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Dealing With PTSD. Coping & Understanding

Discussion in 'General' started by Andrea42, Sep 7, 2006.

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  1. Andrea42

    Andrea42 Active Member

    Hello Everyone,
    This has been on my mind all day.....

    I understand that PTSD can be treated in a number of ways...Psychotherapy, and drug therapy. Treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy and exposure therapy (this is all on the VA site)

    But i would like to learn what is working for YOU at the moment...what gets you through the day… what makes you look forward to the next?! For some the medication itself is enough, for others it’s a combination of both, meds and therapy…But I would like to know if anybody has his/her own way of coping with it…something you do for yourself that you feel is helping you.

    I will say, I myself have not been diagnosed with PTSD but I am trying very hard to be there for my husband who does suffer from it. I’ve had a horrible past few days with him…and today I just feel like giving up… I feel like I’m done!! I feel drained and I feel I cannot continue any longer living this way :-( I know for a fact my heart will not let me give up on him because I love him...it’s that simple… I guess I am just very frustrated today and I need a little lift :crazy-eye

    After extensive research I always see the same things being said… I want to help him…but I/we are running out of idea’s (he takes his meds and goes to counseling once a month that about it) The advise here at the forum is more than I ever expected…and there are so many intelligent individuals who have so much to give even with what they are going through themselves. The strength here is amazing. I am proud to be apart of it.

    I want to learn how you are helping yourself cope and get better. I am interested in acquiring about what you go through in a day and how you make things better for yourself or how the people around you are there for you. I want to learn what you need from us, the supporters. Also what type of doctors work best for you? Meds? (I understand everyone is different in this subject) Activities you enjoy that make you feel good? that better your day. Hobbies that help you cope? Types of Jobs? Alone time and spending time with family and friends?! Anything and everything! I am here to learn and comprehend and hopefully in the end I get to be there for somebody who is in need of understanding. I want to be there for my husband and make his life better than how he is living now. :redface:

    And I look forward to reading about what you have to say.
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  3. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Andrea, great questions and will to want to learn. That is what spouses do need, along with sufferers.

    Firstly the drug therapy. Regardless some misinformation you may off found upon the Internet, drugs have never sustained PTSD, ever. Drug companies themselves admit to this, because PTSD is not one illness, it is multiple disorders that have established and combined as one, PTSD. No drug will effectively treat or moderate the symptoms of PTSD. Drugs will however take the edge of some symptoms, enough to allow the person to begin therapy and basic living tasks. Vietnam vets are learning this more and more by the day, as they used to be told this exact thing... drugs will fix the problem, and more and more are losing it or waking up to the facts they need to deal with their trauma and get to the emotional level of their brain if they want to live life. What many have been doing, is not living, more just putting up with life itself or wandering through it, but certainly not coping with it or enjoying it.

    What do I do on a day by day basis? Nothing really in immediate effect of PTSD symptoms, because I don't need to manage symptoms daily, because I have fought the root of the problem, my trauma. What I do always remain cognisant off though, is some triggers which are still an issue for me. I cannot expose myself to constant stress, I must prepare myself mentally to go into crowds (self assurance of where I am, not where I have been), some military related triggers which are outside my control, ie. military helicopters flying above me, though not within my control to every aspect, I have some control, ie. not going to military events or areas of military events, etc etc.

    A sufferer will always have triggers which may evoke symptoms, it is a matter of learning these over time, dareing yourself for exposure to them intentionally to help fight past them, and one's that cannot be gotten past, you must use the one time it is acceptable to avoid yourself, rather than expose yourself, within reason obviously.

    At the level of uncontrolled PTSD though, saying that what you feel is hell, is putting it mildly. It is not an excuse for a sufferer to be ignorant to healing, but it is simply factual that uncontrolled PTSD is consuming, and when not known how to deal or cope with the overwhelming sensations, unfortunately, everyone around them wears it, so the best thing for those around a sufferer is to remove themselves at those times, then come back when the storm has settled. If a sufferer continues to work upon themselves, analysing faults, looking forward instead of wallowing in self pity, the results will come generally after a few months, ie. noticable improvement, but still much further to go.

    PTSD becomes a sufferers normal, which means, you can't ever go back to what one percieves as normal, instead you have to go forward and find a new normal for yourself, for your relationships, for everyone concerned. This means, that those around a sufferer must also do the same, and instead of bringing up the past constantly, focus on the positives off healing, and helping create the new normal for the relationship, often the improved version even, because both parties have to dig deep and evaluate themselves more than most would ever do so, thus a sufferer and spouse often come out the other side of PTSD both better people, more understanding, more emotional, more in sync, more experienced to self and life issues.

    There is no one magic answer, nor two even, but instead a combination of factors must be pulled for each individual to assimilate to themselves, convert and modify what works for them, and use it. If a person is still overly aggressive and are telling themselves they are better, and the best they can do, I would say rubbish, and they need to continue evaluation and therapy to find a more calmer outcome to life.

    Sorry for the short reply... but I hope that gives you a starting point... and I know everyone will have their parts to add in here, which together, forms the bigge picture and many of the answers.
  4. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

    Hi Andrea:

    Since I am just starting therapy, I can only add so much to this one. However, I taught myself some key things that normally you would learn in therapy.

    Anger Management: I can still go off the deep end, but as a teenager, I made a choice not to abuse people with my emotions as was done to me. So I taught myself to: remove myself from the situation, avoid anger triggers, count backwards from 100, breathing exercises, exercise the anger out (walking etc...) paint my emotions on canvas, write them into poetry etc.. and then go back and deal with the issue once I've calmed down. I have a rule, that everyone gets told, when dealing with me. Give me 24 hours if I get upset. That way the people around me KNOW that I need this time to cool off and work on listening to the other parties concerns so that I can discuss it reasonably. It works wonders!

    I have also learned to view everything as a lesson that can teach me something. That way, I can turn my negativity into something positive! (this one seems to be easier for me than most)

    Other than that, the rest I'm just starting to learn in therapy. I've always been this way (no point of reference to a different way of life) so it's easy for me to accept that I have PTSD and work on moving forward. I don't waste my time looking behind me and wishing. My future holds more hope than my past ever did or ever will!

    I hope that helped some!
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