. Just to join with what I said above somewhere, I feel we need to write well-rounded characters who deal with their trauma so the stigma surrounding these issues is lessened. The more we talk about it, the more people will be willing to admit to and work resolve their trauma. As someone who’s had to navigate the hell that is PTSD, I wish it had been normalised back then. Let’s do what we can to make it better for generations to come.


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