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Okay Here Goes... - My Response to Symptoms

Discussion in 'General' started by melody, Oct 6, 2006.

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  1. melody

    melody Active Member

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    Okay here goes...

    1. Do you have intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event? YES.
    2. Do you have physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event? YES.
    3. Do you have recurrent, intrusive and distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions? YES.
    4. Do you have hyper-vigilance? YES.
    5. Do you have an exaggerated startle response? And yes - so bad in fact that my daughter is afraid to approach me, especially in the middle of the night. Poor kid has to deal with her own nightmares because she's afraid of scaring me.
    6. Do you avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma? Absolutely.
    7. Do you avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma? Yes.
    8. Do you have an inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma? And yes, not quite sure what happened that day and to be honest, not quite sure I want to know.
    9. Do you have markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities? Yes, I hardly ever go anywhere and I used to be known as the "social butterfly."
    10. Do you have feelings of detachment or estrangement from others? I try to avoid my old friends, because they just don't get it and I'm sick of trying to explain something I don't even understand!
    11. Do you mix socially with others outside your family? No, I don't even socialize with family other than my kids, because my family just doesn't understand "this person I've become."
    12. Do you have strong family relationships? I thought I did, man was I mistaken!
    13. Do you maintain a normal, healthy relationship with your partner? No. I love him dearly, but I'm so friggin stressed out all the time, that I put him off. I'm afraid he's going to be like everyone else who's ditched me and if I remain detached, it won't hurt quite so much.
    14. Do you cope with everyday situations? No. Afraid to go out of my apartment most days. I try to tell myself that it's safe, but I envision all kind's of bad things happening; getting hit while crossing the street, gunmen everywhere - in the bank, waiting for me outside my door, waiting when my car comes to a stop, getting killed trying to make left hand turns or going on the highway, the list is endless.
    15. Do you cope with your employment? Haven't been back to work since it happened - they believe I suffered a nervous breakdown. Will I ever go back? Not for all the money in the world!
    16. Do you have a sense of a foreshortened future? I believe that each time I take a chance and go outside, it will be my last. I believe I must have done something really awful in my life and that this episode and the triggers I've had since, are just warnings.
    17. Do you have a restricted range of affect? Not sure what you mean by this Anthony.
    18. Do you have difficulty falling or staying asleep? Lucky if I get four hours a night and it's always broken up.
    19. Do you have recurrent distressing dreams of the event? Yes and distressing dreams about feeling trapped and men with guns are always there.
    20. Do you have irritability or outbursts of anger? Yes, somedays I just want to punch someone, anything out! Just so damn angry about everything! Angry that I am in prison and the guy that put me here is walking the streets!
    21. Do you suffer difficulty concentrating? Yes. I forget stuff all the time and if a question is too long winded, I need it repeated because by the time you get to the end, I've already forgotten the beginning.
    So how did I do? Please tell me that these are all symptoms of something because if they aren't, I really need to be committed. I keep getting told that I am not myself and I know that! In fact if one more person asks me where the happy go lucky, assertive little socialite has gone, I think I'm just going to have to... Not sure, die? crumble? fight back? I'll probably just crumble, I'm just so friggin tired of being afraid and I'm just so friggin tired of being tired. I would give almost anything to sleep for more than a couple of hours and I would give anything - ANYTHING - to not feel afraid anymore! I more than anything, wish I could turn back the clocks to August 9th, 2005 and call in sick. The ironic thing is my daughter was sick that day and I should have stayed home, but I left her alone and went in to work.
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Melody, I split this from your initial posting, as this is more chat related, not information.

    These are the symptoms of PTSD.
     
  4. melody

    melody Active Member

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    Thank you Anthony

    There is so much information to take in, I'm not sure where to go to write what - glad you've got my back though. I feel like you're an angel sent from heaven. Corny but true!
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    I remember when I was first diagnosed, I answered yes to every question except flashbacks, and I was at the extreme end of all, yes I was pretty f*cked up... then funny enough, I actually ended up getting flashbacks at one point also. I have seen the worst of PTSD... which means it can only get better from that point.
     
  6. melody

    melody Active Member

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    Exposures...

    I have a question Anthony...

    I have been very reluctant to do exposures because while I was out on one of the few, I had a truck tire blowout right beside my car on the highway. All I heard was a sound like a gunshot, my daughter screamed (she was in the car with me) and just before this huge chunk of tire hit my car, there was this huge cloud of dust.
    I had spent an hour on the phone with my counsellor before I went out, because I was so worried about it. I did as she told me and was going through the grounding exercises: Today is... I am out in the car and chances of anything happening are very slim. I am safe - breathe...
    Since then I am very reluctant to do exposures and although I've been told it's the only way to get better, I'm so afraid.
    How do I go about doing the exposures? Is it true that if I do something that is really high on my hierarchy list, I can trigger myself?
    P.S. I hope I put this in the right spot.:biggrin:
     
  7. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    You may want to slow down just a wee bit and not jump on those triggers too fast! Peronally, going by your answers I think you should work on your thinking patterns and reasoning first, but is good to see you ready for a fight! This is a slow process and going too fast will not help it at all. Just remember and tell yourself it is not a race.
     
  8. melody

    melody Active Member

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    Thanks veiled, always have jumped in with both feet instead of testing the water. Do you have any advice on how to get started on my road to recovery?
     
  9. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Really dig through the information section. Absorb as much of it as you can. Keep going back and rereading it. Start a trauma diary in the diary section and start letting it out. How you feel, what you saw, what you experienced, get it all out of you. Then keep reading it, try to pull it apart as to where those feelings are coming from, depending on which diary section you use your support varies and amount of people responding or seeing. Try to get it as right in your head as you can first. Once you have the confidence built and a grasp on how you should be thinking and you are using it as opposed to what you currently are then it is safer to do the triggers.

    I am just recovering from doing an intentional trigger and it was a bitch and a half. I fell flat on my face and from what I am gathering it is normal your first time out on the bull to not to get the 8 seconds in! I am just feeling like myself again tonight after a week of severe physical pain brought on by the stress, being sick, not eating, not getting dressed if I got out of bed, confusion, delayed reaction, a plumment into depression (we will not talk about how I smelled this week!) and it goes on... That is the only reason I say proceed with caution. It knocked the hell out of me. But I know it will get easier next time I do it. And I will be tripping the same one. Once I have it mastered I will proceed to the next.

    Just remember this is not a race and just take it nice and slow. If you push too hard and fast you may do more harm than good. I just don't want to see that. On one hand you do have to push yourself and we all nudge each other here in the right direction, but we will all say slow down too if you are going too fast.

    Anthony has been an exceptional mentor with getting me on track and helping me process things in my head that I hope I can share with others. Nam and KimG have been super mentors also for me since we have a very like trauma to deal with they comfort me and guide when I need it and I really try to give back.

    Everyone here will really go out of their way to help you and it is very intresting when you go through posts and watch the cycles we all have as we process this.
     
  10. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Melody, I totally agree with veiled, in that you need to know how to handle triggers first, before exposing yourself too them. For example, what you went and did, of all times, something bad happened too you, and instead of taking two steps forward, one step back, you just jumped back 10 steps. This is what happens if your not mentally prepared, because what happened to you is life. If we don't understand and believe within ourselves that both good and bad can occur, when we do dare ourselves and expose ourselves to life, we go backwards instead of forwards.

    You need to heal from your trauma in order to manage PTSD, otherwise exactly what just occured has most likely just made you worse, which wouldn't have happened under the same scenario, same circumstances, same exposure, if you could mentally process it correctly with realistic expectations.

    Thinking and believing are two very different things. We can think we believe, or we can know we believe. Believe in ourselves, believe in what life is, believe that both good and bad can come from life, both of which must be processed, analysed and reasoned correctly. We could hide in our houses for the rest off our lives and miss the world around us. Anxiety causes us a fair distress though, so first you must tackle the anxiety before you tackle the dares, because the dares alone will cause great anxiety, thus we cannot have all this trauma anxiety hanging around when we attempt life once again, because PTSD itself provides enough to us already.
     
  11. melody

    melody Active Member

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    That all makes so much sense to me and I do feel like I took 10 steps backwards. I had started to go out a little bit, but I'm back to going out only when I have to. In other words, for Doctor's appointments and when I can't get someone to go for me - lol.
    So why is the psychologist I started seeing (2 month's ago), pushing me to start going out on exposures with an occupational therapist? Why aren't they teaching me these techniques? I'm so scared to go out on these exposures that I'm ready to quit the program! Yet they keep telling me the reason I'm unable to move forward is because I'm not on meds and if I don't buy into "this," there is no reason for me to be in the program.
     
  12. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    This is my own experience. I *hated* the thought of medications at all at one point, period. Trying to get them down my throat was as easy as trying to give a toddler medicine they do not want, and the fits very simuliar!!

    Here is a brief history on my medications. They had me at one point before I was diagnosed with PTSD on 10 mg xanax a day to control my panic (also buspar combined). Started backfiring as the dose was so high I got to a point I could not think or function normal, like count money. But it also had the tolerance built up so it did not control the panic attack anymore either. So where do you go from there??? I learned to face panic down and had to during horrible withdrawls. I am now still at 2 mg a day. Does nothing, except I have to go off slow as it has very painful serious withdrawls, the less I am on now the harder the withdrawals are now. So when I want to torture myself I take a cut. I am taking it slow, again it is not a race.

    The SSRIs like Zoloft. They were so insistant I take it (shrink and hubby), I fought and fought. Having a major med phobia did not help the cause either! Shrink had screwed up meds on me so bad I was hospitialized twice. I was doing better and progressing in threapy. I finally got to a point of depression and I could not do what was needed, like think, motivate, get out of bed, shower, care for myself or kids and I figured out at the point I was at personally I needed to go ahead and take what they wanted as far as Zoloft went to get further in treatment. They could not treat me in the state of mind I was in.

    I see another doctor weekly also for CBT who cannot and does not dispense meds. He isn't very fond of them being used either, he thinks way to many are passed out and pretty much against them. One of the reasons I liked him so much and use him. But even he saw I was getting where I needed something to get me back on track and agreed I needed to go on it at a threaputic dose. It is a temporary thing. CBT does not always work for it all, exposure threapy can do damage if done to soon... Point is there is no one size fits all to treating, but the symptoms are pretty much identical and people on here are pretty good at seeing where you are and helping you make choices that will be good for you, guide you as they have been there, most therapist don't get it as they do not have PTSD. Everyone responds differently to meds, natural blends, and threapy styles. And people post what works for them and you try it, it may work or not. You go through to find what you feel good with and does not add stress and you are moving in the right direction.

    But keep this one bit of info with you. One of my docs told me this. He said ignore what doctors say about where you are in your head. My own doc. He said that only you know what is going on in your head and the doctors may have an idea but they cannot get in there and really know, ONLY YOU DO.

    Sometimes meds are needed to help ground you and get things in a better perspective and help you more readily do what is needed to start healing. I hate that I had to do it, but I would have stalled out and got worse if I did not. It is not and will not be permenant, but I look at more like training wheels. Sometimes it is needed so you do not fall off and you can move where you need to.

    The thought of using enough meds just to do exposure just does not feel right to me. To me I am using it because I got to a point I could not get out of depression and that was stopping my recovery. So I am getting myself back up and get back on track and have gotten back to healing. Sometimes it is a needed tool to help get things started, or back on track but not a permenant solution. And you are NOT a failure if you need something to get you started down that road.

    Maybe the therapist you are using is not right for you, it is important to have docs on the same page as you experienced with PTSD. Maybe you would benefit more from CBT to help change thinking styles and response first and then move onto exposure therapy later. I wish you luck, and it can get confusing. But like I said before, going by what you had posted I just think you need to work on your thinking style first and get that right before pushing into exposure too soon.

    Just going by my experience, I am by no means a doctor, I just have PTSD.
     
  13. melody

    melody Active Member

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    Thank you veiled! I have been back and forth between my message and your posting to try and respond to everything you said, but I keep losing it. And each time I come back here, I have to restart my message - as you know.
    I am seeing a psychologist that uses CBT and that's why I find all this so strange. I don't understand why they are just telling me to just get out there, but then I'm not really good at voicing how I feel and maybe they think I'm ready.
    As for the drugs, lot's of skepticism there. I am so afraid I'm going to become dependent on something and how will I know if I am dependent if I'm on drugs? I had problems years ago with my thyroid and the Dr. I had then, misdiagnosed me with depression and put me on paxil. By the time they realized it was a thyroid problem and not depression, two years had gone by, I had gained 60 pounds and I had lost total control of my teenagers. I honestly felt numb, but didn't know it while I was on the drugs. How will I know if I'm losing it all again? And although I'm not suicidal, I've heard some of these SSRI's can cause suicide. I could hide that from my family - I am very good at hiding my feelings - and I'm afraid the drugs might make me do something stupid.
    I just feel so messed up sometimes... It's almost like I'm my own enemy.
     
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