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Things I Figured Out While Hospitalized

Discussion in 'Accomplishments' started by batgirl, Mar 22, 2007.

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  1. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    I had much time to think while I was hospitalized. Here three things I learned while in hospital:

    1. I can control my rages.

    A few months back, a psychiatrist told my family and I that I would never be able to control my rages without medication. He said the shrinkage on the right side of my brain was likely to blame. My uncle even started a thread about trying to cope with my rages and hysteria:

    [DLMURL]http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread2222.html[/DLMURL]

    If you read that thread, you can get a taste of how bad my rages and hysterical behaviour has been.

    While I was in the hospital, I had 2 occasions where I almost lost control of myself. In the first instance, 6 members of my family came to visit me simulaneously. They were loud, and I found the whole situation overwhelming and triggering. However, rather than my usual pattern of flipping out and breaking things or punching myself in the face, etc, I weighed the pros and cons in my mind and convinced myself it was unwise. I was able to calm myself down. I also figured out that when I feel like breaking things, flipping out or otherwise losing control, it's because I feel badly about myself. I'm angry with myself. I feel like I'm crap, so I might as well destroy my things, be mean to myself and prove to everyone what a horrid person I am. I never looked at it that way before but it occurred to me after that incident.

    On the second occasion, I had my feelings hurt and also felt that I had hurt someone close to me. Once again, I was tempted to flip out about it, and I very nearly did. However, then I remembered how I had worked through my feelings in my mind before, and I was able to use the same technique and remain calm! I wrote to a friend about how I felt instead of breaking things and crying. I discussed it calmly and rationally with my family. I accepted responsibility for my wrong actions in the situation. It was NOT easy, it would have been much easier to flip out, and more "satisfying" in a way. But the wonderful thing about not flipping out is that now I don't have to feel guilty and hate myself in the aftermath. And I've proved that psychiatrist wrong... I'm not on medication right now. So I CAN control myself without medication. I just need to work hard at it and not give up.


    2. My family has rights too.

    Until recently, I had been operating under the assumption that everyone around me should just bend over backwards to avoid triggering me. Several members of my family are in the military, and that has been one of my triggers, given my trauma. Obviously I am still recovering and can't expect to never be triggered, but I CAN control how I react when I have a trigger, and how I treat those around me. It isn't easy, but I can choose to be kind ("please, I need to be alone right now"), rather than nasty ("f-cking leave me alone!!"). I can choose to communicate with my family when I'm having a problem, rather than holding it inside until I have a meltdown.

    Just because I have PTSD, doesn't give me a license to be abusive to them. They have feelings too. It never occurred to me before, but my family members in the military feel hurt when I am triggered by them. That doesn't mean I can always help being triggered, but it does mean that I can be sensitive to THEIR feelings, and not just think about myself all the time. It's the least I can do, considering all that they have done for me. And working on triggers, rather than flipping out about them or avoiding them, is what's going to help me get well.

    I mentioned my rages in the paragraphs above. A while ago, my family confronted me and "accused" me of being manipulative with most (not all) of my rages, secretly being able to control them much of the time, and using them to get my own way and abuse others. I didn't want to believe it, I'm ashamed, but I now realize they were correct. It occurred to me also, that when I have done something wrong, I generally feel like raging shortly afterwards. That's partially because of feeling down on myself, but I believe it's also a way to avoid responsibility. In a nutshell: I've done something wrong. I don't want to suck it up and deal with my feelings. Therefore, I'm going to behave very badly to the point where I make myself sick, everyone feels sorry for me, and basically excuses the wrong I did. It was wicked hard to admit that to myself, but it's the TRUTH!


    3. Self-pity is deadly.

    This one I have to give my family credit for, especially my uncle, because he accepts absolutely no self-pity from me. He even finds self-pity in my words and actions when I'm unaware of it! So he gets most of the credit for continuing to point it to me, and never allowing me to wallow in it.

    It's rather easy to find reasons to feel sorry for myself: my dad shot me and murdered my immediate family, I have PTSD as a result, and add to that, poor physical health, including cancer. But it's not a question of whether or not I have the "right" to feel sorry for myself, but rather, what is it doing for me? Does it help me at all? I have to answer emphatically NO. Self-pity is a habit, and a deadly one at that. My uncle compares it to being on a ship at sea during a horrible storm. The ship may or may not hold for the duration of the gale; however, your best chance for survival is to weather the storm by remaining on board. But self-pity tells you weathering the storm is too difficult, too much effort. So, you might as well just jump overboard, attach yourself to the anchor, and allow it to pull you under and drown.

    One thing I learned in hospital, there are many people with serious problems, as bad or worse even than my own, and yet they carry on living without pitying themselves. In the 2 weeks I was in the cancer ward, 3 people died. One was a 4 year old boy with leukemia. Two days after his death, his parents came to the ward to comfort some of the other children who were traumatized by his death. Losing a child must be the most horrible experience ever. Yet in spite of their grief those parents were able to think of other people's kids too. I thought it was amazing, it really touched me.

    I've always known self-pity is wrong, but I now have a firm resolve to not allow myself to indulge in it. I want to have a good life, and self-pity is not going to help me get there.
     
    Junipa, Kathy and permban0077 like this.
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  3. Linda

    Linda Well-Known Member

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    Batgirl, there are really good points in your post, clear and well-formulated. In many ways, it expresed my thoughts, as I would write them if had enough English for it. Thank you so much!
    There is a really good job you had done. Being able to control yourself, and recognising that your family also have rights, and trying not to concentrate all their attention around attempts not to trigger you... This is SO important. You pointed absolutaly right: PTSD is not an excuse for being abusive.

    I am glad that you are back with us!
    HUGS
    Linda
     
  4. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    Hey thanks Linda, I'm glad to be back and glad my post made some sense. I've missed you guys a lot. Hope you get rid of those yucky mice. I hate mice...
     
  5. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Evie, as usual when you come out of the clouds you amaze me. Wonderful job! Read what you wrote and still act surprised we look up to you. Major leaps as usual.
     
  6. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

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    Very well shared batgirl. It all makes a whole lot of sense. And, thanks so much for sharing it with us.

    Keep up your extraordinary progress and efforts and always take care Evie.

    Would like to start calling you Evie, if you don't mind, just haven't done so any sooner, as I don't know you as well as others may know you. Is it alright for me to respond to you as Evie?

    Hope
     
  7. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    Hope, I shouldn't be answering for my niece but I am quite sure you can call her Evie. I believe she revealed her name on this forum for that very reason. Hopefully however she will answer you herself as well, if you feel you need confirmation on that.

    Evie, I am extremely proud of you as always. Very very well done sweetie.
     
  8. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    Thanks veiled, Hope and Auntie. I'm almost glad I was in hospital. Well if not glad, at least grateful for the experience and the learning that was the result of it. And yes Hope you are more than welcome to call me Evie... that's my name. Well... actually my full name is Evelyn Mary Agnes...bleah. But I like Evie, thanks. :)
     
  9. maus

    maus Active Member

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    hello stranger

    Hay Evie,

    I just started here a week ago or so. First I wish you well of course and I am happy to hear you're out of the hospital.
    I wanted to comment on what you said here.
    -I can control anger
    I cannot control my anger either and for a few days last week I could stop the rage very quickly and withholding it a few times. I too found out that I could do it and control it if I have to. But it hurts, it ages in my intestines, it doesn’t feel very pleasant and it is very difficult to do. I really feel better at that precise moment to let it go. I does feel rewarding and satisfying somehow but only at the onset. It is almost as if the adrenalin is overflowing and by letting it happen it thereby raises the adrenalin level as a result, making it even worse. Damaging mind and body and everything en everybody within reach. And in the long run not making things any better for myself at all. The knowledge that I can control my anger has given me a little bit of hope. I wish that there was a combination possible: to have a fit and feel relieved afterwards and getting better by having a fit :)
    But now it feels I have a choice and that it is maybe possible in the future to express and feel emotions without loosing it.

    When I got cancer I really got angry. I yelled at the trees (there was no one else available) why not you (the trees that is), why me. I already got everything to endure, I don't need to be tested anymore if I am strong enough to survive everything I know already that I am indestructible. We say here if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger. Well I didn't need to be stronger I was already superman. Why me, why me, why not somebody who is happy and has it all, give them my cancer so they have something to worry about for the first time in their life.
    I got over it pretty soon because I didn't had much time to save my self. You know these cancers eat you alive if you don't watch it.
    It's strange: first getting pissed why me, then the thought, well alright now I can finally die and put an end to it all, and then starting to act to save your miserable live.
    Why? Is it a natural reflex to safe ones life? Is it survival instinct? Or has it to do with PTSD that we are too strong to give up as an option. I haven't come this far and survived everything not to have it end this way. Are we going on in the hope that one day the sun will shine again? Or is it that a psychiatrist says give it up you cannot do this and we want to prove them wrong not for them but for ourselves. Is it the challenge? Or is it the patronizing misplaced pity that pisses us of?
    Anyway. Get well soon and I hope you will find out that you can achieve a lot more beside control your anger. Maybe it is the first step for us to become in charge of our lives again.
     
  10. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    Hey maus, nice to meet you and welcome to the forum. Did you call yourself "maus" after the graphic novel by Art Spiegelman? Or do you mean "maus" as in the word for "mouse" in one of the teutonic languages (German, Dutch, etc)? Sorry just curious, Maus is one of my favourite graphic novels. And I haven't had a chance to look at the introductions thread yet.

    I understand about the damage to body thing. I don't really want to develop anymore ulcers or high blood pressure or something worse. I'm not planning on stuffing my anger if I can help it. Just the rages I've had have been absolutely extreme, and they've hurt the people around me. I figured out I can still be angry and express my anger without totally losing it. I hope I can continue to express my anger in more healthy ways.

    Wow you are also a cancer survivor? Or you have cancer currently? There's definitely a grieving process with it, that's for sure. I've felt angry, sorry for myself, scared, upset... the whole gamut. I can still feel badly about it if I let myself, but I have an excellent prognosis so I'm trying to be as positive as I can. It's definitely a life changing illness, just like PTSD. And having both at the same time is wicked wild!!

    OMG I just had the weirdest feeling of deja vu while typing this portion... as if I'd typed it to you before. Does that creep you out?!!? It does me... eek. Anyways sorry for that silly aside... for me I'm not sure why, I had been pretty depressed and obsessed with death (due to my trauma) until only about 3 weeks back, when my friend died. Then I realized I wanted to live and I haven't felt like dying or giving up since. I still think about death a lot in my mind, not my own personal death so much, but just cemeteries, bodies, zombies, people getting killed, etc, because it's part of my trauma.

    Thanks for that wish. I wish all that for you as well and again nice meeting you!
     
  11. maus

    maus Active Member

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    mice

    maus is my cat, it is german for mouse, because I didn't want a cat who's name is mouse. But she looked like one when I find her. A tail so thin like that of a mouse, grey and very malnourished she weigh 1 kg then.
    later I called her princess when she was healthy again and beautiful. Art Spiegelman is german. Or of german descent. Spiegelman is german for mirrorman.

    Anger: my outburst scares people and myself. I don't recognize myself. My eyes almost pop out and my bloodpressure gets so high it's almost I am on fire. Red and hot. I was afraid I would get an attack (heart or brain). I started to take pills to prevent a heart attack so scared was I for the consequences. A complete maniac. My vocal cords are damaged because of the screaming. Sometimes they give way and can't produce any sound anymore. I threw it all out because I also thought it was better then to stuff it. That would eat me from inside. But I got to a point last week that I wanted to take meds to stop these attacks because they were endless and exhausting me. The more tension I get the more it happens. I try to keep my mind occupied and distracted so it doesn't know for a while what happened and therefore leaving me alone. But if I get up and walk towards the kitchen for instance then my mind has nothing to do and in those few steps another outburst occurs. It goes on and on. But still I think it is getting better. I saw somewhere in my diary that at one time I had those attacks for 18 hours in a row.

    yes a survivor of everything also cancer. I was declared cured after 5 years or so. It didn't come back. The last control was 3 years ago I think.
    I was lucky it wasn't all over the place yet.
    To have it at the same time: almost if our resistance is low and our immune system not optimal that everything that can go wrong also will.
    To beat an illness it is advisable to be in excellent health prior to the onset :)
    You know murphy's law?
    I don't freak out of deja vues but I don't have that anymore. I lost most of my abilities...
    I must sleep rest will follow
     
  12. Terry

    Terry Well-Known Member

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    Evie, it's so good to see you back. You made me cry in a good way.
     
  13. maus

    maus Active Member

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    continuation

    deja vu: once I “knew” people, I could “read” them, know what they were up to, thinking, when they would call, what they were going to say, knew what was going to happen. I was good at it. Now it's mixed up. I am still good at reading people and am still right every time but it is mixed with healthy suspicion, mistrust, anxiety from the ptsd so it is not reliable anymore.
    I don't have faith in myself anymore. It is very difficult when you are in the midst of a conspiracy that's not a result of paranoia but is real.
    Sometimes I see a movie in which a person goes threw the same ordeal. "presumed innocent", "the net", with sandra bullock, "no way out" with kevin Costner. Innocent people who were set up by the system, the government to take the fall.
    At some time I started thinking that I really was insane, but my therapist kept on going all by herself trying to enter my mind and erase the brainwash effects of the prosecutors. In my country it happens that b/c of the pressure and the brainwash of victims they finally admit having killed someone they haven't even met.
    It takes years before those people are rehabilitated if it happens at all.

    death: I am sorry for the loss of your friend. Are all these losses making us stronger because we detach ourselves from our feelings? Are we immune for death? Have we harnessed ourselves that much that we can't feel what is happening around and inside us?
    We see in reality and in our minds the pictures, is that a kind of exposure? We numb ourselves by accident because of what we have to go over and over again in our heads. Is this a protection mechanism of the brain? Does the brain do this on purpose or is the brain shutting down because it can't do anything else about it? Is it a brainwash done by the brain itself?
    Maybe the mechanism wears out in time, or isn't stand by after a while and the death of a friend can cause a jolt an electrical shock to the brain that makes it wake up from its slumber state. Like waking up from hibernation also a mechanism completely ruled by the brain. We wake up when it is safe? Is it then that we start to function again because our brain gave its permission? You got sick, you lost someone again and then your brain gives itself a jolt wake up wake up you must be awake now you must safe yourself and do something. As a result you suddenly have some control over you anger outburst, you can rationally analyze and understand patterns, behavior and the impact of it. Like ECT (electro shock therapy).
    If I must act I found out that suddenly I could do a lot, which I normally can't do at all. After that I slide away in my slumber state again.

    Just some thoughts
    Sleep tied, no dreams or sweet dreams, get well soon
    give my regards to your aunt and uncle
     
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