Peer support subsequent to trauma contributes to full recovery

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) -- including complex trauma (cPTSD) -- is debilitating, breaking down the body through anxiety and stress, and it poses a significant suicide risk in sufferers. MyPTSD seeks to help and inform those who are directly or indirectly affected by these conditions through peer-to-peer support and educational resources.

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Recently Diagnosed With PTSD, Now My Head's A Real Mess

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by freakofnurture, Aug 15, 2010.

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  1. freakofnurture

    freakofnurture Well-Known Member

    My name's Christine. I'm from Germany and I hope my English grammar/spelling isn't too horrible -.-

    I'm a sufferer of PTSD. I've been in therapy for Depression since 2005 and my diagnosis used to be a combination of different personality disorders. It's only recently that I realised that the behaviour my father has displayed towards me even since before I was born was physical and emotional Abuse. It's still hard for me to accept that because it means that my mom (who is or seems to be a great, loving, thoughtful mother in every other respect) did nothing to protect me from him. She still talks about it as if it were a collection of normal, funny family anecdotes and finds excuses for my father. But my symptoms speak for themselfs. No attachment to my parents, no trust, bad dreams, years of bedwetting, severe sleeping problems since infanthood, no friends, complete withdrawal into books, self-hatred and self-injury, depression, Suicidal ideation, fear of other people, fear of being touched, etc.

    I'm still trying to come to terms with my 'new' history. I'm not having any contact with my parents atm and I'm really relieved about that. I moved out at age 19 and have hated going back to my home town since then. I used to wonder why ô.o
    I feel like I need to find new words to refer to my parents, my family and myself. And I feel like I have to do something, work on this thing, figure out, think through, evaluate my feelings... But it's not good for me. Not now. Still I can't stop picking at this wound to see if it's still there, if it still hurts, if it's still true, if the 'before' really doesn't come back. It feels like I need a new identity, or at least part of a new one.
    And that's why I'm here, partially. I don't know if I will acutally be active here or if I'll just lurk around and end up having my account deleted for inactivity. I'm really fidgety after having read some threads here. My head's a mess.
    My Husband/boyfriend of eight years is a great help. He still needs to understand some things about me and my symptoms, though. Maybe he'll read here a bit, too, but he's lazy and wants me to explain all this stuff to him.
    Well, that's that... Okay.
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  3. amethist

    amethist The Mystic Duck

    Hi Christine

    Welcome to the forum.

    Your English is just fine. Easy to read and it all makes perfect sense.

    Your head will be in a mess for a while, but it will get easier as you learn how to manage your symptoms better.

    It will be far easier for you, if husband makes the effort to spend some time reading the articles and some explanations for himself. A lot less stressful for you trying to explain and get him to understand somethings that he seems to be struggling with now.

    Take it slowly and just read bits at a time, reply to posts as you want to and ask any questions you need answering.

    Take care and good luck.

  4. changed

    changed Member

    Hi Christine,

    Welcome to the forum. Im new here too. I can relate to what you are going through with your family, I have a similar situation but with my mother. I always knew we had issues with each other but it was not until i started therapy that i realised how bad my issues related to her were. EMDR made me process alot of old memories. I understand your confussion- its hard to know whats going on, with therapy things are starting to become clearer for me and seeing the links in the chain has made things a little easier. I hope things will become clearer for you in time.

    Take care and welcome
  5. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk Changes are hard even for the right reasons
    Premium Member

    I am new here too, everying you have written about I can relate too.
    I hope the new information that you are recognizing computes quickly.

    Good luck and welcome
  6. ISupportHer

    ISupportHer Supporter Member
    Premium Member

    Welcome to the forum.

    I have to admit, I was looking at who is logged in and saw your user name and I just had to look at what you had to say. There is a thread that asked those who could, to explain why they picked their name here. There are some touching stories. I can only imagine yours.

    Welcome. I hope you find support, friendship and help in your journey to healing.

    Perhaps you have already realized that much of what you say, others have experienced. No matter what the trauma. The hurt you describe. The feelings toward your parents, reservations about opening up and posting, the reaction or maybe lack of reaction from your partner. All are very real to you, intimate feelings to you, yet you will find others that seem to have walked stride for stride with you in many respects. I hope you are able to communicate with others that may help by explaining THEIR journey.

    We all "get it" here.

  7. Muncher72

    Muncher72 Member

    You Are Not Alone

    Just read your post and I got chills. So much of what you are experiencing is shared by so many others with PTSD. You are not alone in your pain.

    Many of us, including me, can relate to you situation. To me it feels safe coming here to these rooms because I feel less ''freakish'' because I know others are SURVIVING their own traumas as well, and are going through, or have experienced the same set of emotions as I.

    I hope you continue to come back and look through some of the threads. In a nut shell.......welcome.
  8. freakofnurture

    freakofnurture Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all of you for your kind replies.
    It's good to hear from people who just accept and value my feelings and my perspective on my parents. I had a phone conversation with a close friend of my parent's five minutes ago; she had a really hard time growing up, too, so she could relate to a lot of things I told her, still every time she said something along the lines of 'you have to see your father's perspective here...' I felt like my feelings/perspective were being invalidated. I know she gave me no reason to feel like this and it's kind of shocking to see how awfully vulnerable I am in certain spots. It's unnerving.
    And now I'm kind of beating myself up for having told her so many details, or even anything at all. I want so badly to get through to my mother that I undress my psyche in front of people whom I don't really know that well.

    @ISupportHer: You know the term 'freak of nature' and that there's a constant debate within developmental psychology if it's nature or nurture 'determining' a certain personality trait? Well, I feel like a freak for many reasons, the main one being the severe attachment disorder that's a part of me since I was a baby, and since nature didn't make me so (I flatter myself with the idea that I was born a psychologically intact infant), I clearly am a freak of nurture.
  9. ISupportHer

    ISupportHer Supporter Member
    Premium Member

    Thanks for the explaination. Yes I knew the term, just wondered about your story and why you picked the name.

    Just for the record, I don't really know you but I don't see you as a freak. Yes, you have had a hard time and if your friends won't validate those feelings, I will. You are here and that is an important step. Now for the next step(s), right?

  10. freakofnurture

    freakofnurture Well-Known Member

    Maybe you'd see the freak if you knew me well. I could tell stories... oh my. But you're right. Next step. Like... lurk moar, I guess.
  11. freakofnurture

    freakofnurture Well-Known Member

    Hey, I'm kind of reporting back. Been away for quite a while, had some in-patient treatment which will be continued soon.
    The three weeks at the hospital were really educational for me. I was part of a group that's supposed to focus on diagnosis, and I was only in there because it was the fastest way to get into in-patient treatment (I desperately needed to do something, anything). So, there was this little sunshine girl who talked about how accepted she felt in the group and how she feels so understood by the people in the group, while people in the 'outside world' just don't 'get' depression etc. That was such an enormous downer, because the people in my group didn't get me, neither. They were as taken aback by my fear of them, my aggression and my tendency to withdraw socially as people 'outside'.
    And then my therapist told me "It must be hard to be as different from other people as you are." I don't know if she wanted some kind of reaction, showing that I'm acting up in order to separate myself from other people or if she actually meant it. Still it was pretty hard to hear something like that from a psychotherapist.

    Please, guys, girls, tell me that you, too, feel like a freak, that you're as much an outsider in in-patient treatement as you are in real life. I feel so out of place, so alien, different, not belonging, wrong, separate, strange, lost, like I cannot identify with anybody around me, like no one around me can identify with me...
    I can't be the only person in the world who is afraid of other people, prefers to be left alone with her own thoughts and has an attachment disorder that keeps her from forming meaningful emotional bonds with other people.
  12. zelda

    zelda New Member

    Christine, I've never been in an inpatient facility, so I don't know what it feels like to feel like an outsider in that setting. I certainly know what it feels like to be an outsider in the rest of the world. I just always knew I was different. There was me and then there were other people. In hindsight, it's a little like the times that I've lived in other countries. Even when people were wonderful and welcoming, you know that you're a foreigner and may not know what to do next.

    I feel a little less so now, partly because I've found others who are "like me" and partly because I've become more open about telling others what my world is like. Ironically, being more open has helped me find more people like us, and they are relieved to be found.

    You are isolated, but you are not the only one. And, for the record, I know how irritating Susy Sunshine people can be when I'm being Cynical Cindy or Cut-the-crap Cathy.

    Hang in there, okay?
  13. anthony

    anthony Master of none!

    Hi Christine...
    • Group therapy can be difficult if placed with those with a lesser disorder, actually often the case... far better to have like diagnosis and severity in the same group.
    • You're not a freak for what comes with PTSD.
    • You can change it all though with work, please remember that, as your words tend to imply towards you have talked yourself into this at a much worse / permanent basis, from reading "prefers to be left alone with her own thoughts and has an attachment disorder that keeps her from forming meaningful emotional bonds". Is this what you want? To be left alone and not have any emotional bonded relationship with people? If your thoughts aren't shared, then how do you expect to improve?
    Abstract and deer_in_headlights like this.
  14. femaleveteran

    femaleveteran i dont know why i wandered in to this place
    Premium Member

    After I finally was diagnosed with PTSD, I thought the clouds would clear and the sun would shine....NOT so. Things have been getting worse to say the least. I would much rather prefer to go back to the days of ignorant bliss where I thought that nothing was wrong at all. But of course there will always be something wrong...whether I am shopping at 3am for groceries because I cannot stand to be around people without throwing up (that happened in Home Depot recently....I had a full fledged panic attack and could not make it out side fast enough so I threw up all over the place.) or if I am just generally feeling miserable, this disease will always be with me. I am only 4 months in to my diagnosis and I have to believe that things will only get better over time. I might not ever get over the symptoms and I might spend the rest of my days as a spinster without any love, but at least I will one day be able to manage this monkey on my least I will be able to manage it better than I am now. Thing is that you have to want to get better.

    For those who do not know me, I was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne at Ft. Bragg, NC. I never quit at anything in my life and I certainly do not intend to do so now. I have never been one to wallow in self pity, although that can also mean that I do not ask for help all the time when I need it. DH Lawrence said it best when he said "A bird can fall frozen stiff from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself". I know I went to Iraq voluntarily (even though it was a total sham of a War and full of nothing but lies and deciet at the highest levels of government) and I did my job until the job got the best of me. I came back with a leg I was lucky not to have lost and with TBI (Traumatic Brain forgive the typos and at times I might ramble but hey you are all survivors and I think you can handle). But this is my life now. I can either make the most of the cards I have been dealt or I can wallow in my own self pity.

    I choose to make the most of whatever I have left of my wits before some other disease comes after me like alzhiemers or something. For now I just want to have an enjoyable day....not a spectacular day...just an enjoyable one without too many surprises. The sooner we all realize that the more sense our heads will be able to make of this debilitating illness.

    Sorry. I am offf my soapbox now.;
    Iron_Angel and blueangel371115 like this.
  15. blueangel371115

    blueangel371115 Well-Known Member

    I love that quote. It's why I'm still here.
  16. blueangel371115

    blueangel371115 Well-Known Member

    I do feel kind of freakish at times, when compared to 'normal ' society. But easily at home here. I feel safe and hope you can too.
  17. femaleveteran

    femaleveteran i dont know why i wandered in to this place
    Premium Member

    I feel safe as long as I do not leave my house. I am getting ready to start some kind of therapy where they expose you to the cause of your trauma over a graduated period of time. I would like to know how this is going to help. I guess it could help with everyday activities but I seriously doubt the VA is going to spring for a trip to Iraq to help me get comfortable with the things I have there.

    One day though I will feel safe. I am in a group with a lot of Vietnam Vets. The only other three veterans from Iraq there are myself and two other people. I see how far some of the Vietnam Vets have come and that really gives me hope. And I am generally a little suspicious of hope. One cool thing is that after the Vietnam vets found out some of the things I have been through with regards to Iraq, a few of them said that they had serious prejudices against women being in Combat but after meeting me they had changed there mind. This Iraq War and now the one ramping up in A'stan, is going to change alot of people's minds as to the importance of the work done by men and women alike....even if the whole Iraq war was nothing but a sham built on a pile of lies by a cowboy from Texas who spent his 'Nam years protecting the borders of texas from the impending communist invasion that was sure to hit there (I am being fecetious of course) He did not even show up for half his guard duty and I cannot see how he can talk about the brave men and women who served in Iraq when he is definitely not one of them.

    Sorry, my tiny soapbox was a little bigger than I thought. If this is deemed to be too much of an infammatory post then the moderators can by all means delete it.
  18. anthony

    anthony Master of none!

    They will expose you to your fears, ie. you stated, you feel safe as long as you don't leave your house, which means you feel unsafe when you do. It is not reality to feel unsafe leaving your house, because being reclusive is not a life, its an existence. If you want a life again, ie. to go out and not feel unsafe, to do things, then you will commit to Exposure therapy. If not, then you won't. It is a choice obviously, and sometimes people need to be more motivated before they want to change. Just part of PTSD.
  19. femaleveteran

    femaleveteran i dont know why i wandered in to this place
    Premium Member

    Hey I did not say i was not going to do the exposure therapy. I just have reservations as to how much it is going to work. Charleston, WV is not the sandbox
  20. Greg Clark

    Greg Clark New Member

    Man, I woke up this morning having a panic attack. My step-father was acting like the world was going to end last night over a small misunderstanding with dinner and BAM - I start freaking out. So I went to the beach and went for a walk for a while. It's like I over-react to everything, and then I want to take my tent and go and live in the woods for a couple of days until I've calmed down. I was diagnosed with PTSD 5 years ago ... most days are reasonable now, but this crazy fight or flight thing still happens and it's hard to turn off. I got out of the house this morning and ate some dark chocolate ... one of my best friends since this all started!
    deer_in_headlights and anthony like this.
  21. freakofnurture

    freakofnurture Well-Known Member

    Omg, so many replies o.o Thanks for your feedback, everybody!

    Maybe I should practice to talk more about myself. I don't like to do that mostly because it means to repeat the same story over and over. And it's so much easier to listen to other people, i.e. lurk.

    I don't know if I really want this. But at the moment I want it very much because I'm scared of people. Really, really, really scared. And not in a 'Maybe they'll not like me' way. It's a 'They'll tear me to shreads and feed on my entrails as soon as they find out that I'm not one of them' kind of way.
    I know where this fear comes from. It's the first thing I learned in life and a lesson repeated ad nauseam. "People will hate you and try to destroy you." Is it even possible to un-learn something that's lodged so deeply into one's brain?
    I've tried to be rational and pro-active about it, to dust off my inner fighter and all that. I went to all the group therapy sessions, even after they allowed me to skip them if I felt like it. I sat through these sessions. All of them. But it didn't get easier, even though I tried tons of skills. In fact it got worse. In the end I had to hide unter a blanket! How pathetic is that? Seriously. I'm 27 years old, but I need to hide under a f*cking blanket like a toddler because I'm scared shitless of being in a room with eight other humans?

    Yeah... To give up means to lose.
    But it's so damn f*cking hard. I thought I was done with therapy, happy, healthy, back on top, and then... Hi, I'm your trauma. All this therapy you had? Worthless. Went right past me. Sucks to be you.
    I'm so annoyed and fed up, it's not even funny anymore.
  22. anthony

    anthony Master of none!

    Hi... That makes two of us then, as I also didn't say you weren't going to do it. I think you are confused what exposure therapy is... Because it does not entail exposure to your traumas directly, it exposes you to both your psychological and physical fears that are unrealistic / unhealthy and thus not helping you. I am a veteran... Went through similar processes to heal.

    You're thinking about it the wrong way I believe. You don't unlearn as such, as that's impossible... But more you change the way in which you have learnt to a more positive / productive manner inline with society views / how you want to be vs. how you are. You learn a better method which replaces the existing.
  23. femaleveteran

    femaleveteran i dont know why i wandered in to this place
    Premium Member

    Yeah I guess I just do not see how exposure therapy by going to Walmart is going to help me get over certain traumas I witnessed in Iraq. But maybe you are right. Maybe it is a fact of confronting the irrational fears. Anyway thanks for clarifying
  24. anthony

    anthony Master of none!

    None of us get over, as such, the things we do and see in war zones... But more it's about coming to terms with the memories and processing the negative emotion, the negative stigma, attached within our brain to specific events. Once you accept reason about one event, it opens the brain to that new logic to be applied to other events.

    Yes, going to walmart achieves nothing when you view it that simply, but going to walmart without rushing through to get what you want and get out, without anger or Anxiety, is an achievement you can reach via exposure therapy.

    Think like this. You must first learn the theory, just like you did in your Military training, then you go put it into practice by doing. Therapy is no different, in that you identify specifics in theory, you come up with some reasonable logic, then you put it into practice. Like training, the more you repeat the process, the better you get at it. It is called reinforced learning, and that reinforcement changes your brain to accept the theory, just as you were taught to fight together in combat, work as a team and the damage is likely to be minimal. Don't work as a team, and often more goes wrong / more die. As a soldier, when we deploy overseas, that is the ultimate reinforced learning, because everything our theory and practical training has taught us, is now in the ultimate confirmation environment, being live or die.

    This is why combat trauma is very hard to treat... Because we the soldiers have such reinforced learning beyond what a civilian could ever experience via schooling and job employment, ie accounting theory then working with real money, it just doesn't have the same cognitive reinforcement as war... But the principle is identical.
    Junebug likes this.
  25. Greg Clark

    Greg Clark New Member

    OK - had enough of the folks ... I took a drive 3 hours south of Auckland and I'm house-sitting for my cousin for a few days. I don't think I can keep living with the folks anymore ... they mean well, but they just seem to trigger me all over the place and I feel really anxious living there. I'm going to look at renting a place close to my cousin and his wife ... they're cool and closer to my own age. I just had to rant and get that stuff out of my system.
    zelda and anthony like this.
  26. anthony

    anthony Master of none!

    Yep, fair enough mate... just not worth living with people who stress you out too much. I get that thinking... agree with it too.

    If you can't relax at home, then something must change so you can.
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