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I'm New - Possible PTSD 3 Years After Rape

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by faerieevenstar, Nov 26, 2006.

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  1. faerieevenstar

    faerieevenstar Member

    Well, this introduction thing is hard isn't it? I'm Faerie Evenstar, and I live pretty much right in the middle of England. I'm 23 and recently got married to the man of my dreams and my knight in shining armor. I'm studying a degree in psychology with the Open University (home learning) after being inspired by my own psychologist and hope that maybe one day when I'm better I can help others with problems like I have had. I've now been signed off work for 4 years... I've never worked as I just left art college due to being to ill with depression and I'm still pulling myself back up again...

    I haven't been officially diagnosed with PTSD but after having seen a psychiatrist last Friday and hearing the word 'trauma' mentioned repeatedly with reference to my condition and my dealyed reaction being 'not unusal' I think it was implied... I will be going back in the next few weeks and they will hopefully give me a better diagnosis but it all makes sense to me... (Advanced warning, I type "..." a lot. I know it's bad punctuation but I do it when I'm typing rambling brain-thoughts, so sorry!)

    My symptoms are depression (which I've suffered from as long as I can remember, even before the trauma but it's got worse...), panic attacks, high stress, sleep problems (I have to say I sleep too much which seems to be uncommon for PTSD but I also have trouble getting to sleep in the first place sometimes even when I'm very tired), flashbacks, social anxiety, some memory loss around the events and I've now stopped going out of the house unless it's totally neccasary...

    Well the story then? It's kind of long and convoluted in a way... the main trauma was rape by a 'friend' nearly 3 years ago now, (I can't believe how hard it is to type that sentence even now) but I've also had a history with various stresses involving childhood bullies and a severely ill brother who's illness has stained my entire family for years, and still does now.

    As I said the main problem stems from the rape... I met this guy on a train to London, he was in the same carriage as me but we didn't talk, but then he was at the same club as me and it seemed such a coincidence that we got chatting and he seemed lovely. He is a Christian Missionary, and I have always been an atheist, but I found him interesting and thought that any reservations I had about him or odd 'gut feelings' were just me being critical of his religion so I forced myself to ignore it and give the guy a chance... When we both got back from London to our home-towns, we met up with each other a few times and became good friends, and he introduced me to Christianity and took me to church and various worship events with him (I have since gone back to atheism quite happily as I did feel brainwashed by him, and the second I lost contact with him, I lost faith too... please forgive me if I don't seem understanding of Christians on here, I try not to let the one guy marr my view but it's hard!). Then the abuse started. I did quite fancy him I'll admit, but things happened that I didn't consent to. I won't go into gory details... I can't for the most part as I find it very hard to remember... but it happened several times and although I knew what was happening I hadn't really acknowledged it for what it was... one time he even abused me in a religious place... a lodge where they train up missionaries to go into the field... he even felt me up when there were people in the room there and they couldn't see what he was doing. Even though I'm an atheist now that seems even more sick than doing it in private...

    Well, after all that it just came out one day in a session with my psychologist at the time, who I'd been seeing since before I'd even met him, about my depression. I just mentioned something about what had happened as if it was nothing and she pointed out that I had just said I'd been raped and it suddenly hit me like a big brick to the face. I was numb for a bit then I was determined to make things right. I reported him to the police. Sadly as I didn't realise until after the event had passed, all physical evidence was lost so I could not prosecute him... I'm told that I have still made a difference by reporting him as if he's reported by anyone else it will automatically go to trial but it still doesn't seem enough and I hate myself for not being able to bring him to justice to stop anyone else suffering like I have.

    After all that I just lost it and had a breakdown. I avoided being hospitilsed by some small miracle. They thought I was too young and if I was taken in it could 'ruin future job prospects' by putting it on my records. I'm not sure if that was a wise decision but I am here to tell the tale despite many attempts to kill myself. I reverted to a child for a little bit (apparently my brain thought it was safe there but I just felt very confused) , my weight dropped incredibly, and I had some weird episodes where I couldn't move or talk, I just sobbed, and I was so frustrated as I wanted to talk but the words wouldn't come...

    This was about 2 years ago and as I was starting to recover after the breakdown I got together with my now-husband and he has helped me immensely in terms of recovery. Over the last 2 years I have felt I was getting back to normal, but recently everything has been creeping back again and my anxiety has got out of control, and my sleep patterns are insane. Some days I can barely get to sleep even with medication, and others I cannot stay awake no matter how hard I try. This, I am told, is a delayed reaction to the trauma of nearly 3 years ago... My psychiatrist told me that some people cope by locking away the traumatic event and it does work for some people, but it isn't working for me so he said we're going to have to fix it. I'm not sure what he's got planned yet, and as I said I don't have a PTSD diagnosis as such but I hope it works because since probing into the past a few days ago I am feeling worse than I have done in a long time an I'm worried I'm slipping down that slope to a breakdown again and that scares me a lot. I just feel this is so awful... I only got married at the end of September and my husband makes so happy, so why am I crumbling now? Ths should still be my honeymoon period!

    I think I've waffled an awful lot there, but yes... that's me. Hi.
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  3. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

    Hello Faerie. I'm so glad you are here. As I was reading your post I kept thinking that you reactions are so much like mine. Our situations are a bit different, but our reactions are very similar. I, too, suffer from depression and I tend to either sleep a lot or not at all. During the non sleep hours, I tend to be worthless and just roam around senselessly. When I'm sleepy, I can't do anything else. It's like I'm drugged.

    I did not react to my trauma until I started to remember it. This was during the most happiest times of my life. I just had two children, and I was happily married. I loved my job and just bought a new house. I felt the best I had in my life. My therapist thinks because of this stability, my mind found it time to do some "spring cleaning". With no conscious effort from me, my mind dug up all the nasty stuff and wanted me to deal with it. It was the hardest thing I ever had to go through. This was 2 1/2 years ago. I'm over the worst of it now, in fact, I've been feeling great lately. It is a long road, though. I've only been sleeping well since about five months ago and my depression is still not controlled. I tend to relapse every few months or so. I hope to be med free in a year.

    One thing I do suggest is to get a diagnosis. There are many "disorders" that have the anxiety tidbit but not all people with anxiety have ptsd. Please ask your therapist directly what your diagnosis is.

    Nice to meet you Faerie. I hope you stay. This forum has done wonders for me. It's nice to know that I'm not alone. This community is very supportive and caring. The people here are like family to me.

  4. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

    hi faerie, welcome to the forum.
  5. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Hi Faerie, welcome to the forum. Yep... its sounds like PTSD to me from what your describing symptom wise. Your doctor will obviously work that one out though. Rape certainly does it though. As your discovering now, your life went to custard for a while, then good, and now PTSD comes back around. Often we don't know we have things at the time, suffer an outbreak of symptoms, recover for a while, then they come back worse than before. The cycle pretty much continues until you shutdown completely... with no place left to go except suicide or healing. Hopefully the later is the optimal choice for everyone.

    The depression is why you sleep. Your depression that you say you've had as long as you can remember, that intrigues me though. Why have you suffered depression? There would be something within your life that has caused it, you just may not know it yet... hopefully you do though.
  6. GR-ass

    GR-ass Well-Known Member

    Hey Faery,

    Glad you found us. Erms. . .

    Welcome and all that jazz
  7. faerieevenstar

    faerieevenstar Member

    Thanks for the lovely welcome guys. You all seem very kind and supportive here, a healthy environment for healing! I'll wait for an official diagnosis but signs do seem to point to PTSD and that fills me with some hope because it appears to be treatable, and it proves I'm not just going insane!

    With regards to depression, I do wonder if I am one of those people who are just born depressed due to a chemical imbalance, and just the traumatic events I have suffered just made things worse. It seems so petty now, but before the abuse I was seeing a psych as I'd suffered pretty badly with depression after a break-up with my boyfriend at the time.

    Also as I said my brother has been ill for a long time... he had a cyst in his brain which has since been removed but he suffers some ill effects from it including some brain damage, difficulty learning new things, memory loss, epilepsy and OCD amongst others I've probably forgotten. He has two ventricular shunts (draining CSF from his brain to his abdominal cavity) and he's had a few complications due to tubes blocking or the shunt not functioning, and once it pierced his bowel and he got ventriculitis and peritnitis at once, which can both be fatal by themselves... he was very, very ill then and we honestly thought he wasn't coming home.

    Nowadays, he is not at all independent and lives with my parents still despite being 25, This puts strain on everyone as obviously my parents are in their 50s now and were hoping life would be easier now and I feel sorry for them having to be carers, though obviously they'd do anything for him. I can imagine my brother's life is far from easy as well, with no career prospects to speak of, no obvious way of becoming independent, no friends or partners as well as having to suffer everyday with his health troubles... so yes. A lot of strain on everyone.

    I do sometimes panic being around hospitals as it reminds me of when he was very ill... I hate the smell of the disinfectant and the beeping of machines... in a way my brother is lucky in that sense because he remembers nothing of his time in hospital, but the rest of my family can remember only too well all the times we sat at his bedside over the years fighting for his life...

    Umm, I rambled again. Sorry! :dont-know
  8. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Yer, that does sound pretty tough. Very mentally and physically draining, exhaustive and enduring. These things are never nice. I can understand about the parents issues also, as my parents are in their 60's now, and they are looking after one of my sisters son's, their grandchild, because he was born to another father that she got pregnant too at a young age. Sure, he is 17 or so now, but still living at home with them, them still having to care for him until he gets a life off his own. He is a very withdrawn young fella, and I don't see him doing well on his own any time soon. I want to slap the piss out of my sister for doing this too them, and expecting them to fix her shit.

    Faerie, what you described above though in relation to your depression, doesn't jump out at me as being something you where born with, because you got depressed after an event, being a relationship breakup. Is there more that I am missing, or is your depression always after an event? If this is the case, your just lacking the skills to deal with the events, hence the depression.

    Depression by itself, whilst a significant problem, can be cure, even in relation to PTSD itself, though the depression you get with anxiety from PTSD, is a little different, as trauma is causing other issues to cause the depression, and not something you can directly control, though you can manage.
  9. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Hi faerie-

    Thank you for sharing your story. And ramble away...it helps.

  10. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

    I wanted to say welcome to the forum. The cycling Anthony describes sounds accurate to me, we all get to feeling a little better to find an even lower low each round. And like Nam the thought was I was stable and had everything I wanted in life and desired, despite my issues, then I hit the ultimate crash and burn. For the life of me why when I had everything so picture perfect my world fell in on my head beyond control. I got to the point of heal or die then. So here I am.

    One thing that jumped at me as to you wonder why things are creeping back in and no one pointed out to you yet is you recently married too. Stress is stress and brings symptoms back on. Even good stress like getting married, it is a big deal. It can make symptoms flare up.
  11. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Good point about the good stress veiled, which the [DLMURL]http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread63.html[/DLMURL] outlines with good stress, bad stress and PTSD within our daily cup.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  12. Terry

    Terry Well-Known Member

    Welcome Faerie, Good people here. Lots of new folks (I'm a newbie too). I don't think it matters if you believe in a sumpreme being or not you won't be judged for anything. We are all human (esp. here) and have all suffered from the very dark side of the human or inhuman experience. In the general chat section some of our talented members have posted their art.
  13. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

    Glad you found us Faerie, and welcome aboard. Much support here, for you. :hello: Faerie !
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