PTSD Awareness Month: Birmingham area social worker breaks down stigmas

During the month of June, PTSD advocates are spreading the message “It’s a normal reaction to an abnormal experience”
Breaking stigmas about PTSD
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 10:45 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2023 at 10:44 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - For 26 years, Gabrielle Metz has been helping those who live with PTSD.

“Personally I couldn’t do what I do every day if I didn’t see people getting better because the pain is so real,” says Metz.

She says the stigma surrounding treatment is something she battles not only during the month of June, but 365 days a year.

“Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and just soldier on just do and be, and seeking help or having emotions is not acceptable in our society sometimes,” Metz says.

She says misconceptions about the syndrome itself are just as frustrating.

“A lot of times the word is misused. ‘Oh I had a flashback’ they’re really talking about they had a remembrance but I still know that I’m here with you in this room,” Metz explains, “a flashback is actually a dissociative event. So their brain does in fact take them back to that time and place.”

There are four categories symptoms of PTSD fall into: Re-experiencing, hyper-arousal, avoidance, and changes in thought and mood.

Metz says no two cases are alike, but that the sooner you can get treatment the better.

“It’s a treatable condition” she says, “It’s a very real and debilitating condition but we have lots of research, we have a lot of treatment options that really work.”

Metz says one great resource she’s discovered over the years are apps that help monitor PTSD symptoms like anger and sleep. Many of them are free in smart phone app stores. She says another great resource for veterans is

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