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Just Found Out I Have PTSD

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Storm, Apr 15, 2006.

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  1. Storm

    Storm New Member

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    My name....well just call me Storm.

    I'm 18 years old, and my therapist thinks I have PTSD. I always thought I was just over emotional and didn't know how to deal with things. I've always thought that I just didn't want to get close to people. I thought nightmares were normal; but apparently not.

    I was repeatedly molested by my older brother when I was 12 but I've always tried to convince myself that it didn't have an effect on me. My mom doesn't know, and I've only told about 4 people about it, and only recently. I never thought keeping it in would not be good for me.

    I've been seeing my therapist for about 6 months, but didn't tell him about the incidents with my brother till 3 days ago (because I finally turned 18, and if I talked about it before then my therapist would have had to report it) Now I'm being told that my inability to deal with my emotions are probably just symptoms of PTSD and not who I am; that I can still change, and gain control of myself. I've always just thought that I was weaker then everyone else....I always just though I was pathetic, that not being able to control myself was my own fault.

    I really don't know how to make sense of the world right now. I'm very confused. It hurts to know that all these things that have made me feel different from everyone else could be a medial problem, and not problem with me. Does anyone have any advice?

    Thanks for listening,
    Storm
     
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  3. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Welcome Storm. :hello: Don't beat yourself up about it. I only realised that i was not "normal" a couple of years ago and I'm nealrly 30! Even now, I still do the avoidance denial thing as my way of coping - doesn't work in the long run.

    Main things to remember -it's not your fault. Working through it all is damn hard, but you're doing great already cos you told someone. Telling people about your abuse is one of the hardest things you will ever do in your life. Take your time dealing with it all and take good care of yourself. Don't feel obliged to tell your mum, and certainly make sure you discuss what you want to gain from telling anybody. I told my mum the very basics a couple of years ago after months of preparation in therapy. She thought she was saying all the right things, and she meant well, but while I was relieved that I was no longer hiding my secret from her, I was still very disappointed with the outcome.

    Parents are also very good at the denial thing. The words my mum said went something along the lines of "If I'd known, I would have stopped it straight away!" this coming from my mum who stood by and watched more than once as I got thrown across the living room or kitchen by my brother. I find it hard to believe that with such obvious violence going on, my mum didn't think there wasn't more stuff going on that she didn't know about.

    I don't have a great relationship with my mum. We get along and are friends, but I don't tell her my personal issues. I only just told her that I was having problems again, when I've been in trouble for about 6 months. The only reason I told her is because she'll know somethings wrong cos I've lost so much weight since she saw me in January.

    I guess I'm telling you this to try and help you understand what is ahead. Only you know how your family works and only you know what you want to achieve through therapy (and if you don't know yet, you will in time). So don't rush and don't be hard on yourself - says me, who has been there, done it and gone wrong so often! You are doing the right thing - I wish I was as brave as you when I was 18. I was too scared to tell, but I did warn my brother that if he ever touched me again I would not hesitate to call the police.

    I left home to go to university a couple of months later, and I rarely visit my parent's home anymore. I give them the option of coming to visit me instead of me going to them. Sometimes it's just too hard to go there, as it sets everything off. It usually takes me at least 2 weeks to get back to a more regular sleep pattern after a visit, and these days I've decided that I'm worth more than putting myself through the wringer just so they can see me.

    Please don't be downhearted about my experience - too much time has gone by and people have gone on with their lives, so there really are no benefits of confrontation that I can see for me. Your life is different. Your family is different. Your experience is different. Use your therapist to work through all your issues and do what you need to do to deal with this.

    This is an excellent place to get support, so stop and say hi when you want and have a trawl through Anthony's great info!
     
  4. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Welcome Storm,

    You have already taken two courageous steps ..........first talking to a therapist and secondly coming here. I hope both of those moves will be a journey towards some peace in your life. It really pisses me off to hear of the damage that adults or older people do to little people/children/babies. They have no defence mechanisms and at a time when they should feel safe and nurtured they don't. I agree with Piglet, don't beat yourself up about it, you have enough to deal with sorting out the aftermath. Your brother is responsible for his behaviour not you. As for being weaker and not being able to deal with your emotions - weaker, I definately do not think that applies, you are facing demons that it takes others 20, 30 even more years to confront and emotions, how could you be expected to deal with emotions correctly? You were never taught nor given the opportunity to explore your feelings and the right way of dealing with them because of the abuse. That is the responsibility of parents with their children, protecting them and giving them a safe place to be ALWAYS - emotionally, psychologically and physically.

    I don't have PTSD but I do have a passionate hatred for anyone that abuses children. As I said, I hope this is the start of some healing and peace for you. Visit here anytime you need to chat and take care.
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Hi Storm, welcome aboard the mad hat merry-go-round. Seriously though, you have taken a pretty huge step by coming here and telling everyone what some of your traumas are. Denial takes up a huge chunk of a persons life when they have PTSD, but don't actually know it, ie. as you now know yourself, you just thought you were different. You by no means different... more unique, with everything normal, but you just have this other stuff around (PTSD) that is getting in the way of things.

    Let me help you out possibly, in that you have probably forgotten the person you where before being abused by your brother. Whilst you may have forgotten it, your actual true self before PTSD is stored within your brain, and you can actually find it again, and become pretty close to the person you should be before trauma.

    I don't know exactly what you know about PTSD from your counsellor, but I will give you the blunt truth now... its not curable. Now the down side is out of the way, the upside is that you can actually learn to manage it, even though it will be with you your entire life. You will always get recurring memories throughout your life... regardless what some young doctor thinks they may aspire in telling you they could cure you. These trauma (memories) are now permanently etched into your brain. They are there for you lifetime.

    Now you know you have PTSD, acknowledge that you have PTSD, and acknowledge you have a problem and need to get better, most of the hard work is over. Initial denial is the biggest phase within PTSD... trust me on that one, I have walked the path for years, as many do, including yourself. You thought you where just that way, but instead you where actually inflicted with trauma, knowing it or not. Unfortunately it is too late for you, in that instead of getting these traumas out before they had a chance to develop into PTSD, you held out for your own reasons, and developed it.

    From what you have said, you seem pretty positive in learning about how to fix yourself, and deal with the symptoms of PTSD so they become part of your life, instead of taking over your life. PTSD will very easily take over your life, as you are already discovering / discovered, ie. poor social life, people skills, crowds, nightmares, depression, anxiety, possibly you may off noticed yourself with the shakes or nervously tapping your leg, stress, etc etc. All these symptoms are life threatening... and I say that honestly, as many many people with PTSD commit suicide because PTSD takes over, and controls them, instead of being controlled.

    I won't lie to you, and say its an easy road, because its not. Your in for one hell of a ride, especially now you have just told your counsellor about the specifics. The problem with PTSD, is that you need to take your individual traumas head on, and face them one at a time, incident by incident, until you have gotten to the point where they no longer frighten you or consume you, but merely exist as memories. Yes, they will come back during your life, generally at the most inopportune times and bite you on the arse through stess, anxiety or depressive states, but with lots of knowledge, practice and professional guidance, you can keep them all at bay, and within some sort of moderate control.

    We fight within ourselves every day to handle PTSD, and as long as your willing to fight the symptoms, use the tools of knowledge and techniques you will learn over time to manage them, you most certainly can live a pretty semi-normal life again, love, relationships, having a family of your own and so forth.

    Blunt, and probably a little overwhelming, but the truth of the matter with PTSD. I figured you probably needed to get it straight up, now that you have just found out you have it. During the initial stages of PTSD, you need good counsellors, good doctors, and generally medication to help you control it, until such time you are armed with the knowledge and experience to handle it. Some people with PTSD will take medication their entire life to help control it, because they simply cannot control it without it, then others will learn, learn, learn, everything they can get their hands on, others experience and techniques, professional techniques, etc etc, to control it without medication. Some people just smoke a joint everyday for the rest of their life to help keep symptoms under control. Only you will know what is best for you. I use cigarettes, as nicotine is a drug that calms and soothes, hence why a lot of people with PTSD smoke.

    As long as your not drinking in excess, with is a way of suppressing PTSD, though also a depressant at the same time. There are ways to manage it, there are proven techniques and personal experience to help you. Just read through this place, as it lists so many things already that people use to help them individually control their PTSD.

    I figured I would go with another angle on things, considering Piglet and Kerrie-Ann (my wife) did such a good job above covering the other aspects of your post. Congratulations for helping yourself, by not denying your PTSD, by actively seeking help and knowledge, and going to counselling. If you think your not strong, then you really need to reconsider that statement, because just with my experience, your jumping in leaps and bounds in the right directions at such a young age, you really should be quite proud of yourself.

    The best thing you could probably do at this time, with the knowing and so forth, is go get yourself a massage or acupuncture, and just chillout and relax. Your going to need it, trust me on that.
     
  6. Storm

    Storm New Member

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    Thank you all so much. It feels nice to have someone to talk to about this.

    I believe my biggest problem is my suicidal thoughts...which when something triggers me, those thoughts are almost impossible to get rid of. I have also been cutting myself since the incident happened, and for me it would be great to find a way to release my energy in another way. It's just so hard to be rational when something sets me off.

    I was on an anti-depressant for about a week, but I hated how it made me feel. It's like I knew I was still miserable but just couldn't feel it in my body. So I stopped taking it.

    I'm wondering what symptoms people here experiance? How did you find out that had it? And what do you do when something triggers you?
     
  7. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Storm,

    As Anthony mentioned, massage and/or acupuncture may be a way to help. I might also suggest yoga as a postive way of releasing some of that energy. I am on the go, from the moment I wakeup until I sleep and I find yoga helps because it is an active form of gentle exercise/meditation. It will help you calm the mind and the body. Its worth a thought, its not for everyone but then neither is riding a bike. Take good care of you, rest and sleep when and if you can, eat well, exercise or just get some fresh air and eat chocolate if all else fails! The good things that you can do for yourself will often be those that you feel like doing the least, but try anyway. I dragged Anthony's sorry butt out for a walk this morning and although he hated to admit it, it did make him feel a little better. Again take care, chat as you need to, Anthony is often not far from the computer.
     
  8. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    This is a huge warning, which says, you need to be on medication. A medication called lexapro, is the actual newer medication designed specifically for PTSD sufferers. PTSD is cause by an imbalance in chemicals between the right and left hemisphere of our brains. Lexapro helps balance that out. I have actually never heard of a negative response from those with PTSD on lexapro. I was part of the original trial, and it most certainly helped me with suicidal tendencies during some of the hardest times.

    Lexapro is a much more sedate type medication, with very little to no side-affects. Every medication has them, and its a individual thing to find the right one. As said though, because this is made purely for PTSD (also treats other things) it helps rebalance that chemical imbalance... I think you need to talk with your doctor about being put on it.

    Whilst one medication didn't work for you, not all are the same. It really is a trial within yourself to find the right one. I was on lexapro for the first couple of years, which most certainly helped me continue to be here today. I know a lot more now, and reduced myself off it completely, though still smoke cigarettes to help counter my moments, which are none the size of when originally diagnosed and in my very worst stages, with no knowledge, and no experience of how to manage it.

    Seriously, get medicated now before you right yourself off. I am not saying you need to be on them all your life, but just to help you get through the worst parts, whilst you learn and try new things within yourself in managing your unique circumstances. Cutting yourself and suicide are a dead set giveaway to get medicated before its too late.

    Here are the [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread6.html"]symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder[/DLMURL], of which every symptom I have experienced with this illness, generally multiple at once and some are just ongoing and near part of my daily life now.

    My wife was the one who finally forced me to seek help, in that it was a choice really, get help or lose her. I went for help, at which point they said I had PTSD, with no apprehension at all. I was a wreck, drunken most of the time, angry beyond reproach where I used to just walk up and knock people down, kick them, etc etc... I was out of control, and very far from what was normal or acceptable.

    It takes time to learn about managing PTSD symptoms... most likely you will actually continue learning new things your entire life. I guess the most important thing is that you first identify what triggers you, and you need to avoid putting yourself within those circumstances. You will hit a point in your life where you will most likely be calm enough, and have enough confidence within yourself to hit triggers head on, ie. revisit trauma locations, etc. Now is not that time though, as you, me and most others have more pressing things to attend too, and that is learning how to continually manage our illness better than we are.

    When something triggers a symptom in me, it means I have to fight twice as hard to get it back under control. Generally, I need to come home, rest, unwind, and my mind goes faster than it does normally to work out what happened. I know that I can't handle very large active crowds, ie. shopping centers when school has just finished, which are full of rude pushy teenagers. I have to leave or I will injure them. Its in all parties best outcome that I do not put myself within those environments.

    What I am saying I guess, is you have to know your triggers to begin with, and ensure you don't put yourself within those places or scenario's to set the trigger off. If you do get triggered, you need to remove yourself immediately and go to a place you deem safe, and work yourself out of depression, anxiety or whatever else is about to hit you, so you don't get worse real fast.

    Identification is a huge huge key to successfully managing PTSD. If you don't know what triggers you, its very hard to control something you don't know.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  9. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Storm,

    I haven't got a huge amount to say, cos Anthony has said it already. You need to find what works for you. When i get on the suicidal merry go round, as soon as I realise, I grab my ipod, stick some music on and go walking. It doesn't matter what time it is or what the weather is like, I just walk. Having the headphones on stops people from talking to you - you can pretend you can't hear them. The music also helps you get a rhythm to your walking and keeps you going. The exercise helps you stamp out the bad feelings a bit and eventually you calm down enough to thing things through without wanting to take the final exit option of curing the problems.

    This is what works for me. Take care.
     
  10. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    And that is a really good piece of advice piglet... Walking with music! I might have to take that one up myself. Walking without music sucks.... but I used to love running with music, I could just keep running for hours with good music. Exercise also increases endorphins, which directly lowers depression to a normal level again.
     
  11. Monarch

    Monarch I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    nevermind.............
     
  12. sunnydaze

    sunnydaze Well-Known Member

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    Storm

    I was abused my brother, my memory takes me back to 7 years old. Not sure before that. I finally told my mom and all she did was beat up my brother. She told me to tell nobody. Well, I di and do and I think that is why I am still alive and did not end things years ago. I abused my self with drugs and heavy drinking for almost 30 years and decided that was enough. Anthony and the others gave you best adise ever. Don't let this ruin the rest of your life as I have been dealing with this for over 45 years.
    sunnydaze
     
  13. WorkingThruIt

    WorkingThruIt Active Member

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    I am in the middle of what I hope is the absolute worst part of my therapy, so I don't have any experience on how it is on the other side. I had to go the medication route, even though I decided before I started that I would be just fine without it. I spent almost twenty years kicking myself and feeling weak or somehow defective because I could not move past what had happened to me. My family seemed to be handling it all very well and used the "let's just pretend all is well never speak of it again" coping technique (not very helpful). So, I did my best to handle the most traumatic event of my life by myself, never speaking of the horrific symptoms I continued to experience. The two biggest problems with my plan were that it would not ever just go away by itself and I was only 12 and didn't have any coping techniques that could manage it.

    I had to accept that I can't do this on my own, the medication is helping but what has kept me from completely losing it is my girlfriend. It took a huge leap to be able to tell her about everything, but I needed some support. I hope that you have someone that can help support you while you go through this. I despise asking for help and it was very hard, but I did it and I am so glad I did.


    I am still struggling with how unreasonable all my symptoms seem. I feel like I might know how to figure it out if it just made more sense. I suspect that this is just denial on my part.
     
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