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!
Right now I just feel tired, but all of these are good tips. Its a lot to wrap my head around, and with everything that's already on my plate, it feels a little easier, oddly enough.
I get the guilt part, my mom already feel pretty guilty after my youngest brother got the diagnosis, as she was out of control, to put it mildly (when we were kids), but I feel like I can tell her that, now, mostly due to her being in a better place mentally.
I shared the news with my closest friend, and they're very supportive. My partner was the first one to know, the reaction I got was essentially "Yeah I'm not surprised, but I'll still be there with you every step of the way" which made me rest a little easier.
I've been reading up on PTSD today, and it makes so much sense, like there were some pieces missing from the puzzle, but I found them in some dumb friggin spot, like behind the washing machine. It's only infuriating because it took so long, and I spent years suffering in my own little bubble, and I had to go with the privatized option to get help in the first place. Public health care has not been kind.
I've had T's lock up even mentioning trauma, or telling me it's all in the past and I should just move on (like I have been trying that's why I am here) My T that I had 6 years back said that we should look into ptsd, but I had to move due to a difficult living situation (I was literally locked up with no phone or internet, only allowed to go out for school and therapy, so I ran away the first chance I got, and that's how I ended up in another abusive relationship).
Today has been, interesting. And I'm still trying to figure out what I'm feeling, and what my next step should be. I've already saved, and signed up for Ketamine treatment, + I'm getting help from my new T, so hopefully something comes out of all this. I'm in this mindset of PTSD not being who I am, just that it's a part of me, as with everything else, this doesn't change anything, except now I know what I am up against ^^ so there's that at the very least?
In short I've finally identified something, and now I can figure out how to manage it.
This, very much this, I just want to get to a point where I can be a good partner, sister, friend and daughter. I feel like I have to pick up the pieces now and mend my relationship with my SO.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.
But yeah it does help that my mother already mentioned it, so she's going to be the first in the family to know, and then my dad. I don't think my brothers need to know (I'll tell them when the time is right I guess), but I won't share it with the rest of the family.
From what I've understood, people tend to get misdiagnosed with Bipolar or BPD when they should have been diagnosed with Ptsd? I think I at least got ADHD because the meds I'm currently on (Aduvanz or Vyvanse depending on where you live) made my symptoms easier to handle up until my recent trauma, which made focusing really hard again, so now it's just really hard to tell which is which.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.
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.
But I'll bring it up w my new T and see what we can make out of this mess. As for now I'm keeping the news between me, my SO, and my best friend, I'll tell my mom in the morning when my heads cleared up a little bit.