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Mad Poster
#26 Old 17th Oct 2015 at 3:20 AM Last edited by simmer22 : 17th Oct 2015 at 4:05 AM.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It's in the name, really. It says nothing what so ever about only being caused by traumatic war experieneces, but instead incorporates any big reaction that comes well after a traumatic experience. It's also not a 'normal' reaction to trauma, because not everyone gets PTSD after a trauma. Basically, everyone has some reaction while in or directly after a trauma (like shock, disbelief, anger, sadness, and so on), and that's normal. It's a way to deal with the situation, and is the process the brain uses to move on.

PTSD is in essence a belated reaction, months or even years after the trauma happened. It's often triggered by events that reminds the person about the trauma they went through, and causes symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks, situation avoidance, stress reactions and panic attacks. It's often triggered by not remembering the situation clear enough, or more or less unconsciously 'putting off' the reaction for another day, until it builds up so much in the unconscious mind that one day it just bursts. The more you try not to think about a situation, the worse those flashbacks might influence you. The best therapy for PTSD is usually to talk about it with someone who has experience on the field of PTSD, by opening up the locked box of memories to examine them more closely. The easier it gets to talk about the difficult things, the more you manage to deal with it, because you understand more of why you have those particular reactions and thoughts that cause your PTSD symptoms. Resilience is also an important facor. Some people are just better equipped mentally, physically and/or supportively to get through traumas than other people, and for that reason won't develop PTSD.

Understanding is often the key to dealing with mental issues. There's a good reason exposure therapy and psycho-education is much used as therapy. With education you start understanding why you do what you do, and get tools for thinking differently about it. By repeated exposure to uncomfortable situations they will eventually become less uncomfortable, and in the end they'll be so 'boring' you're not afraid of them any longer (talking about the trigger situaitons is also a form of exposure). That doesn't mean it's easy to deal with mental issues (far from it), but it is possible to train yourself away from several of them, or at the very least learn to deal with them so you can function in everyday life.

I don't have a formal PTSD diagnosis (I've had a bunch of issues - it's just a big mix of things without a clear 'this is it' diagnosis - it's amazing what the darkest corners of my brain have picked up through 20-something years), but I've had enough of traumatic episodes to trigger it in some form. I was bullied at school, and lost my brother when I was still a bit too young to fully understand it. When I was younger I had episodes where I would just start crying uncontrollably or hyperventilating, often triggered by some minor thing that caused some kind of unconscious flashback. Logically, I knew that the situation wasn't dangerous or sad, but my instincts reacted without any rationality what so ever. I also had lots of repeating nightmares.

To this day I still have troubles with playing sports that involve balls bigger than tennis balls (I was the main target in gym classes, particularly soccer), and the smell of hay in other situations that being in a stable reminds me of death (When my brother died, we had the coffin at our house for some days, which may be the reason. I only recently learned that they use hay at the bottom of coffins). I also cry easily, although no longer as uncontrollably as before, and I've now got a few techniques to stop the crying if I feel it coming on (drinking some water, breathing, directing my thoughts in other directions). So yeah. It took me 20 years to understand why the smell of hay bothered me, and I'm not the one you'd pick out for a game of soccer if you want to win (although I'm okay at badminton and indoor bandy). I think the PTSD may have been the start for me. Without those triggers I probably wouldn't have bursts of social anxiety, various phobias, OCD behavior, periods of depression, or performance anxiety, trust issues, or any of the other issues I've struggled with. I am however learning to deal with it. It's been a very lengthy process, but at least I'm getting somewhere.

The nightmare thing is actually rather weird. I used to have nightmares about our livingroom furnace being some kind of monster, always out to get me, particularly at night. My childish brain came to the conclusion that if I walked in a strange route to avoid the direct path through the living room, I wouldn't have nightmares. I also stopped liking the colors blue, black, brown and grey, plus the number 7, for the very same reason (I still have absolutely no clue why they'd be related). Counting steps, and being out of the bathroom before the toilet had stopped making noises were also strange things I did. I'd also have nightmares about a giant spider (think Aragog times ten, and you're just about there) on the school roof. I think I was somewhere around 13-14 when I stopped with the route, but the other things followed me until I moved out. I still feel the urge to do those things once in a while, but realizing those were OCD-related, superstitious behaviors do help. They simply don't have anything to say for the outcome of anything, and neither the universe nor anybody else even cares whether or not I like the color blue. In fact, I happen to like it now. Rationally, anyway. Some illogical dark corner of my mind still insists it doesn't like blue, but for the most part I choose to ignore it.

Somewhat unrelated - my sense of time. If I wake up in the morning without the alarm on, I can more or less predict within an hour what the clock is, without looking at the clock first (anything between 6 am and 3 pm, really). However, my cicadian rhythm is all over the place. I can feel tired at 2 pm but still be awake 4 am, or be fully awake at 6 am but half asleep at 7 am, and my brain is rarely fully awake until earliest 11 am, regardless of how well or how much or little I slept. Some days 4 hours of sleep is enough, and other days my brain insists 12 hours isn't enough. I think I've always been like this, but it did get worse a few years back when my rhythm really was ruined.
Scholar
#27 Old 17th Oct 2015 at 4:07 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thranduil Oropherion
I agree with much of what you say, Deathy .. I don't even mention my PTSD to most people because for the most part they won't get it and secondly for PTSD talking about what caused it makes things worse. I have to say that I believe I am fortunate insomuch as it doesn't impact on all of my life; just a certain area that I outlined in my post on this thread. When I have mentioned it, with the exception of one or two very special people, they don't get it either. That's fine, I don't expect people to get it or to realise that certain behaviors could actually send me right back 'there' to where I entertain thoughts of dancing on death's doorstep again. I don't expect understanding, but am I glad and feel blessed when I get it.



The secret ingredient is phone.
Growing up means watching my heroes turn human in front of me.
Thank you, O Mighty Doom Deity! - BL00DIEHELL
Top Secret Researcher
#28 Old 17th Oct 2015 at 6:30 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmDeath
Actually, if I remember correctly, there is a higher number of civilians who suffer PTSD than service members, at least in the US.


Given that 7.3% of all living citizens in the US have served in the US military and 8% of all citizens of the U.S. (24.4 million people) have PTSD at any given time, the number of people with PTSD is higher than the total number of service members, period.

Actually, for a more accurate comparison:

Current PTSD sufferers: 24.4 million people. Current military members: 1.2 million.

Previous or existing PTSD sufferers: 44.7 million people. Active or retired military members: 23.4 million.

70% of all adults in the US have experienced trauma. About 20% of the people who experience trauma will develop PTSD. And the civilians who are most likely to develop PTSD? Mental health patients. They have the second-highest rate, at 50% of all outpatients.
The highest rate is female military personnel, at 71%. That's not because they've seen war, though. That's because military women get sexually assaulted more often than civilian women.

[Source]

Overall, the PTSD rates of military members returning from overseas range between 10% and 31%. That means that they're about as likely as anyone else who experiences trauma (70% of all people in the US) to develop it.


I mean, trauma sucks no matter where you get it or whether you develop PTSD afterwards, but denying people treatment or giving them less than they need just because it's a "military thing" is stupid and dangerous to patients' mental health. The VA doesn't give out enough treatment to vets, either (especially female military members), so pretty much nobody is taking it seriously unless they actually have to live through it.

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
Scholar
#29 Old 17th Oct 2015 at 6:56 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
I mean, trauma sucks no matter where you get it or whether you develop PTSD afterwards, but denying people treatment or giving them less than they need just because it's a "military thing" is stupid and dangerous to patients' mental health. The VA doesn't give out enough treatment to vets, either (especially female military members), so pretty much nobody is taking it seriously unless they actually have to live through it.


I like to think we've come a long way in terms of diagnosing and treating mental illness and in a way we have, but it's still sort of the medical final frontier that nobody wants to touch with a ten foot pole. One of the reasons I've never seen a doctor about any of the problems I might have (according to former teachers, friends and a psychiatrist who went to my old church ) is because I'm afraid I'll end up in the loony bin.

The state hospital where I live is notoriously horrendous. Unclean, falling apart (the building is one of two that were originally built in the 1870s or 1880s and the maintenance is laughable) abusive staff, doctors who would rather drug a person unconscious than actually try to help them with any kind of therapy, etc. I've had friends who were sent there with the promise of coming out happier and healthier only to become more of a broken shell from what happened to them.

During the 2008 or 2012 elections, one of the local politicians put some focus on reforming the state's broken mental health care system. Nobody cared what he had to say. Nobody cares how underfunded it is and how badly people in the system are abused. I can't even remember which guy it was. All I know is that nobody has done jack shit for the vets or for the civilians battling mental illness and it's disgusting. We might as well be living in the 1880s again and lock up everyone who doesn't fit in so we don't have to look at them anymore.

The secret ingredient is phone.
Growing up means watching my heroes turn human in front of me.
Thank you, O Mighty Doom Deity! - BL00DIEHELL
#30 Old 17th Oct 2015 at 7:59 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by simmer22
The best therapy for PTSD is usually to talk about it with someone who has experience on the field of PTSD, by opening up the locked box of memories to examine them more closely. The easier it gets to talk about the difficult things, the more you manage to deal with it, because you understand more of why you have those particular reactions and thoughts that cause your PTSD symptoms.

I'd love to say that this works for me, but it doesn't. I'm happy for people for whom it does work though. But there are other ways of treating it that I've found a bit more useful; I'm nowhere near over it yet, sometimes I think I'm improving only to find that I'm not as far a long as I thought. I feel for anyone who lives with it - you have good days and bad days. At least there are some good days, right?
Mad Poster
Original Poster
#31 Old 30th Oct 2015 at 12:49 AM
My PTSD, sort of built up over time and it came to a head earlier this month. However, I have yet to receive a proper diagnosis, because whatever it is, I feel beat down from my panic attacks.

I was not always the type to be so open about my feelings. For about 2 years of my life, 8th and 9th grade, I would hide my true feelings.

Otherwise, I'm a bundle of nerves.

I should be the only one to shine,
I am the Golden Queen of Shadow Galactica
(Translation of a line from image song Golden Queen Galaxia)
Field Researcher
#32 Old 30th Oct 2015 at 7:53 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by PANDAQUEEN
My PTSD, sort of built up over time and it came to a head earlier this month. However, I have yet to receive a proper diagnosis, because whatever it is, I feel beat down from my panic attacks.

I was not always the type to be so open about my feelings. For about 2 years of my life, 8th and 9th grade, I would hide my true feelings.

Otherwise, I'm a bundle of nerves.


My suggestion to you is get an evaluation with a psychiatrist who specializes in trauma, abuse, and dependency. I spent almost 19 years of my life (I am 28) assuming is was bipolar or schizophrenia, PTSDID can mock both bipolar/schizophrenia. What most don't think to realize is, D.I.D (dissociative identity disorder) goes hand in hand with PTSD (AKA P.T.S.D.I.D) although you can have PTSD without DID. DID is mostly present in people who have been sexually, or physically abused. Anything traumatic can cause you to Dissociate that's where D.I.D plays into PTSD. In my case My PTSD gets so bad sometimes I pass out/ have a seizure and meds actually hinder the healing process. Counseling and different therapy's help way more extensively than meds that just numb the problems so when you get off them the issues are 10X worse.

One thing my psychiatrist recommended is Hypnotherapy, as people with PTSDID are highly susceptible to Hypnosis, in some cases Women who have PTSD are asked to consult a doctor if pregnant because the seizures/ black outs you have with PTSDID can cause birth defects in-vitro. I had to go off the meds (Topamax) I was using for the seizures because it was making me feel like my body was on fire but after being on the Topamax for about 3 years, fingers crossed, haven't have any seizure or blackouts for 6 months. Although my reactions from PTSD are still there every once in a while, they are less and few.

I'm not trying to tell you what to do but you can't have recovery by self diagnosis, It takes years of undoing what the abuse has imbedded. The most you shove your past down the more your issue gets worse. Stress and anxiety are the two major causes of flair ups from PTSDID. Good luck and I hope things pan out for you.

Just remember "this too shall pass"

If I can endure for this minute
Whatever is happening to me,
No matter how heavy my heart is
Or how dark the moment may be

If I can remain calm and quiet
With all the world crashing about me,
Secure in the knowledge someone loves me
When everyone else seems to doubt me

If I can but keep on believing
What I know in my heart to be true,
That darkness will fade with the morning
And that this will pass away, too

Then nothing in life can defeat me
For as long as this knowledge remains
I can suffer whatever is happening
For I know I will break all of the chains

That are binding me tight in the darkness
And trying to fill me with fear
For there is no night without dawning
And I know that my morning is near.

Never forget that!
Mad Poster
#33 Old 30th Oct 2015 at 9:38 AM
While that is a lovely poem, there is a bit too much "me" and not enough "they" in that poem.

My Soundcloud, where I upload some things I make.
Field Researcher
#34 Old 30th Oct 2015 at 1:38 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarVee
While that is a lovely poem, there is a bit too much "me" and not enough "they" in that poem.


The point of it is to heal and help yourself before you can help anyone else. Always be there for yourself because not everyone is going to care enough to carry you when you stumble you have to be able to pick up a good majority on your own. That coming of course from experience. You should always want to believe there's another beautiful day after your worst one.
 
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