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Does anybody know about PTSD? Need some help


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Hello.

 

I've offered insight to people on ENA since I joined and love to be a helpful person whenever I can. I've been surprised by how many times I've been able to offer a helping hand and relate to so many situations other people are going through. This time, it's my turn to look for help...

 

I start counseling on the 20th and was on a long waiting list to get in. Can't wait until I get to go but in the meantime, does anyone know about recovering from PTSD?

 

A few weeks ago a sudden sound that I didn't expect triggered me to be on guard constantly again and have strong flashbacks. By the end of that day, I had the phone in my hand, crying, trying to get into a place where I could get therapy, counseling, SOMETHING.

 

In the two months I've been waiting for that first appointment, I've had my ups and downs. I kept trying to tell myself I don't have to be on guard 24 hours a day and these are just memories. Most days this has worked but the past few days...it isn't working.

 

Does anyone have experience with coping or actually recovering from this?

 

Any insight at all would really be appreciated.

 

The PTSD I have comes from an abusive mother who I didn't realize was abusive for years (because I was used to it and didn't know anything else) and a 6-year relationship where the last two years were so abusive I was lucky to get out alive.

 

I thought I was recovering on my own slowly over time (3 years and time is supposed to heal all wounds) and then whammo! I'd have nightmares, wake up in the morning looking at my boyfriend of two years like he's a demon from hell, not trusting anyone, defensive and on guard. On guard with my best friend, of all people.

 

No one can get close to me when I get like this and flashbacks swirl through my head. The worst times are when I'm alone (in the shower) and if I see anything going on in my life that remotely resembles my past.

 

I guess I go back on guard, thinking it isn't just memories of the past, it's my present and possible future. I'm terrified to let what I allowed to almost take my life in the past happen again.

 

The sad part about this is I'm in a great, stable relationship now. We communicate and after two years, still really like each other. I was having a minor problem in this relationship, came to ENA and everybody was so great giving me insight that we actually got right past the problem and things are going so much better now.

 

I then realized...I still had a roadblock in my way and it's these stupid flashbacks putting me on guard. It's the only roadblock in our relationship right now.

 

I'd like to be able to move forward without waking up every morning, scared that my ex-boyfriend will show up at my door and nearly destroy or take my life.

 

I feel so bad for my boyfriend because he's a nice guy who deserves to have a great life. I try not to discuss with him what goes through my head regarding this because...I couldn't imagine dealing with him if HIS ex was going through his head this much.

 

It's not fair to him.

 

Anybody relate at all? Anybody get past a situation like this? If so, HOW??? Can anybody who hasn't gone through something like this offer some insight from an outside, objective point of view? I'm open to any and all ideas.

 

I'm so tired of waking up in the morning with flashbacks going through my head of abuse from my ex and reliving it over and over again. ](*,)

 

After a few days of flashbacks like this, I'm exhausted, distant, lonely and feel like I just stepped out of that abusive relationship all over again.

 

I think the relationship I'm in now is making this worse because I'm afraid that...now that I'm happy and in a good relationship, my ex would love nothing more than to stop this. I totally freaked out at my job one day after having a nightmare about him shooting me right in the face at my job.

 

(Sidenote -- 5 years ago, a "friend" of mine killed his girlfriend when she broke up with him, started packing her things and tried to leave. He was close to my ex. They were buddy-buddy right when this guy killed his girlfriend and buried her in his backyard.

 

Anyone...if you can, I really need your help!

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I am not a professional but I can tell you this. Many people who have suffered abuse feel some sort of guilt. That they are unworthy because the people who were supposed to love them, nurture them and protect them not only failed to do that but caused them physical and mental pain. So, at some deep level, they think they were abused because it was their fault - they deserved it.

 

But here is a simple truth: it wasn't your fault and you didn't deserve it.

 

Make sure you believe that, not only with your conscious and rational mind but also with your sub-conscious and emotional mind. Every part of you should know that you are an independent and deserving person who was the victim of people whose personal problems led them to abuse you. You were an innocent victim - not a bad child or a bad woman who needed punishment.

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Hang in there. My issues come from traumatic abuse suffered first by the hand of my father and instead of flashbacks, my entire life has been a defense mechanism to keep me alive. It would be nice if your therapy session wasn't so far away. *hugs* You'll get through this, and I'm sure your new boyfriend wants to support you. If he knows your past, just talk to him. I bet he realizes that the only reason your ex is in your mind so much is because he hurt you so badly. Whatever you do, don't close yourself off and think a therapist is the only person who can help you. The key to healing is having a network of people you trust and love you. People you can talk to when you need to be uplifted or just calmed down.

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DN - I forgot about how my mother and ex both would drill into my head they were treating me the way they were because of something I did or said. I knew at the time, even if I said something that hit a nerve (which was so easy with them), the punishment never fit the crime. It would be like getting the electric chair for a minor speeding violation. Every time, it came down to "if you didn't _________, I wouldn't have...".

 

Talk about filling my head with guilt and blame.

 

There is no way it was my fault that I eventually found myself standing in a grocery store shaking, terrified to speak to anyone, wearing clothes with holes in them, no friends left, too afraid to voice my opinion and unable to remember how to make myself a mug of coffee.

 

chaosa - I think I've been becoming overly defensive because my nerves are getting shot from the flashbacks. I wish I didn't have this past so that I'd be dealing with events in my life now in a normal way rather than overreacting. At least I know I'm not alone with being on the defense and knowing what that feels like.

 

Jeen - Thank you for that link. Never came accross it before. I'm glad to see that therapy for this works very well most of the time.

 

In the meantime, while I'm waiting for this first appointment...if anyone else has any insight into how I can cope for now, I'm all ears.

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I suggest making a list of the things that help you cope. Things such as taking a bath, balancing your checkbook, cleaning your house, etc... Simple things which help you feel in control and on top of things. Things you know you can accomplish successfully. When you start to feel out of control or unable to function choose something off your list and do it. Then do another, and another until you feel better.

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ready2heal - At first when I read your reply, I thought "but there doesn't seem to be anything that I've done that helps me cope" but one thing finally did pop into my head. I'd love to make this an actual list and not just one thing (although the hot baths really do help settle my nerves down so I have two things on my list).

 

I did the typical thing other people have done in situations like this and buried myself in work for a few years. The very second I was away from it, the PTSD would hit me like a freight train. Working myself to death was just avoiding it rather than actually changing my state of mind for the better.

 

I have a great sense of humor, despite everything and love to be around other people with a great sense of humor. That's when I really feel that I'm 'at home'.

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I have PTSD - you can always PM me if you like. Mine originally came from an abusive father (physically and emotionally) and then a workplace related trauma (abusive and sociopathic boss) which managed to link up to the triggers from my father.

 

For me it was finding a counselor who was right for me and could relate to me on a very individual level, not just "here's what usually works for PTSD". Once I found that person, it's been a whole lot better.

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My old acqaintance ptsd! Firstly.. I have read a few of your posts and think that you are pretty ok.

5 years ago i got slammed by 2 24 wheeler trucks..the image of my car being crushed stayed with me for 2 years and was also a recurring thought. At 37 I had a heart attack with a few blocked arteries. The recurring fear of impact left my soul. I was stented and saved from death. The night of my attack.. I could not breathe...it hurt. I prayed to god to take me that night if he had no use for me here. Then as i lay in hospital that allowing the memory of moment of impact into my thoughts actually robbed me of some serious living. When i left hospital I prayed and forgave all of my enemies. I let go of my grudges.. I went home and realised each day was a bonus. When id go to sleep at night i was thrilled when my eyes actually opened in the morning and i had not died in bed that night. Since then i have a greater appreciation for the fact i was alive and for the man i chose to be. The past offences against me i held did not matter anymore..my enemies were no longer my enemies..you see only i could be my own worst enemy at that time. I knew that while the past had served me platefulls of pain that we can move forward. Our past is gone. I must live for now as this is my finest moment.

You know what this day is your finest day. You have moved on from the past and evolved into the great partner and woman that you are today.. Only you have the power to push those thoughts aside and realise that they are not real anymore...you are smart..you are worthy a

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After my crash i saw a psychologist..it helped quite a bit. The main methods were practicing relaxation techniques. I remember having to find somewhere quite every day and inhale for a count of seven..hold it for a count of four...this went on for a few minutes.

Also techniques of tensing each muscle one by one while sitting quietly..

I am throwing ideas out...perhaps they will help ? The reminder gave you the flashback. The doctor i was seeing was trying to relax me. I also had to desensitize myself to my trigger which was the sound and driving near trucks.

It would give a flood of emotions and pain which in turn made me fearful.

You have to somehow realise that these events have all gone in the past. Look at how far youve come.. Look at your good man..look at the good in you.. Look at the fact that you have alot of positive things in your life right now.

 

I dont know if what i wrote will help..if it doesnt then at least you know i give a crap and tried

tb

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TopBloke, I wish I could've replied sooner. I had time to read what you said and had to leave suddenly and haven't been online since.

 

I was wondering if you were okay with being near trucks after the accident and imagined I wouldn't after something like that. It would be hard to get past. I'd wonder if it could or would happen again. That would be some real bad luck for it to happen twice, though. The odds are so slim but to find myself in a very similar situation and hearing the sound...would really bring up some strong memories!

 

I appreciate the heads up on the relaxation techniques you used.

 

I noticed something since I originally posted this which isn't making sense to me clearly but it's working. I've been getting new furniture and also got a new pillow and new sheets for my bed and changing my environment the past few days is helping a lot. I think it's partly due to having new things to look forward to but also keeping things from getting old and routine around me. Once I get too settled in with something (home or job), that's when things always get worse. It's as if I have to keep new things going on all the time to give me a strong sense that time is moving forward.

 

Does that make sense?

 

Seeing the same kitchen table in the morning while I eat breakfast...after a while, it just seemed like the same morning that I kept reliving over and over. Getting a new table has given me the feeling that time moved on.

 

I've had the same kitchen table for...at least 5 years. Until now!

 

Ready2Heal mentioned making a list of things that help me cope but I realized that the best things I was able to put on that list were things that change my state of mind. Meaning...a hot bubble bath is relaxing (which I LOVE, by the way) but many times I'd walk out of that bathroom in cozy pajamas, thinking I'd feel a thousand times better only to see a reminder somehow on TV or hear a song or whatever and bam! Right back to square one.

 

What is more able to change my state of mind is something like...checking out the Sex and Romance threads and seeing a post title like "Saggy Ba**s".

 

Maybe the best thing may be to combine the breathing/relaxation technique while sitting at my new kitchen table reading funny sounding thread titles in the Sex and Romance section of the forum?

 

It's worth a try!

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I was very nervy around trucks. It took me time to even go near them.When they came near me I thought of the impact.. It took a huge change in my life to get over it. You could say in many ways facing death saved my mind and clarity on life. I feel as though I was saved to create good in this world. Ironicall i took up drag racing my car and it has helped aloT. I have since stopped going as I family and pulling ridiculous speeds is dangerous.

 

Yes I do understand why you must change things. You must have stimulation for your mind to take your mind of empty time. It keeps you feeling alive and gives you a sense that you are moving to a fresh new day . You also have to keep life interesting for yourself. When you sit still those dam thoughts try to creep back in but I can see you are winning. Keep busy keep it fresh. Whens the last time your man has given you a nice massage? The tv is my enemy. When I came out of hospital I stopped watching the news and murder movies.I found ,my heart soul felt better as the tv has alot of doom and gloom.

 

I have to admit ..the other night I watched Anger management with Jack Nicholson and laughed heaps. I bought around 25 comedy movies and it changed my mood dramatically. Maybe you can try this too. Get a funny movie and watch it..Life is so much more lovely with laughter. I am a bit over those love hate relationship movies as they depress me.Theyre out of my life..

 

Do you love flowers and plants? I had started a garden and marvel as they grow to produce flowers and fruit. It is the awe of simple things which can sometimes bring us out of these times. Your furniture..your pillowcase..nice..fresh..a sense of the little things whch can change the way we feel.

How about walking? I have found I am calmer since doing it combined with some jogging. I handle stress better...

 

 

I am going to recommend something ...a great massage!! Talk to your man..get some olive oil and get him to take his time with you..

Do toes..rub the tension out..then heels,ankles,calves ,back of knees thighs..back,shoulders..hips arms fingers. If he takes his time I guarantee it will make you feel like one million bucks. This will make you appreciate it more...

Saggy balls remind me of those poor bulls with horns....moo. I never read that thread btw..I was worried it may be contagious..

To do your breathning..sit in a quiet place every day ..same time.Close your eyes.Picture something in your mind that makes you feel great and calm...not sex... Maybe swimming? Maybe a view of a great relaxing view looking to a river?Fluffy couds? Whatever makes you feel good ,warm ,fuzzy and a sense of ease..like a gentle breeze on your face..or being in a sea of daffodils..or wonderful garden.You get the picture? The just breathe slowly focusing on nothing else .Picture yourself there ..enjoying it like a lazy cat in the sun..nice...soothing,gentle..ahh like a warm bubble bath....

Think about the experience and nothing else while breathing gently..your shoulders relaxed...your mind in the nice place. After a few minutes open your eyes ..how does it feel? Pretty good i bet.

Get an interesting book to read as well the trick is to keep your mind filled with other more pleasant ideas. After a while you will realise the other thoughts which creep in have no place in your cuurent life and you can push them away as they no longer exist. Your new life today is really a great place to be and they do not have a right to take your smile /sunshine away..

 

I ahve seen your posts ..I have seen the good in you as have many..we are in your corner..

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TopBloke --

 

Anger Management! GREAT movie! Haven't seen it in a while.

 

I find it interesting how facing death seem to get your priorities straight in a hurry. Not that I want to face death right now but if I had a while ago, that may have fixed my wagon too.

 

When was the last time he gave me a massage? Not sure but I know it's been awhile!

 

I thought it was just me or my perception of things but TV does seem to be full of doom, gloom and drama rather than comedy and laughs. Murder shows, homicides, reality TV instead of the comedies that used to dominate primetime. I dunno about everyone else but I'd much rather have a good laugh and watch a comedy.

 

As far as plants, I have had SO MANY! And watched every one of the poor things die slowly. I must have a black thumb.

 

The most relaxing place in my mind is an island all to myself, lying in a hammock tied between two trees, listening to the tide coming in while soaking up the sun (like the lazy cat you mentioned)...

 

I'm glad you had some insight as to why keeping things fresh and new works so well. Even on such a minor level like a new pillow and sheets. Thought it was something unique about me. I'd rather relate to other people than be all by myself, though.

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Tell/hint Mr destiny to pull his finger out ,get his hands busy and take his time.

 

Go to your island everyday if you want.. No one can take it away from you. I can somehow imagine you there feeling good in your soul..with a smile on your face and the suns warmth on your skin..soothing your muscles and into your bones.. The sound of the waves just dancing all the problems of the world away as they gently touch the shore rolling the white sands in swirls . A gentle sway of the hammock like a mothers arms rocking a baby to and fro... so nice theres not a care in the world right there.. A wonderful feeling that we can have just by going there whenever we want

 

As for the plants . I promise they dont take it personally. Maybe a flowering cactus next time..?

 

Facing death for me is really quite funny..you see people worry about it..but you only do it once.Right? I have a second chance.. I see people who are spiritually dead . They walk around feeling sorry for themselves,complaining beetching ..jealous like they are already dead. They are caught up in a frantic rat race and for what? Money is good but way over rated. To me this is far worse to live like that. You see...we are alive..we have a wonderful blessing of life. So many great things in the world ..So much beauty..so much love..and occasionally even some great loving. Why not enjoy this moment? Why not stop ..look at an amazing flower? Why not? Why not just stare at some amazing cloud shapes ? Because some people simply choose not to. You see...we have the power to feel wonderful inside if we set ourselves free and dont allow the negative bs from tv,other crazy people, daily life to get inside our minds/hearts. I dont need it you dont need it and Id love to think that you are always in your favourite place..free, peaceful and a life full of the good things you need for contentment .This my dear friend is the key. I hope you re read this and I hope you have the biggest of big smiles on your face right now..

 

Sometimes I think I am the only one who has thought in the way you do .I guess we realise that we really are not the odd one out in that respect. Keeping things fresh is a must.How can describe it better??? It is like an old pair of underwear.. they get stale, dirty ..so you drop it in the bin and when you get your new ones you feel more human again.. The old depressing feelling goes with them.

 

 

 

I think you are heading in the right direction. You are not alone....but having conversation feels great.

Try my suggestions and let us know how you go...

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