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PTSD From Financial Loss

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I don't want to belittle anyone's cause of their PTSD. From war combat to physical abuse, the source of PTSD can vary. I had stress when building a house, and tried to build up some of the money I had by trading stocks. I made some at first, then lost most of it in the end. I thought my stress was from work, or working on the house, or from my fiance' wanting to get married. The stress did build up, but ever since the last big loss I had, my life changed for the worse.

I was so shaken up that I didn't sleep for 5 days. I Only sleep for about 3 hours each night since then which was 8 months ago. I wake up to heart racing, sweating, nerves jittery, and the feeling of fear and adrenaline almost every night.

I'm sorry that I had such an over-reaction to a less than life threatening problem. I didn't didn't risk my life, but I did risk my life savings each day in a way that historically I just wasn't good at. It sure was not worth it at all. I would do anything to get over this. Racing thoughts and nervous symptoms make it also difficult to work. Sometimes I feel that I just want to run out of the building. It's like a nightmare with no escape.

I would do anything to get over this. Is it guilt? Worry? I am a christian and believe the bible gives lots reasons not to worry. "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus". I need this peace. Can you get it after the fact? After becoming so stressed?
Hi MartM,

Welcome to the forum. Has a doctor diagnosed you with PTSD from this event? I am sorry to hear of your financial situation, as that is never good and does put a lot of stress upon a person.

I started with panic attacks a year and a half ago. For the most part, I slept fine until the day I got stressed out moreso than any other day.

I have not been officially diagnosed by a doctor. I had a counselor say that I have generalized panic disorder and that's what won't let me sleep. I have an appointment to see a psychiatrist about this problem, but it takes about 3 months to be able see someone here.

Nights are the worst part for me. I can fall asleep easy enough, but it's like something inside my head always fights to wake me up in alert mode with the feelings of fear, adrenaline, etc. I hope it is not PTSD, and maybe it is just me not getting over some troubling thoughts. I remember everything that has happened to me and don't have any particular flashbacks or nightmares.

I'm going to try to see a real psychiatrist soon and maybe they can help me get over this.

Wish others well. Any input is appreciated.
Mart, I imagine the stress and anxiety you suffered / suffering is no doubt substantial, because finances do that to everyone, especially when things go very bad. People do break down because of it.

The good news is though, from my experience, I doubt you have PTSD, which is only a good thing for you Mart, trust me. I would say you most likely have something more like Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is just a come and go type disorder, in that once you get some counselling and good treatment to talk it all out of you, hopefully recitify some of what you have left, and get your life stable again, you will be back to normal.

PTSD surpasses stress, anxiety, panic and sleeping problems. PTSD combines multiple disorders into the one umbrella basically. The big difference with PTSD, is its not just about what symptoms you have, but more about the intensity of those symptoms. You can have every symptom of PTSD in a mild form, and not have PTSD itself still, as the symptoms are mild enough to possibly rectify and cure if caught early. Once PTSD itself has formed, you are now talking a chemical imbalance within the brain, trauma of high severity to trigger the intensity, and then the physical and mental symptoms that go with it.

The first two criteria for PTSD are:
  • Did you experience, witness, or were confronted with an event/s that involved actual or threatened death, serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of yourself or others?
  • Did your response involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror?
    Note: In children, this may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behaviour.
Where you fail to meet the prerequisites for PTSD, is within the first criteria, as losing your financial gain and worth meets the second criteria of helplessness, the actual event itself was not traumatic in nature to pose a threat to your life or physical integrity. This is only a good thing Mart, trust me. I wouldn't wish PTSD upon even my worst enemy, and I can be a pretty mean prick at times. Cancer is easier to cope with than PTSD IMO.

I do think you need to see a physician though, and counsellor even, to get all this out of you, talk with them about appropriate techniques and information to get you better quickly, so you can stablized within yourself and recover fast.
I must say though Mart... that this does interest me, because I am curious as to whether someone ever could be affected enough to get something as severe as PTSD from a huge collapse! If this was the start for example, at which point a person was then broke, lived on the streets, suffered enduring times, all because of this initial action... whilst the initial action didn't cause PTSD, most certainly the turn of events afterwards could be a catalyst for causing PTSD, ie. marriage breakup, a death in the family, drugs and alcohol use, abuse, violence, etc etc....

I think all paths we take could lead to something as serious as PTSD, but if one gets help immediately after an event, even better, during an event, then PTSD could certainly be avoided.
I don't know if PTSD would be the right diagnosis for you either, but I sure wouldn't discount what you've stated so far. When the stock market crashed, causing the Great financial depression, a number of individuals who lost everything financially were jumping out of windows to their demise. My advice, continue to seek help. Good judgment on your part to tap this forum. Best of luck.
Update on symptoms

About a month ago, I started being able to sleep through the night and actually get about 7-8 hours of sleep. But after just watching the stock market and thinking about making a more long term investment with a little money I have left, it felt like my blood started to boil.

Not sleeping much the past 2 days, feels like I did before. It's like when people can't sleep because of worrying about something, only 10 times greater. Feels like internal rage, nervousness. It has been about 10 months since feeling so extremely stressed and still feel constantly wired, on edge, difficult to relax, conentrate. If there was a way to "get it out", I would try anything.

Work is going OK, and I like to think that I am making a positive contribution and getting ahead with my life and finances. When the distressful sleep comes around again, it feels like this will never go away. How I long to feel normal again.
Mart, the best thing you can do to help yourself is talk about it. Talk about every aspect of what has put you here. Traumatic is what each individual views it as personally, though there are certain scopes for the seriousness of PTSD. What broke you down to begin with? What is your story to why you feel like this?
I found that there are other forms of PTSD, mine is "Legal Abuse Syndrome." I suffer from years of abuse at the hands of those who we put our trust in to protect our rights. My life is consumed with all the things that they did to me and my children during those years. Using unethical tactics, my lawyers took thousands upon thousands of dollars in savings, other investments I lost to fraud. Now I feel I can trust no one, but especially myself to make decisions regarding money. Money is another word for security. I am always anxious and worry about everything being taken from me, as I know how easily it can happen. I have had PTSD for ten years, but only was diagnosed just recently. It is awful to feel this way, the only relief I get is when I get involved in something that I enjoy and it goes away for a while. Diversion is the only thing I have found that helps, but I know justice would be the cure, maybe. I think we share some similarities in that we both lost financially which has put us in a state of fear. There are many people during the Depression that ended their lives because they lost so much financially, the lost their feeling of feeling secure. I think about it every day.
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