How to deal with this: I’m back to square one.

MeToo

New Here
Hello all, new to the group here. I’ve been suffering with this horrible disorder since June of 2016, when my father was nearly killed in a natural disaster (flood). I was at work when the water came up, and could not get to the neighborhood to get to him due to the water blocking all the interstate exits (it was called “a thousand-year” flood due to the unheard of levels of flooding in the state). I lost cell service and dropped the call with him right as he was telling me that the water was at his chin in his living room, and that his house was about to be ripped off the foundation. I sat on the interstate in a traffic jam for nearly two-hours waiting to be able to get off the highway and make it back to the neighborhood, expecting the worst and he would be gone, washed downstream, never to be seen again. He is disabled and couldn’t have gotten out if he wanted to, and nobody, including emergency responders, were able to access the area due to the high water. By the grace of God, his house broke apart and the corner room he was in got lodged between a telephone pole and tree, and someone in the neighborhood with equipment and a rope was able to free him through a window. 🙏. I didn’t know this during the whole time I was trapped on the highway in traffic, and it was the biggest relief EVER when I got there and found out he was alive. Many, many others were not so fortunate and lost their lives to the flood that day.

However, I’ve never stopped being in the fight-or-flight mode since that phone call, and was diagnosed with PTSD shortly after. It has been relentless in torturing me with intrusive thoughts, memories and nightmares that set-in days after the event took place. I did well after about six-months with managing the symptoms with therapy and medications, but this summer, around the “anniversary” of the event, it’s all returned as if it happened yesterday. I can’t seem to shake it and I’m as-bad as I was then, constantly miserable and have even been depressed since June, even though I know it’s in the past. Does everyone else experience this intermittently from their trauma?! The severe anxiety, hyper vigilance, and other symptoms have always been present, but I’ve been able to function well and the medications have kept the edge off, and I seemed to have lost the intrusive thoughts/constant ruminating until this year. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I’ve been reading this forum for a while, and I know a lot of you have been through worse, but this has destroyed my life and is doing it again. Any feedback is welcome. 😓😩😞

PS, to add, there have been many traumas in my life prior to this that lead up to this one (I’m 34-years old), which now all seem to come back to haunt my memory, but this just happened to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back”. I watched a house foundation fall on him 1.5y before this disaster, which nearly took his life that day. Now, I constantly worry that something bad is going to happen to him at all times. 🥵 I have had ADHD my whole life, and I think a lot anyway, but this constant fear keeps me so stressed that I can barely function and have no quality of life anymore.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I think a lot of us think other people's trauma is more significant than our own, but that sort of thinking doesn't help heal us. What matters is what happened to you, and how you make peace with it and move on from it.
I don't have words of wisdom, other than to say when things are really hard it's really helpful (for me anyways) to remind ourselves this feeling will pass again, and that we (and your dad) are safe right now.
Sorry for what you have been through and hope being on this forum helps.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @MeToo, welcome to the site. That sounds like a terrifying ordeal. I'm glad your dad was rescued. It's true that the effects of PTSD can return sporadically even after treatment with therapy and medication. You see there is no delete button in our brains. So therapy and medication is about lessening the symptoms and learning coping mechanisms. Do you still have a therapist? Is there someone specifically that you can talk to about this? Crisis hotline? Samaritans? Preferably a professional? It sounds like your having flashbacks of the event which can be very common. Maybe you can talk to people on here about grounding techniques to help with dealing with the flashbacks. Some techniques can be found on youtube. I can't advise you on them but other people on here could hopefully. All the best to you. S3 😊
 

MeToo

New Here
Thank you, Movingforward10 and Survivor3. I am doing my best to use the tools I’ve been educated on. I’m an only child, and have lived solely with my dad my whole life (my mother hasn’t been in the picture by her own choosing). I was kidnapped at five years old for eight months and lived with very abusive people during that time, and never thought I’d see my family again, so I have very bad separation issues when it comes to these things. I took care of my terminally ill grandfather when I was 19 while he withered away from terminal cancer, and watched him pass in my presence. I’ve been through the stereotyping mental-health stigma my whole life due to being an ADHD kid, so it’s hard for me to talk about things usually without fear of backlash or misunderstanding. However, when I’m feeling like this, I’m already at rock bottom: I can say whatever because I don’t feel like I can feel any worse. According to my Ts, I’ve likely had PTSD since I was a child and it simply didn’t surface until the “last straw” incident. I just have a hard time adjusting to the fact that this is how I will be the rest of my life, after seemingly being unaffected prior. I used to enjoy life; now I seem to be a prisoner in my own mind.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
It sounds that you have used a strategy to cope with all this trauma that has served you incredibly well for years, but has now run it's cause. It's a matter of finding a new strategy, and maybe making links between all these trauma experiences?
I'm sorry you endured 8 months of abduction as a small child. That must have been so frightening and that little child you must have had to develop coping styles to manage.

These intense feelings now, of feeling like being at square one: it can be a positive thing, as it can be an emotional opportunity for healing, even though it is so unbelievably painful.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
this just happened to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

I had a straw that broke the camel's back traumatic experience about 3 years ago. It involved my husband being slapped by a boss but seeing this caused me to have a flashback to my dead fiance who was a diabetic but was kicked several times in the legs for fun by another local from the small town we lived in. I went through a lot in the last three years of Joshua's life but the look and smell of the eventual leg infections were what caught hold of me while my husband was being slapped. It was, by far, the worst flashback of my life.

After that, the intrusive thoughts came and WOULD NOT LEAVE. Moving out of the area and keeping busy did help a little but it really wasn't until I started doing EMDR about 6 weeks ago that I stopped having daily bouts of agitation and sometimes rage trying to get them to stop. I tried meditating, I aggressively exercised and worked until I had multiple serious injuries, I talked and talked and talked to my therapist and others, I did my utmost to change the channel in my head but nothing worked.

After 2 EMDR sessions, I felt a slight shift and things have been getting better since. I still think about it but it doesn't feel like I am on the edge of a heart attack when I do and I am thinking about it less, too. I expect I will be working on it for a while but I am really optimistic about how the last few weeks have gone. After 15+ years of treatment for PTSD, I don't remember anything working half as efficiently than these EMDR sessions have.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
No it's not true that this is now how you will be for the rest of your life. That's a cognitive distortion. It just means that you now need help to navigate yourself into a better place emotionally and psychologically. It takes time. 😊
 

MeToo

New Here
I had a straw that broke the camel's back traumatic experience about 3 years ago. It involved my husband being slapped by a boss but seeing this caused me to have a flashback to my dead fiance who was a diabetic but was kicked several times in the legs for fun by another local from the small town we lived in. I went through a lot in the last three years of Joshua's life but the look and smell of the eventual leg infections were what caught hold of me while my husband was being slapped. It was, by far, the worst flashback of my life.

After that, the intrusive thoughts came and WOULD NOT LEAVE. Moving out of the area and keeping busy did help a little but it really wasn't until I started doing EMDR about 6 weeks ago that I stopped having daily bouts of agitation and sometimes rage trying to get them to stop. I tried meditating, I aggressively exercised and worked until I had multiple serious injuries, I talked and talked and talked to my therapist and others, I did my utmost to change the channel in my head but nothing worked.

After 2 EMDR sessions, I felt a slight shift and things have been getting better since. I still think about it but it doesn't feel like I am on the edge of a heart attack when I do and I am thinking about it less, too. I expect I will be working on it for a while but I am really optimistic about how the last few weeks have gone. After 15+ years of treatment for PTSD, I don't remember anything working half as efficiently than these EMDR sessions have.
I’m sorry to hear that (your trauma), and I still haven’t had the ability to do EMDR. I am planning on it! And I know that channel problem all too well :(. Best wishes to you in your recovery 🙏.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
I’m sorry to hear that (your trauma), and I still haven’t had the ability to do EMDR. I am planning on it! And I know that channel problem all too well :(. Best wishes to you in your recovery 🙏.
Thank you. People from this group and others helped to push me into doing EMDR. If you can get started sooner rather than later, I would highly suggest it. It has been an enormous help for me and a lot of other people. I did not expect things to get better any time soon -- as I had something similar happen in my late 20s that dragged on for many years -- but I have been very pleasantly surprised. Had I known, I would have done EMDR 2 decades ago and maybe saved myself a lot of sleepless nights. I don't mean to be pushy in an annoying way but I remember that feeling of being stuck very well -- knowing that there is a way to get unstuck makes me feel like I need to at least be annoying enough to be memorable ;blank;
I imagine it doesn't work for everyone but I know it has helped a whole lot of people.

I hope things get better, soon.
 
Top