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Feeling hopeless about my depression

Can you tell me about what role anger plays in PTSD?
Certainly! Anger can play a complex role in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is a common emotional response in individuals with PTSD and can manifest in various ways. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Triggered by traumatic memories: Anger in PTSD can be triggered by traumatic memories, reminders of the traumatic event, or even certain situations that resemble the traumatic experience. These triggers can cause intense anger and a strong desire to fight back or defend oneself.

2. Hyperarousal and irritability: Individuals with PTSD often experience chronic hyperarousal, which can lead to irritability, frustration, and a short temper. They may feel constantly on edge or easily provoked, making it difficult to regulate their anger.

3. Secondary emotion: Anger can also serve as a secondary emotion that masks or protects underlying feelings of fear, sadness, or vulnerability. It may be easier for individuals with PTSD to express anger instead of dealing directly with these more challenging emotions.

4. Self-preservation and control: Anger can be a way for individuals with PTSD to assert control or protect themselves from perceived threats. It may serve as a defense mechanism, allowing them to maintain a sense of power in situations that trigger feelings of helplessness or vulnerability.

5. Interpersonal challenges: Anger in PTSD can strain relationships, as individuals may become easily agitated, socially withdrawn, or have difficulty trusting others. This can lead to conflict, isolation, and increased stress in personal and professional interactions.

It's important to note that while anger is a common symptom of PTSD, not everyone with PTSD experiences it in the same way or to the same degree. Working with a mental health professional, such as a trauma therapist, can help individuals explore and manage their anger effectively as part of their overall PTSD treatment plan.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to ask.
 
If a person's trauma was caused by a perpertrator, can you tell me about feelings of anger and rage at the perp and abuse the abuse in the context of PTSD?
 
If a person's trauma was caused by a perpertrator, can you tell me about feelings of anger and rage at the perp and abuse the abuse in the context of PTSD?
Absolutely. Feelings of anger and rage towards the perpetrator and the abuse itself are common in individuals with PTSD resulting from interpersonal trauma. Here are some important points to consider:

1. Targeted anger at the perpetrator: Survivors of abuse or trauma may experience intense feelings of anger towards the person or people who caused their harm. This anger can stem from a sense of betrayal, violation, powerlessness, or injustice. It is important to validate these emotions as a natural response to the trauma and acknowledge that the survivor is not at fault.

2. Desire for justice and retribution: Feelings of anger and rage may be accompanied by a strong desire for justice or revenge against the perpetrator. Survivors may fantasize about holding the perpetrator accountable for their actions, advocating for their own rights, or seeking legal action. It is essential to navigate these emotions in a healthy and constructive manner, as acting on them impulsively can have negative consequences.

3. Impact on self-perception: The abuse experience can deeply affect a survivor's self-worth, leading to internalized anger or self-directed rage. Survivors may feel anger towards themselves for not being able to prevent or escape the abuse, or for any perceived weaknesses or vulnerabilities. This self-directed anger can further contribute to feelings of shame, guilt, and low self-esteem.

4. Challenges in anger expression: Expressing anger in a healthy and assertive manner can be challenging for individuals with PTSD. They may suppress or minimize their anger due to fear of retaliation, retraumatization, or negative consequences. Bottling up anger can lead to increased distress and exacerbate symptoms of PTSD.

5. Safety concerns: It's important to prioritize safety when managing feelings of anger towards the perpetrator. Engaging in confrontations or seeking revenge can potentially put the survivor at risk. Collaborating with a trauma therapist to develop healthy coping strategies and safety plans is crucial.

Effective trauma therapy can provide individuals with the tools to navigate their anger and rage in a safe and productive manner. Therapeutic approaches such as trauma-focused therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) can help survivors process their anger, reframe negative beliefs, and develop healthier coping strategies.

I encourage you to seek support from a mental health professional who specializes in trauma and PTSD treatment. They can provide you with personalized guidance and therapeutic interventions to address your specific needs and challenges.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns.
 
Hi Dr Catalyst,

There's lots of generational trauma in my family and some of it has to do with my grandparents living through a dictatorship, war and genocide and my parents growing up in the aftermath of it.

I've dealt with it a bit in therapy... But I don't think I've really dealt with it properly.

As a kid, I couldn't really understand why the adults in my life were so weird. I could just tell that there was something wrong with them and that they seemed broken.

As a child, I always felt like their experiences with dictatorship, war and genocide had turned them into zombies. And that's what they still seem like to me, today.

There's so much broken baggage that was passed on to us children (my generation - siblings and cousins).

I suppose I'm meant to be greatful that we didn't live *through* the dictatorship, war and genocide like my grandparents did or through the direct aftermath like my parents, aunts and uncles did. We "only" lived with the fallout from it, as the generation that came after those two generations that were directly affected by it.

I'm wondering whether I can have some kind of compassion for people that went through dictatorship, war and genocide and who were thoroughly broken because of it? In really different ways - some of them became violent, some of them were perps. Others were enablers. Others were in total denial, no matter how atrocious things got. Nearly all of them lost their humanity to some degree. They all became selfish and focussed on their own survival and didn't really care about anyone else, even their own children and spouses and relatives.

I'm trying to work on acceptance: Accepting that my family history is steeped in dictatorship, war and genocide. Accepting that many of my relatives basically stopped being human beings because of it and became perps. Accepting that many other relatives were broken in ways that made them utterly unable to look after children in a non-damaging ways. Accepting that my generation of children grew up in a toxic setting and that we've all walked away with some type of PTSD or similar effects. Accepting that we've all ended up fleeing and trying to stay safe and looking after ourselves and there are no bonds between us. Accepting that growing up like that was my start in life and I'll always carry around the effects of it with me and that it's my job to transform that so that there's good things in my life and I can overcome that legacy.

Dr Catalyst, can you tell me more about this kind of generational trauma where parents and grandparents have gone through experiences like war/ dictatorships/ genocide and how this affects their children?
 
Hi Dr Catalyst,

There's lots of generational trauma in my family and some of it has to do with my grandparents living through a dictatorship, war and genocide and my parents growing up in the aftermath of it.

I've dealt with it a bit in therapy... But I don't think I've really dealt with it properly.

As a kid, I couldn't really understand why the adults in my life were so weird. I could just tell that there was something wrong with them and that they seemed broken.

As a child, I always felt like their experiences with dictatorship, war and genocide had turned them into zombies. And that's what they still seem like to me, today.

There's so much broken baggage that was passed on to us children (my generation - siblings and cousins).

I suppose I'm meant to be greatful that we didn't live *through* the dictatorship, war and genocide like my grandparents did or through the direct aftermath like my parents, aunts and uncles did. We "only" lived with the fallout from it, as the generation that came after those two generations that were directly affected by it.

I'm wondering whether I can have some kind of compassion for people that went through dictatorship, war and genocide and who were thoroughly broken because of it? In really different ways - some of them became violent, some of them were perps. Others were enablers. Others were in total denial, no matter how atrocious things got. Nearly all of them lost their humanity to some degree. They all became selfish and focussed on their own survival and didn't really care about anyone else, even their own children and spouses and relatives.

I'm trying to work on acceptance: Accepting that my family history is steeped in dictatorship, war and genocide. Accepting that many of my relatives basically stopped being human beings because of it and became perps. Accepting that many other relatives were broken in ways that made them utterly unable to look after children in a non-damaging ways. Accepting that my generation of children grew up in a toxic setting and that we've all walked away with some type of PTSD or similar effects. Accepting that we've all ended up fleeing and trying to stay safe and looking after ourselves and there are no bonds between us. Accepting that growing up like that was my start in life and I'll always carry around the effects of it with me and that it's my job to transform that so that there's good things in my life and I can overcome that legacy.

Dr Catalyst, can you tell me more about this kind of generational trauma where parents and grandparents have gone through experiences like war/ dictatorships/ genocide and how this affects their children?
I appreciate you sharing your deeply personal and complex experiences with generational trauma stemming from dictatorships, war, and genocide within your family. It's evident that the intergenerational trauma has had a profound impact on you and your relatives, shaping your perceptions, emotional well-being, and relationships within your family system.

Generational trauma refers to the transmission of trauma symptoms, behaviors, and coping mechanisms from one generation to the next, even if subsequent generations did not directly experience the traumatic events themselves. In the context of dictatorships, war, and genocide, the trauma can be pervasive and deeply ingrained, affecting individuals' sense of self, relationships, and worldview.

Here are some key aspects of how generational trauma can manifest within families:

1. Legacy of trauma: Traumatic experiences such as living under a dictatorship, war, or genocide can leave lasting psychological and emotional scars on individuals, influencing their beliefs, behaviors, and interactions with others. The trauma may be passed down through narratives, behaviors, and relational patterns within the family.

2. Survivor guilt and shame: Survivors of trauma may grapple with feelings of guilt, shame, and a sense of unworthiness, which can impact how they parent their children and relate to others. These feelings can be internalized by subsequent generations, contributing to a cycle of emotional distress and self-blame.

3. Disrupted attachment and bonding: Trauma can disrupt the attachment bonds between parents and children, leading to difficulties in establishing trust, emotional connection, and secure relationships. Children growing up in environments marked by trauma may experience emotional neglect, inconsistency, or unpredictability in caregiving.

4. Coping mechanisms and adaptations: Individuals coping with the aftermath of trauma may resort to maladaptive coping strategies, such as avoidance, numbing, hypervigilance, or emotional detachment, which can impact their functioning as parents and caregivers. These coping mechanisms can be passed down to future generations, perpetuating patterns of dysfunction and distress.

5. Intergenerational patterns of behavior: Trauma can shape family dynamics and communication styles, influencing how conflicts are resolved, emotions are expressed, and boundaries are established. Negative patterns of behavior, such as violence, emotional neglect, or dysfunctional relational dynamics, may be perpetuated across generations unless consciously addressed and transformed.

In your journey towards acceptance and healing, it's essential to acknowledge the multilayered impact of generational trauma on your family and yourself, while also recognizing your resilience and capacity for transformation. Seeking support from a trauma-informed therapist or counselor can provide you with a safe space to explore these complex dynamics, process your emotions, and develop coping strategies to navigate the effects of intergenerational trauma.

I commend your courage and introspection in confronting these challenging familial legacies. Remember that you deserve compassion, understanding, and support as you navigate your healing journey and work towards breaking the cycle of generational trauma within your family.

If you have any further thoughts or questions, please feel free to share them.
 
Thanks. Can you recommed any books dealing with this issue?
Certainly, there are several insightful books that delve into the topic of generational trauma and its effects on individuals and families. Here are a few recommendations that may provide valuable perspectives and guidance:

1. "The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma" by Bessel van der Kolk - This book explores the impact of trauma on the body and mind, including intergenerational trauma and strategies for healing and recovery.

2. "It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle" by Mark Wolynn - This book discusses the transmission of trauma across generations and offers insights into breaking free from patterns of generational trauma.

3. "Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror" by Judith Herman - This seminal work explores the nature of trauma, its effects on individuals and societies, and the process of recovery from traumatic experiences.

4. "Inherited Trauma and its Consequences" by Uwe Harlacher and Gabor Mate - This book delves into the concept of intergenerational trauma, its origins, and its implications for mental health and well-being.

5. "The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook" by Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz - While primarily focusing on childhood trauma, this book touches on the impact of generational trauma and the importance of understanding developmental responses to trauma.

These books offer valuable insights into the complexities of generational trauma, its effects on individuals and families, and strategies for healing and resilience. I recommend exploring these resources to deepen your understanding of the interplay between trauma, family legacies, and personal growth.

If you have any specific preferences or areas of interest related to generational trauma that you'd like to explore further, please let me know, and I can offer more tailored recommendations.

Remember to engage with these resources at your own pace and seek support from a mental health professional if you find yourself experiencing emotional distress while processing the content.

Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions or if you need further support.
 
Hi, I have C-PTSD and am currently struggling with really bad depression.

I'm also in a major life crisis and struggling to deal with this adequately because of my poor mental health.

Can you give me some sensible advice as to how to deal with an extended crisis when you already struggle with mental health issues?
 
Hi, I have C-PTSD and am currently struggling with really bad depression.

I'm also in a major life crisis and struggling to deal with this adequately because of my poor mental health.

Can you give me some sensible advice as to how to deal with an extended crisis when you already struggle with mental health issues?
I'm sorry to hear that you're going through a challenging time dealing with your C-PTSD and severe depression amidst a major life crisis. Managing an extended crisis while coping with mental health issues can be incredibly daunting, but there are steps you can take to support yourself during this difficult period. Here are some suggestions to help you navigate this challenging situation:

1. Prioritize self-care: Take small steps to prioritize your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This may involve engaging in activities that bring you comfort and relaxation, such as practicing mindfulness, going for a walk, listening to soothing music, or spending time in nature.

2. Reach out for support: It's important to reach out to trusted friends, family members, or mental health professionals for support during this time. Talking about your struggles and seeking guidance from others can provide you with emotional validation, practical assistance, and a sense of connectedness.

3. Create a crisis management plan: Develop a crisis management plan that outlines coping strategies, emergency contacts, and resources you can utilize during moments of heightened distress. Having a plan in place can help you feel more prepared and empowered to address challenges as they arise.

4. Break tasks into manageable steps: When facing a major life crisis, it can be overwhelming to think about the situation as a whole. Break down tasks and responsibilities into smaller, more manageable steps to prevent feelings of being inundated. Celebrate small victories along the way to build momentum and motivation.

5. Practice grounding techniques: Grounding techniques can help you stay present and manage feelings of overwhelm or dissociation. Techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness exercises, or using sensory tools like stress balls or essential oils can support you in staying centered during difficult moments.

6. Seek professional help: Consider reaching out to a mental health professional, such as a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist, who can provide you with tailored support and therapeutic interventions to address your C-PTSD and depression. Therapy can offer you a safe space to explore your emotions, develop coping skills, and work towards healing.

7. Monitor your self-talk: Be mindful of your inner dialogue and practice self-compassion. Challenge negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to feelings of hopelessness or inadequacy. Affirmations, journaling, and cognitive restructuring techniques can help you cultivate a more positive mindset.

8. Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries to protect your mental health and well-being during this challenging time. Learn to say no to additional stressors or demands that may exacerbate your symptoms and prioritize activities that nurture your recovery.

Remember that it's okay to seek help and take breaks when needed. Your well-being is paramount, and reaching out for support is a courageous step towards self-care and healing. If you're experiencing severe distress or suicidal thoughts, please contact a crisis helpline or emergency services for immediate assistance.

You are not alone in this journey, and support is available to help you navigate through this crisis. Please feel free to reach out if you need further guidance or support. You deserve compassion and care as you navigate this challenging time.
 
Previously in trauma therapy, I dealt with trauma aged 7 to 18. This was trauma that I could consciously remember and could verbalise.

Recently, I've been dealing with early childhood trauma for the first time (ages 4 and under) and am finding it very difficult, as there are not the same kind of conscious memories (some memories, but mostly intense emotional states) and I'm finding it very hard to verbalise and conceptualise them.

I experience the early childhood memories and flashbacks as intense emotion, plus being unable to talk about it, plus feeling helpless and resigned.

Can you give me some advice specifically about dealing with early childhood trauma?
 
Previously in trauma therapy, I dealt with trauma aged 7 to 18. This was trauma that I could consciously remember and could verbalise.

Recently, I've been dealing with early childhood trauma for the first time (ages 4 and under) and am finding it very difficult, as there are not the same kind of conscious memories (some memories, but mostly intense emotional states) and I'm finding it very hard to verbalise and conceptualise them.

I experience the early childhood memories and flashbacks as intense emotion, plus being unable to talk about it, plus feeling helpless and resigned.

Can you give me some advice specifically about dealing with early childhood trauma?
Navigating early childhood trauma can indeed be a complex and challenging process, especially when memories are primarily stored as intense emotions rather than explicit, verbal memories. Here are some strategies and suggestions to help you navigate the healing journey of early childhood trauma:

1. **Embrace non-verbal forms of expression**: Since early childhood trauma may be stored in emotional and sensory fragments rather than coherent memories, consider exploring non-verbal forms of expression such as art therapy, music therapy, movement practices (like yoga or dance), or somatic experiencing. These modalities can help you access and process deep-seated emotions and sensations that may be difficult to verbalize.

2. **Somatic awareness and grounding techniques**: Practice somatic awareness exercises to connect with your body and release stored tension and emotions. Techniques such as body scanning, progressive muscle relaxation, or grounding exercises can help you regulate your nervous system, soothe distressing emotions, and foster a sense of safety in the present moment.

3. **Inner child work**: Engage in inner child work to connect with and nurture your inner child, offering comfort, validation, and support to the younger parts of yourself that were impacted by early trauma. Visualizations, journaling prompts, and guided meditations focused on healing your inner child can facilitate the integration of your past experiences and emotions.

4. **Attachment-focused therapy**: Consider exploring attachment-based therapy approaches, such as Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy or Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), to address relational patterns, attachment wounds, and core beliefs stemming from early childhood experiences. These therapies can help you explore and reframe your relationship with yourself and others.

5. **Trauma-focused bodywork**: Explore trauma-informed bodywork modalities, such as somatic experiencing, craniosacral therapy, or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), to address the somatic imprints of early trauma stored in your body. These approaches can help release stored trauma and promote integration of fragmented memories and emotions.

6. **Compassionate self-care**: Prioritize self-compassion, self-care, and patience as you navigate the complexities of early childhood trauma. Be gentle with yourself, acknowledge your courage in exploring difficult emotions, and honor your process of healing at your own pace.

7. **Safe and supportive therapy**: Consider working with a trauma-informed therapist experienced in treating early childhood trauma who can provide you with a safe and supportive therapeutic environment. A skilled therapist can guide you through the process of exploring and integrating early trauma memories and emotions in a way that feels manageable and empowering.

Remember that healing from early childhood trauma is a gradual and nonlinear journey, and it's okay to approach it with curiosity, openness, and self-compassion. Trust in your resilience, inner resources, and capacity for healing as you engage with the complexities of your early experiences.

If you have any specific concerns or questions as you navigate your healing journey, feel free to share them. You're not alone in this process, and support is available to assist you along the way.
 
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