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Reactions of Others to your PTSD

Discussion in 'General' started by PrincessP, May 4, 2006.

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  1. PrincessP

    PrincessP New Member

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    I sought out treatment in 1995, and was diagnosed with clinical depression. I was put on antidepressants, but they seemed, to me, not to work. I still felt the way I always have. Recently I mentioned to my counselor that I thought I might have depersonalization disorder and asked to be re-tested. On Monday, I was finally diagnosed with PTSD.

    The depression, anxiety, dissociation... it all makes sense now. The thing is that I've kinda missed out on the last 10 years of my life.

    My father was an alcoholic, and physically abusive. Menacing, even. My mom was so caught up in how it affected her that she wasn't emotionally available to myself or my siblings. We knew better than to tell anyone what went on in our house, and always pretended things were ok. I got so good at pretending that I didn't know, until my last suicide attempt in 1994, that I had to stop messing around and get some help. I've been in therapy ever since. Makes me sad to think that if I had been diagnosed with this sooner, I'd perhaps be on the right meds and functioning again on a better level than where I am now.

    I see a psychiatrist tomorrow to discuss meds, and a new treatment plan. I'm really excited. The thing is.... I have a LOT of people around me who don't understand this diagnosis. I haven't been able to work in 10 years - I'd think about getting a job and have a panic attack, it's a horrible existance. People are acting as if I'm using this as an excuse to not work, instead of realizing that I need to focus on getting better. Perhaps other people are able to do both at the same time.. I'm just not. I'm not a financial burden on anyone, I'm just not employed.

    Everytime someone makes a comment which seems to regard me as being lazy, I get SO angry. I lose my focus, and the only thing I can seem to lock on is proving them wrong. So I'd like to find out if anyone else has people in your life not understanding what you're going through, and how you deal with them. I had a total stranger comment on my blog the other day that I need to stop whining and get a job. 24+ hours later and I'm still upset. I really need to learn to let things like that slide off my back, but I have no idea how.

    I'll admit.. I'm a mixture of hopeful and scared to death right now, thinking that I'll get on some other medication that won't help.. that the psychiatrist will only try to treat the depression instead of the PTSD... but I'm going anyway with the hope that I'm totally wrong.

    Can anyone help me in dealing with the B.S. you get from others as you try to heal?
     
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  3. lizagirl

    lizagirl Member

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    Princess..you really aren't alone in this...

    All of us across the board have been struggling with the same problem. It's hard enough to understand PTSD on your own, let alone having other people tell you all the things you are supposedly doing wrong. The slightest word or simplest situation can set off the symptoms. You've already helped yourself by seeking someone professional...Good Job..even though people were telling you to "get over it" (this is the most hated phrase on this forum I am glad to tell you) you knew for yourself that it was time to get help. There really isn't a way to stop people from saying something to you, alot of us here distanced ourselves from people in our life for the same reasons. Aside from going to therapy, it made the PTSD easier talking to people who suffered from it. Not that their cure was our cure, but it was the support of people who understood. Anthony and Kerrie Ann have developed a wonderful site for just that purpose. You have not steered yourself wrong for coming here. I wish I could tell you more, but if it is a comfort, you are never alone here, someone is always willing to offer encouragement..
     
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  4. PrincessP

    PrincessP New Member

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    lizagirl, thank you SO much. Already I feel understood just reading your words because they resonate with me. My brother and I have a very strained relationship because, way before I knew I needed treatment, he had a "discussion" with me about my life - days after my father died, days after I dropped out of college, months after my last suicide attempt. He didn't know what I was going through, but when I told him I didn't want to talk, he kept pressing me. I'm crying a river and he's still interrogating me. My friend Dee finally stepped in and told him to stop. Now, I can't forget it, can't let go of it, and we barely speak. Now, when someone ask me questions, I immediately get on the defensive, even if they just ask me a simple question.

    I seem to have all these triggers... but I'm finding comfort in understanding why now. At first, when I started really digging in with research, I started with "Adult Children of Alcoholics" stuff, then "Adult Daughters of Alcoholics"... then dissociative disorders... then I get diagnosed with PTSD. It's like... Hell and my Birthday all rolled into one, if ya know what I mean :) I started to feel like "I can't possibly have this many separate things wrong with me," and it turns out that they were all smaller parts of a larger issue.

    I keep fighting off tears just because I'm feeling... everything all at once. I'm just so grateful.... full of gratitude. I hope the doctor and I can get on the same page for a treatment plan.

    Thank you again! SO much!
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Hi Princess, and welcome aboard. Wow... 10 years of being stuffed around with misdiagnosis. It never seems to get any better, thats for sure. People everywhere are constantly stuffed about with misdiagnosis, and the doctors wonder why we get worse.

    Tell them your retired, and leave it at that. People without PTSD cannot, will not, and never will understand those of us with PTSD, as it is purely something that cannot be fully explained unless you live with it. Depression, anxiety, social disorders, nightmares, etc, can all be cured and "gotten over" so to speak, but these are just symptoms of PTSD, which people don't understand, that when combined with the other symptoms, living hell is a nice way of putting it. People will never ever understand, so I really just wouldn't bother explaining it, as it tends to cause way too much frustration within us.

    All that is going to happen is exactly what already has... in that your upset, angry and now need to control it, where the commenter made a comment, then walked away with no more thought too it.

    Honestly, let others around you think what they want, and try not to involve yourself, or put yourself into the situations where others can judge your illness, especially those who have no understanding of PTSD itself. It just isn't worth the anxiety and anger that is caused within us. Been there, done it, learnt my lesson now.

    You have a point about the shrink, in that many do just try and treat depression. Whilst shrinks are the doctor, many aren't necessarily PTSD specialists, and as such, they try and treat the symptoms of PTSD, and not the PTSD itself. PTSD is a chemical imbalance within our brain, nothing more, nothing less. It is this imbalance that creates most of the problems for us as our symptoms run riot. There are two ways to treat PTSD, and that is:
    1. Medication
    2. Knowledge
    There is no cure for PTSD. Medication is a great relief for us during early stages of PTSD, or those stages where life is getting a bit more than we can handle, the only real way you will deal with it, is through knowledge itself. Learning how to control each symptom is the most effective method. You can be medicated to the maximum doses, and still be suffering a pretty bad time. Why? Because medication is only part of the relief, most is in knowledge and applying that knowledge when needed.

    Some people will be on medication their entire life, because they may just need that small dose in conjunction with knowledge to get through life, especially if they want to give it their best and work again. Regardless how much knowledge you have about PTSD symptoms, and how to combat each one when triggered, working stress is just a whole other cause of problems. Just ask Piglet here, as she has just returned to work... not by choice either, and being stuffed about with misdiagnosis also.

    I would highly recommend reading through the information sections of this forum, but more importantly, most of the real good help is contained within the threads in the PTSD Chat and PTSD only forum, which I will give you access.

    One thing is for sure, you certainly found the right place to chat with people who DO understand, and are not about judging you.

    Oh... and if your not sure about medication specific for PTSD, only the one that I know of that is primarily designed for PTSD is lexapro, which actually targets the chemical imbalance within our brain, and not one med for depression, another for anxiety, etc etc etc. Lexapro pretty much does it all as it is specifically designed for us with PTSD. Saying that though, medication is most definately an individual choice, as what works for one, most certainly may not work for another. I generally only recommend people discuss Lexapro with their doctors, as it provides a smaller dose of drugs into you body, and hits the core component of PTSD, and not just bandaid the symptoms themselves.

    Welcome aboard Princess, and glad to have you hear. Congratulations on finally being diagnosed correctly, and now hopefully you can start learning and managing the actual problem. I assume your pretty glad that you actually know what is wrong now!
     
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  6. lizagirl

    lizagirl Member

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    Anthony...kudos for your words..you have the best way of putting "medical talk" into laymans terms, and the compassion ALWAYS comes thru :) Princess, I think your brother is so worried about you that anger is his only defense now. We all end up in anger and frustration when our own emotions get in the way. You have no blame for that, it is a shame that he has chosen that path. I myself used to have to deal with the same thing in my life, someone loves you so much they feel helpless to "save" you from it. But again it was someone else pushing their "cure" onto me, and it wasn't me. Kinda like putting clothes on that are too small/large. You are very welcome Princess, as was mentioned before, have a read at the different posts, you will find that there is always something that feels right, a kind of truth in everything someone says...you'll always get a reply to your concerns...people are friendly here...Welcome
     
  7. PrincessP

    PrincessP New Member

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    hi Anthony and thank you for the welcome :)

    When I was first diagnosed with depression, I was put on imipramine. 6 months and 20+ pounds later, I saw the prescribing doctor again, and told him of my weight gain. He told me basically to try and recognize real hunger from head hunger (good thing to tell someone who is already pressing 300 lbs, eh?), and prescribed it again. I then made a decision to not take any medication, but to fix the depression with therapy sessions, and learning. It wasn't until 2 years ago that I asked my primary physician for Wellbutrin. I can't really feel a difference from when I wasn't taking it and when I was, but my overall attitude with regards to recovery got a little more focused. I think that was sheer will on my part, though, more than medication.

    I think back on that time and realize that if I had been properly diagnosed, I'd be a little further in my recovery than I am now. I can't blame the agency though, because I made a decision not to go back to their in-house doctor again, and was completely unaware when they hired someone else.

    I had a situation a few months ago which was going to require me to go out and get a job whether I felt better or not, so Piglet, I totally sympathize with you. I got applications and everything, and then that same evening, it all triggered a panic attack and I thought I'd never be able to take a deep breath again.

    I'm really looking forward to talking to others here, and helping where I can, and getting help when needed. Just knowing I'm on the right path... I can't even explain how good (and scary) that feels.. but then again, we all understand. :)
     
  8. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum and bloody well done on surviving the past 10 years. Sometimes I am more scared of depression than I am of the nightmares/flashbacks that cause it. I think I probably do the dissociation thing a lot - maybe that's why I can work a bit - I tend to switch off the feelings and go into think mode, using logic and reason (my reason!) to work things out. End up burning out quite quickly though...

    Have a wonderful meeting coming up with my manager and HR. Will probably need a long walk afterwards!

    Catch you later and good luck with the new treatment package!
     
  9. PrincessP

    PrincessP New Member

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    Thank you piglet, and good luck with your meeting! :)

    I had the strangest dream this morning, and I can't help but think it was my subconscious trying to work things out. It's fragmented, but from the pieces I remember, there were two men in my home (or whatever house I was in), and they were fairly intimidating to myself and the other women there. We didn't want to ask them to leave, fearing that would trigger something bad, and were relieved when they said they were leaving and went out the door. Next thing I see is them walking past a large window, in slow motion, both men with these really big guns drawn. Everyone went in separate directions, running, and I remember my childhood friend running past me, and we were both on our cell phones dialing 911 emergency. I ended up in a closet, and clawed through a wall to a window, and managed to get free. I was the only one that escaped, however. I stopped at a gas station, and asked the attendant to call 911, then realized that I was too close to the house and they could find me so I ran.

    Then, I'm reliving part of the dream again, this time going out a window, and running into a field of trees, then to a stranger's house, who immediately fled inside when she saw me running and screaming. Both times I was free. Both times, I left others behind, saving myself.

    Again, I relieved the dream, and this time, it was just me and my sister in the house. Only one man was there this time, and he walked me into a room where my sister was, and told me that he had some kind of explosives strapped to him, the same exact temperature as the room, and if we tried to leave he'd blow the house up. That time, I stayed.

    I'm kinda digging through all that to derrive some sort of meaning from it, but if I had to guess, I'd say that it has something to do with feeling guilty for "saving myself", and ultimately doing things that hurt me, but leave other people thinking good things about me. That could either mean that I need to start living an authentic existance, regardless to what others have to say about it, or just that I need to do whatever to save myself, in lieu of "dying" with everyone else.

    Madness, I tell ya :) Gotta go get ready to meet with the doc, I'll post again later!
     
  10. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Yer, our subconcious does that too us at times. Damn, that is a pretty good dream. Not only did you start of and save yourself, but you kept going until you found the resolution that you wanted. Now another spin on that thought of yours, being "saving myself" to "dying" with everyone else, could just be that you have found some resolution to now stick things out, and work on the actual issues at hand, as you didn't know exactly what was up until just recently, being your PTSD diagnosis?

    Maybe you where running away not to save yourself, but in fear off facing what is to come? Maybe you sorted yourself out in one dream to know you need to face your trauma, and not run from it? The possibilities are endless...
     
  11. PrincessP

    PrincessP New Member

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    Ooh Anthony! More to ponder, indeed! Especially since today when I met with the psychiatrist, she asked me flat out why I was so upset after my father died when he was abusive to me, and I told her that it was the first death in our immediate family, and that it hit too close to home, made me realize my own mortality. So yes, in staying in that room, I could have been finally facing my biggest fear.

    She also thinks that due to my childhood trauma in regards to my father, that when he died in 1994, I was unable to experience the stages of grief because I was, and am, stuck in ambivalence. I hated my father. Loathed him. I waited all of my life for him to die (I hope that doesn't sound horrid, but he was very abusive to me). When he finally did die, it was inappropriate to cheer, or have a party, or be happy/relieved about it. My father died, and good or bad, he was "Dad". The world teaches you, in its warped thinking, that ALL the dead become saints, and we have to pay our respects, even when they made your life worse than Hell. So then I began to feel badly for being relieved that he was gone, and got stuck in the grieving process.

    She could be right. Every path is another fiber in an intricate quilt. It's hard to pin this on ONE event, and ONE reaction, but I think that as long as I keep figuring things out and being ok with my discovery, good or bad, it's a step forward.

    There's so many levels of this thing... I've got a lot to dig through. I am so hopeful today, moreso than yesterday. I was taking Wellbutrin, and basically taking an inadequate dosage, so today she switched me from 150 mg 2x/day to Wellbutrin XL once a day. In two weeks, I'm going to add effexor once a day in the afternoon/evening. She said I should start feeling a difference in a few weeks.

    I felt so good today that I started this post 12 hours ago! I came home, got started, and then I had a bunch of things to do. I was out a lot today, not as scared/nervous as I usually am, and really tried to enjoy things, and stop overthinking everything.

    Yes? No? :) It's 2:36am... goodnight!
     
  12. lizagirl

    lizagirl Member

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    Congrats Princess...My therapist told me that once you start facing the thoughts and triggers of PTSD that the symptoms begin to lose their power. It is a powerful thing when all the "secrets" come out in the open...they are no longer dark and hidden, they lose their control. For me I kept my "illness" so stuffed down I thought I was going insane, I lost control. I regain control by facing it. I too was abused, the person who did it died, I felt horrible because I was glad they died...I mean how awful can you be wishing death on someone right?...wrong actually, just because they are gone, who is to say they are the ones who get redemption? Not when you are living in the Hell they created for you...It is not wrong to think ill of them, it doesn't wipe the slate clean. Good for you for recognizing this...
    I am so happy for you..you are taking your life back, how long doesn't matter, you did it....YEAH PRINCESSP!!!!
     
  13. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Good stuff princess, and really well done. Its great to here positive aspects of peoples PTSD issues. We all have our ups and downs, and your really doing well to get everything out in the open so quickly after the correct diagnosis. It is very scary getting trauma out, especially when we all feel like we don't want to share it, because it might make us vunerable. Well done, and it can only get better the more you get out of you.
     
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