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Diagnosed? Do I Have PTSD or Not?

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by ess, Jul 5, 2006.

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  1. ess

    ess New Member

    Hi all-

    I was told by my therapist and mother (an NP) that I have (symptoms of) PTSD. I'm not sure if I believe them...I read about it and some of it fits to a T (the numbness, closing off, etc.) The problem is, the experience I am supposedly reacting to is not one that I have heard of anyone else having, so it's hard to compare. And I don't want to jump on the PTSD bandwagon, so to speak.

    Here's the story: I grow up...I am daddy's little girl. I totally adore him and put him on a pedestal. He is a respected member of the community; very smart and witty. Wildlife biologist. When I am 18 and he is 49 he dies suddenly...I am told --at first-- that he killed himself. Then, a few hours later, that he had a heart attack, he had just fallen on some wires and it 'looked like a suicide'...and my mom, a licensed medical practitioner, had just been 'confused'. I am told when I get home for the funeral that he had been drunk (No one, even my mom, had ever seen him drink) and they subsequently found hundreds of rum bottles hidden in his workroom in the basement. This about killed me, but I was working through it. I, however, never believed the heart attack story. Everytime I visited home I asked my mom about it. Something was off about it and didn't feel right.

    I finish undergrad, take two years off, begin grad school. Always had some depression (and pretty severe OCD), but it begins getting worse. In therapy now (again), I begin a new drug (Effexor) and things are looking up. Then, on the 8-year anniversary of my dads death, my mom tells me that he actually died of autoerotic asphyxiation (masturbation while hanging oneself). She found bondage equipment in the basement, discovered that he had a seperate apartment, etc (this is one month ago that I found out). Since then I have gone completely numb. I sort of sleepwalk through life. I keep imagining what it must have looked like (seeing his body hanging, etc.). But I don't REALLY process it. I don't think about it much. But I am withdrawn, unable to be physical with my partner...

    Then my therapist says this is PTSD. It fits, but it's not like I witnessed violence or anything (although my mom thinks my sister and I saw him engaging in stuff when we were younger -- we both have weird issues around sex and she has been having dreams). Pretty much the only times I cry is when I drink (which I have pretty much stopped doing). Then I found out one week later that my mom had cheated on my dad! I thought I had had the "perfect" childhood, despite a myriad of issues (serious trust stuff, fear of losing control, OCD diagnosed in 8th grade, suicidal, cutting, crying and "greying out" during sex, etc)

    I feel CRAZY! Can anyone respond to this? I don't want people to say, "oh she's just being dramatic". I have done so much research, but this is such a delayed thing, I feel weird calling what I have PTSD. I feel so lost...

    Thanks in advance,
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  3. YoungAndAngry

    YoungAndAngry Well-Known Member

    Welcome ess!

    What a horrible experience!
    The numbing you are talking about definatly sounds like dissociation, which is a PTSD trait.
    I'm not positive you have PTSD either, (but I'm obviously not a Doctor)
    but regardless you need to work through what you've been through
    Feeling crazy is the worst feeling!
    and I highly doubt anyone here thinks you're being dramatic
  4. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Hi Emily,

    Welcome to the community. From what you explained, I would say no at this stage. The reason I say no, is because whilst one may have certain symptoms of PTSD, diagnosis of PTSD itself is not just about the symptoms, but how many of the symptoms and the intensity of those symptoms. I have posted the [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread6.html"]symptoms of PTSD[/DLMURL] on this board, which you can read from that link.

    For a little further reading (get a coffee and cut lunch), the following link points towards the [DLMURL="http://www.behavenet.com/capsules/disorders/dsm4TRclassification.htm"]DSM-IV-TR list of classifications[/DLMURL], all of which you can read each for a better understanding. You have trauma, but not all trauma negates PTSD levels, ie. 99% of the worlds population suffer trauma sometime in their life, losing a loved one, etc etc, but not to the same intensity as the trauma by say, having your friends head blown off whilst the killer let you live, or pulling the trigger on someone yourself within war, or having a life threatning event such as a car crash with serious implications, etc etc.

    Most trauma will have some anxiety tendencies, so maybe have a further look at those. If you want to really find out whether you have PTSD or not, then the best place is an actual trauma center, or... seek out one of the veteran support groups (yes, even though your not military related) because they will generally have a list of local physicians who are quite deep and experienced in dealing with PTSD. Most physicians and doctors wouldn't really have a clue if someone had PTSD or not, and it jumped up and bit them on the backside, because their experience with it is limited to text learning or maybe meeting someone with it... but very few actually have dealt with it for atleast a decade to get a true feel for who does, and does not actually have it. A good physician specialised in PTSD will near know just from looking at your demoir to whether or not you have PTSD.

    What I do think though, is you really do need to talk more with a good counsellor, and get this out of you, or else if you don't have PTSD, then you could develop it sometime in your life if your trauma is intense enough for you to dwindle upon it for years and years, you could turn the initial trauma into something much worse, as our brains allow us to do.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
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