Sufferer Living with PTSD, 18 months out from trauma. Feeling alone right now. Hoping for perspective and tools to move forward.

Better Days

New Here
So this is one of those things...

...it’s normal for PTSD.

But especially if you’ve been in suicide support groups, etc.? Your baseline expectation of normal is looking at the whole gosh darn spectrum of the ways that people respond to trauma. Only a very small percentage with have PTSD. There will also -easily- be a dozen other disorders (or more) also reacting to the trauma in their lives, in addition to the grief & other challenges everyone is dealing with, regardless of what disorders / conditions / challenges they’re facing. <<< Thats a hugely useful thing, in a lot of ways, because the thread of commonality (losing someone to suicide) normalizes & helps people through the shared aspect. And to cut yourself some slack for what you come to learn is just really f*cking normal, if painful. But it can also create wacky baseline expectations, depending on the composition of the groups. Like, it’s normal for most people to abuse alcohol intermittently in grief. Yes, it’s a problem, but not a check yourself into rehab problem. For most people. But there will always be a few who go waaaaaaaay beyond the normal “I’m drinking too much, right now.” and are full blown into substance abuse / alcoholism. Having that backdrop of the different ways people are handling grief allows both the people abusing alcohol and the people who have developed a problem WITH alcohol to easily see the difference. Where things can get wacky? Is if the group is comprised almost entirely OF alcoholics, or of people who never drink.

When you’re dealing with a disorder like PTSD? (Or specific phobia, or GAD, or any other disorder commonly resulting from, or exacerbated by trauma). It’s highly unlikely that most people in the group are also going to have PTSD to see the normal range in how people are coping with suicide and PTSD, the way a person can see the normal range in how people are dealing with drinking too much.

You probably already know most of this, hence why you’re here, and seeking PTSD treatment.

But that baseline of seeing how other people are handling their grief & trauma also creates some expectations that make what you’re going through with PTSD seem wrong, feel wrong, etc.

A very long way of my saying... trust your T with this one. Where you’re at, with PTSD, is not only very solidly in the normal range... but you’re ALSO doing All. The. Right. Things.
Thank you for your kind words. I just have to be patient. The Lord have mercy I feel like I’m a knock down and thrown on the way to this week. Maybe next week will be better.

what are you doing those around you just want you to “just relax and put this behind you and have some fun for a change.“? How do you even respond to that? I’m going to a wedding this weekend. Comments like that have been made. I have no concept had to leave this alone
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you for your response. It’s really funny because I used to be a voracious reader and post trauma it’s like I can’t read it all.
Hi!
Reading can be tough if you disassociate , have intrusive thoughts or various other symptoms of pTSD.

my saviour - as a reading fiend - has been audio books. I never thought I’d love other than ‘real books’. But audio books with gentle content have nursed me through many sleepless nights, been what I consider a ‘healthy avoidance’. - something that takes focus off trauma and myself and gives me breathing space. I’ve explored books I probably would not have before and discovered I love some things that surprise me.
Audiobooks.
Total winner for me. There will be something for you.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Making playlists and learning something complicated helped me to firewall the bigger part of intrusiveness of thoughts. Music at night.

For the nightmares I still have them a year later. Perhaps changing the kind of meds before sleeping. If I don't take them I'll just have one big fat one where I don't know what's true and what isn't.

Sorry for what happened. It's one of the hardest things.

And for the creatures commanding you to let it go and have fun and if you didn't try... Educated guess is letting them go.

I too did lose the capacity to read after the trauma. I couldn't even watch a film. It went better when I got plain sad. Otherwise I needed heavily mind mobilising distractions.

Sometimes too much therapy might be too much though. Good to have a lot of support, it's really important. But it's exhausting and wakens what's painful. Perhaps trying to check a bit on your cruising pace.

Happy to have you amongst us. Welcome!
 

Lostheart

New Here
Welcome! I am also new here. I totally understand how you feel!
I did a lot of EMDR and trauma therapy and they are draining! They take such a load on mental energy on top of what our actual mental illness takes too. So be kind with yourself and discuss with your therapist too: what is it important for you now? For me, it helped to balance by cutting working hours (if possible) or therapy intensity in order to function better based on my need of the period.
I realised that in the beginning I was so harsh on myself: almost ''forcing'' myself to heal asap but by doing that I couldn't even cover the basics anymore bc it was triggering me too much. So in my priority, if the therapy is well planned it should allow me to keep up my basics (eating, sleeping, moving) and then social interaction and work and then the rest. Make a list of what you need to feel balanced and work around that balance instead of trying to do everything. We need to pick our battles based on our health and needs not about "THE standard" in our head bc most of the time isn't realistic.

For me, what help me the most was to focus on moving: sport really helps me in the bad days: to release some good stuff in my brain and to feel part of a supportive community. Hobbies as other said can help a lot.

So I guess I’ll start with a simple question. What can you do when your mind keeps returning to that one moment of trauma? I’ve tried a number of therapies and things are getting a little bit better but everyone says, “it just takes time.“

but I am absolutely exhausted. I feel like I’m treading water. what is helped when you wake up at three in the morning screaming and you can’t get back to bed?

There’s got to be someone out there who is handling that situation better than me. I listen to affirmations, I pet the dog, I try to visualize other things. It’s just all encompassing right now.

my therapist tell me that it’s normal for someone after 18 months but nothing feels normal at this point.

suggestions? Ideas? What worked for you? all replies are welcome
Just remind yourself that you are doing your best. It is really hard to cope with those moments.
A book really helped me face my triggers and is called ''8 keys for a safe trauma recovery''. if you struggle reading, you can also find the audiobook of it. In the beginning, also writing helped me a lot. However, when I had bad episodes, it's just hard and when nothing would work I would just remind myself that it will pass and it will get better. And if I couldn't feel it, I will call some of my friends and they know what to tell me or I will listen to some of the messages I asked them to prepare for me for those moments.

What really helped me get through the worse phase when I couldn't find reasons to move further was my passion for pole dancing: something I discover in one of my darkest moments. It's a sport that forces you to be present, a great workout ad a great community. In addition, is hard to think about something else when you are hanging upside down in fear. You don't have to pole dance, but it could help you to find something that anchors you in the same way to the present and bring meaning to your life.
 
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