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Faking normal/downplaying ptsd

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by TexCat, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. TexCat

    TexCat Not a cat or a native Texan. Banned Donated

    For the most part, I am becoming an expert in “faking it.” Job success being the easiest part... home and family, a bit trickier, but still doable.

    If my husband or friends were to read my journals or hear my thoughts while in a bad day or trauma loop, I don’t know what would happen.

    How do you fake it to keep your career or peacefulness in your relationships? Does anyone besides your T truly know the “PTSD You?”
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  3. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington _______ in progress. Premium Member

    If nobody knows the PTSD you, then do you really have the impact on functioning that is required for a PTSD diagnosis?
  4. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator


  5. nowthisisme

    nowthisisme Active Member

    Nope, my T is the only one who knows my PTSD self. I'm a good faker :unsure:
    I smile when i feel I have 1000lbs on my chest, I laught when my abuse is on reply in my head. I cuddle and kiss my husband when i wake up from a bad nightmare. I never share what I am trully thinking or feeling.
    My chest tightens and my heart is racing but I'm sitting on the table watching my kids have dinner, I can't speak but I smile. They can't tell.

    I wake up kicking and screaming with the image of my abuser infront of me. I calm down and cuddle my husband as if nothing happened. He can't tell.

    I sit with family listening to their stories smiling and nodding my head while my abuser "sits" next to them. I see him but no one else can. I feel his presence and no one can tell.

    So yes i can easily fake it in order to make life easier for others. I don't want to share my pain with them. I personally don't want them knowing the PTSD me .. It's a nasty evil shadow and i dont want it hovering over my loved ones.
  6. hymnless

    hymnless Active Member

    I think that’s entirely possible for a lot of reasons, but I won’t list them all. Primarily I’d say that isolating yourself is a really good way to make sure that other people don’t see the true you when you’re struggling. Isolating can be physically not being around others or simply checking out mentally just long enough to be able to seem fine before you run away again. It’s a lot harder to isolate yourself in front of your t though.....

    A lot of us are probably faking it without realizing it so that we feel like we have an ounce of control. If other people think I’m doing well, then I’m doing well, right?
  7. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington _______ in progress. Premium Member

    You can’t argue with criterion G.

    If you don’t have criterion G, you do not have ptsd.

    Just as if you do not have criterion A, you do not have ptsd.

    If there is no functional impairment, you do not have ptsd.

    It’s funny how people only pay attention to the criterion they want to.

    Don’t have criterion A and you’re run off the site. Don’t have any of the other criterion and nobody cares.

  8. NoWhereKnowWhere

    NoWhereKnowWhere There is a light and it never goes out. Donated

    Yeah major faker here. Usually until I crumble into undeniable yeah I’m not feeling great at the moment. Maybe if I pretend I’m ok I won’t have to deal with being very not ok.

    Avoidance is literally in the diagnostic criteria.
  9. joeylittle

    joeylittle Donation drive til August 1, donate today Administrator Generous $250+

    Correct - but what matters here is the clinical definition of functional impairment.

    The DSM V recently moved from the GAF (global assessment of functioning) to the WHODAS (world health organization disability assessment schedule). So, getting into real detail with these things can be tricky, since the target just moved.

    However, it's not hard to understand the concepts, and they are pretty similar. The WHODAS evaluates based on six "domains of functioning"
    • Cognition – understanding & communicating
    • Mobility– moving & getting around
    • Self-care– hygiene, dressing, eating & staying alone
    • Getting along– interacting with other people
    • Life activities– domestic responsibilities, leisure, work & school
    • Participation– joining in community activities
    The thing is complicated to do a self-assessment and scoring on, I'm really hoping this doesn't turn into one of those threads where people decide to score themselves. What is easy enough is to do a kind of simplified model, and just ask yourself something like - how often has my life in the last month been negatively impacted by challenges in each of the areas, above? Not at all, occasionally, about half the time, more than half the time.

    I'm really boiling it down to something very generalized - but hopefully it creates a mental picture of how functional impairment is assessed.

    You can be fine on mobility, moderately fine with self-care, totally normal in cognition, but not really doing well with getting along, falling incredibly behind in life activities, and have given up participation altogether. Congratulations, you're functionally impaired.
  10. TexCat

    TexCat Not a cat or a native Texan. Banned Donated

    My T keeps telling me that my family knows (not my official diagnosis). She says that they know that mom is different, that I get edgey and sometimes disconnect. She actually encouraged me to tell them that I have an anxiety disorder, which is true. I heard my youngest tell my mom at Christmas, “yeah, mom does that, she hides back there, every day.” (Alone time in bedroom mid day). My husband knows that I have ptsd, and is currently frustrated about the time and expense of therapy and my p-doc.

    So faking it for me with family includes a different label, “anxiety disorder.” And it helps explain my need for alone time of noise reduction in the house.

    However... at work, faking it includes grounding my way through wooden doors. Not using the restroom during passing periods when kids are everywhere in the hallways coming from all directions. Making up a story to a kid that noticed my hand was shaking really bad because the empty hallway had mysteriously just morphed into my dorm building hallway and I had to walk through it to get into the Music wing.

    This is stuff I manage on a daily basis. I stop by the ocean twice a week, to breathe. I walk my dog every day, to breathe. I tried to add tv back in and quickly learned that the shows that interest me are too risky and unpredictable. Self care, my T reminds me about it every week.

    Despite all of my daily challenges at work, I can also hyper focus on what I do. It can essentially give me a break from my mental illness. Also, playing and teaching an instrument involves long tones which is the perfect grounding exercise. Hell, any part of playing an instrument is grounding. And in that regard, despite the negative voices in my head telling me that people hate me and I am not good enough, I tend to be very successful in what I do.

    @EveHarrington in case you are concerned about my ptsd status, I had three separate mental health professionals (a PhD psychologist, a trauma/emdr therapist and psychiatrist) diagnose me with late onset PTSD. I filled out three different questionnaires. The one that was very specific for ptsd scores me in the military range which is required to be a higher number due to their training. Civilians were labeled at a 40, (military 50) my score was a 58.

    My functioning has been improving as I have conquered some things through emdr and learning techniques and grounding from people on this site and my T. Plus I read books that give greatly supportive ideas. I have only been “blessed” with one pretty bad episode that knocked out my ability to function for a few days. That is why my therapist sent me to the p-doc.

    Eve, I sincerely hope that this helps with your concerns.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  11. Justmehere

    Justmehere Help support myPTSD - more info in Social forum Moderator Premium Member

    Yep. Totally. To suggest otherwise is in error.

    In many areas of my life, no one has a clue I have PTSD. My symptoms are not obvious much of the time. It’s like being a duck. Above water, it looks smooth. Underwater, the duck is kicking furiously.

    Under the surface, I’m working hard to control and manage symptoms. The amount of work I have to put into it is part of PTSD. If I didn’t have PTSD, wouldn’t have to work on it.

    Just because your symptoms are noticeable by those in your life, that doesn’t mean that applies to all sufferers.

    I am functionally limited. There are things I can’t do yet or have to take extra measures to be able to do. If I didn’t have PTSD, I’d function at an even higher level.

    But that doesn’t mean people see that. I function well enough most days people don’t know. I may function well through a whole work day and come home and have a panic attack that I have to deal with instead of going out and running errands.

    I disagree. If one doesn’t have Crtierion A trauma, they are generally given information and encouragement to find the best place for support.

    It’s also not true about the other criteria. There are a number of times I’ve personally responded to posters to explain the symptoms alone they have don’t suggest PTSD.

    An observation: you are making an awful lot of all or nothing, black and white declarations - common cognitive distortions suffers sometimes can struggle with.

    I personally try to keep in mind that this is a PEER support site. Not a clinical expert diagnostic site. We give peer opinions. Mental health professionals are the ones to officially rule in or out a diagnosis.
  12. Suzetig

    Suzetig Still the Staff Kitteh... Moderator Sponsor $100+

    No, most people don't see PTSD me. That person isn't terribly easy to live with and I work very hard to keep her away from people.

    My T sees her a lot, so do a couple of people I have similar close, supportive professional relationships with and my husband sees her from time to time. For the most part I can appear to function ok, and sometimes still I don't see my PTSD self in that I don't recognise immediately X behaviour as stemming from PTSD.

    As far as Criterion G goes, it's never been about whether I can function in daily life - sometimes I'm pretty functional and sometimes I'm really not - it's about what it takes for me to remain functional. If I stop looking after myself, stop therapy, repeatedly put myself into triggering situations I'd stop functioning pretty quickly. It's called managing my condition and I'm fortunate that just now I'm able to do that. I wouldn't say I'm symptom free, in some ways PTSD is kicking my ass more than it ever has done, but I'm managing it so that it has limited functional impact.
  13. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

    I could fake it with the best of them...until the stress of years of pretending I was ok finally caught up with me. Part of my trauma was the requirement that I keep my emotions hidden...be ok or die..so I got good at pretending. What was happening behind that smile was the ptsd running amuk
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