Got diagnosed with PTSD today

Bubblegum

Learning
I was talking to my new T (I'm Bipolar type 2, with ASD and ADHD, general anxiety and depression)

And I got the "verdict" today, if you could say that. Turns out I actually do have PTSD
I'm a little sad, but also relieved, I've been invalidating all of my struggles as "just me being lazy, needing to fix myself",
but this time around there was no bootstraps to pull in, and I couldn't figure out, as to why there weren't any left.

But, I knew it, deep down in my heart, that, there could be a chance. But now I know, now I know what all these feelings are,
That I have been struggling with for the past 5 years, that it's not just me getting sicker from my pre-existing ailments. I was not getting the treatment I needed.

The past three T's didn't even want to comment on it, due to their expertise being, general anxiety and depression. (Idk why my doctor sent me their way)

But this time around it was different, the first time I came in was a double session, I was welcomed with a warm smile, empathy, I didn't even say anything, I explained my symptoms, and some history, and my new T went "wait, have you never been tested for Ptsd? why?"

it felt validating in a odd way. But knowing what I know now, I'm just so overwhelmed, I don't really know what to feel, I'm relieved, sad, happy, angry, just so many different things. I feel like in a way things are less confusing, like knowing this, I can get to understand myself better, it's overwhelming emotionally still, but maybe I can recover now.
 

Bubblegum

Learning
Hi @Bubblegum, what reasons do you have not to tell your family?
Well, my mom already suggested that I had it, and my dad will probably go down the "I thought only war veterans had ptsd" route. Either way I'm just not sure of how they'll take it, and if I should wait with telling them until I'm back home for summer vacation, so I can do it in person.

I guess In my brain went into the "don't be a burden again" and "let's not ruin the vibes" kind of direction. I want to talk about it, but I feel like I'll burden someone if I do. I tend to feel guilty a lot I guess 😥
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
Do you have pros n cons to telling them? I have people who know n people who don't and all to varying degrees. You don't *have* to tell anybody, so id only tell people if you think they'd be supportive. N there's no rush to even decide whether to tell them.

Hope things work out for you and this new T is helpful.
 

Bubblegum

Learning
Do you have pros n cons to telling them? I have people who know n people who don't and all to varying degrees. You don't *have* to tell anybody, so id only tell people if you think they'd be supportive. N there's no rush to even decide whether to tell them.

Hope things work out for you and this new T is helpful.
I guess the pro is essentially, now they'll know why I've been so different the past years, maybe they'll understand. Con is, maybe I'll be further estranged from them. But then again it might be the other way around. Might just be my anxiety though, maybe it'd be better to rip the band aid off?
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Hi Bubblegum. Congratulations, if I can say, for your diagnose. It’s not always evident to handle the shifting in live that it causes, between the feeling of relief and the fear of this brand new beast.

First of all you don’t owe anyone to tell what you are going through. With civilian PTSD, which is the case, I’d be wary of the caveat your family may be implicated in the reasons you have PTSD or that they have PTSD themselves but aren’t aware of it.

I did tell a couple of people in my family whom I trust because they’ve been supportive towards me in a rather unconditional way, but they absolutely didn’t understand what it means. I did tell a few friends, teachers and coworkers as for them to understand and being able to make reasonable accommodations. I don’t get in the detail of the trauma but explain, very first-handly, what I feel and do.

By example: When someone yells at me, I rationally know it’s silly, but it throws my anxiety over the roof. — What do you mean, your anxiety over the roof? — I mean it’s like when you’re spooked by a spider but that heart biting you feel in your heart doesn’t stop and you stay spooked for hours or even days, so it’s very annoying and very hard to manage. — Ok I get it better now.
-> This is a clearer explanation than going technical and say "yelling does trigger me". Also there has been a lot of misuse of the word triggering over the year and it has actually lost its force to describe something that is actually quite clinically significant. Being triggered doesn’t mean just being pissed and annoyed. It’s much more complex than that and I think for most folks they aren’t interested in that rabbit hole and it doesn’t inform them about your way of responding.

Or: I don’t like you touching me because it startles me. It’s not because I don’t like you, but it makes me feel uncomfortable. It isn’t your fault, but next time I’d really appreciate you keep this in mind.

Or even: Guys, sometimes you might have noticed that I blank out and am not really "there". This is unfortunately something that I suffer from. It is annoying and I understand it can be destabilizing but I promise you it isn’t dangerous or anything. You can always call me back to my mind or just leave me there with it, I’m okay with it, I’m used to it. I just want you to know that is something that just happens and you have no responsibility over it, also it generally dissipates by itself.

For this I think what’s important is to know what are your symptoms for yourself (cuz we all have our special brands of PTSD 😎) and say things that help the people who care about you to handle it better. I see it as an user manual. And you don’t have to say it’s spectrum or PTSD if you don’t want to. I also wondered how to convey these things to my family and other people, what I found is that giving actual practical examples works so much better than just stating a diagnose. Even for ASD I think you can turn it in that way, bearing in mind you’re describing experiences that might be very alien to them. So delineating what happens physically, how you do respond and what they can do for you if they want to, it’s more efficient. They’ll be less spooked because they will regain more sense of control over the situation because they understand what’s going on. So by example instead of responding in escalation when you’re starting to freak out or lose it, just let it go for a moment so you calm down.

Your mileage might vary, some people can stay infuriated for days but then you’re really requiring medical help.

And also especially for families, PTSD is a diagnose that implies that something happened. They might feel guilt towards it and while it isn’t your job to manage their feelings especially if they’ve caused a part if not the entire disorder, it doesn’t help to have someone defensive towards your diagnose. So I just stick to the basics and only get in the details with people who show interest, some are psych minded and quite want to find about it even by pure curiosity. And none of this requires you to retraumatize yourself by telling your story again.

I hope this helps and good luck with your new path of recovery. It’s work but it’s worth it!
 

internal

Sponsor
Idk what to do, should I tell my family? Or is it best to keep it to yourself?
this answer is unique to each person. my husband knows my diagnosis. my daughter doesn't. but i will probably tell her soon. for me it was important to begin to minimize the negative and destructive behaviors of ptsd on my family. and to hold myself accountable for my behavior. for you it sounds like telling your immediate family (parents, etc) may be more related to the desire for validation and support.

which is equally as important. especially as you had been brushing it off as laziness this entire time. and now you had found out that is not the case. (in addition to your mother already bringing it up. which is a good sign.) i would encourage you to tell them if telling them is likely to garner a positive response. you do not need to go into clinical or personal details, they can do their own research if they like.
 

Friday

Moderator
I was talking to my new T (I'm Bipolar type 2, with ASD and ADHD, general anxiety and depression)
So here’s an example of what telling people your diagnosis can do...

ADHD & Bipolar disorder cannot present comorbid. IE no one on the planet can have both. One of those? Is a misdiagnosis. Or both are.

Easiest way to understand why they can’t present comorbid is to look at meds: Stimulants, given to someone who is bipolar, will kick them into a mania or mixed episode. People with ADHD, meanwhile, have opposite stimulant reaction. They’re calming/soothing/clarifying. //And in reverse, giving bipolar meds to adhd peeps// Similar to how stimulants kick bipolar people into manias & mixed episodes? The cocktail of drugs given to bipolar people, hits the paradoxical response to many medications ADHD people have. Leaving aside the politics of labeling (which means that something labeled as an antidepressant, mood stabilizer, or antipsychotic may chemically be something else), giving someone with ADHD any of those meds will cause depression, emotional instability, and psychosis, oh my! IE if the dx of Bipolar Disorder or ADHD is mixed up? That poor person is about to be medicated to their eyeballs, attempting to fix what the medication itself -not the disorder they don’t have- is doing to them.

Whoever diagnosed you with both? Is lazy, incompetent, an idiot, or all 3. You have no idea how much I wish their doing so was a criminal act.

Furthermore? GAD & MDD (or anxiety and depression in other forms) CAN exist independently/comorbidly with any of the disorders you mentioned (ASD, ADHD, Bipolar II, and PTSD)... but? They’re also symptoms or expressions of other symptoms of all 4.

((Expressions: like ASD or ADHD meltdowns from sensory overload, and avoidance of situations which cause that overload, can look like generalized anxiety and panic attacks. But, nope. Panic attacks, sometimes, but if you’ve had both a meltdown and a panic attack, you’ll know how different they feel & how different handling them is, even if they look to an outsider like the same thing. Meanwhile the huge emotions in ASD, ADHD, & Bipolar disorder include huge dooooooown emotions, and while antidepressants may work for Bipolar, they’ll make ADHD worse, and be quite quirky with ASD... but worse? The flat affect ADHD & ASD people tend to acquire whilst dealing with huge emotions can also “look” like depression, or the inability to feel, when the reality? Is just the opposite; any expression of what’s being felt would be explosive. So it’s locked down. But not absent. At all. So the flat affect -which is a symptom of other disorders- is actually an expression, of a coping mechanism, of an entirely different symptom.))

I’d simply take you at your word that you also have an anxiety disorder and a depressive disorder... if you didn’t have that colossal clusterf*ck of a comorbid ADHD+Bipolar in your jacket. Since you do? I’d reeeeeeally recommend you get a complete audit / new DDX, to find out if the eedjit who diagnosed you got anything right, or was just flinging things at a wall, to see what stuck...( or is diagnosing side effects of the wrong meds as disorders in and of themselves)..., rather than thinking “Huh. That’s not right. Maybe we should reevaluate the Dx, rather than just loading on more dx’s, or meds, or therapy for ‘resistant’ anxiety and depression. Or maybe we should see if there’s a trauma history, and what looks like either ADHD or Bipolar II, or Anxiety/Depression is actually... or in any part... a trauma & stressor disorder like PTSD reacting with the ASD.” Or maybe anything but what they actually did, and saddle you with an impossibility.

I am so incrediably sorry that you had Quako McMoron steal so much time from you, in dealing with/learning to manage the disorders you actually have, rather than shoveling this bullshit for you to have to crawl out from under.

Idk what to do, should I tell my family? Or is it best to keep it to yourself?
IE? Telling people your Dx can have some unexpected results. Whether those results are good/bad, something you want in your life, or not? Mostly depends on you.
 
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whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
ADHD & Bipolar disorder cannot present comorbid. IE no one on the planet can have both. One of those? Is a misdiagnosis. Or both are.
Hm...a quick document check shows that many psychiatrists believe otherwise and have published articles on their comorbity.
 

Friday

Moderator
Hm...a quick document check shows that many psychiatrists believe otherwise and have published articles on their comorbity.
A quick document check will also tell you that you can get PTSD from being cheated on, and many psychiatrists have published articles that argue the case. 😉

There was some debate as to whether or not ADHD should be reclassified AS bipolar disorder in the DSM5 when it was (finally!) reclassified as a disorder that can exist in adulthood. In no small part because bipolar kids were being misdiagnosed as ADHD as kids, but medicated for bipolar disorder, and then being rediagnosed as bipolar as adults. Similarly, since ADHD wasn’t a disorder anyone 18 and over “could” have, the industry standard was to erase ADHD as the Dx & replace it with depression, and then medicate & treat for ADHD, the exact same way they had been. Just change the billing code so insurance would continue to pay for therapy & meds. But even though that was industry standard, there was a large percentage that were re-labeled as bipolar, just because that switch was a common one, that a lot of psychiatrists were already making for their misdiagnosed patients. Meanwhile, kids with trauma, depression, et al have been misdiagnosed ADHD for yonks, either on purpose (because it was a disorder thay schools accepted, similar to how acres of kids are currently being misdiagnosed on purpose with autism spectrum, becuase schools accept it, and interventions are allowed), -or- on accident, since traumatized kids often display symptoms similar to ADHD & stimulants have a euphoric effect on non-adhd people / as well as are used recreationally by students to complete work; so there was an immediate “good” effect to giving traumatized kids stimulants... as they suddenly got chatty, social, and industrious; whilst traumatized adults are more frequently mistaken as being bipolar. So there have been quite a lot of shenanigans around the Dx, both before and after it hit the DSM5. Especially by people who didn’t understand the disorder well enough to know the bipolar/depression switch at 18 was a politics thing, not a medical thing. (Read, mostly GPs, but also a swath of psych professionals whose specialities are in other areas.) And ADHD / Bipolar disorder ARE sister-disorders, they share so many symptoms it can be difficult even for people who specialize in them to determine which a person has without a med trial. But that med trial? Is, fundamentally, “why” they’re wholly different disorders, rather than on a spectrum with ADHD being mild bipolar disorder or bipolar disorder being severe adhd, or adhd with psychotic features, or any of the other possibilities that have been presented over the years leading up to reclassification, and summarily (or with due consideration) dismissed.

And also something even any med student who has done their psych rotation will tilt their head and go... Ooooooooh. Right.... If you ask them what happens if you give someone with bipolar disorder stimulants? Okay, what happens when you give someone with ADHD stimulants? So I personally class any doc with a full on degree as Quako McMoron who cannot make that ultra basic distinction.

Part of why I get so grumpy about PTSD being diluted wih every other thing imaginable, by every Tom, Dick, & Harry... is because I’ve already had a disorder that was popularized in the media, over diagnosed to include everything from malnutrition, to sleep dep, to bad parenting, to keeping up with the joneses, to disorders that carried more stigma, etc. and the resulting clusterf*ck. It’s taken 30 years to get ADHD treatment back on target from it’s 15 minutes of fame in the 80s. PTSD is nowhere near that bad, but hooooow many people think you can only get PTSD from combat, or can get PTSD from being cheated on, normal life events, anything painful or embarrassing, or stubbing a toe? Too too many. Because it’s gotten media attention, even if it hasn’t become a media darling (yet? Hopefully never.).
 
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