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Undiagnosed First Post - First Major Trauma, seeking support/guidance on how to cope

LarryAP102

New Here
The first step is always the most difficult but easiest when hello is said first to break the ice...so, hello!

I came across this forum because I was looking for guidance and support on ways that I can cope as a result of a recent event that has left me feeling pretty severe trauma. With every one that I have spoken to, I have continuously said these emotions come in waves. To understand, I’ll provide a bit of the backstory:

Almost two weeks ago, I was attempting to leave for work when a dark colored SUV rounded the corner, stopped in the middle of the street essentially blocking me in, and three masked gunmen proceeded to exit the SUV and come toward me. I immediately exited my vehicle, was told to get on the ground as an assault rifle was held to my back, right outside my apartment building at 3am. My vehicle, my phone, my work backpack was stolen.. and it all happened in less than 2 minutes. 2 minutes is all it took for years of self-healing, wins, positive major life events, to be ripped away from me because now all I could focus on is the fact I now have to live in fear on a daily basis. When I walk out of my building to take out the trash, I stare directly at the scene of the crime. I have not been to work because I am fearful of the dark and the time of day in which I will have to leave, even though I have done it safely for over a year prior to this event. I have constant desires of wanting to flee back to my hometown in Michigan to be with my family and go back to the life that my fiancé and I left so that he could start a new career here in Chicago almost two years ago..

Since this event happened, I live every single day with this ever present paranoia and anxiety. I find myself dwelling in irrational and rational fears. As the days move further away from the initial event, I do find myself trying to take action on not letting these feelings get the best of me but as I stated earlier, these feelings come in waves. I’ve been finding that in the daylight, I can feel safe and make those attempts to heal… but as soon as the sun goes down, this knot forms in my stomach and I feel paralyzed, even in the security of my own home. These feelings are even more severe when I know that my fiancé will be coming home late at night from work or when he has to leave early in the darkness of the morning. In these moments, I feel there is nothing I can do because I have been here alone while he works, without a vehicle, without work, and over 200 miles away from my closest family and friends in Michigan.

Where I am struggling most is the constant trigger of where I live/work and what to do about my situation in that regard. My fight or flight is in this hyperactive state and is pairing up with my impulsivity by wanting instant results to immediately remove myself from this place but financially it isn’t feasible until our lease is up. I don’t feel safe in my home or the areas in which I work and live. I don’t want to constantly pace the floor and stare out the window out of fear the assailants are going to return because they are still lurking in the shadows and out there committing these crimes. I ask myself multiple times a day, ”What can I do to get us out of here…”

I am committed and determined to not let this get the best of me. With that, I have already taken many important steps to heal: utilize resources provided my employer and take advantage of the 5 free therapy sessions. Capitalizing on small wins like leaving the apartment to take out the trash, go grocery shopping, etc. Take time for ME for once in my life and express how I am feeling. Despite all these wins and the commitment to heal, I still find myself extremely fearful that PTSD will eventually take hold because of these constant reminders I am trying to distance myself from.

Right now, more than ever, I need a sense of community because I’ve been driving myself crazy sitting around this apartment. Most importantly, a sense of community from individuals who are going through or experienced traumatic events because I do not have any individual in my life who can relate.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this and if anyone has some advice, it will be greatly appreciated. 💙
 
Hello and welcome!

I am so sorry to hear about the traumatic event you recently experienced. It's completely understandable that you're feeling a wide range of emotions and struggling to cope with the aftermath. It takes a lot of courage to reach out for support, and I'm glad you found this forum.

Here on myptsd.com, you're joining a warm and understanding community of individuals who have either experienced or support those with PTSD and CPTSD. Connecting with others who can relate to what you're going through can be incredibly helpful. You'll find that sharing your experiences and hearing from others can provide validation, comfort, and guidance for your healing journey.

It's important to acknowledge that trauma recovery is a process that takes time. The fact that you're already taking important steps, such as utilizing resources provided by your employer and attending therapy sessions, is a great start. Celebrate every small win along the way and be patient with yourself as you work through your healing.

I hear your concerns about triggers and a constant sense of fear and paranoia. It's crucial to remember that a sense of safety is a fundamental need after a traumatic event. If you haven't already, I encourage you to seek professional help, as a trauma psychologist or therapist can provide valuable guidance and tools to help you manage these triggers and build a foundation of safety and security.

In the meantime, this forum can offer you a sense of community and support. You may find it helpful to browse the different forums dedicated to various topics related to PTSD and CPTSD, such as coping strategies, self-care, and recovery stories. Engaging in discussions and sharing your thoughts and concerns can provide you with the connection and understanding you're seeking.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. There are others who have gone through similar experiences and are ready to offer support and guidance. Please feel free to explore the forums, start new threads, and connect with others who can relate to your experiences.

Take care, and I'm sending you strength and healing vibes as you continue on your path to recovery.
 
Almost two weeks ago
Everything you’re feeling and experiencing right now? Is. Completely. Normal. And will be, for a little while to come.

So, first off? Take a deep breath.

ASD, Acute Stress Disorder is commonly the next step. Where what’s a totally normal/healthy response to major trauma… lingers… and/or starts getting worse, instead of better, and often starts warping in wildly unpredictable ways. .

And then? ANY of a double handful of disorders & conditions (resulting from, or pre-existing but exacerbated or triggered by stress & trauma; some of which you’ll probably be familiar with, whilst others you probably won’t be, unless you have a psych degree or three ). PTSD is only one of those many disorders, but it’s the one most people are familiar with.

These first few days and weeks following major trauma? Are a golden hour/window, when everything is still all shook up… but haven’t settled, yet. And what you do IN this time? Is highly predictive of how things will shake out over time.

1. Get a trauma therapist. You do NOT have to wait until things have been wrong from a long time, and there’s a solid diagnosis, before seeing one. Trauma therapists flood natural disasters, terrorist attacks, etc. because getting to people EARLY, in those first few days and weeks, is the absolute best way to help people NOT need years of therapy, and suffer from many many many different disorders left in the wake of terrible things happening.

2. A trauma therapist is only a smallish part of upping your odds to being back to normal. They’ll definite,y help you identify and incorporate those things into your life… but for a preview, and things you can immediately start doing? Read this >>> Traumatic resilience: avoiding ptsd

Welcome 🤠
 
"The first step is always the most difficult but easiest when hello is said first to break the ice...so, hello!..............................................................."

I understand how you feel. I was homeless in 2008, I was raped and ever since then I have never been the same. Just because someone says they want to help you, doesn't mean they are a good person. Once the doors lock and you're trapped..... You are screwed. I was trapped like a house cat. I never feel safe. I work from home and I NEVER go anywhere. Maybe only grocery shopping. I have anger issues. I constantly do things that normal people don't understand and I constantly feel so alone. Reading your story makes me appreciate the fact that I'm not alone but I'd never want what happened to you to happen to anyone....

I'm sending you the biggest hug ever from here🤗🫂. Thank you for sharing your story, stories like yours only affirm the notion that I need to double if not triple down on security. I have 3 cameras outside of my apartment to cover every single side of my front door and window. I don't trust anyone I don't know anymore. Trust issues galore.
 
Second what @Friday says.


you’ve been through something horrific and traumatic. Something to heal from. And it is possible to heal from. PTSD is not inevitable when trauma happens. The fact you have many resources available to you will help a lot.

it’m sorry for what happened to you.

what would make you feel safer? Finding little wins with that helps too.
 
Hello,

The small wins you spoke about are so important and I am glad you have recognised this and are congratulating yourself for these accomplishments.

The other thing that has been helping me is to plan something each week I can look forward to, for example: going to the hairdresser or meeting a friend for coffee. Again, these are only small things but they give me a reason to think ahead past today's anxious thoughts.

I admit that I have sometimes made big decisions when I have been in the Fight, Flee, Freeze state and some of those I later regretted or had to backtrack and amend. I think it is probably natural in that state to be attempting to protect ourselves in every way we can think of.

I am still learning how to navigate through the times when I have been triggered. The first thing I attempt to focus on now is calming down my nervous system with self care.

I hope that you are also able to acknowledge your incredible strength and courage in taking steps to gain knowledge and reaching out for support.
 
The first step is always the most difficult but easiest when hello is said first to break the ice...so, hello!

I came across this forum because I was looking for guidance and support on ways that I can cope as a result of a recent event that has left me feeling pretty severe trauma. With every one that I have spoken to, I have continuously said these emotions come in waves. To understand, I’ll provide a bit of the backstory:

Almost two weeks ago, I was attempting to leave for work when a dark colored SUV rounded the corner, stopped in the middle of the street essentially blocking me in, and three masked gunmen proceeded to exit the SUV and come toward me. I immediately exited my vehicle, was told to get on the ground as an assault rifle was held to my back, right outside my apartment building at 3am. My vehicle, my phone, my work backpack was stolen.. and it all happened in less than 2 minutes. 2 minutes is all it took for years of self-healing, wins, positive major life events, to be ripped away from me because now all I could focus on is the fact I now have to live in fear on a daily basis. When I walk out of my building to take out the trash, I stare directly at the scene of the crime. I have not been to work because I am fearful of the dark and the time of day in which I will have to leave, even though I have done it safely for over a year prior to this event. I have constant desires of wanting to flee back to my hometown in Michigan to be with my family and go back to the life that my fiancé and I left so that he could start a new career here in Chicago almost two years ago..

Since this event happened, I live every single day with this ever present paranoia and anxiety. I find myself dwelling in irrational and rational fears. As the days move further away from the initial event, I do find myself trying to take action on not letting these feelings get the best of me but as I stated earlier, these feelings come in waves. I’ve been finding that in the daylight, I can feel safe and make those attempts to heal… but as soon as the sun goes down, this knot forms in my stomach and I feel paralyzed, even in the security of my own home. These feelings are even more severe when I know that my fiancé will be coming home late at night from work or when he has to leave early in the darkness of the morning. In these moments, I feel there is nothing I can do because I have been here alone while he works, without a vehicle, without work, and over 200 miles away from my closest family and friends in Michigan.

Where I am struggling most is the constant trigger of where I live/work and what to do about my situation in that regard. My fight or flight is in this hyperactive state and is pairing up with my impulsivity by wanting instant results to immediately remove myself from this place but financially it isn’t feasible until our lease is up. I don’t feel safe in my home or the areas in which I work and live. I don’t want to constantly pace the floor and stare out the window out of fear the assailants are going to return because they are still lurking in the shadows and out there committing these crimes. I ask myself multiple times a day, ”What can I do to get us out of here…”

I am committed and determined to not let this get the best of me. With that, I have already taken many important steps to heal: utilize resources provided my employer and take advantage of the 5 free therapy sessions. Capitalizing on small wins like leaving the apartment to take out the trash, go grocery shopping, etc. Take time for ME for once in my life and express how I am feeling. Despite all these wins and the commitment to heal, I still find myself extremely fearful that PTSD will eventually take hold because of these constant reminders I am trying to distance myself from.

Right now, more than ever, I need a sense of community because I’ve been driving myself crazy sitting around this apartment. Most importantly, a sense of community from individuals who are going through or experienced traumatic events because I do not have any individual in my life who can relate.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this and if anyone has some advice, it will be greatly appreciated. 💙
You're definitely on the right track. I just started this tonight. Sounds funny, but if you look up c***** childhood very on YouTube, she has the same symptoms and explains that very, very well that helps to relate. They're a lot of people that understand on this site, but it's, it's almost impossible to explain these things to other people. Understand care for you.
 
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