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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Supporter Serious Girlfriend Of An Undiagnosed Sufferer (childhood Rape & Torture)

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Cimone, Oct 6, 2013.

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  1. Cimone

    Cimone New Member

    Hi, I'm Cimone. Although I've been in a serious relationship with an undiagnosed PTSD sufferer for well over a year now, I'm just beginning to realize the importance of really understanding his illness and being able to actually be able to help him get through what he's going through.

    My boyfriend is naturally a very sweet guy, but he's been through a lot and sometimes he doesn't know how to handle it. We are currently in an LDR--we met over Skype through mutual friends and webcam with each other just about every day. He's my best friend in the whole world, really, as unconventional as that sounds. He is incredibly important to me and I appreciate his presence in the world each and every single day.

    The both of us are still in high school. He is a senior and I am a junior; we both achieve slightly above average grades. After my freshman year at university and his second year at his local CC, we have plans to move in together.

    After the original tragedy occurred, he only went to therapy for a few months. His parents, being very religiously conservative, did not believe it was right for him to see someone. His father blamed him for what happened. He was only seven years old.

    To this very day, he exhibits multiple symptoms of PTSD. He has flashbacks of his Abuse, frequently experiences nightmares, isn't able to maintain a steady sleeping schedule, suffers from extreme irrational irritability and anger, occasional suicidal thoughts, and pushes me away when he feels emotionally distraught.

    Seeing as I've been recently diagnosed with GAD, there tends to be a little bit of a conflict there. There have been a few times that I have witnessed him suffer from a flashback, calmed him down, and then had an Anxiety attack myself. That being said, he's generally very supportive of me as well.

    I came here to hopefully learn more about PTSD and how to properly support my boyfriend as he suffers with his illness. I hope that one day he is able to overcome it and I hope that when that happens, I'll be there with him. I am very excited to be a part of this community!
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  3. Rumors

    Rumors I'm a VIP

    I mean absolutely no disrespect by this, however you are just very young. What you think you know now will be very different than what you know in a decade or two. If you want to help this young man, you will encourage him to seek help either through a school councilor or a therapist or both. You are unable to help him with the actual treatment of whatever he might be suffering from. He needs professional help from an adult.

    I applaud you for seeking knowledge to help him and think you must care a great deal about him. He is lucky to have a good friend that is willing to go that extra step to see that he gets what he needs. I hope he can take some steps to help himself find some peace. Thanks for posting and good luck.
    Cimone likes this.
  4. Cimone

    Cimone New Member

    Yeah, I've encouraged him to seek help from adults many times. He hates his school counselor and his parents won't allow him to see a therapist, so there's nothing he can do at this point.

    He does say that after his eighteenth birthday, he will sign up for therapy, however.

    Thank you for the kind words!
  5. itsKismet

    itsKismet I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    Hi and welcome.

    I'd like to smack his parents. It REALLY angers me that they are keeping him from getting treatment. I see this as abusive, just as a parent who keeps their child from getting treatment for any other medical issue can be seen as abusive.

    He is lucky to have you and your support. I know you're young, but you're ahead of the game so to speak in that you're a supportive partner who is actively researching the disorder. Kudos to you!
  6. Cimone

    Cimone New Member


    Yeah, I feel that 100%. I feel like it's just ignorance, though. Hopefully one day they'll be able to understand.

    Thank you for being so sweet!
  7. Sweetpea76

    Sweetpea76 Semper ubi sub ubi.

    I am a supporter who has GAD too... it's tricky.

    You have to control it around your sufferer unless you want a big hot mess on your hands. While you cannot help him if he is not getting treatment, you can definitely help him by getting treatment for your GAD if you are going to be around him or interacting with him every day. Sufferers have a hard time managing their stress and anxiety, and they definitely definitely cannot deal with other people's anxiety attacks.

    You also need to find somebody else to support you when you are having anxiety. He cannot do it, especially if he is not treated. My vet has been in therapy for 5 years, and has even spent some time in an inpatient treatment facility... and he would still melt down if he had to deal with one of my panic attacks. Not to say that is "wrong" to be a supporter with GAD. I can manage mine very well with medication, and as long as I keep my unnecessary anxiety issues away from my vet, we do just fine.
  8. Cimone

    Cimone New Member

    Yeah, I'm currently in treatment and my anxiety is getting much better. I began treatment in March of this year and I went from having a panic attack a day to maybe one a month.
  9. Sweetpea76

    Sweetpea76 Semper ubi sub ubi.

    That's good. It seems like the calmer you can stay around your sufferer, the better. Have you read the PTSD Cup explanation? It explains very simply and easily how even a little bit of added stress can put a sufferer right over the edge. It helps a lot to understand.

    Here is a link. [DLMURL][/DLMURL]. The whole download is good, but the cup explanation starts on page 7.
    Cimone likes this.
  10. Cimone

    Cimone New Member

    I will definitely check this out! Thank you so much!
    Sweetpea76 likes this.
  11. intothelight

    intothelight Just Being Me

    Hi Cimone,

    Welcome to MyPTSD forum! :)

    Take the time to read and learn all that you can about this disorder, as understanding goes a long way in helping not only the person with PTSD, but those that support them. You might want to share some of the information with your boyfriend, as trying to manage symptoms without the benefit of therapy or family support is difficult.

    Take care.

  12. rightkindofme

    rightkindofme I'm a VIP

    It would probably be good to send him to this forum. His recovery will work a lot better if he is doing the work instead of you. There is only so much you can do for someone else's brain. :)

    I'm sorry his parents are resisting him getting treatment. I am a rebel by nature and if I had such parents I would be going through the phone book and calling therapists on the down-low to tell them about my situation and ask for extreme sliding scale therapy. Many therapists will work with at-risk kids for basically free. I'm not sure how the confidentiality stuff would work with his parents--different states have different laws but I have seen therapists through rape crisis centers without my parents knowledge.

    Has he called his local rape crisis center? Some are really whacked and refuse to work with male victims (because obviously singling out traumatized men and saying that they are not worthy of help is good for the whole community--right?) but some are great. YMCA might have options.

    I have found that librarians are wonderful people to ask for help with research or finding resources. If you go to a research librarian in any major university or a large city library and say, "I need help finding information on rape recovery and PTSD and while we are at it can we look for mental health support in our city because I am having a lot of trouble finding it." Librarians devote their lives to helping people find the information they need. Librarians are some of the best-most-underutilized resources in a community.

    Good luck. I'm glad your GAD is getting more under control. I am "officially" diagnosed PTSD and GAD. Life is festive!
    Cimone likes this.
  13. Cimone

    Cimone New Member

    @Sweetpea76 I read the article and already have a much better understanding of what he's going through! Before, I thought that when he pushed me away after a small conflict between us or even between him and another person, he was just doing it to be mean. (He knows that when he does such things, it gives me a lot of anxiety. My GAD has roots in abandonment issues, so when he doesn't want to talk for a few days, that can sometimes make me feel very bad.) Now I know that it's not really him lashing out at me, but just him trying to calm himself down. I never understood that before.

    Just knowing that alone makes me a lot less anxious and will probably help me be a better supporter for him.

    @intothelight Thank you! I will definitely show him some of the things you guys have up to educate.

    @rightkindofme Thank you for all the advice! I will let him know about the options you've told me the next time we speak.
    Sweetpea76 likes this.
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