How should I be trying to get better? Still overstimulated & hypervigilant a year later.

Hawkeye

New Here
It’s been over a year since I quit talking to my abusers but I’m still overstimulated and hyper vigilant all the time. It’s exhausting and I’m always tense. I’ve gone to so many therapists and done lots of medication but none of this has really fixed anything. Is there something I’m missing?
I’d love to hear suggestions.
Thanks
 
I’ve gone to so many therapists and done lots of medication but none of this has really fixed anything. Is there something I’m missing?

1. What kinds of trauma therapy have you tried?

2. How certain are you that you have PTSD?

Gaslighting, mind games/narcissistic abuse won’t cause PTSD (although they can cause and/or exacerbate many many other disorders), although they’d certainly make pre-existing PTSD worse… so unless you have life threatening trauma &/or sexual violence in your history to spark PTSD in the first place? You could do every PTSD therapy on the planet until the end of time, and still not find any traction with what you’re actually dealing with. It’s just attempting to jam a square peg in a round hole.

It’s one of the tells that there’s probably a misdiagnosis in play when someone isn’t getting much of anything -or is being made worse- by the treatments for that disorder.

Sometimes a misdiagnosis is straightforward (IE totally wrong), other times the person is comorbid in 2 or more disorders (or medical conditions), and until they’re both/all treated, the person won’t find much if any traction with either. As all disorders share symptoms, just treating one source means you’ll still be having those same symptoms from the other disorder; and each disorder effects how the symptoms express, often appearing entirely different.
 
1. What kinds of trauma therapy have you tried?

2. How certain are you that you have PTSD?

Gaslighting, mind games/narcissistic abuse won’t cause PTSD (although they can cause and/or exacerbate many many other disorders), although they’d certainly make pre-existing PTSD worse… so unless you have life threatening trauma &/or sexual violence in your history to spark PTSD in the first place? You could do every PTSD therapy on the planet until the end of time, and still not find any traction with what you’re actually dealing with. It’s just attempting to jam a square peg in a round hole.

It’s one of the tells that there’s probably a misdiagnosis in play when someone isn’t getting much of anything -or is being made worse- by the treatments for that disorder.

Sometimes a misdiagnosis is straightforward (IE totally wrong), other times the person is comorbid in 2 or more disorders (or medical conditions), and until they’re both/all treated, the person won’t find much if any traction with either. As all disorders share symptoms, just treating one source means you’ll still be having those same symptoms from the other disorder; and each disorder effects how the symptoms express, often appearing entirely different.
Thanks for the non-help.

 
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Honestly @Hawkeye if you haven’t found the right therapist doing therapy isn’t going to work. Even with the right therapist it generally gets worse before it gets better. I’m heading into year two and my hyper vigilance symptoms have eased as have my flashbacks but as far as being cured yeah no and I put a lot into it. I’ve read every article and book my T has suggested, I journal, I see my therapist twice a week. I also work full time. The thing is the abuse when on for more than 10 years so I can’t exactly expect to get better overnight, sadly it took a decade to screw me up.

Find a therapist that works for you and stay the course. I want to quit at least once a week.
 
Thanks for the non-help.
You asked what you were missing. Misdiagnosis is one of those possibilities.

Apx 80% of people experience what is known as Criterion A Trauma or Qualifying Trauma (see below) but only apx 20% of those people go on to experience PTSD.
DSM
A. Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence in one (or more) of the following ways:

  1. Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s),
  2. Witnessing, in person, the event(s) as it occurred to others,
  3. Learning that the traumatic event(s) occurred to a close family member or close friend. In cases of actual or threatened death of a family member or friend, the event(s) must have been violent and accidental.
  4. Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event(s) (e.g., first responders collecting human remains; police officers repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse).
Note: Criterion A4 does not apply to exposure to electronic media, television, movies, or pictures, unless the exposure is work related.
ICD
F43.1 Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Arises as a delayed or protracted response to a stressful event or situation (of either brief or long duration) of an exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature, which is likely to cause pervasive distress in almost anyone.
It’s just not as simple as experience life threatening trauma or sexual violence and go onto develop PTSD.

Trauma ≠ PTSD.
Complex Trauma ≠ CPTSD.

Instead? 10 people can experience the exact same trauma and go onto develop 10 different disorders.

Similarly, it’s not as simple as complex trauma = CPTSD.
  • trauma = many possible disorders, including PTSD, or none.
  • complex trauma = many possible disorders, including PTSD & CPTSD, or none.
I have no idea if you’ve experienced qualifying trauma, nor if you have, if you’re one of the 20% who go on to develop PTSD. That is why I asked how certain you are that you’ve been diagnosed correctly. But I asked that second. What I asked first was what kinds of trauma therapy you’ve tried.

As, just like with misdiagnosis meaning you’re never actually being treated for the disorder you have? Just going to therapy doesn’t mean you’re being treated for the disorder you have. You could have PTSD, and spend 50 years in therapy, and never do a single session of trauma therapy. Just like fully accredited therapists with masters and doctorates can never take a single class, or even attend a lecture, on trauma and stressor related disorders. Because that’s not their interest.

You haven’t answered my questions, so I still have no idea if you’ve done every Tier 1 level treatment for PTSD, with amazing therapists, after exhaustive medical and psychological testing / differential diagnosis. -OR- If you’ve struggled under lousy therapists with little to no qualification or experience with trauma, and just had a label slapdashed across you, with no care to the years you may waste trying to use a screwdriver as a hammer.

You’re under no obligation to answer my, or anyone else’s questions. Without doing so, however, all any of us know is what you’ve written.

If you’d like to continue this discussion, tag me or quote me, otherwise I’m going to spend my time on people who don’t lash out at people trying to help them.

Best,

Friday.
 
It’s been over a year since I quit talking to my abusers but I’m still overstimulated and hyper vigilant all the time.
I mean, it was about 20 years of living the other side of the country from my primary abuser before I even got the right diagnosis.

Timelines don’t help. Recovery from mental illness doesn’t tend to work that way. Instead of “I’m not recovered yet”, it might be more helpful to consider “am I getting better, or staying the same?”

If you’re not making any progress? Time to try a different type of therapy, or a different therapist (possibly both).

If you are making progress? Cut yourself a break. It’s hard work. Keep going.
 
What kind of medication have you tried? What kind of therapy have you done?

It can be really hard to figure these things out. One figure for bipolar peeps is that on average it takes 10 years to find the right combination of meds. I say this to stress that if you’ve only been trying meds for a short while, you may not have tried the right things (but meds don’t necessarily help everyone).

We live in a very instant gratification type world. I have worked many months just developing ONE coping skill. One! Granted it’s my best coping skill to date, but you see my point. Healing can take a very long time for some of us.

Has your therapist been working with you on coping and soothing skills? Mine is shit in this area…..tangential, but yeah, she gave me a sheet on how to challenge my thoughts and I just wrote “gaslighting” in huge letters on the sheet as my thoughts aren’t false, rather they run through my head at a million miles and cause distress. So yeah, I have a crappy therapist and everyone here is telling me to find someone new……I have an appointment in 4 hours, maybe I should just cancel, lol. But I digress…
 
It takes time. My therapist is really good but it’s taken nearly a year for me to sit down in their office without having a freak out.
Building a relationship where you can actually do the work isn’t possible if you jump from therapist to therapist. Perhaps it would help you to find one you think you can trust & work with in time and really stick at it.

There isn’t a magic wand to fix things (believe me I wish there was), it’s going to be messy and uncomfortable & it’s going to take some time.
 
Have you considered any body based therapies? If your body is on such high alert it's difficult to engage with therapy in the first place/ retain any of what's been said.
 
Hawkeye don’t take this the wrong way, but I almost spit out my coffee when you said it’s been “over a year” and you’re still struggling. If your trauma is as serious as you believe it to be, you’re in for the long haul for recovery.

Do you pay attention to Dr Ramani in MedCircle videos? She talks all the time about how progress is slow as molasses, and how important it is to vibe with your therapist.
 
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