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2 Questions re: PTSD

Discussion in 'General' started by 9Lives, May 1, 2007.

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  1. 9Lives

    9Lives Active Member

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    Hello again. I'm still fairly new here & I've read a lot of helpful info & posts - there are so many brave people on here! Anyway, I did have a couple of questions & wonder if anyone else shares similiar problems?

    1. For years I've experienced flashbacks & nightmares of actual events that took place in my life (which I can understand) but, recently I've been seeing strange & disturbing images that never occured (not even in my past). I become paranoid & even have nightmares about them. I've spoken with my PTSD therapist about it but, I didn't get a clear answer. Has anyone else had similiar experiences?

    2. I also have some medical problems that my docs contribute to PTSD, anxiety, depression, & poor sleep such as: short term memory problems, Fibromyalgia, diabetes, PVCs, hypertension, & tachycardia. My therapist says that people with PTSD can even be hypervigilant while asleep which can interupt restorative stages. She also says to pre-warn doctors of your PTSD if you are going under anesthesia because you may have an episode upon waking up (very true - it just happened to me!). Anyway, these problems are accumulative & it seems like stress can literally destroy your body. My question is, if you cannot control the flashbacks, hallucinations, or anxiety attacks, how do you get better? Does anyone have any helpful tips? I'm afraid my body isn't going to be able to take much more.

    Well thank you everyone for taking time to read this. Try & have a good day!
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Yes, PTSD can most certainly cause a person to begin "making" things up basically speaking. Paranoia creates memories for us, which often can be construde as true within our minds. It is nothing for a therapist having to work through what is fact vs. fictional memories, as trauma basically jumbles things around, we lie to cover the truth and much worse to avoid the full effects of trauma.

    You get better by simply having to get much worse first. What you endure with your symptoms is the side effects of trauma basically, and what your mind wants you to feel / experience. In order to get better, you must actually get much worse first. That is the basic gist to healing PTSD.
     
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  4. moki

    moki Guest

    Hi 9lives,
    Are you on any medication for the depression/anxiety? For me, getting my depression/anxiety to a manageable level has really helped me to get to the real issues. I still have trouble sleeping and have times of some anxiety and depression, AND continually have to be aware of what part of my behavior is ptsd and what is not.

    So, the medication is just enough to allow me to focus on getting better instead of my emotions totally ruling my life and preventing any progress. I really believe that the question of medication has to be considered. Whether it's short term or not, it can be a great help to get you started. It has helped with basically every side effect of my ptsd, except for dealing with the trauma itself.(which you have to work on - no medication will do that for you).

    I don't advocate a lot of drugs, just enough to take the edge off. I also highly recommend finding a good naturopath- type practitioner to help you restore your body to a higher level of health. PTSD puts incredible strain on every body system, so treating your weakest systems can help you feel better physically. I have been treated for adrenal fatigue for about 6 months now, and I feel soooo much better. I also tested very high for cortisol, which puts a huge strain on your body as well as adding to anxiety and fatigue, so take a supplement called phosphydial serine, which naturally helps to lower your cortisol production. That stuff is all related to the adrenal glands functioning irratically, and I'm not saying that is what's going on with you, but just relaying my experience to show that attacking the poor health from several different directions can be beneficial.

    Stress can affect some or all of your hormone production, so you might want to get that checked out. ssri's can help with the anxiety and depression. I can't tell what gender you are, but getting a saliva test done for estrogen, progesterone, testosterone (if you're male) and also thyroid can be extremely beneficial to show if you have any deficiencies in those areas. Deficiencies in any of those areas can really throw you off.

    Yes, I think it's very likely that the ptsd may have over the years caused your health to go downhill, but fixing the ptsd alone won't get your body back to a healthy state. It will need some help like I've mentioned above, esp. having to do with the naturopath part.

    It's all a journey, just tackle one thing at a time, it's all about being healthy, happy and whole.
     
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  5. 9Lives

    9Lives Active Member

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    Thanks Anthony. It's scary because even as I'm seeing these images, in the back of my mind, I know they can't possibly be true. I won't get into gory details here but, I once saw dead skinned monkeys hanging upside down from the trees out my bedroom window. My heart leaped into my throat & I couldn’t breathe because for a moment, I thought they were real but, when I looked again they were gone. I know I have Never seen this in real life nor do I see how this possibly relates to my trauma. I don't know why my mind is playing these tricks on me but it’s disturbing. Normally, I have nightmares or flashbacks of abuse, rape, earthquakes, near drowning, etc. (things I’ve experienced) but, I understand the reasoning behind these episodes. However…these images that aren’t real & don’t have an explanation? That’s even scarier because I feel like I’m losing my mind! Have you ever heard of this? I described this incident to my therapist but, she really didn’t know what to say. Well, thanks again for taking time to read this & have a good night.
     
  6. 9Lives

    9Lives Active Member

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    Thank you Moki for your response. I'm female (and yes, I do have hormonal issues) which probably doesn't help. I also test high for cortisol so, I thank you for that tip (phosphydial serine) - I didn't know there was something natural out there to help reduce cortisol. I also read that gingko biloba is supposed to be similiar - have you heard of that? I know it's cheaper which would work for me, lol! Anyway, I'm am definitely willing to give it a try and yes, I do take meds for depression (Wellbutrin) & for anxiety, buspirone. In the past, I was put on different types of antidepressants (i.e. trazadone, prozac, zoloft, elavil) but, although they seemed to be a bit stronger, the side effects were awful and interfered with my (2nd) marriage & taking care of my 2 y/o. So, right now I am trying wellbutrin so hopefully it'll help. Well, thanks again.

    P.S. do you get your phosphydialserine over the counter or would my doctor need to prescribe it for me?
     
  7. moki

    moki Guest

    Hi 9lives,
    It's OTC, but may not be at your usual pharmacy. I get mine at a compounding pharmacy since they tend to have not the run-of-the-mill items. I may have spelled it wrong (phosphydial serine?) but if they have it, they'll know what it is. You take 3 capsules at night before bed. If you know when your cortisol is the highest (like mine was at night AND in the morning) than you might want to take 2 at night and 1 in the morning. I have to tell you that a lot of the natural stuff I recommended tends to be kind of expensive. I think the pho. serine costs around $18 US per bottle. I'm also on an adrenal support herbal capsule that it about the same.

    I end up spending about $200 per month on OTC and Prescription medication (this was a hard thing for me to do...I'm very very cheap). I would say half of that is OTC and the other is prescription. That's with relatively good insurance. For years and years I refused to pay that much for OTC stuff, esp. if it was alternative, natural stuff, because I didn't believe it was doing anything for me. But after being on these medications, I know I was wrong. You just need someone that will give you what you need and only what you need. It has taken me years to find someone who has really been effective at helping me.

    Here are all the things I take and what they are for:
    Prescription
    Lexapro 10 mg, anti-depressant
    Deplin (activated folic acid, helps anti-depressant work, new medication)
    Progesterone/Pregnolenone cream, compounded at pharmacy
    Lamictal 250 mg (mood stabilizer)
    Progesterone capsules (helps sleep at night) compounded at pharmacy
    Xanax (only .75 mg/ day or less)

    Non Prescription
    Phosphydial Serine (reduces cortisol levels)
    Adrenal Support herbal capsules (helps to restore health to adrenal glands)
    Complex Vitamin B (helps brain function)
    Omega 3 capsules (helps brain function)

    This might look like a lot, but for how much it has helped me, it is worth it. You would not believe how I was a year ago. Insulin Resistant, 70 lbs overweight, extreme fatigue, horrible PMS, and then of course the ever worsening depression and anxiety.

    My skin is clearer and looks healthy, my fingernails have never been this healthy (have always broken easily and had wavy dents in them), my gastrointestinal problems (ulcerative colitis) have disappeared (I directly attribute this one to the progesterone cream) and I've lost at least 30 lbs (okay most of that was due to anxiety, but not anymore and I'm still losing because I'm just taking better care of myself). And, finally after being on the cortisol/adrenal/Vit. B/omega 3 combination, my energy is finally moving upward.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let someone know about this, because it has helped so much. It takes a lot of energy to figure all of this stuff out, esp. when you feel so crappy yourself. It is frustrating and disheartening to go to health care providers that are not qualified to really help you. You've really got to want to get better to muster up that extra energy to find the right health care people to help you.

    I hope this at least gives you some options to think about. And of course is just my own personal regimen and is not meant to tell you what is right for you.
     
  8. Monarch

    Monarch I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    9lives,

    I have seen the stuff you are talking about to, once I saw myself chopping off my own arm and I have had other similar incidents like yours and I just tell myself it isn't real. I freaked the first couple of times, felt like I wanted to go into the fetal position. I told my therapist and my dr. and they didn't seem concerned, something about the synapsis in your brain that have been shut down by PTSD for so long and when you start to go against everything you have trained your brain to forget about, or cover up (avoidance) it disrupts the brain pattern and things like that happen. I don't get that much anymore, it was pretty wierd there for awhile, but it seems to have passed. Hope that helps, I am not an expert.
     
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  9. 9Lives

    9Lives Active Member

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    Hi Monarch. Yes! that's exactly the same kind of things I experience & it is very strange (I hope it passes soon). I feel strange just bringing these issues up especially since my doctors didn't seem that concerned either but, to me, it's still frightening! Anyway, thanks for your reply - I'm glad I'm not alone!
     
  10. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    First I will just say yes, it all sounds normal. But you have already heard that so no need to go into detail from me.

    How to get better... That is harder. I think the way Anthony described it was kind of confusing (sorry hon). He did get out the gist of how it feels but it is a bit more than that. He was right on you get worse. Thing is you get to a point you think you are dying and it is live or die, period. It gets to build so much you hit that point, you have no choice but to make it worse to get better, even though at the moment you think it cannot get any worse. OK, so that may be even more confusing.

    Someone here once described it perfectly. You regurgitate black tar. All of the shit in you, you spill. Get it out, face it. THEN it makes you a lot worse than you are at the time. You work through it and pull it apart. Many here can help you through it with your therapy. After you have been through the worst (and it is a long worst) you notice symptoms slowly start to go away.

    It is a very long hard process and in my opinion worse than the original as it keeps going. But you will hit a point drugs and other suppression methods all fail. Then you are ready to do it. As long as we have an out we normally seek it. When you hit all walls and you suddenly see you cannot climb out and you must dig to find light, you do. We are here for each other during this task. Not always the same person everyday, but always someone here.
     
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  11. 9Lives

    9Lives Active Member

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    Hi Veiled, thanks for your response. Yes, everyone's been very helpful but, from what I'm hearing (about getting worse before it gets better), I don't know if I can do that - it sounds absolutely terrifying!! I've got almost 30 years of horrific trauma that I've repressed for so long & tried to hide just so I can "fit in" as much as I could. I'm also on my 2nd marriage (and I don't want another one to fall apart) especially since we have a 2 y/o. I don't know if I can risk being in a worse state of mind & take care of my child at the same time. Wow - this is so tough though because I feel like I'm getting worse anyway. Plus, other than my therapist & the folks on here, I have no other support. It's so scary not knowing what to do!
     
  12. 9Lives

    9Lives Active Member

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    Thanks again Moki, you've been extremely helpful. You're right, I looked the medication up & it's pretty pricey (especially for me since I don't work right now). But, I do have an upcoming appointment with my VA psychiatrist so, I'll ask him for his advice - maybe he could write a prescription?? If not, I'm also in the process of having my disability increased so, hopefully if/when it goes through that will help me financially afford more help. Well, thank you again for your help, I really appreciate it.
     
  13. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    I was/am on my 4th and last marriage (3rd was 2 whole days and does not count!) and had an infant when all fell out and she is so well at 3 years old now and the oldest about to drive in a few months. I have been suffering about the same amount of time too (just did not have a name to it). I have 4 children. It built and built until all fell out with working very long hours daily commuting in Houston for an hour and driving cross country if off work (cannot drive in a town of 2000 now) and drinking after work.

    Just thing is as you say it gets worse and worse and not sure if you can handle worse... You have to hit all bottom and will. It does not matter if you have kids or a husband, healing will say when it needs to, your life has no impact or say so unless things get comfortable then all goes to hell. We seem to function, or I did under high stress, remove it and all goes to hell. Only you can decide whether or not you are ready for this long journey. Just remember when you are ready will are around.
     
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