Letting It Out - Childhood PostTraumatic Stress Disorder

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I hope everyone else stared at the screen for ages thinking what to write too.

My PTSD was an accumulation of a few traumas that happened pretty much from childhood until I was 27 (I'm 44 now). I was constantly physically abused by an alcoholic father until I was 16 & left home. But I was young, so it gets pushed to back of your mind, and I was embarking on a new life in Brisbane.

Then when I was about 22yr I had a man who had followed me home from a pub, and stalked me for months. They didnt have very tough laws on stalking then, so even him entering my home when I wasnt there couldnt put him away. One night he tried to take it further & tried to assault me while I slept, but somehow I managed to kick him in the groin & jump out the window to escape. I was found running along a main road in skimpy pj's, and ended up be psycho assessed & kept in hospital for a couple of weeks, because they didnt find any evidence of anyone being in the house. When I got out I moved back to Perth.

I got tired of the drugs they put me on, so I went off them & just tried to live with my demons. It all flared up again though a couple of years later when a man tried to carjack me in a carpark. It was then I started using speed, until a friend died of an overdose, which helped me kick that habit real quick. I threw myself into my work (as a journo), but still drank too much. When I was 30 I came home one day to find my house had been robbed & trashed.

Which was probably a turning point in my life, because at that time I got tired of being the victem. I'd always lived in "nice" areas, but I still couldnt avoid these things happening. One day at the office I saw something about dolphins coming into the beach down south, so took a visit down there (I had read about dolphin therapy for depression). I was so hooked I quit my job & moved down there to work with them, which I did for 10yrs. We had a lot of help groups come down to swim with them, so in all, it was the best therapy I could have got at a very bad time.

I even built up the courage to travel the globe twice by myself, and thru some pretty dangerous areas. Though there was the one bad time when I was crossing the border from Belize to Guatamala (visiting temples) just as they started a drug war, and there was gunfire flying around. All I could think of was 'if your going to shoot me, please let it be in the head'. I kept having all these visions of being held captive by one of the sides.

So while I will still recoil when a man starts any agressive behaviour around me, for the most part I function not too bad. And then 9/11 and all the other terrorist events that followed it (where I had family & friends involved), and I found I started to suffer a bit of agrophobia. I am at my happiest working from my office at home.

So there's my story, and I must say, nice to be in the company of you all!

Deleted member 3

Hi Camry,

Welcome to the forum. As I mentioned to 'just me' my husband would normally welcome you straight away but he is currently catching up on some sleep. He needs to do that sometimes, just have one really big block of sleep - hard to do with a little one. I do try and encourage regular sleep patterns but he is a little stubborn.

Again, I am astounded by the various experiences which result in PTSD. I am also regularly astounded by the courage each of you have. Simply to still be here and trying to move forward, takes a certain strength of character and resilience. What a journey you have had so far, not a lot of it good but it looks like you have made some progress when you were working with the dolphins. What a job!! Hopefully we can support you further along your journey.


I hope everyone else stared at the screen for ages thinking what to write too.

I still do... especially reading each trauma, and how each person here has suffered different experiences, though we all end up with the same outcome... PTSD. I feel its quite sad that men need to take that sort of approach with women, well actually; more disguisting actually. People who sexually assault others should be locked away, so they are then sexually assaulted by their own sex! That might fix some off them anyway!

Its very good to hear that you have taken positive steps throughout your life though, leading yourself to a happier future, and not being beaten by this illness. Your one very strong person Camry to endure what you have, and still be capable to talk about it. You really should pat yourself on the back for your efforts. You have beaten off men during attacks, overcome a drug addiction, and no doubt, many other factors, and your still moving on with your life.

I somehow think its quite ok for you to get anxious and so forth when aggressive behaviour is shown around you. Its quite normal considering what you've been through. I think most of us here know what your saying about agrophobia, as we all tend to exclude ourselves from social and normal activities, and tend to isolate ourselves within our own safety net, generally being our home. I guess as long as your still getting out though, and not completely isolating yourself, then your still ok.

Crowds simply just don't do it for me anymore, from places I've been during active service, and events that have occurred within crowds. I still find myself getting quite anxious and distressed when placed in those situations for a long period. A long period to me is only 15 minutes or more. I can go to the shops and do my groceries, though I can't go during peak hours, ie. late night shopping, around knockoff time for most, where everyone stops in at the supermarket to get groceries for dinner and so forth. Those situations can really set me off, along with a lot of other things.

Your doing really well Camry considering what you've suffered, so don't think anything less, really. Your a very strong woman from what you've written here. I know that Kay Dee here could probably know a little more from what you have personally suffered, as she has been through quite similar circumstances.

I like the swimming with dolphins... that would be great. That must off been the best thing. I would love to do that... no doubt my wife would also. So your still living in Perth Camry? It is the one city in Australia I haven't been. I've been around it, just not into it. I've even seen it from a distance... though just too busy to get in and see it. My wife talks quite highly of Perth, saying it is the pick of the bunch to her. Most others I know who've been their say the same.

Its great to have you here Camry... really it is. I look forward to having lots more chats with you. Use the place to vent any frustrations when you have them... if needed, as that is another use for this place. We all get that way... I certainly have my days.


Thanks Kerri-Ann & Anthony!

I gather both of you have been in the armed forces at some stage? If so, it is partly because of people like you that it has been possible to gain momentum to move forward. Whenever I get those 'down' moments I think of people that are either in more dangerous situations than I was, or have harder life crisises than I (i.e. those with terminal diseases, etc). It enabled me to give myself that 'kick up the ass' I needed, because I was a single mother for 12yrs, which didnt really allow myself the luxury of dwelling too much on my own troubles. The last thing I wanted was for my daughter to inherit the same fears I had. But I admit, her bedtime became 'my' time, as it was when I could wrap myself in my cocoon again.

I can definately understand irregular sleep patterns though! It is usually only because of absolute exhaustion that I am ever asleep before 4am. Nights are my worst time, and laying in bed trying to sleep makes it even worse. I used to have a TV in my bedroom to fall alseep by, but have tried to kick that bad habit. However, now I end up falling asleep on the lounge. I'm lucky that I have a very understanding hubby that knows what he married into!

No, I dont live in Perth anymore, left there many moons ago. I've lived all over the world since then, from outback West Oz running a pub I inherited, to living under 2m of snow in Canada. I'm not sure I can live in the city anymore. Which is a little wierd, because I felt safer on the streets of NYC, than I do in any of the major cities in Oz. But I think thats because my major trauma involved my home. I live in Mandurah now.

And I absolutely recommend working with animals to help with any kind of depression. But it has its down sides. I ended up having to leave the dolphin beach after 5 were killed by @ssholes in a couple of months. I really couldnt imagine how people could inflict those kinds of cruelty on something so innocent.

I must admit to having an absolute contempt for @ssholes & jerks.

Usually when I need to unload, I have sent emails into cyber space (I write them then delete them). So I might take you up on having somewhere else to unload :)


Yer, Kerrie-Ann is currently serving, I am now retired from everything. I think of things in the same light actually, who is worse off than me, and sometimes that helps to get me back on my feet again, and out of depressive moods. I hate being in depressive moods, and it hits me without warning. Someone explained it best to me, when they said, "its like a cloud that rolls in and darkens your mind". I could fully relate to that, though those without PTSD can only often imagine I guess.

So, where is Mandurah? Geez, you've had a busy little life, running around the world. Good to see you have enjoyed yourself though... its a must I believe.

I like your contempt for arseholes and jerks, as I don't tolerate them either, and I doubt many with PTSD do. Those who just have no commonsense also do it for me... quite frustrating. My wife is always telling me to be nicer to those around me who I see doing stupid stupid things. I can't help it really, I just don't tolerate stupidy well anymore.

Yer, this is a great place to just come and let your frustrations out, as we all do it, and we know what is happening, and actually understand what is happening, as we all get it. If you didn't feel these things, then you wouldn't have PTSD to begin with... which would actually be quite good in retrospect, but hey, we deal with what is given to us I believe. Your doing ok by the sounds of it Camry, and no doubt your going to have depressive times, anxiety kicks in and all the rest of the symptoms, but you sound very strong, and capable to handle these things as they are dealt to you. You have really done well to come out the other end of what you've been put through. Those who suffer PTSD more often than not, don't pat themselves on their back every now and then, and realise we are all quite strong to still be here, have some sort of sanity to continue our life. I honestly know lots of people who have taken their own life because of PTSD and similar symptoms, and we are all quite strong to face up to it and move forward, and not let it beat us. God knows how many times I've been on the edge and ready to kill myself, but I bring myself back each time, remembering what is worth living for, instead of taking the easy option out. This is why we are all quite strong, to deal with it, and continue living / attempting to live a semi-normal life.

I have a mate who is very much in denial about the whole situation, and to this day, knows he has PTSD, but won't accept he has alcohol and other problems, nor will he seek help about his PTSD and how to control it. He just sits at home, drinks all day, smokes like a chimney and gets depressed. I don't know how he is still alive actually, as he has tried a few times now, and ended up in hospital for them all. A cry for help? I think so, but he won't accept the help.

Building this place was the single most important achievement of mine, from completely my PTSD course, and knowing what I know about it and how to deal with it when faced with all these symtoms and associated problems that stem from them. Mind you though, I won't ever work again as I tend to relapse pretty quick when put under pressure, or any sort of stress, but I tend to try and keep most of those things out of my life.


I dont know about being strong... LOL... I would probably say far from it. Probably more stubborn than anything. I just refuse to give the barstards the satisfaction of me doing myself in.

Travelling around, is more running away from situations that get out of hand for me. IRL I never have the emotional resources to deal with intense situations, so I run. When hubby proposed to me, it took me 4 weeks to decide if I would, I had to cover all the bases of an easy out if I needed one. Even our vows reflected that, in that I changed the "I promise to...." to "I promise to try to..." I used to have a terrible temper, and while I am a lot more passive now, I could never guarentee that something wouldnt trigger another attack. I can feel it well up sometimes, and I have to find radical things to do to push it down again. (my hammock & a joint usually when its sunny) ;)

I have been lucky to have one very good friend who went through a very traumatic experience and can easily spot the signs for me to re-assess. Over the period of a year she had 6 brain tumour occur and had to have each removed. Each time we & she didnt think she would make it. She ended up making a great recovery against the odds, but slipped into a deeeeep depression after it, always expecting another to occur. She got some great counselling through her tribal leaders (she's a maori), and while still pretty fragile, she went on to do a degree in law. When I had my last major meltdown, she spotted the symptoms within a week, and was on my doorstep suitcase in hand. It didnt matter how many times I would tell her I would get over it... she would tell me to sit down & shut up & recognize it for what it was. "Tough love"... and I swear it works!

I can understand all these that are in denial though. I was for so many years! For many its still that stigma of mental disease, for others it's displaying a weakness. I still face these every day. My family has regarded me as weak for most of my life, telling me that only hypochondriacs opt for pills & only those that crave attention want counselling or try to kill themselves.

Even as recent as yesterday I was having an arguement with my mother over it. I was telling her about this place hoping that she would come here (she has suffered terribly with depression since a bad accident killed my brother). She always gets angry when I suggest counselling for her. Yesterday she did the same, saying "what a load of rubbish, I'm fine, the only people that go to those places have no strength". I tried calmly to explain the benefits of talking to others in the same situation, to which she retorted "its like those vietnam vets who think society owes them, they can get over it, they just dont want to". With that I saw red & kurtly said goodbye.

I was so angry afterwards. It took me hours to get my head together again to work. I was in my early-late teens in the 70's, and I remember my heart aching at them having to go to war, and how disgusted I was with society in their treatment when they got back. That was sooooo the wrong thing to say to me.

So today I am dealing with other crisis's (gotta luv clients!)... so its all been put on the back burner.
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