Find The Source of Your Unhappiness

The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.
Fyodor Dostoevsky


“Incidents of post-traumatic stress disorder have been documented as far back as ancient Greece. The condition has had different labels throughout history.

“In the American Civil War, it was called soldier’s heart. In the First World War it was called shell shock and in the Second World War it was known as war neurosis. In the Vietnam War, the symptoms were described as combat stress reaction.” (CBC News Posted: Dec 17, 2008)


Eight years ago I was in a car accident. Someone else caused it and I was not to blame. No one died. No one was paralyzed or brain injured. Nothing really bad happened.

I should have felt lucky. I should have been grateful. At the very least, I should have simply got on with my life. Instead I sank, inexplicably and irresponsibly, into Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

What right do I have to PTSD? I’ve lived in a peace-drenched country all my life, grown up warmed and nurtured by a loving family. I’ve never witnessed, let alone suffered, any kind of violence or abuse.

I am not a candidate for PTSD. I snuck in the back door, someone with no right to be there at all, quaking and shaking as though some genuine tragedy had occurred when nothing really bad happened to me.

Was it some hidden character flaw, some secret weakness within me? A lack of faith or gumption or plain common sense that I didn’t know the difference between fortune and misfortune?

I don’t know. All I know is that eight years ago I was in a car accident and I endured years of PTSD and depression. And eventually I learned to admit that even though I’m alive and whole and blameless, something bad did happen to me.


Do you recognize the source of your unhappiness? Did recognizing it help you to overcome it?


About Jane Ann McLachlan

spoken at several events, including Write!Canada, Canwrite, and Montreal Worldcon, short stories published in Storyteller Magazine, B.A. in English Literature from York University, Toronto, M.A. in Canadian Literature from Carletion University in Ottawa. Jane Ann McLachlan writes fiction and memoir and teaches business communications and professional ethics at Conestoga College in Kitchener. She has published two college textbooks on Ethics, The Right Choice and Ethics In Action. Interests include writing (fiction and non-fiction), family, reading, public speaking, volunteering.

Posted on May 2, 2012, in On Trauma and Loss of Happiness. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Dianetics can sort this out for you.

  2. Hi Jane,
    Thanks for you candid blog posting about yourself. I have experienced PTSD and sometimes more often than I would like to. I sing and write. On stage, I give my heart out, and people who visit my concerts say I am great because my voice causes them to have goose bumps and the hair on their arms to stand up. That is nice to hear but after a concert, I am washed out. I sit there in a dream and sink until I find myself again. I didn’t always do that. I thought something was wrong with me but it was only later that I finally realize that people who nurture others can easily fall into PTSD,if they don’t have something or someone to hold onto. For me that is my faith and belief that I am fulfilling a purpose by touching others hearts.
    Have a great day.

  3. I experienced the result of a post traumatic stress disorder heightened by the effects of using meth on top of that disorder; and the individual I was with at times could be psychotic. I learned that everyone has their own experiences and often times its by no fault of their own. Although some treatment to understand the over all understanding is helpful.

  4. I feel that with having PTSD it is important to be aware of, and to be understanding of what the causes are. I have experienced the results of driven anxiety and sensitivities based upon my experiences; those who are unwilling to be understanding of the direct causes can cause lasting impressions.

  5. Hi Jane, I’m coming by way of MNINB, making my way through the blog list. I’ve done the first 20, now I’m starting at the bottom and working my way up. Everyone deserves to be happy, so I’m sure your blog will help a lot of people with PTSD.

  6. Post traumatic stress disorder is a natural response to an extraordinary difficult event or incident in your life. It takes time to heal and the process of post traumatic stress disorder helps overcome the difficult times of your past.

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