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How about a PTSD support thread? - Page 3

post #41 of 72
There usually is access to some therapy, but most people aren't aware. Is there a university near where you live? Does it have a clinical psychology, or social work program? If there is, you can almost be sure they run a clinic where trainees can see people under supervision for low or no cost. They may also have lists of licensed therapists who are willing to see patients at low or no cost. That's a place to start. Additionally, if you live near an urban center, you might be able to connect to a psychoanalytic training institute where, again, candidates may be able to see you for low or no cost. Additionally, you might contact the American Psychological Association. They may have lists of therapists in your area who are willing to take on pro-bono cases.

In terms of self-help, I think writing is an excellent suggestion that someone else had made. The idea is to put what happened to you into your own words, to connect images and thoughts with feelings, so that you integrate and re-claim parts of you that were somehow interfered with when the trauma occurred. I also think it's important to take really good care of yourself, of your body and your spiritual needs. Associate as much as possible with people who are kind, uplifting, and loving. I think it helps a lot to engage in the arts, in any kind of symbolic, creative activity that allows you to access deeper levels of feeling. Sometimes just hanging out with other trauma survivors is a healing experiences. When soldiers come home from war, very often they find the most comfort in the company of other soldiers, even soldiers from other wars. Often they don't even really speak about what happened to them or what they witnessed. It seems that just the proximity to other "kindred souls" is transformative.

The good news is that in time and with enough small efforts at self-care and self-love, most trauma survivors do heal and live good, productive lives.
post #42 of 72
Hi mamas,

I've been lurking in this thread since the beginning. I really admire your courage in talking about these things.

It's only been a few months since it dawned on me that what I've been experiencing sounds like PTSD, but I've been dealing with it and healing for years. I've gotten so much better than I used to be, but there's a big problem I'm still grappling with. Maybe someone will have some advice.

My DP is a very gentle person and has never given me any reason to be frightened of him. But every few weeks I will end up totally flipping out on him, with screams, shouts, and tears, because something has happened that reminds me of my trauma. I'm not sure what to do about it. It's like I enter a totally irrational state of mind, in which I believe he's capable of anything, and could treat me like my attacker did. Usually it starts with a very small misunderstanding and it snowballs inside of my head, until suddenly I am accusing him of trying to hurt me in all kinds of ways. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I say all kinds of horrible things to him, things that I would never in a million years think of him when I'm lucid. Sometimes I end up just shaking and crying in the corner, having flashbacks to the original trauma and bracing myself for DP to do the same to me, even though he isn't really trying to do me any harm at all.

My partner is very good to me during these times and I'm lucky to have someone who understands that these outbursts aren't at all about him. Even when I'm saying horrid things to him, he doesn't say them back to me. He never holds any of it against me later, either. His patience and love have made a big difference in my life and my outbursts have gotten progressively less frequent and less intense over time.

I guess I'd just like to progress a little faster. It feels awful for me when I get out of control... and more importantly I know it must be awful for him and I don't want to keep putting him through this.

So I guess my question is, what do you do when something triggers your thoughts or feelings about your trauma? And what do you do to keep yourself from putting other people through it with you? I feel ready to learn to catch myself before it happens, but the past couple of times I've still been unsuccessful. Once I've fallen in the hole, I can't tell I'm in the hole... if that makes sense.

One thing I've noticed is that it tends to happen at times when I'm over-tired and/or stressed out for other reasons. Like, if we've had a very stimulating, fun day at the beach and I didn't get much sleep the night before. So I'm kind of thinking that the key might be to remove myself for a little relaxation or alone time if I notice I'm feeling overwhelmed. What do you think?

to all, and thank you!
post #43 of 72
It's interesting. As I read your post, Sasharna, several thoughts come to me. First of all, I am struck by how closely what you are describing resembles the kind of tantrum a toddler has. In a toddler, a tantrum happens in the context of an interaction with the one he or she is most intimate with (mother or caregive), it usually happens when he or she is tired, hungry, or overstimulated, and it usually happens because the toddler isn't able to use words or language to describe what he or she is feeling. The feelings are much bigger than the toddler's capacity for capturing them in language.

This might be what is happening in you. You are in a vulnerable state (tired, depleted of emotional resources, etc.). Something happens that triggers a feeling, sensation, something that taps into feelings that don't really have a narrative yet, they haven't been symbolized or contained in language. And so, what one does is go into an enactment. In some ways you're re-experiencing the trauma. In some ways you are fighting it. In some ways you are allowing your partner to see what it's like to be you in a very experiential way. He literally "feels" your pain. This is exactly what can and should happen in therapy. You come to trust your therapist enough to allow him or her to experience all of it with you. The difference is that a therapist has ways of "metabolizing" the feelings, detoxifying them so that you can eventually let go of them. Also, when you cause "injury" to the therapist, you learn to work together to repair. This is much harder to do with an intimate partner with whom you share your life, home, etc.

There are many good parts to what you're describing. First of all, you feel safe enough with your DH to allow yourself to have a melt-down. This is very important. What's also important, however, is that you recognize that there are factors that predispose you to having these melt-downs, factors that you can do something about. You can most definitely take care so that you aren't in a mental and emotional space where you've had no time to unwind. Healing from trauma requires a multi-pronged effort. Anything that feeds into the nurturance of the self and spirit, anything that allows opening of the mind, will most certainly move the process along, with or without a professional's participation.

Good luck to you. I hope this helps.
post #44 of 72
Thread Starter 
Hi Sasharna

I recognize that to some extent. When I am under stress, or I am thinking a lot about past trauma for some reason, I become aggressive towards others. This is something I have to work on. The only thing that helps me so far is recognizing this is about to happen, and then seeking distraction. Exercises help, or any other really physical activity.

At the moment, I am also considering St Johns wort. Doublewhammy - could you please tell me more about the exact ways in which St Johns wort have helped you? I remember you said it doesn't help with anger, but I still feel it might benefit me in other ways. Still, I am concerned since I will be nursing for a long time to come.
post #45 of 72
Hi, MittensKittens. It sounds like what you're going through is pretty intense. I can't imagine having to prove one of my children is mine. Why is CPS involved? Is it just that they see UC as bad? I know I felt strange reporting my daughter's homebirth, and it was assisted. Still, folks looked at me kind of funny.

St. John's wort is for depression. In general, my moods feel pretty out of control, and anger is probably my biggest issue. But over the winter this year, I got seriously depressed. That's why I took/am taking the St. John's wort. It did seem to help me get out of the state I was in--which was pretty desperate. But it doesn't help with anger. And it's not recommended if you're nursing. My boys are old enough that they're getting most of their nutrition elsewhere.

As for ways to deal with anger--I wish I knew some! Distraction is good, hard physical work or exercise are excellent--but hard if you have small children. I've been running with the boys in a double jogger--that'll take your mind off anything but your heart rate in a hurry.

I'm feeling more and more convinced that I have to get help. Finding low-cost care can be difficult. I live in a small town, and my husband's income is relatively high. So I don't qualify for much. I was seeing an intern--a student, maybe in social work? last fall, but it just made me feel like I was crying in my beer. She was nice, but didn't have enough experience, either in her work or in life itself. I feel like I need professional help, if that makes any sense. There's a PTSD support group in my town. I might try that. When I went last fall, I was the only one there--but maybe things have changed.

I'm thinking DBT might be helpful. I need some skills, and that might be a way to learn them. Maybe I'll look into what's available, self-help wise, on that front. I'll let you know.

Have you checked out the Borderline thread here? It's pretty interesting.
post #46 of 72
Thread Starter 
I know some of the symptoms of PTSD are pretty similar to borderline... I haven't looked at the borderline thread yet, but I might hop over there to have a look.

The issue I am dealing with is basically my embassy causing a lot of hassle. CPS is not actually involved yet, but they said they would call the local version of CPS because of UC. They haven't actually been round yet, and I got the DNA results today, so I guess it will be resolved now. I am so bad at dealing with stress, in the sense that I automatically shut down all emotions except anger (here that word is again!) and function on autopilot. It takes me some time to get out of this mode, even after the stress has passed. Which I hate right now, because I don't want to miss any of my son's precious baby time due to being in emotional shutdown.
post #47 of 72
Hi, how's everybody doing? I've been pretty stressed out lately (what else is new). My daughter's having surgery tomorrow. I tried to join the PTSD support group here in town, but it's "closed." I have to admit, having a mental heath professional turn me down for a free group didn't feel too good. I'm working hard not to take it personally. I really do need help, but I'll have to look elsewhere. My daughter's surgery will cost between 3 and 4 thousand dollars by the time it's done, so I really don't have money to spend. I'm hoping something will work out soon. It's starting to feel irresponsible to me not to do something about my mental health. There are too many little ones counting on me. For me, the anxiety/anger aspect of things is really the biggest problem. Does anybody have any advice for calming down when the going gets tough?
post #48 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublewhammy View Post
Hi, how's everybody doing? I've been pretty stressed out lately (what else is new). My daughter's having surgery tomorrow. I tried to join the PTSD support group here in town, but it's "closed." I have to admit, having a mental heath professional turn me down for a free group didn't feel too good. I'm working hard not to take it personally. I really do need help, but I'll have to look elsewhere. My daughter's surgery will cost between 3 and 4 thousand dollars by the time it's done, so I really don't have money to spend. I'm hoping something will work out soon. It's starting to feel irresponsible to me not to do something about my mental health. There are too many little ones counting on me. For me, the anxiety/anger aspect of things is really the biggest problem. Does anybody have any advice for calming down when the going gets tough?
Hey mama

I wish you lots of strength for tomorrow, will be thinking of you. Would you like to share more about your DD's surgery?

Sorry you got turned down for the support group, are there any others? I think a support group would be great for me as well, but I haven't found any so far. The whole CPS episode is over now - I think. Still waiting for the birth certificate but it looks like everything is fine. However, DD has been really affected by it and now screams whenever anyone is at the door. I feel so sorry for her.
post #49 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vishapmama View Post
The difference is that a therapist has ways of "metabolizing" the feelings, detoxifying them so that you can eventually let go of them. Also, when you cause "injury" to the therapist, you learn to work together to repair. This is much harder to do with an intimate partner with whom you share your life, home, etc.
Hi.

As the partner of a beautiful soul who ticks a lot of the boxes associated with PTSD and DID, I read this and thought "hmm, much harder to do with an intimate partner", but impossible? It would be great to read of anyone who has worked through trauma with a (loving and hopefully dedicated) DP.

DW had a few sessions with a Reichian therapist, but lack of funds ($70 an hour) and distance involved have put paid to this for the time being. So, she's now going to get a "formal" diagnosis and take it from there. She is not, btw, a fluent speaker of English, and very shy, so I don't know whether she would consider posting here.

She has made a great deal of progress in terms of trust and openness, but the triggers are still there and one is by now used to feeling like a punch bag, friend, enemy (that sucks), daddy, ... at any given moment.

Does anyone think more can be achieved "at home"?
post #50 of 72
Hi. I don't have any advice about working with a partner with PTSD. But I think it's wonderful that you're open to it. My DH is unsupportive, and it makes it a lot harder for me than I think it would be if he would try to understand a little about what's going on with me. There are some good books out there about trauma--maybe reading some of those would help.

MittensKittens--the surgery went very well. I felt calm and strong--I kind of go into a zone when there's a really stressful situation at hand. Some kind of coping mechanism run awry, I imagine. My daughter's making a good recovery, and there's a pretty good chance her finger will return to "normal." Also a decent chance that it won't. She had an abnormal bony growth on the last part of her finger, and it was making the nail deformed. The surgery involved removing that bony growth (or "crunching" it off, as the surgeon put it). She had general anesthesia, which was the nerve-wracking part, for me. She may lose the nail permanently, or it might always look weird. The good news is that the biopsy was benign, so there aren't any worries there.

There aren't a lot of mental health resources in my small town. I might be able to join a DBT group--but it's in the middle of the day, and I'd need a babysitter, or my husband would have to leave work. Things seem serious enough the justify this, to me. But I'm not sure they do to him. I really can't afford therapy at this point, and the "free" resources that are available--interns, etc.--haven't worked that well for me when I tried them in the past. Any suggestions folks might have for "homework"--stuff you can read/do on your own--would be really appreciated. Has anyone tried any of the DBT workbooks? Any recommendations?
post #51 of 72
doublewhammy, thanks for your reply. I hope your daughter continues to heal well. It must have been a stressful experience.

I actually do understand a lot of what is "going on with" DW. I mostly know why she dissociates. The toughest part for me, as an ordinary human being, is when she's reliving a bad experience and "all radio contact is lost". I use all my available resources in order to not take things she may say personally, to keep things as calm as possible, and to make sure our DD feels secure. More often than not, this is achieved, though some "attacks" can elicit a sharp reply from me (damn!) if I'm already stressed for whatever reason. I'm only human, after all, though I let it go very quickly.

I suppose this sort of leads to my first specific question: When someone is dissociating, do you feel that she/he can/should be "reached" by a loved one, or are they best left alone? I'm obviously talking about a home setting, not a controlled environment.
post #52 of 72
Thread Starter 
Doublewhammy, glad the surgery went well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by papá de ángel View Post
I suppose this sort of leads to my first specific question: When someone is dissociating, do you feel that she/he can/should be "reached" by a loved one, or are they best left alone? I'm obviously talking about a home setting, not a controlled environment.
This is interesting, because I don't suppose that you'd get the same answer from anyone and you should probably ask your DW what SHE feels. I don't cope well with being "probed into" when I am in a rough patch myself though, and prefer being left to deal with it in my own way until it passes. I don't have a partner (and this is definitely one of the reasons that I don't want one), but I know that attempts to break in at such moments would not only be unsuccessful but likely unpleasant for both parties. I don't know how others feel.
post #53 of 72
MittensKittens, thanks for the reply.

I intend to start a thread on this subject at some time. I realise that "radio contact is lost" precisely because of the nature of dissociation, and that attempts to reestablish contact can be counterproductive. However, this is where I am looking at the present time.
post #54 of 72
Papa de Angel: Can you describe your DW's state? I'm not exactly sure what you mean by dissociation. Is she distant? Or is she reacting in ways that go beyond what's happening at the moment?

I'm with MittensKittens, ask her what she would prefer, at a time when things are going smoothly.

I know I can get pretty unreachable, but I'm not usually just "spacing out"--it's more like freaking out. And when I get like that, nobody can reason with me.

I read somewhere on this site a post where a person who does this says she needs those closest to her to say that they love her, but they are stepping back until things calm down. That sounded pretty good to me. It would help me to know that I was loved, even in my worst moments. And sometimes, I really do need my space.

MittensKittens--Did you chose to parent on your own? I don't want to be nosy, and you can tell me to mind my own business, but I'm curious. Especially since I'm having such a hard time being married. I can't help but wonder what it would be like. . .
post #55 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublewhammy View Post
MittensKittens--Did you chose to parent on your own? I don't want to be nosy, and you can tell me to mind my own business, but I'm curious. Especially since I'm having such a hard time being married. I can't help but wonder what it would be like. . .
Yes, I did. I don't have the wish to be married, something which I confirmed for myself when I did have a brief period of living together with a man. I hated every moment of it. I need my personal space. I have always known I would love to have children though. Currently I am contemplating a third, but I am guessing I will probably stick with two. I sometimes think about what it would be like to share life and parenting with someone else, but I know that it would be hard. I like it like this.

I am having some pretty serious anger issues, again. I have my way of dealing, and I know what to do when it happens. Usually when I feel useless and don't have anything constructive to occupy my time, inside the house. I know to just go out. I am still considering medicating, but nothing that interferes with nursing. Does such a thing exist?
post #56 of 72
MittensKittens--I don't know a lot about medications for PTSD. I think antidepressants are pretty common. That's what I was offered last fall, when I came very close to hospitalization. I don't know if they help with anger. I do know that some are considered safe for breastfeeding. Zoloft and Prozac come to mind. How safe are they, really? I don't know. I didn't want to take antidepressants, because I want to feel--just maybe not as intensely as I do sometimes. As a writer, that matters to me.

I do take St. John's Wort, which is a prescription antidepressant in Germany (?). It has helped with the all-out despair I was feeling. And I'm more motivated than I was. But as far as anger goes, it's no help at all. Might even make things a little bit worse, in my case. And it's not considered safe when you're nursing. But like a lot of herbs, I think it's an unknown--not something that's been proven harmful. I am nursing--times two. I'd prefer not to alter their brain chemistry any more than I have to.

I'm still thinking DBT might be helpful. I haven't heard any more about the class that was supposed to be starting here. Maybe I'll try and follow up on that.
post #57 of 72
Thread Starter 
You know, it is not so much that I want to feel less - actually the completely opposite. I go into "shutdown" where I block out all emotions when I am facing stressful situations. This does "protect" me from letting stress master me, but it also stops me from feeling anything positive. Anyone else recognize that?

Let us know if you do start the class, I'd be very interested to see how it goes.
post #58 of 72
doublewhammy, I understand dissociation as "a normal response to trauma, which allows the mind to distance itself from experiences that are too much for the psyche to process at that time", for example. The Wikipedia entry gives a brief, but accurate enough definition.

We have discussed "what to do" when she gets triggered on many occasions, but when she's "there" (ie, not here and now), almost all is forgotten. From my subjective point of view, it's like being with someone who is re-enacting scenes from the past with a fixed script. Ironically, she has a formidable memory for some things, but has trouble remembering what she was feeling once the storm has blown over.

You mention that you read a post where a person says she needs those closest to her to say that they love her, but they are stepping back until things calm down. This, I often do.

I don't have time to write any more right now, but I look forward to speaking to you again soon.
post #59 of 72
papa de angel: I googled dissociation after your last post. I guess I don't tend to dissociate very often. I have had a sort of "out of body" sensation every now and then. I'll feel like I'm watching myself from above, or speaking lines that were written for me. That only happens when things are extremely intense. I had a penchant for reenactment when I was younger, and would put myself in very dangerous situations. That's when I usually got that feeling, though it can also happen in a family setting if things are really going badly (or with my family of origin, though I tend to avoid them altogether).

I don't have flashbacks, either, so I'm missing some of the hallmarks of PTSD. I do have recurrent nightmares--they are not of the trauma, specifically, but are of situations that are very out of control and frightening.

There is some talk of a new diagnosis called "Emotional Intensity Disorder." That would fit me well, I think.

MittensKittens: I don't think antidepressants would help you feel more. Have you considered mindfulness?
post #60 of 72
Hi. How's everybody doing? I'm OK, just stressing out a little about a long string of visitors headed my way, including my father. He's one of the sources of my childhood trauma, so needless to say, seeing him pushes buttons for me. The nightmares are in full force. During the day, I'm doing my best to not think about it. Can't wait until this is over. But I don't want to wish summer away--it's so short here in Montana, anyway.

Of course, since I don't trust him, I don't really want him around my kids. . . .
I wouldn't be letting him visit at all, but he's 87 years old and this will probably be the last time he sees my kids (he's seen my daughter once, boys not at all).

My husband isn't as supportive as he could be. Thinks I'm making a mountain out of a molehill.
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