PTSD

There are many reasons one can develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) Previously known as shell shock, tells you that soldiers on the battle field, when they came home developed it. War is an awful, sick thing, and what soldiers see and experience in war is something NO ONE should ever have to be a part of.

Soldiers get flashbacks, where they might have nightmares about or feel as though those horrible, traumatic events are happening again.

They have massive amounts of anxiety and fear and may have panic attacks.

They have a much stronger and more easily activatable startle response.

They can dissociate, where they feel and react as if the things that were happening to them during war, are happening again.

Sometimes, they live in the same fear and terror they experienced in the war.

They may even become agoraphobic, or develop other phobias.

They may use substances or activities to quell their fears, sometimes becoming addicts.

They may experience feelings of great distress and have intense physical reactions.

They may have trouble sleeping, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, feeling jumpy and being easily startled, and being hypervigilant ( constantly on “red alert”).

This is what happens to soldiers when they come home from wars. But it happens to other people as well. It can happen to people who have been assaulted. It can happen to people who were involved in a terrorist attack. It can happen to people who have experienced the death of a loved one and it can happen to people who were abused as children. That’s my category. After reading about PTSD, I realize that I have been living with many of its symptoms. “Dissociation”, hypervigilance, irritability or anger, reacting like a disaster is happening when it truly is not, having HUGE over reactions to some events. Another thing I think I can attribute to my PTSD is the need to control things and always having butterflies in my stomach and being fearful. And always waiting for the other shoe to drop. The childhood abuse that happened to me robbed me of my peace of mind. It made my mind hypervigilant and anxious, always on alert for the next awful thing that was going to happen. And now, sometimes, I have realized that I even dissociate and react to events, benign events, as though I was being abused again, over reacting 😦 This abuse robbed me of my childhood. Well, that’s one thing I’m never getting back. But I can get back my peace of mind, the inner child work I’ve done and continue to do has helped with that. What else can help? Well here’s a self help list:

Spending time in nature

Mindful breathing

Exercise

Listening to uplifting music

Meditation

Invoking relaxation response and often

Socializing and connecting with people

Vocal toning (!) making a mmmm sound until you experience a pleasant sound, seriously, I found it on the internet… so it must work… ;;-)

Taking care of yourself, avoiding drugs and alcohol.

Volunteering!

Support group

There’s even a mobile PTSD App! http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/materials/apps/PTSDCoach.asp

Basically all things and anything that will increase your relaxation response and decrease anxiety. And for me, of course, reading about abandonment, child abuse, and taking care of my inner child (which I think is the same as your fight or flight response) has been instrumental in my healing process!

Here’s something I found on: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/treatment/cope/

Self-Help Options

  • PTSD Coach: Mobile App
    With you when you need it, PTSD Coach is a free iPhone app that can help you learn about and manage symptoms that commonly occur after trauma. Also available for Android.
  • Lifestyle Changes Recommended for PTSD Patients
    Discusses changes in your way of life that can help with PTSD.
  • Mindfulness Practice in the Treatment of Traumatic Stress
    Discusses changes in your way of life that can help with PTSD.
  • Mindfulness Coach
    Grounding yourself in the present moment can help you cope better with unpleasant thoughts and emotions. The Mindfulness Coach app will help you do this.
  • Peer Support Groups
    Describes peer support groups and gives suggestions on how to locate a group to help those diagnosed with PTSD or caring for someone with PTSD.
  • Dogs and PTSD
    Describes dogs as pets, service animals, and emotional support animals and discusses what is known about the role of dogs in PTSD recovery.
  • PTSD, Work, and Your Community
    Explains why people who do not understand PTSD may treat you differently (stigma). Read about how you can use community services or a job to change their minds.

You can also get professional help as in a therapist, who might do CBT, or Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, or Psychodynamic Therapy. Medication such as SSRI’s (if you don’t have bipolar d/o) may also be used.

12 thoughts on “PTSD

  1. What a great post! Thanks, from a C-PTSD sufferer. C-PTSD is when you experience abuse in childhood, and then in adulthood you experience traumatizing events. It’s common in people who were abused as children, because our internal compass gets out of whack and we gravitate towards things that feel like “home,” or our fight or flight gets disabled and we just dissociate and the violence happens “while we are out.” This is what tends to happen to me. I can’t defend myself because when bad things happen I just leave my body. Therefore I depend on my dog to protect me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I just woke up, as usual, from a childhood based nightmare. To soothe myself I typically have to write. I turned on my computer and yours was the first email I read. I didn’t know that you knew me so well to write a perfect description as to who I was , am and unfortunately will be. I am 61. Anxieties and depression beyond anything imaginable on top of having a bipolar illness (took 10 years to be diagnosed correctly by a forensic psychiatrist) in which I now cycle daily does not make for a wonderful day nor wonderful life. I really dont care much for labels but I guess thats what the insurance companies need so the term for what I have is complex PTSD. The meds I am on of which I am now down to 2 keep me stupid and zombie like.The options you write about for helping us are very good and concise but many arent available to me as in a coach and support group and community. I do the best that I can with the meditation and distractions but I am alone all day. I choose not to drive becuase I fear I may hurt someone with these drugs I am on. Ruminations all day every day even when I go out of the house with my wife. I was told to think of my Amygdala as having two brakes on its sides just like a car that will stop fears, flight or fight responses, etc and that over the years my brakes have completely worn out. The guilt I have with regard to my wife and son is so overpowering. I went from being a SR executive at a public company responsible for over 1,000 people to being disabled where extended family and friends have shunned me. I have taken care of my family financially since I became disabled back in 1999 which has taken all the funds that I struggled to earn to get to the top, down to not enough t keep my wife and myself safe after retirement. I am staring at homelessness in a few years.That in itself is such a major stressor No extended family to help and I truly understand what STIGMA is and I wish they taught empathy and compassion in the school system. There seems to be a lack of it towards so many of us. . The guilt is overwhelming. How does one live in a stress free environment to help the healing process when one lives under these conditions. With so many of us its such a lonely road even though one can be surrounded by people. I never knew what complex PTSD was until a few years ago. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is defined as a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape, such as in cases of: domestic emotional, physical or sexual abuse. I was the recipient of all 4. I faced death 3 or 4 times at least as told by a sibling who no longer will talk to me.That in itself hurts so much. There is only so much a brain can take. Even writing this is difficult. I would like to leave you with this statement……Renowned traumatologist, John Briere, is said to have quipped that if Complex PTSD were ever given its due – that is, if the role of dysfunctional parenting in adult psychological disorders was ever fully recognized, the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders used by all mental health professionals) would shrink to the size of a thin pamphlet. It currently resembles a large dictionary. In my experience, many clients with Complex PTSD have been misdiagnosed with various anxiety and depressive disorders, as well as bipolar, narcissistic, codependent and borderline disorders. Further confusion arises in the case of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), as well as obsessive/compulsive disorder, which is sometimes more accurately described as an excessive, fixated flight response to trauma. This is also true of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and some dissociative disorders which are similarly excessive, fixated freeze responses to trauma.

    It now defines me. I am scared. We were born innocent but when I die it will be with the guilt that I have hurt my wife and son so much. Hard road to travel and yet I persist and wont give up. I thank you for this post. Back to my nightmare.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh my god! I am so sorry! I wish there was something I could do to help. I don’t understand why your family has left you. Are there any programs available, financial assistance for you? Please look into it. Speak to social workers or city council workers, maybe there is help. You have been so remarkably strong, I admire you and hope for the best for you. I am s fellow sufferer too. I have PTSD from being severely physically abused from age 4-14. I am trying to overcome it by reading, trying to calm my fight or flight and everything else I can. I am sick and tired of feeling like the world is going to end at the drop of a hat. I also have bipolar 1 disorder. So I know some of the struggle you’ve faced. Can you take a yoga class, meditation is also supposed to help greatly. They have app’s for cell phones, there’s one called Headspace for meditation. Here’s the link: https://www.headspace.com
      You can download it on your phone and meditate with it. Try it. Maybe, hopefully, it’ll help. Keep on being strong. I’m sure your wife and son love you very much! Hugs for you.

      Like

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