Different roads to recovery from PTSD/cPTSD-related disability

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
CPTSD has been long-term for me - let's say over 33 years, if I still have it. In my early 20s, I was 110% disabled - I couldn't effectively care for myself, though it wasn't until my late 20s that anything began to change - that was when I started college.

I wish I had understood much earlier that my recovery from the disability that came along with my cPTSD was going to be more about gaining skills that I could use while I still had cPTSD than it would be about forcing a speedy recovering from my condition. Pushing rather than accepting brought me a lot of disappointment and wasted a lot of time but did not improve my symptoms nor my employability. I had to decide to accept things like this not as a coward but as someone with enough awareness to maybe improve her own life.

Do you have a story about how you overcame your disability and went back to work, school or long-term volunteering?

I think we get a lot of bunk information from a variety of sources - it would be really cool for people to see what real roads to recovery from disability look like because honestly, I thought that if I couldn't make it in nursing school, this meant I was screwed. The line of thinking that said I had to be cured before I could excel kept me in a self-defeating cycle for a long damned time. We have better information than this.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
So I have been on short-term disability twice because of the depression and (undiagnosed at the time but definitely an issue) c-PTSD. I worked through most of the awfulness (and went to school) - I had been dx DID 5 years before I went on leave. I was a serious mess, but I had decided a long time ago I would NOT be hospitalized and I would NOT go on disability, so I stayed a mess. Going on STD was more stressful for me than working, because I saw it as a failure.

So...I pretty much always worked through it. I spent a lot of those years just surviving, but then found someone to help me with functionality rather than focusing on past trauma. It really helped. I mean, a lot. I've done a little bit of trauma work, and I still have some issues with reactions to past stuff, but I'm managing in that regard much better than I was.

I picked up a lot of skills along the way, with the goal of being able to function easier. Mindfulness has played a big role in that. I also don't take people's shit anymore. I think I got to a point where I started to realize absolutely none of this matters in the long run (that is, life - and the not-mattering is mostly in a positive sense) and that includes other people's opinions of me or my mental health or mental health generally. Everything in this world is an opinion or a theory. So what I think and believe is just as valid as what anyone else thinks and believes.

The line of thinking that said I had to be cured before I could excel kept me in a self-defeating cycle for a long damned time.

I think all of us pay too much attention to the supposed-tos and the have tos. I've learned to question everything and to ask if there is an alternate opinion to what I'm being told. Even the absolute "this is the way it is" is not an absolute if you don't subscribe to it.
 

woodsy1

Confident
Wow. Not too many success stories here yet. 🥺

I am a 100% disabled Veteran of the United States Army. I have c-PTSD, MDD, GAD, and extreme Social Anxiety Disorder. I suffered with sever derealization for a few years. That part has subsided.

After 6 years of self-isolation and crippling symptoms, I have finally begun to come out of the darkness into the light a little bit. I can't really say that I did any particular thing to achieve this slight progress nor that medication or therapy helped much.

The change for me came through a couple life changes. One is that I divorced my abusive spouse. The other is that I went on a somewhat liberating binge of drinking alcohol (from which I typically abstain) and so briefly overcoming my social anxiety and even enjoying life a little bit. Alcohol use is likely not a healthy solution short or long term. But it worked where nothing else did.

I am not advocating alcohol use or abuse. I'm just saying that it's a bad choice I made which provided some relief for me. After 6 years of absolute misery, I was desperate and was willing to give it a shot. I made some bad choices during that little stint and am still paying for them.

I am no longer using alcohol at all. I am not functional in any sense of the word. I am getting out though and encountering people. I go to the local mall most days and walk around for exercise. I also push myself to interact with people. Both elements of this endeavor are helpful to some degree. This is baby steps, but it's more than I've been able to do for 6 years. Maybe it will lead to further progress? We'll see.

I look forward to seeing and hopefully sharing more success here. I will review again in a month or so.

Keep on keeping on!
Woodsy
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
found someone to help me with functionality rather than focusing on past trauma
How did I not see this earlier?

I recently ask VR if they knew of any resources to help me with my verbal communication because after all of this social isolation, I have lost some ground there that I worked really damned hard to gain. I was not surprised to discover that they did not know of any resources but on the other hand, I feel like there must be something out there.

I can get used to coworkers in a work setting but talking with random strangers is hard for me. I don't expect to get good enough at it to work in sales but getting back to where I was last year would be nice.

I feel like getting help with functionality would really help me. Of course, looking for work makes all of our insecurities and weak points shine, doesn't it?

I've learned to question everything and to ask if there is an alternate opinion to what I'm being told.

Good. I am getting better at that, myself, but still have a long way to go. I tend to give other people more validity than I give myself and it's pretty much always in the way of quickly determining what is useful information and what is not.

Everything in this world is an opinion or a theory. So what I think and believe is just as valid as what anyone else thinks and believes.
That is a great point. Thank you for that.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
I am no longer using alcohol at all. I am not functional in any sense of the word. I am getting out though and encountering people. I go to the local mall most days and walk around for exercise. I also push myself to interact with people. Both elements of this endeavor are helpful to some degree. This is baby steps, but it's more than I've been able to do for 6 years. Maybe it will lead to further progress? We'll see.
I have cPTSD and GAD, too.

I imagine that both your exercise and social interaction will continue to improve things for you. Both activities are good for the brain. Kudos to you for getting out there and doing these things.

When I was originally given a diagnosis, I spent several years unable to independently take pills regularly, regularly bathe, eat or cook consistently, do housework, or remember that the water was running or the stove was on. It was very discouraging.

But here I am, 19 years later, still struggling with things but not, at all, like I was struggling. Life, amazingly enough, has improved and to a significant degree because eventually, even those day-to-day baby steps cover some ground.

Best of luck to you!
 

woodsy1

Confident
I have cPTSD and GAD, too.

I imagine that both your exercise and social interaction will continue to improve things for you. Both activities are good for the brain. Kudos to you for getting out there and doing these things.

When I was originally given a diagnosis, I spent several years unable to independently take pills regularly, regularly bathe, eat or cook consistently, do housework, or remember that the water was running or the stove was on. It was very discouraging.

But here I am, 19 years later, still struggling with things but not, at all, like I was struggling. Life, amazingly enough, has improved and to a significant degree because eventually, even those day-to-day baby steps cover some ground.

Best of luck to you!
Hiya RussellSue. Thanks so much for sharing.

I'm so sorry that you also have cPTSD and GAD. What a bugger, as evidenced by the severe disability you encountered for so many years. Ugh!

Thank you for sharing that, though it took much time, your life is indeed improving. That is encouraging to someone who is just now barely coming out of the dark. I look forward to further healing. May it come quickly!

Thanks so much,
Woodsy
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
May it come quickly!
AMEN!

If I remember correctly, coming out of the dark was really the hardest part for me. You may be doing better than you think just by being willing and able to make the regular effort to try and take any steps at all.

The way I look at it now is that if I keep making forward motion, things have a fair chance of getting better. If I do not, they have a pretty good chance of getting a lot worse.

I hope you are able to find the support you need here. We're all learning but there are a lot of been-there, working-on-that folks here and that has been a huge help for me.
 
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