Sufferer Hello - Diagnosed with Autism as well as PTSD, Generalized Anxiety, and OCD in 2020.

Hello,
My name is Christine and I just turned 30 years old on October 4th. In December of 2020, I was diagnosed with Autism as well as PTSD, Generalized Anxiety, and OCD. My therapist believes that my PTSD came from my childhood from already having issues with anxiety due to my Autism, which then caused it to exacerbate into PTSD after having to deal with two brothers with substance issues and watching one of them becoming extremely volatile with my mom many times throughout the years. Unfortunately, out of the 4 sisters I was the only one to end up with PTSD while my other 3 sisters didn't. Sometimes it feels so hard because I feel like my family tries, but they have no clue what I go through and even though I don't wish it on my worst enemy I wish I had one sister that had to go through the same difficulties as me; so, I wouldn't feel so alone. And I want to get it under control so it doesn't control my life and not be afraid of everything and end up feeling physical pain because I'm so afraid and anxious and start living a semi normal life again and then I can feel like a semi normal person, so yesterday in my counseling session my therapist started me on learning how to do diaphragmatic breathing so that way once my bodies used to it and I get anxious thoughts my brain will know to just automatically breathe. And any tips on how to get my PTSD to go away and for people who have it under control, do you still take medications?
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
Welcome to the forum @christinejarvis30. Glad you found us but sorry for the reasons you are here. And you may find some 'sister substitutes' here. If you stick around and get to know some people, we do form close bonds. Just give yourself a chance.

I don't want to discourage you, but PTSD doesn't 'go away'. But we can learn to manage the symptoms and manage them in such a way as to have more than a semi normal life. It takes commitment to healing. Hard to do but we are worth it. Even if at at the beginning we don't believe we are.

You are not alone.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
welcome to the forum @christinejarvis30. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

gentle empathy on the feeling misunderstood. i don't understand myself most of the time, so it's kinda hard to expect other people to understand what i don't understand, myself. it helps to have safe places where i can feel less alone with being misunderstood.

i've been managing my own ptsd holistically since before the ptsd diagnosis became available in the mid 90's. most of my formal psychotherapy was under the dx of "bipolar" and my ptsd symptoms kept breaking through the available med cocktails. by the time ptsd dx and its arsenal of meds became available in the late 90's, i was fairly well advanced on the holistic management of the symptoms. i'll second the notion that ptsd doesn't just go away, but it is eminently manageable. mindfulness is my most important tool in that management. when i am mindful of the symptoms, they are much easier to manage.
 
welcome to the forum @christinejarvis30. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

gentle empathy on the feeling misunderstood. i don't understand myself most of the time, so it's kinda hard to expect other people to understand what i don't understand, myself. it helps to have safe places where i can feel less alone with being misunderstood.

i've been managing my own ptsd holistically since before the ptsd diagnosis became available in the mid 90's. most of my formal psychotherapy was under the dx of "bipolar" and my ptsd symptoms kept breaking through the available med cocktails. by the time ptsd dx and its arsenal of meds became available in the late 90's, i was fairly well advanced on the holistic management of the symptoms. i'll second the notion that ptsd doesn't just go away, but it is eminently manageable. mindfulness is my most important tool in that management. when i am mindful of the symptoms, they are much easier to manage.
Thanks. My therapist said doing diaphragmatic breathing every day will help when I have anxious thoughts and doing it everyday will allow my brain to automatically do it when the anxious thoughts happen.
 

Sideways

Moderator
My therapist said doing diaphragmatic breathing every day will help
Best advice ever for anxiety. I do breathing exercises daily (few minutes is all I need), and I can now reliably breathe my way out of most panic attacks.

Once you can handle breathing exercises (lots if people with cptsd find the "in your body" experience unsettling), it's also a fantastic anchor for when you dissociate. Breathing is always something you have with you that you can only ever do in the present. So for both dissociation and anxiety, it's a sensational tool, and definitely practicing regularly makes it both easier and more effective.

Tools like that, that you have with you wherever you are? Incredibly valuable. Useful for everything from difficult therapy sessions to dealing with crowds to coping with unexpected triggers.
 
I started my breathing exercises on Friday. But today when my niece started crying I tried my breathing exercises but I still felt the anxiety. And what is disassociation?
 

Sideways

Moderator
I tried my breathing exercises but I still felt the anxiety.
Yup. Think of your breathing exercises as something that brings your anxiety level down, from "totally freaking out" to more manageable levels.

Physiologically: slowing your breathing forces your body to engage the parasympathetic nervous system. Wha? It forces the body to engage all of the physical things associated with being relaxed. It slows your pulse, changes the hormones your body is releasing, turns your tummy and gut system back on (when we get anxious, they switch off, causing nausea and suddenly needing to pee, etc), turns off the sweating...the list goes on.

We often talk about anxiety like it's just an emotion. But when you have General Anxiety, it's actually an incredibly physical experience. As you get better at your breathing (comes with practice, and practice at times when you're relaxed - eg when you go to bed), and emotions are bundled on top of that. Breathing is a way to force the body out of that physical state, but it takes practice to get there. So hang in with it.

And what is disassociation?
This may be something you want to come back to, because you've got a lot of new information on your plate right now.

Dissociation is typically a coping strategy for stress. But it occurs on a spectrum, from being mildly dissociated, to serious space cadet territory.

Dissociation is basically being checked out of what's happening here and now. So, mild dissociation includes things like daydreaming (super common, nothing to worry about).

As you get more dissociated, you might feel like you're not real, or the world around you isn't real. And further up again? You might not remember what you're doing (lots of forgetfulness? Often because you spend a lot of time dissociated.

For more info? There's loads of resources, and your current T is probably the best resource to explain what it is, and explore if and how dissociation is effecting you (as opposed to how it effects me).

There's no rush to learn all this stuff. Practicing breathing will gradually get more and more effective for you, because it's a new skill, and like any new skill, it takes time to master.
 

Friday

Moderator
Welcome to the community! 😀

My therapist said doing diaphragmatic breathing every day will help when I have anxious thoughts and doing it everyday will allow my brain to automatically do it when the anxious thoughts happen.
Yep. Conscious control trumping automatic reaction. (Sensory-motor nervous system over autonomic nervous system = IE Decsisons over instinct).

It’s not 100%. But it gets closer & closer the more one practices.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
developing new habits takes time, especially when there are old habits in need of unlearning before the new habit can form.

be patient with the process of learning how to breathe your way through an anxiety attack. be gentle with yourself while you are learning to be patient with the process.
 
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