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My Disgust in PTSD Course Followup

Discussion in 'Social' started by anthony, Feb 1, 2006.

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  1. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    I need to vent my absolute disguist in the [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/announcement4.html"]posttraumatic stress disorder[/DLMURL] National course follow-up that I attended yesterday (31 Jan 06). The aim of the day, as written within the correspondence I received in regard to the day, was:

    My experience went something more like this:

    1. Firstly, I had to fly from Melbourne to Townsville to attend a one day followup, that was meant to find out how exactly I was going since the course (as per the aim above). The flight was great and a mate who is also a course participant picked me up from the airport.
    2. Checked into motel, where we caught up with another couple from the course.
    3. Myself and Troy (who picked me up) went to the pub, had a few light beers, a good chat and then both went to bed.
    4. Let the follow-up begin:
    5. The first session was with a phycologist from the original course, which went into how we have been, coping mechanisms and so forth, as an individual / partnership. Two people with PTSD did not even say a word, as they where not asked.
    6. The next session was with the Dr (psychiatrist) who asked us about our current medications, if we anyone had decreased / increased them and so forth. Not something I personally found helpful for a one day course, but none the less, had to be done as the course Dr. Again though, one person was not even asked, nor said a word.
    7. The next session was delivered by a very lovely lady who is a pain management specialist, and also has PTSD.
    8. The last session was on communication skills, partner communication and social interaction.
    9. We then all left, and some off us caught up later that night for dinner and a chat together.
    Now, the first major point of this is, is that one person (Scott) was not even asked, nor prompted to contribute his experience since leaving the course. He knew this, and even discussed this with myself during sessions, and was fairly disguisted himself that none of the lecturers had even asked him how he was, how has he been, etc etc. His day was a complete waste, as was mine.

    The first session was very good, as we discussed as a group how we had been, what progress / non-progress we had made. I left that session feeling quite good knowing I had improved, being allowed to let them know I had improved, and seeing a great deal of improvement overall from all other participants, except one.

    The second session with the Dr was really nothing more than a waste of time. Why? Because our medications are managed privately and individually by our own psychiatrist / general practitioner. Yes sure, good to allow people to speak about their personal use and how they have either reduced, increased or completely dropped their individual medications, and how each of us have coped with that change. Some good, some not so good. Was the session really of any benefit to us? Not really. The session had no real benefit to how we where directly affected by the course, as the bulk of the conversation was wrapped up in the specifics of medication, and the importance of it. The time was wasted with nonsense, when more specific conversations could off been had in regard to how our medication would be a part / non-part of our lives now we have completed the course. Quite honestly, I don't think the session should even exist, as medication is not a follow-up criteria as it is constantly monitored by a GP / psychiatrist individually. Sufferers and spouses are always welcome to talk with their doctor about their medication, the affects it has, changes and so forth.

    This session could have been spent better with group discussion on participants experience since the course with their individual medical needs, instead of dictated by a Dr on types of medications and so forth.

    The next session was on pain management and a little on anger. I'm not sure that it was a neccessity to have anger management lectures, but more an open forum on participants anger success / failures since the course.

    The last session was on communication skills, which really rehashed exactly what we learnt, where given lots of handouts and confirmed before we had even left the course. This session was more a learning outcome, than a discussion on how we have handled our unique communication issues since leaving the course.

    Overall, a good waste of one day that did little more than infuriate me more than allow me to discuss my circumstances since leaving the course. Within the last session I raised the point about my thoughts on this, and the basic answer was, "DVA would never agree to a more open structured, relaxed course". Well, I don't honestly believe that, because if an open unstructured day is what does more good for the participants, then that to me would be more suitable than being dictated the same knowledge we have already learnt. What happened to the aim? What happened to getting feedback? We didn't get a lot of feedback out, as we where being rehashed for the most part on information we already had.

    What did I expect? Well, I expected a day where we could discuss as a group, and learn from one anothers experience since the course, to help develop areas that one may still lack, though another has found good solutions for. This type of information is more productive, more insightful and more helpful than being told the same content as the course itself.

    One person on that follow-up wasn't even asked a thing, and in actual fact, nor was I, it was just that I spoke up about a few things I had improved upon. Exactly how did the course achieve its aim, when one member walked away none the wiser? Another older member there spoke approximately one to two sentences the entire day, as his dictative wife spoke on his behalf, hence what most of his problem was before and during the course. When we left the course, she had said she would stop treating him like a child, and let him stand on his own two feet, but still, things resorted backwards. Nothing was really said about this, but more simply ignored and accepted by the course staff. Quite poor honestly.

    By the end of the day, I was quite angry. The only thing I knew, was that the actual course itself was outstanding, and had worked for me, as I had calmed myself quite quickly through the disguist I felt for what wasn't accomplished within a follow-up day. Contrary to their beliefs, I removed myself from all medication (responsibly), which I found I suddenly have a lot more emotions and feeling back. This is what would be expected, though I didn't have these feeling before or during medication, though with the course itself, and the techniques used, I took myself off as I knew it was holding me back. It is this that actually gave me this feeling of disguist, and total disregard for what had been previously accomplished, and the feeling of ignorance I had, for what I thought was a day they would be interested in us all, and how we have been, communicated, socialised, improved, etc etc... but very little off that was even mentioned.

    From the impression I had from their aim, I don't believe it was met. Disappointed is a great feeling I currently have, considering the course I attended located in Townsville, supposedly has the highest success rate within Australia for the PTSD program. Whilst they may have that, they certainly didn't demonstrate to myself that they cared about what we had become after the course. I was really quite angry at that, annoyed and hurt by it.

    Does this mean I am a success from the course? Probably, as I certainly feel things I hadn't in a long long time, and I know it is thanks to that course. If the follow-up day was a test to see how far they could piss us off, and see whether we could maintain calm and anger emotions, then they succeeded to that aim, but certainly not the distrubuted one above.

    There is another follow-up in June, which I certainly won't be attending now. I returned home to Melbourne more upset and disturbed than I thought I could ever be. I would have believed that a follow-up would be to "follow-up" on our stories and personal experiences since leaving, and not be dictated lectures. This trip has really upset me beyond what I had ever expected to happen. My pure disguist for the ignorance of not ensuring that all members where followed-up, and that all basic day to day angles where not covered, has given me enough stress to ensure I don't attend the next one.

    I would most certainly catchup with all participants again, though just not within a dictated environment. The friends I now have from this course are some of the best, most trusted people in my life now, though the course itself, I'm afraid that just ended here for me.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
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  3. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    When I am calmer, I will then send the course manager a letter outlining my disguist with the day, and especially as she was an integral part in all our lives, and didn't even see us as a group to know how we are... We all care more about each other, than what the people who are supposed to be looking out for us, and helping us obtain a normal life do. Go figure...
  4. camry

    camry Member

    Did the others feel the same? Was anything else said from participants?

    Why I ask is ... you have done so much research and practical activities (i.e. the forum), that maybe you have reached that pivotal spot where you have ascended to where feedback & discussion are of more importance than the semantics that a structured course offers.

    I did half a private course in PTSD years ago. Half because I had ingested so much exterior material & developed new behaviours, that the fundamentals were non-productive & pretty much a waste of time. I remember at the time wanting to discuss with at least someone how much progress I had made in my inner self, but it falling on deaf ears. My one valued support person had moved back to NZ, and while we still chatted quite often, you cant run up huge phone bills chatting about all the different ins & outs of every milestone you reach.

    So I think I kind of understand your frustration there. I think telling of your successes and hearing of others since the course would have been more productive. You might even find in years to come that it is the one conclusion that escaped you. I know I still feel it.

    I know it sounds corny... but sometimes it feels good to be slapped on the back & told a job well done, keep it up.

    That you reached the pinnacle of being able to share your successes ... **slap** "Well done mate! Keep it up!"
  5. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Thanks camry... I do feel that I have overcome more than probably most, and even raised how things where going with me, in regard to this forum, and how much it has helped me and numerous others... ie. we can all just chat with no BS involved.

    Others on the course did feel the same way, though a couple of people did get something out of it, so they say... which I believe. What really got to me, was that it wasn't just me, and that one guy was so disguisted by the end of the day that he hadn't even been asked how things had gone for him... which really summed up the entire experience. Oh, it wasn't me that wasn't asked either... it was another guy named Scott.

    Whilst I understand that I am probably doing better than some from that course, Scott is doing just as well as me... in actual fact, he was doing better than me at the start, it is more like I have caught up to his success in dealing with it on a day by day basis.

    It was kinda funny though when I did bring up how this forum has helped me, and by the look I got from one of the social workers, she wasn't too impressed... which means that I think she might be reading things here in the background!

    Someone did ask me if I give advice here... which I said no! I don't give medical advice, nor does anyone else here. We refer people to the appropriate specialists for that sort of advice.... but more we chat here, which is what seems to help those with PTSD far more than chatting with most professionals... as the trust level is generally not there, nor the returned feeling that they actually understand. Yep, I certainly got a dirty look when mentioned. Obviously I have upset someone??? Which I am pretty proud off really, considering the achievements all participants here seem to make...

    From my perspective, its like they want to help you, but when you start to achieve some success, they seem to want to drag you back again, give you some medication and more in another direction. I discovered it really just isn't for me anymore.

    I know that I am not better though... no doubt in my mind at all, as a slight bit of stress does me over immediately, ie. a deadline will do it. I keep pushing my boundaries and keep finding them quickly, but I know now how to live within them without upsetting myself as much as previously, thus not upsetting everyone around me. I haven't felt things for years, and I just felt so much from that day, but nothing in a good way...
  6. camry

    camry Member

    I was tempted to write that but wasn't sure if counsellors of yours might be reading. Didn't want to stir the pot.

    But absolutely my opinion also! When I made the conscious decision to start helping myself I met with a lot of opposition to it, telling me that I wouldn't be able to do it without the medication, and that I should continue to take it. I'm not saying that in cases that this shouldn't be the precribed treatment, but if a patient wants to find their way out of the blur by trying other methods, then they should be encouraged & supported, not necessarily medicated.

    Some doctors are the worse for that. I transfer my medical records from doctor to doctor where ever I live. I've had a bad kidney for years that has to come out, but my specialist has told me that while it's not causing any problems I can keep it in (though that might changed this year :( ) (my specialist calls me his medical mystery, I'm meant to be in a lot of pain from it, but I'm not).

    Back on track... my PTSD is on my file too. When I moved to Canada I had a hard time coping over there. For the first 12mnths I was OK, but as a second winter of being buried under 2m of snow set in, depression started to hit quite bad. I gave in & went to the doctors just for a 6mnth treament of Zoloft, which was one drug that didn't make me feel like I was in a constant haze, but just took the edge off it. As usual they wanted to prescribe stronger medication, but I kept refusing. By the end of the visit I had to either take what he gave me or take none. So for 3 days I took what he gave me, and felt like a permanent hangover! I started looking on the net for alternate treatment in Canada, only to find that it has one of the highest depression rates in the world. (aparently because of the lack of sunshine & long winters indoors). So I went back to the doctor & demanded to be taken off the medication I was on, & put onto Zoloft . He wouldn't do it. So I walked out, stopped taking the medication he gave me, and it was one of the reasons I moved back to Australia. I've since gone 6yrs medication free, and its been the best 6yrs of my life, even though its been the probably the most stressful time of my life!

    I'm not saying that being medicated isn't the answer. I know that when I had good doctors, they worked with me through it, I even had one that used to always tell me to drink warm malted milk. I just dont think that medication should be such a quick & convenient fix.

    In regards to you giving advice... I see nothing wrong with that. I think that by reading what you & Kerri-Ann have to say how you deal with it as a couple has been beneficial to everyone here! I now see things better thru my partners eyes.

    Ever thought of you or Kerri-Ann providing counselling yourselves? Support groups are one of the things sadly lacking with this disease. Both of you do a great job here!
  7. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned


    How did your partner react when you stopped taking your medication? This subject really infuriates Anthony because he is of the impression that I would like him to continue to take the meds and remain in a haze. Not the case. It worries me more than anything about how his behaviour will be (you should have seen him before the medication), how it will affect him healthwise and the impact that it will have on all of us. Particularly the baby. My husband can be quite a scary and dominating person if he is in a mood. He has full time care of our little one and if he is having an off day his patience levels drop quite rapidly. I can't always be home to smooth things over as I have returned to full time work.

    He says that I am not supporting him but then where do you draw the line between support and tolerating bad behaviour?
  8. camry

    camry Member

    Before I got diagnosed I used to be a real powder keg. The slighest thing would set me off. Once I almost threw a pot of boiling water over my sister because it happened to be in my hand when I was going off. My previous partners would always say I was paranoid and over reacted to things... which now looking back I know I did.

    My daughters father left only a few hours before she was born, and I preferred to stay single until she was 12yrs old. When she was born was the time I got diagnosed. I first got diagnosed with post natal depression. It wasnt until I attended a few sessions, that they traced it back to PTSD from my earlier encounter. My family is really wierd about mental illness, they see it as a sign of weakness & wanting sympathy... so I wouldnt go on medication or do counselling. I kinda of spiralled into a coccoon that contained just me & my daughter. I really couldn't trust myself in a relationship for that 12yrs. I was also lucky that I had a baby that slept a lot & didnt cry much. I also worked with dolphins & whales for most of that time, and you wouldnt believe what a calming infuence they are!! My temper tantrums decreased by at least 90%!

    6yrs ago when I had my bad meltdown, and my friend dragged me in to actually get medication for it... for the first time it felt like my brain had opened a door. I actually met my hubby after being on medication for about a month. I was on it for 6mnths, was meant to go back for a repeat & didnt because I was travelling. Because we had met online several years earlier, he pretty much knew my demons. I probably found the first month after finishing the hardest, he was in Scotland at the time & I was in Oz, so he didnt get to see all the tears. But I had only been on medication for 6mnths. So it wasnt that hard to kick. I was also moving to Canada, getting married, and starting a business... so I worked very long hours on things that took a lot of brain capacity. When my second winter came in -38C & tonnes of snow... thats when it hit me again pretty bad. Hubby picked up on the signs straight away.

    He's a pretty cool guy, because he actually preferred me off the meds than on, because he knew how much I hated living in a daze. Because he tries so hard to be understanding, I keep a lot bottled up inside. He knows if I am working, my brain is occuppied... he knows once it stops that the thoughts just go wizzing by & I cant keep up with them....so he lets me work. Most days I work from 9am-5am (yes..am), when he is getting up to go to work, is usually when I am going to bed. I know he probably wants more, and I wish I had it to give.... but he knows I dont & we kind of live on and accept it.

    There probably isnt a day that goes by that I wish I wasnt different. I have to reallly push my feelings inside most of the day. I get more scared of exploding outwards, than I do imploding inwards. I also smoke probably one joint a day though, so I am probably medicated in one way. I've thought often about giving it up, but not sure I or anyone else would like whats left behind. And I dont want to go on medication again & scramble my head... and I see nothing wrong in keeping myself calm with marijuana. I'm still alert & with it.... and hubby would prefer that.

    That was pretty long winded... but I've had to handle my PTSD for over 20yrs now, so I am probably not the best example.

    Your in such a different position to me from the sounds of it. For one Anthony is a male, and no offence Anthony, but most men do have a stronger aggressive side to control. It also sounds like he has seen some terrible things, so its kinda hard to wonder what that is like to live with. Men also have a harder time communicating. Though I am so impressed he does it so well here.

    I'll give some advice though for his off days... organize casual daycare for the little one. I would have died without it. I used to take my daughter to day care on my off days from when she was about 4mnths old. A lot of friends & family frowned on me for it, but the way I figure it.... she was in a lot happier environment there than with me. As the years went by she loved day care, and then she loved going to school. She's nearly 18 now, and she often looks back on those days as happy.... which is preferable to her being with a neurotic mother.

    My hubby once said to me.... "some days the glass is half full, but on others its half empty". That's it pretty much in a nutshell.
  9. camry

    camry Member

    I had to go away & think about this. It was a tough one to think about. It's also 5.30am so excuse any rambling.

    Bad behaviour I would class as disrespect for anyone/thing around you. Lashing out in a bad mood more often than not is just venting frustration. I dont think bad behaviour needs a trigger... whereas a bad mood does.

    I wouldnt support bad behaviour, and I dont think during any of my bad times that I exhibited bad behaviour.

    Bad moods is a tricky one with people with PTSD. Sometimes the bad mood is associated with a PTSD trigger... sometimes its just a shitty mood that can be escalated by a diminished ability to control it because of the PTSD. (did that make sense?)

    I dont know about others... but when I am in a shitty mood, I cant decide if I want my partner to put his arms around me.. or tear his arms off if he tries to. I want to be left alone... but alone I stew about being ignored. It's really wierd, and I constantly scold myself over it too.

    I know this sounds terrible.... but I am pretty brutally honest with myself. I don't think if I was the partner (without the PTSD), that I could put up with someone with PTSD. But on the same token, I hate being cajoled like I am the one with PTSD in the house.

    I have this passage as my signature at one of my forums:
    I dream of a better tomorrow! Where a chicken can cross the road & not have his motives questioned.
    Resistance is Futile !

    There is a lot of finger pointing in a house with a PSTD partner. You have PTSD! You wont support me! You wont listen to me! You're not making sense! Add this to the normal finger pointing in a relationship... and woaahhhhh... get the earplugs out!

    Is there an answer? Probably not.
    Just try to love each other anyway. And when that's not enough.. love each other enough to get out of it before you cant love each other anymore.

    Now I'm going to visit the land of nod :)
  10. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Oh, you took the words out my mouth... well actually, helped to make sense of them. Here here... You are one of the best to just chat with Cindy.... you rock.

    I think it really helps (as a male) to chat with females with PTSD, as often what I feel or think, I struggle to communicate, yet a female with PTSD can often still communicate feelings. I am more just inept, though I am really beginning to start feeling things that I haven't in years. I think most of that is from myself taking in what I have learnt from the course, and then from here, taken what I need and begin implementing certain factors to get myself better.

    I know what your saying about the pot though... I would probably do that myself if I was allowed, in that Kerrie-Ann doesn't condone it. My mate from the course does exactly this, though not daily, more just has a joint when things get on top of him, as he also doesn't take medication. If he begins to feel things are creeping up on him, or even just jump him, he has a joint, it calms him down, he says it actually opens him up to extent his feelings at the time better as the pot is soothing him, then might not touch it again for a week, two or more, until the next episode. I often wish Australia would just legalise it for medical use, ie. over the counter with prescription.

    Uuummmm.... I don't know if I would be a good counsellor actually... Kerrie-Ann? Definately... she has much more patience than myself. When I am ok though, I have lots of patience. Its just this trip really did a number on me, and I'm really fighting to get back to where I was before I went. I was getting really proud with myself before attending that waste of space day, as my tolerance, attitude, empathy, the lot, everything had just increased to what I thought where pretty normal levels. I was even at the stage when my body was telling me I didn't need the cigarettes anymore either, as my overall anxiety and stress was well below normal. Now everything is just up again... though I expect to come down pretty quickly.

    Kerrie was actually pretty smart today, in that I went to bed early last night, ie. 7pm, and I didn't get up until 10am this morning. I have always said to her, that when I am getting worst, just let me sleep, though she had never really done it, as she didn't like me sleeping and leaving everything to her. Though she did it, and I got up this morning much better than I have been the past couple of days. I really just did need to sleep alot of it off, in which I think lots to myself about fixing me...

    She told me yesterday that I had really bad nightmares the night I came home, though I don't remember. That is how much it had distressed me, as I hadn't been told by her about those sort of nights for a long time now.
  11. camry

    camry Member

    And here I thought you were going to hit me with a frying pan for being so brutal!

    Funny, that's what I thought your problem was. You might have had expectations of some kind of closure, but it left you cold. I know that feeling. Your mind is running all over the place with 'shoulda been' & 'coulda been' & feeling frustrated with being left with an open book. I always think that frustration is my worst enemy. We rely so much on milestones in our lives, that when they are met with an anti climax, it can get really over bearing. And it's really hard to express those feelings too.

    Hubby & I were having a similar conversation this morning. From the time my daughter was born, I always put her first, and always thought that there was time enough for me to be self indulgent when she was grown & left home. That happens on the 13th of this month... and now I am terrified of where I will be in the scheme of things. Before I got married I had plans for going to either work with under developed countries, or have a career that would totally consume me when she was grown. Now those plans have changed, because its not just me anymore.. I have a partner to consider. Even though I work long hours now, it is mixed in with being a mum & housewife, always being there. Maybe the thought of having expectations on me as a mum kept me centered, even though it was always a pressure. Now I am counting off the days wondering what will be left. This is my own kind of anti climax, and yeah, I can feel frustration creeping in real fast. So I told my hubby to just expect wierd behaviour for a while, untill I found my purpose again. I was trying to explain to him that it feels like a 'dead zone' is looming in on me. I am hoping business picks up more and totally consumes me. It seems that is when I cope best, with inanimate things.

    And far as smoking pot... hmmm.. I'm more of the opinion that it is the lesser of all evils. Alcohol is a depressent, and I lived most of my life in an alcoholic enraged house with my father, and then with 2 bad relationships. I even had my own bout with getting drunk at the end of the day when I owned a pub. Now I am lucky if I have 6 drinks a year. It never helped me, in fact made me worse. Even after all this time of having PTSD I know I cant get through most days (especially with my stressful & neurotic family bugging me all day!). That may sound weak, and by smoking pot it may reinforce it... but in that weakness I find strength. And IMO, if I can find strength in something as harmless as smoking pot,then I can live with that. I'm a better person to be around, and I'm not hurting anyone... and hurting myself even less. And being in my profession, it actually helps me creatively.

    Being a male you wouldnt have thought I was a good talker back then... I treated men with utter contempt, I still have to keep myself in check now. My situation was a lot different to yours, I had serious trust issues to get over. You should try being me having an arguement with my hubby, his voice gets to a certain level and I get ready to duck.... yet I know in my mind he would never raise a hand to me.

    But you have crossed a huge hurdle. You completed the course. That's an achievement in itself! I did about 2 sessions & quit. I never stayed on meds. I never did anything I was 'supposed' to do. And now I am a pot smoking compulsive worker. LOL... not a great example of a success story!

    Just watch me crack in a couple of weeks! I might need you then!
  12. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    A pot smoking compulsive worker is just fine in my books, as its much better than a drunk no-hoper who is in self denial about their issues. I am slowly gathering as much strength as you have, to continue on in life and past these bad few days.

    I'd expect nothing less actually... and I think you already know I'm pretty much as brutal as you with these things. I beat myself up more than anyone else could... in a positive reinforcement way that is!

    I think its really good though that you have gotten to a point now, where you can just give pre-warning to possible naughty behaviour... forseeable future as such! I am getting that way myself, where I open my mouth now and tell the missus something is going to stress me, or "x" is coming up and will stress me.

    I think were doing alright... all round.
  13. alexbarber

    alexbarber New Member

    hi anthony
    well i can say i feel the same way as i quite clearly stated on the day, i would have got more out of a bbq day which was quickly shot down by staff.i would of liked for {one members wife} to cut the strings and let her puppet talk by himself.i think we got more done at the motel afterwards then at the day.by the way as of monday the 13 th i am med class 4 bring on the good times
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