Is this PTSD?

Newt

Not Active
This has got to be the longest post I've ever laid eyes on(it could probably count as an essay!), so I'm sorry for the inconvenience. I'll ask a few questions at the bottom, but most of this is getting past traumas off my chest and backstory. If you're into that, please read to your heart's content!(some of this is dark stuff though)

This all started way back around when I was 13 or so and I went into a Subway with this one other guy in it. When he saw me he said with a creepy smile "You have your mother's eyes." I ran all the way home with the sun setting. I had a guess who it was. Based on my description my mom really freaked out; turns out I was right in thinking it was her father, whom I had never met and was no longer part of the family. Later my mother explained to me "the truth" which I guess was so upsetting at the time I blocked out the conversation, but I know it involved him, child sexual abuse, and my mom. (He abused his next wife and child too.) He showed up again months later in a public building, but after that luckily a restraining order was put on him. He died a few years ago, but emotionally it's like he's still haunting me.

Years later there was an incident on a bus where this guy was yelling and punching the bus walls and threatening the driver to pull over or he'd kill him. No one got hurt in the end except maybe the bus, but it scared me a lot. After that, riding the bus and waiting at the stops by myself was too much to handle. So yeah, that reignited past trauma.

Since that day when I was 13 I've gained a pretty prominent fear of men. I have nightmares about them doing horrific things like what I heard about my grandfather, and I'll wake up really shaken; sometimes I just cry. I'm also scared to leave the house by myself. I've never had a boyfriend, or even kissed a boy, always with the explanation that "boys just scare me." I don't ever leave the house at night and I don't leave the house during the day myself very often unless I'm with other people. The times I do and a man walks toward me or past me on the street, I'm scared. I panic the most if I can't see anyone else around. Once I tried going to a park with my sister only to run all the way home in terror because we passed a guy that "looked suspicious." ... Because he was walking the same direction as us. My sister called it a major overreaction.

At it's worst I was so scared I refused to leave my room for meals or anything for weeks. Any bump in the night put me on high alert, and I couldn't sleep. It got so bad I had frequent panic attacks and fainted once from stress. Soon after I just started zoning out, during conversations or when I was tied up in my own tormenting thoughts. I would become overwhelmed and slump over for a minute, sometimes a few, not seeing, hardly hearing, I would just check out. My therapist said it sounded like dissociation, but it only lasted a few weeks.

So anyway, the point of all this: I'm really nervous to leave home and face the world of living by myself as an adult. Not just with what I've described already, but with my depressive episodes(I've been diagnosed with MDD, panic disorder and generalised anxiety). I've had at least one per year since middle school, many that have lasted for months and months. But when that time is over I function pretty well. I'm going to therapy, though I'm not on medicine anymore, as none of the many I tried worked out. I either had allergic reactions or side effects frustrating enough I decided I'd rather just be depressed... So I feel pretty trapped.

My therapist has suggested an ESA multiple times, but I would rather have it trained to perform tasks that could help me cope... Though then it's more of a psychiatric service dog, and it makes me really nervous to be seen by the public as someone with a disability, not that I'm sure if this even qualifies as one. There's so much more to share but this post is already way too long so I'll just skip to the questions. Any answers/advice/suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thank you, everyone.

Questions:
1) Does this sound like PTSD to you?
2) Should I give medication another shot?
3) Is there anything besides what I've mentioned that helped you to heal?
4) Should I give an emotional support dog or service dog a shot?
(I'm aware they're different things, and I'd be talking to my doctor next if a psychiatric service dog is at all a possibility. Also, with either, I'd be doing the training myself with the help of a professional.)
 
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Friday

Moderator
1. Does this sound like PTSD to you?
I've been diagnosed with MDD, panic disorder and generalised anxiety).
It sounds a whooooole lot like these ^^^

All 3 of which are big heavy hard hitting disorders, that cause exactly what you’re describing. Is there something that makes you think they aren’t accurate diagnoses? Or just doing due diligence with the dozen or so other disorders that share symptoms with them?
 
S

sunandbutterflies

Sorry to hear of the struggles that you are facing. I will leave whether it is PTSD or MDD, panic disorder, anxiety to the professionals. I am glad that you have been seeing a therapist as they would be best qualified to help you sort what you have experienced. Sometimes medication is a useful tool to help manage anxiety and depression. That is something that you and the prescriber wouuld have to sort through together. I know that it took lots of trial and error before we found some medication that would help my grandmother.
For me, it was a combination of counseling and coping strategies. At times, the counselor would guide me through challenging my fears. At other times, it was practicing coping skills.
I was definitely glad to have my little dog when things were happening. Somehow, even when being around people was difficult I could enjoy being around my little guy. He was not even a service animal. I am sure that you might find a service dog to be helpful. If nothing else, the dog can be a companion for you and provide one more coping strategy for you.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
Depression and anxiety, no matter the cause, stinks. It's miserable to go through. I'm glad you have a therapist considering options.
1) Does this sound like PTSD to you?
Trained professionals are the best to issue a diagnosis. What you describe does fit with what you have been diagnosed with by your therapist. Nothing you describe outright suggests a glaring misdiagnosis - but again, no one here is able to really know. We are all peers here. If you question the diagnosis, I'd suggest talking it over with the therapist and if still unsure, considering a second opinion.
2) Should I give medication another shot?
When someone is at the point of considering a psych service dog, I strongly recommend exhausting all other options. I say this as a psych service dog user. To successfully be teamed up and use a psych service dog is to experience a major life adjustment. There is considerable expenses, above and beyond a pet dog, and extra work too. Service dogs need regular on-going training, extra medical care for the wear and tear on their bodies, etc. One needs to have considerably good boundaries as well, as members of the public will push boundaries regularly. I have had people try to hug the dog, get nasty when I ask they please stop. I have had public transit drivers throw food at the dog and me, people make snark comments, etc, etc. I've even been spit at just for telling a woman no, my dog can't be pet right now. My service dog has saved my life, but if I could, I would love to be in a place where I could enjoy a pet dog. I also am dealing with the reality that every dog's life ends, and most long before the owner.

I'd strongly recommend trying different therapies, different level of therapy, different treatments, various supports, and explore a service dog as an option of last resort when other options have been exhausted and basic ability to function is at stake. I think pet dogs are a great idea. If you need a dog to be an ESA to have it in no-pet housing, that's good too. I wouldn't suggest taking the ESA on planes and the like though, unless one has good training for the dog and ability to deal with the public while doing this.
 
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Rainman8772

MyPTSD Pro
Depression and anxiety, no matter the cause, stinks. It's miserable to go through. I'm glad you have a therapist considering options.

Trained professionals are the best to issue a diagnosis. What you describe does fit with what you have been diagnosed with by your therapist. Nothing you describe outright suggests a glaring misdiagnosis - but again, no one here is able to really know. We are all peers here. If you question the diagnosis, I'd strong suggest talking it over with the therapist and if still unsure, considering a second opinion.

When someone is at the point of considering a psych service dog, I strongly recommend exhausting all other options. I say this as a psych service dog user. To successfully be teamed up and use a psych service dog is to experience a major life adjustment. There is considerable expenses, above and beyond a pet dog, and extra work too. Service dogs need regular on-going training, extra medical care for the wear and tear on their bodies, etc. One needs to have considerably good boundaries as well, as members of the public will push boundaries regularly. I have had people try to hug the dog, get nasty when I ask they please stop. I have had public transit drivers throw food at the dog and me, people make snark comments, etc, etc. I've even been spit at just for telling a woman no, my dog can't be pet right now. My service dog has saved my life, but if I could, I would love to be in a place where I could enjoy a pet dog. I also am dealing with the reality that every dog's life ends, and most long before the owner.

I'd strongly recommend trying different therapies, different level of therapy, different treatments, various supports, and explore a service dog as an option of last resort when other options have been exhausted and basic ability to function is at stake. I think pet dogs are a great idea. If you need a dog to be an ESA to have it in no-pet housing, that's good too. I wouldn't suggest taking the ESA on planes and the like though, unless one has good training for the dog and ability to deal with the public while doing this.

Agree with this.

This is fact everyone wants to pet the dog or try to distract them. Also the training is extensive and ongoing. You always want to make them better. As for the comments I usually give one right back and don’t mind if I make them mad. Usually ask them if they like to pet every wheelchair they see too. That usually stops it. Depends on the person and if they ask or they just barged over. The worst are little kids for mine, she does not like hyper kids.
 
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