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Sufferer or Survivor?

Discussion in 'Polls' started by batgirl, Nov 10, 2007.

What Do You Call Yourself?

  1. I call myself a sufferer.

    19 vote(s)
  2. I call myself a survivor.

    32 vote(s)
  3. I use both terms interchangeably.

    16 vote(s)
  4. I use other terms or no terms at all.

    29 vote(s)
  1. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

    When you talk about yourself as having PTSD, do you call yourself a sufferer, a survivor, both, or do you use some other term? I'm curious as I've had discussions with with several people and everyone seems to have a strong opinion about it. Personally, I call myself a sufferer, for the following reasons:
    • I have suffered lol. Seriously though, I have suffered a lot, and I continue to suffer, no point in denying that!
    • To me, the word "survivor" applies to anyone who has been involved in a trauma. And not everyone who has trauma develops PTSD.
    • The word "survivor" also suggests, to me anyways, that the problem is over. For example, you call someone a cancer survivor when they are in remission or cured. You don't called someone with schizophrenia a "schizophrenia survivor", because there is no cure for schizophrenia, it's a permanent condition. Similarly, PTSD is a permanent condition, no cure yet.
    • "Survivor" just sounds too PC to me for some reason. I think it's overused. It's become "hip" to be a survivor.
    Anyways those are just some of my thoughts. I'm curious what everyone else thinks!
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  3. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

    I also use the term sufferer for the exact same reasons you posted. Well said.

  4. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

    Some days when I am going strong and so "non PTSD" (OK, I still am a bit of a shut in but I am speaking emotionally and mentally before) I feel like a true survivor. Then when it smacks me flat on my ass sick to the point I know I will die any second for days on end, I am a sufferer. It just seems for me what day you catch me on if I consider myself a sufferer or survivor.
  5. hodge

    hodge I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

    Well, I voted for using both terms, but I don't use them interchangeably, since to me they have such different connotations. I very much agree and relate, Evie, with all the points you cited. I used to favor "survivor," but, let's face facts: I do suffer! Yeah, I survived, but I'm still suffering. So I guess I'm way more accepting of the term "sufferer" now. And surviving isn't my ultimate goal . . . well, okay, sometimes it is . . . but beyond that, I want to thrive, create, live well, and be a good human being. I'm thinking of Maslow's scale of self-actualization. I feel like I'm not articulating exactly what I want to say - mush brain is striking again - but hope this makes sense.
  6. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    I voted for using both terms. Everyone used a lot of good points that I relate to.

    Evie-you're right, survivor is very overused to the point of not having much meaning anymore.

    Veiled-feeling non-PTSD. I like this term. Then that little voice says 'maybe everything's gone/going away' and then something else pops up and it's 'hello PTSD' once again.

    Hodge-my therapist suggested using the term thriving instead of survivor because, like Evie said-it's never cured and is always there. But learning to thrive and live your life well in spite of the PTSD is a big thing.

    OK, now that I've copied off of all of your papers...thanks.

  7. Claire

    Claire Well-Known Member

    I dont use either really. I have PTSD but I refuse to be a sufferer. I do suffer with it but I am not a sufferer. To me the term sufferer feels defeatest. I am determined to reclaim my life and I refuse to let PTSD win. I am a survivor of my crash but not of PTSD because that's a thing I'm still working on. I'm lucky too. I often think to myself I'm lucky despite all the bad things.
  8. kers

    kers I'm a VIP

    Interesting poll! I enjoy reading everyone's opinions.

    When I speak about my PTSD, I simply say, "I have PTSD." In my head when I think about, say, the forum, I think "people with PTSD."

    I don't really like the terms sufferer or survivor. Sufferer I dislike because it makes me feel like I have a sticky, gross disease that clings to me, and I don't want to feel like I can't be free of this. And survivor because that's a term for surviving trauma. Which, yeah, I did, but it sounds so...prideful. And like the trauma is the center of my life. Which, yeah, it is right now, but I hope it won't be. To me when I'm finially a survivor, it will be because I'm not defining myself by the trauma anymore.

    My thoughts are kind of convoluted.
  9. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

    Thanks everyone, I don't have much to say right now but I have really enjoyed reading everyone's responses! Thanks so much for sharing, you've all made great points.
  10. rt1967

    rt1967 Active Member

    Thats a good question Batgirl its interesting how people see it differently.Thinking about it might say i have been diagnosed with disorder that i can't seem to understand or know how is seperate from who i am (whoever that is ) :).It causes suffering to myself and those around me.
  11. Somber_Resplendence

    Somber_Resplendence New Member

    This may sound strange, but I never realized that there was another word I could use for what I was besides survivor.

    I like sufferer much better though...I have suffered, and I'm sick of being told that I'm a survivor, because, well, I guess I'm sick of surviving...it's essentially all I've done my whole life and sometimes I honestly think 'so what if i survived?' Just because I survived a series of moments, and periods of time doesn't mean I'll survive in the long run...

    Didn't mean to be so morbid, but hey, this is for PTSD right?
  12. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    I find the word survivor patronising for some reason... I don't know why. I have said both terms, it depends on who I am saying to and what I am trying to say. However, I do notice myself tending to just say "I have PTSD". As much as it may not be true, saying sufferer or survivor for me seems to say that it is all encompassing who I am and I resent that...So I tend to say I have PTSD. Because I also have a personality, and have other things. Like somehow it doesn't sound so definitive. Just my personal opinion, I'm not hugely offended if someone says "you are a sufferer/survivor" or anything, just personally prefer to just say "I have PTSD" myself.
  13. txmomof3

    txmomof3 Active Member

    I use both as I have times where my PTSD is under control....and then times when it seems to me controlling me.
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