I'm not quite sure what 'brought me here'. I've been told for 5 years now that I have PTSD. I know what it generally means based on what has been explained to me, but find it hard to believe. It's like just stuff that happens to everyone right? I've been reading about it and it sounds so freakily familiar but I'm scared of what it means. So maybe I'm find some answers here. Thanks for reading.
Well, I guess the first thing you could do, is look at the [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread6.html"]syptoms of PTSD[/DLMURL], and if you have most of them, then chances are you may have it. Does it mean the end of existance? No... PTSD is an illness, not a disease. Yes, it cannot be cured, but that doesn't mean you have to be a constant cranky, angry person, who suffers depression daily, anxiety attacks and sleeps one hour a day, because you can be helped to get yourself back on track through the use of medication at first, and knowledge to get yourself clear of the medications and living a pretty normal life.
Scared? Well, I sometimes scare myself, when I do both good and bad things. Sometimes PTSD takes over, and I near lose control... but then I stop, breathe, think about what is going on, ask myself "is this normal behaviour?", then remove myself from a situation. When I do that, I know I did good, as I stopped myself from allowing PTSD symptoms to take over what shouldn't of begun in the first place.
It is scary, and it the anxiety symptoms can really kick you hard, along with depression and anger... but it can be controlled. Generally those who have PTSD and fail to admit they have it, are the ones who often are a danger to themselves, and others. Denial is one of the biggest factors with PTSD, as just about everyone here with it, didn't believe they had it when first told. That is a near guarantee! Once we get past that denial, we can then move on to fixing ourselves, learning about our illness, acknowledgeing we have it, and knowing we are not always "normal" compared to those who don't suffer it.
The first thing though, is you need to seek diagnosis. A shrink and counselling need to be sort to ascertain your exact problems. Sometimes what looks like PTSD, can simply be just stress, anxiety or depression... but the main factor to actually changing things to PTSD, is that PTSD must have a trauma to be PTSD. If you have a trauma, then you are still a candidate for PTSD. A trauma changes from person to person, case to case, as we are all unique. What is traumatic to one, is not too another, hence two people can have the same bad experience, and only one gets PTSD years down the track.
PTSD can be caused from a car accident, life threating even, rape, assault, childhood abuse, war, or a miriad of other things. If an event was traumatic for you, and you suffer most of the main symptoms, then chances are you could have PTSD, but you will never know for sure unless you seek professional help first. That is the priority when you know something is wrong, or different about yourself to others.
There is a [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread84.html"]PTSD self test[/DLMURL] you can do to understand your problems a bit better first. The first is just writing, the second post contains a computer generated one from about.com.
I was hospitalised when I was 16 for depression and a psychiatric team diagnosed me with depression and anxiety caused by 'life-events'. Later my psychologist I saw for the next 2 1/2 years said that I had PTSD. She said she didn't want to tell me earlier cuz' she didn't think I'd like to hear it. True enough I don't. I saw a new private psychiatrist (I've been on government before this) and she said the same thing... so I've quit therapy altogether. So there it is. Here I am.
I'm in a similarish situation to you. I've been doing the denial thing for years, but have almost accepted that I need help to sort myself out before it's too late. I went to counselling for almost 3 years, then was fine (well, acceptable) for a year before things started getting bad again. My big day is wednesday, when I get to find out officially if I have ptsd or if I'm just plain crazy. Not sure which outcome i'm hoping for yet!
Like you, I came across this forum while surfing the net for info. Not been here long, but I've found it reassuring that there are other people like me out in the world, so I don't have to feel so isolated anymore. It makes things a little easier to deal with.
Hey Arwen... sorry, been off sick yesterday... the flu has really laid me and my little fella out. You have some pretty good advice here from a few people... and I think your head is screwed on pretty well, as you already know what needs doing, its just that denial factor that keeps rearing its ugly head. Its ok though, once you get past denial, PTSD is not that bad. Sure, it can't be cured, but if you have it, regardless how long you deny it, it is still there. It can be managed, and it is up to the individual how well they manage it. What I have worked out, is that no matter how many counsellors, shrinks, and specialists you see, none of them can actually help you fix yourself, you must do that yourself.
Once past denial, it makes things a whole lot easier to assess, and say to yourself, "screw this, I'm going to fix myself and manage this damn illness so I can live a pretty normal life." I won't bullshit about it, as I don't like be bullshitted too myself... but you can manage it with help. You need to learn, you need others around you (face to face) to identify and tell you when your doing something wrong that fits with a symptom, and you MUST listen to them when they say it, and not just go "yer yer, whatever", as we all do at times. Whether it be your spouse, family, friends, work associates, room mate, whatever, it needs to be some who understands about PTSD... is honest, and will give things too you straight. If your depressed and getting continuously drunk to suppress a hard time, you don't want someone around you condoning such activity, you want someone to be honest, and tell you that your drinking for the wrong reasons, and you need to stop now. You need to find what the problem is that you are suppressing, and deal with it head on. It is tough... I will tell you that, but it works.
Getting the problems, the demons and the secrets off your chest is one of the best ways to manage PTSD. I never actually told my shrinks or counsellors everything... because they simply where trying to provide solutions to the problems, and didn't really understand what was happening with me and my PTSD. When I did my PTSD course with the Mater Hospital, it was then that after really talking with others who have PTSD, I could unload to them, and get advice and practical solutions from their experience with similar matters. It was really what based this forum being built, in that we communicate together better than we communicate with others, because regardless how we got PTSD, the symptoms are exactly the same. We all do the same silly stuff, we feel the same feelings, and we suffer the same mental torture.... and when you get all the problems out, you may be quite unwell for a day or two, but you then get better, and begin to really work on the problems, each little situation, and quite honestly, you take life in baby steps conquering one thing at a time. It takes years to learn how to manage, but first you have to accept what you have to manage it. Its make it a bit hard to manage something you deny you have!