Sufferer Hi, I'm Nancy.

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Hi all. I've been a bit of a lurker for a while. My name's Nancy and I'm originally from the south and moved to Boston for school. I'm planning on going to medical school but I don't major in the typical chem or bio. I'm super interested in philosophy. I received my PTSD diagnosis my sophomore year of high school, which was about 4 years ago now. I was re-diagnosed more specifically with CPTSD when I had to get a neuropsych for accommodations in college, and I've been seeing a therapist since February.

I grew up in a single-parent, abusive household. There was hitting, yelling, and general chaos. Talking with my T, I've started to realize that there was also probably emotional abuse and neglect. I was misdiagnosed super early with combined type ADHD and, at one point, ODD. Deep down, I always knew the way my parent treated me wasn't right, but I felt so constrained by the situation that I had never vocalized it to anyone until recently. I still sort of carry it around like a deep, dark secret, though.

Now that I'm dealing with this new identity, like a generalized anxiety and depression diagnosis that is a result of my PTSD, I'm relearning what my emotions, reactions, and even my story mean in context. I still deal with pressure from my family where they insist that I have ADHD still. It's really frustrating and I often feel misunderstood.

I'm confused on what the symptoms of CPTSD actually are or how they show; I know them in theory (nightmares, flashbacks, etc.), but since I don't have flashbacks or nightmares, I have a difficult time recognizing symptoms. I also have a hard time figuring out how to separate my anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms. Honestly, I have no idea what anxiety and depression really looks like as I've never identified with either diagnosis. Because I'm such a positive, high energy person that's also been described as chill, I've always thought "I'm not depressed. I don't have anxiety," and so I don't have a grasp on actually understanding either. I really admire those of you that have, after a considerable amount of work, figured out what your PTSD, anxiety, depression, etc. symptoms look like and can outwardly explain it.

I don't know if I get enough support from my friends, and part of that is because I'm not sure how to go to them for support. It's lonely, for sure, because I'm always worried about dumping (I've been described as an oversharer). That's why I wanted to introduce myself and join the community as I feel like you guys would understand. I'm looking to talk more about this aspect of my life so that I feel more normal and so I don't have to hide as much (while also figuring this whole PTSD thing out). I'm also looking forward to the connection and community from this forum.
 
Welcome to the forum. What to tell friends and what "support" even looks like can be a bit of a minefield. Hope you find boundaries that work for you:)
 
Welcome to the forum. What to tell friends and what "support" even looks like can be a bit of a minefield. Hope you find boundaries that work for you:)
Thanks! I'm surprised to hear that! That makes sense, but how does one even get started on finding out what support looks like and what to tell friends?
 
HI Nancy welcome to you! ☺️

I suppose it would depend on what your friend/ friendship is like?
Good point. I have a lot of online friendships, but the friends I want to go to support are a couple of college friends. We've only been friends for about 6-8 months, so not a super long time. We tend to talk about our relationships or the tough classes we're taking. We've talked before about some financial issues I've had, but not too much about hard hitting stuff.
 
what support looks like
The million dollar question!

It's going to vary from person to person depending on what you find helpful, and learning that can be a bit of trial and error.

For me, different relationships offer different kinds of support. Most of my emotional support actually comes from my T. I don't have close friendships right now - I'm just not that way inclined atm.

But other supports (more arms length relationships) get me out and about, and out of my own head. Which is vital for me. And that looks a lot like your regular friendship.

Other people will have family, a partner, a church group, a support group - it's limited only by your imagination.
what to tell friends?
My personal goal rule? Is what do I want them to do with the information. In a real tangible sense. "Just understand and empathise" needs to come from someone trained how to do that (because that's what works for me), which is my T.

I tell people something personal if I can identify something helpful they can do with the information, and only then. For example: I've told my GP (primary care physician) that I have history of 'sexual abuse' because she's wanted me to get invasive tests done that I'm not prepared to do, and we had to work around my needs there. She needed that information to give me proper medical advice - I wouldn't have told her otherwise. And that same rule goes for my closer relationships as well.
 
@RedwoodPaladin For me, I told one person. I always think first: why would I tell it? Would they understand it? Are they familiar with even anxiety, depression, etc, and how do they speak of others with it, or show an understanding of it? Are they inclined to tell others, and their spouse? Do they gossip? Could I ever see them using it against me? Would it potentially affect negatively my employment? Are they kind? Tolerant? Open to learning? Biased? How have they reacted to my/ others' small disclosures, or large ones?

On a positive side, can I say something helpful for them? Can I relay understanding? (Without revealing it).

I am not the type to share personal info like that however. You might be comfortable doing just the opposite!

I think support should be mutual if it's a friendship. Co-supporters.

Forgot but meant to ask, did you mean you were misdiagnosed with ADHD first? As you can have both. (Sorry as I don't mean to sound patronizing, I am sure you know all that).
 
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@RedwoodPaladin For me, I told one person. I always think first: why would I tell it? Would they understand it? Are they familiar with even anxiety, depression, etc, and how do they speak of others with it, or show an understanding of it? Are they inclined to tell others, and their spouse? Do they gossip? Could I ever see them using it against me? Would it potentially affect negatively my employment? Are they kind? Tolerant? Open to learning? Biased? How have they reacted to my/ others' small disclosures, or large ones?

On a positive side, can I say something helpful for them? Can I relay understanding? (Without revealing it).

I am not the type to share personal info like that however. You might be comfortable doing just the opposite!

I think support should be mutual if it's a friendship. Co-supporters.

Forgot but meant to ask, did you mean you were misdiagnosed with ADHD first? As you can have both. (Sorry as I don't mean to sound patronizing, I am sure you know all that).
Thanks for all the info! All solid guidelines to follow.

Yup! I was misdiagnosed with ADHD first. I don't think you sound patronizing. To clarify, I phrased it as misdiagnosed since that's what my T said. Both the person doing my neuropsych and my current therapist said that the likelihood I have ADHD is pretty low and most of my symptoms that line up with that is mainly anxiety and PTSD related.
 
Thank you Nancy. Yes trauma and ADHD can appear similar (especially in children). And/ but I know too some theorize AD(H)D also increases the likelihood of trauma.
 
I'm not an expert but one of the things that helps me is i figured out exactly who I was and what I believed in early on, it's home base so to speak. The other is to listen to my instincts, trust my instincts. When the physical symptoms get bad I try to think through what are truly serious problems and what are transitory, and recalibrate so to speak.
 
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