Sufferer GiantSquid and 27 years of ptsd

GiantSquid

New Here
My PTSD began 27 years ago. I was the oldest in a family and my mother was undiagnosed bipolar. My psychiatrist says that I was lucky compared to my sibling; my dad was the main caregiver for first 2,5 years of my life and gave me stability and secure attachment. When my sibling was born, mother stayed home and the cycle of weird, unexpected spells of mania and depression began. Our life was coloured by mother's moods. She took her own life when I was on second grade. Things calmed down for a year. Then dad died, and I saw it happen. Relatives would not have us, so we went into system, and it added mental & sexual abuse to existing trauma.

I developed dissociative amnesia after dad died. It served me well for many years. I just pushed everything down and worked as hard as I could. I became a rock my sibling, partners, children could rely on. I made a career out of helping people. I was badly triggered every time something reminded me of my parents (for example, when I hear an ambulance, I start listing where my kids are and trying to figure out which one is dying) but most triggers could be avoided and I tried to endure the four I could not control. Of course, it could not work forever. In hindsight, I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did.

The thing which K.O.d me was bipolar, again. The originator of my trauma resurfaced in my firstborn, who got the gene from my mother. He was very young, just a child, when he got his first episode and was diagnosed. I found it extremely hard to go back to life which was ruled by phases. When he was depressed, I had to watch him 24/7 to stop his suicide attempts. I lost three jobs because he was too unwell to be alone. When he was manic, I searched for him around the town, trying to find him before he accidentally killed himself. There was a stage where he wanted to take selfies on roofs. The higher, the better, and he was not old enough or stabile enough to even consider his safety. My hypervigilance got stronger and stronger, and occasionally it was even useful. But I found it very hard to live with him, when his moods cycled rapidly and I have always been much more slow to forget and move on.

Still, we managed for several years. I love him, and would have done anything to keep him safe and loved, trying to make up my own trauma. Every time I was at the end of my line, I thought how alone and lost I was at his age, all the bad things which happened to me after losing my dad, so I grit my teeth and tried again. Last year he began to abuse alcohol, and social services decided he needed professional care. He was removed from home and it caused a great crisis for us both. He tried to kill me. I had never gotten physically assaulted before; it crushed my house of cards. I started to fear people. Crying when I heard loud noises. Any sign of confrontation made me freeze, or flee. I literally ran away from work when I was told to call an angry client. I haven't been able to go back since. My amnesia is breaking; I've started to remember things I've kept buried for 27 years and God, my head is a mess. Today horrible flashbacks kept me awake all night, and I did butterfly tappings during my morning shower. Right now, I'm trying to collect strength to force myself to go to corner store because the children get candy once a week and it's today. I would rather hide in the cellar.

I was formally diagnosed with PTSD this summer. I scored 61 from PCL-5. I have been lucky to find a great psychiatrist and T, and I'm not giving them up even though I have to pay everything myself. They make me feel safe and I feel they understand how bad it is. The doctor says I'm never going to go back to social work (Not US, so my work was strictly case management) and if I ever work again, it must be something where are no people. No clients, no co-workers, no contact to anyone.

I came to forum because I feel I'm standing at a new road. I can't go back to what I was. I can't bury things anymore; I'm sick of dissociating. And I can't continue the martyr-caregiver-thing; I don't have strength for it. I don't think I'm going to get better in a sense I would ever be 'healthy' again. It feels like unrealistic thing to expect. But I hope to find peace and ability to manage my symptoms so I could go to store or travel in public transport without hypervigilance and terror.
 

Geopolis

Confident
My PTSD began 27 years ago. I was the oldest in a family and my mother was undiagnosed bipolar. My psychiatrist says that I was lucky compared to my sibling; my dad was the main caregiver for first 2,5 years of my life and gave me stability and secure attachment. When my sibling was born, mother stayed home and the cycle of weird, unexpected spells of mania and depression began. Our life was coloured by mother's moods. She took her own life when I was on second grade. Things calmed down for a year. Then dad died, and I saw it happen. Relatives would not have us, so we went into system, and it added mental & sexual abuse to existing trauma.

I developed dissociative amnesia after dad died. It served me well for many years. I just pushed everything down and worked as hard as I could. I became a rock my sibling, partners, children could rely on. I made a career out of helping people. I was badly triggered every time something reminded me of my parents (for example, when I hear an ambulance, I start listing where my kids are and trying to figure out which one is dying) but most triggers could be avoided and I tried to endure the four I could not control. Of course, it could not work forever. In hindsight, I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did.

The thing which K.O.d me was bipolar, again. The originator of my trauma resurfaced in my firstborn, who got the gene from my mother. He was very young, just a child, when he got his first episode and was diagnosed. I found it extremely hard to go back to life which was ruled by phases. When he was depressed, I had to watch him 24/7 to stop his suicide attempts. I lost three jobs because he was too unwell to be alone. When he was manic, I searched for him around the town, trying to find him before he accidentally killed himself. There was a stage where he wanted to take selfies on roofs. The higher, the better, and he was not old enough or stabile enough to even consider his safety. My hypervigilance got stronger and stronger, and occasionally it was even useful. But I found it very hard to live with him, when his moods cycled rapidly and I have always been much more slow to forget and move on.

Still, we managed for several years. I love him, and would have done anything to keep him safe and loved, trying to make up my own trauma. Every time I was at the end of my line, I thought how alone and lost I was at his age, all the bad things which happened to me after losing my dad, so I grit my teeth and tried again. Last year he began to abuse alcohol, and social services decided he needed professional care. He was removed from home and it caused a great crisis for us both. He tried to kill me. I had never gotten physically assaulted before; it crushed my house of cards. I started to fear people. Crying when I heard loud noises. Any sign of confrontation made me freeze, or flee. I literally ran away from work when I was told to call an angry client. I haven't been able to go back since. My amnesia is breaking; I've started to remember things I've kept buried for 27 years and God, my head is a mess. Today horrible flashbacks kept me awake all night, and I did butterfly tappings during my morning shower. Right now, I'm trying to collect strength to force myself to go to corner store because the children get candy once a week and it's today. I would rather hide in the cellar.

I was formally diagnosed with PTSD this summer. I scored 61 from PCL-5. I have been lucky to find a great psychiatrist and T, and I'm not giving them up even though I have to pay everything myself. They make me feel safe and I feel they understand how bad it is. The doctor says I'm never going to go back to social work (Not US, so my work was strictly case management) and if I ever work again, it must be something where are no people. No clients, no co-workers, no contact to anyone.

I came to forum because I feel I'm standing at a new road. I can't go back to what I was. I can't bury things anymore; I'm sick of dissociating. And I can't continue the martyr-caregiver-thing; I don't have strength for it. I don't think I'm going to get better in a sense I would ever be 'healthy' again. It feels like unrealistic thing to expect. But I hope to find peace and ability to manage my symptoms so I could go to store or travel in public transport without hypervigilance and terror.
New here as well but in these last few days I have found more support and understanding than the 10 years previous. I too help other people through their struggles yet fail to manage my own cptsd. I can really relate to the "enough of this" epiphany!

Welcome to the forum from one newbie to another. I look forward to hearing and supporting you 👍👊👍
 
Top