A body of evidence suggests that your social environment immediately after a traumatic event can, at least to some degree, dictate the long-lasting effects. I find this extremely interesting and definitely believe there is something to this theory. Certainly, I think there are others factors, like the nature of the event itself, that play a bigger role, but I do see the connection.
For me, my “social environment” immediately after an event was interacting with the fella’s back at the firehouse. Not exactly a supportive and nurturing environment to express your feelings after being directly and intimately involved in a horrific situation. In fact, it was the exact opposite. It’s like the Tom Hanks line from League of Their Own: “There’s no crying in baseball!” Substitute firehouse for baseball……
It seems to me that by raising the level of awareness in first responders, and thereby changing the environment, we can prevent a significant number of PTSD cases. Would this have helped me? I’m not sure…..I think I have some other contributing factors that would still have dictated some degree of PTSD. However, I do think it is plausible that the effects might have been less – maybe dramatically less. It certainly would not have made it worse…..
Here’s a link to an article: