Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Starting Over

Welcome to my new and improved PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) blog. My old one had technical problems beyond my control. So I moved everything over here. If anyone sees this old one, please refer them to here.

Unfortunately on every blog there's always some confusion about what's ok to post and what isn't. So to help clear this up, here are some rules to follow. Keep in mind that talking about PTSD and related issues is like walking a tightrope. You want to be open and honest to be able to start healing. But you also have to be aware of the potential effect of your words on other survivors. Everybody has a different story and is at a different point in healing. The point here is, make what you say count overall. PTSD is not a curse, a plague or something that you ask for. It's never somebody's fault. Instead, it's a coping mechanism that everyone has that's designed to help them survive.

This blog contains graphic language and content. It also has "triggers" (sights, sounds, key words, etc.) that could be upsetting to PTSD survivors. If this bothers you, read at your own risk. If not, keep going and I hope this is helpful for you.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hi and welcome to the first of what I hope is many posts. I've looked all over the Net. And I have yet to find a central blog where PTSD victims/survivors worldwide can meet and talk freely. In my experience, most people don't know what PTSD means, are too busy to stop and think about it. And just don't care. It's the old out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing. So here's to hoping that this will in some small way help to change things. This blog will contain strong language and maybe controversial ideas to some people. But that's all right. The idea to be open, honest and then from that you start to heal.

A little about me. I've had severe PTSD for 35 years (due to ongoing childhood sexual abuse). I've lost jobs, relationships and friends. My family has disowned me because I'm "handicapped" and they can't be bothered with weird and freaky s**t from me. And, it's YOUR fault. Nobody gives a f**k about your thoughts, feelings, ideas and concerns. Don't be so f*****g sensitive. You'll never survive.Oh, ok. So it's my fault. Getting repeatedly raped is fun. It's what I asked for. So now just go away and deal with it? I feel like my family is long gone. The rare times when we have really superficial "conversations", it always leaves me thinking, why did I just waste ten minutes on the phone with this person? The truth is it'll never change. Call it stupid f*****g pride or whatever. But as for me, my days as being the family peacmaker are over. So now you no longer have the right to tell me it's my fault and then say, sleezy ungrateful bastard son. After all the s**t we've done for you. This is how you show respect? YOU WERE NEVER THERE FOR ME. If you can't at least fake basic respect for me as a human being (if nothing else), then f**k off. I have better things to do with my time.

Whether you've been diagnosed with PTSD or just want to know more, learning the basics can be technical and overwhelming. Here's an explanation of some basic terms to hopefully make this easier.

Is PTSD a disease?- Most therapists who are informed about PTSD say no. It's a condition that's a natural response to severe trauma: a combat situation, rape, seeing a murder, etc. Better to realize that you have a problem and get help.

What exactly happens with PTSD?- When some trauma happens its too much to cope with. So the mind disconnects or "dissociates". The mind and the body are interconnected in many ways.

There are different types of dissociation:

(DID)Depersonalisation disorder-This features strong feelings that you are detached from your body, or that your body is unreal. A person may also experience mild to moderate derealisation and mild identity confusion.

Dissociative amnesia-An inability to remember significant personal information or particular periods of time, which can’t be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. People may also experience mild to moderate depersonalisation, derealisation and identity confusion.

Dissociative fugue-A person travels to a new location during a temporary loss of identity. He or she may assume a different identity and a new life. There is severe amnesia, with moderate to severe identity confusion and often identity alteration.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)Post-traumatic stress disorder is not currently classed as a dissociative disorder, but people who experience dissociative distress frequently also meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD. They may experience flashbacks, reliving the trauma repeatedly, which cause extreme distress. This, in turn, triggers a dissociative, numbing reaction. Moderate to severe amnesia is common to both PTSD and dissociative disorders, as is derealisation and depersonalisation.

Dissociative disorder not otherwise specified (DDNOS)In DDNOS, each of the five types of dissociation may occur, but the pattern of mix and severity does not fit any of the other dissociative disorders.

Dissociative identity disorder (DID)This is the most complex dissociative disorder. It’s also known as multiple personality disorder (MPD) according to the ICD10, the British diagnostic manual. This has given rise to the idea that this is a personality disorder, although it is not. Its defining feature is severe identity alteration. Someone with DID experiences these shifts of identity as separate personalities. Each identity may assume control of behaviour and thoughts at different times. Each has a distinctive pattern of thinking and relating to the world. Severe amnesia means that one identity may have no awareness of what happens when another identity is in control. The amnesia can be one-way or two-way. Identity confusion is usually moderate to severe. It also includes severe depersonalisation and derealisation.

Why is PTSD still not being treated effectively if its so widespread?- Lots of reasons. Not all but many therapists don't receive the proper training. Many who do don't accept all the aspects of PTSD (ESPECIALLY dissociation). And people close to victims don't want to deal with what happened.Can you recover from PTSD?- It depends on the trauma and when you start to get the proper help. Unfortunately for many people there's self-denial which can mean that symptoms can continue for many years. Once you start to get the proper help, there's no magic solution.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Right now dissociating is a HUGE problem. In the morning I wake up and have hyperarousal. Your mind is racing with all kinds of thoughts mixed up. Then it's a real battle to wake up and focus on where you are. Once you get past that then the opposite (hypoarousal) starts. You have no energy, can't focus and everything takes a huge effort.Along with that dissociating is still a real problem. People with severe dissociating have lots of symptoms: you can't focus and have no energy.

Triggers can aggrevate dissociating. Triggers can be anything: sounds, colors, key words or phrases, music.adrenalin surges. Severe trauma is trapped energy in your body. The longer PTSD continues untreated the more this energy surges in your body with no relief. How do you deal with this? Diet, exercise and more sleep are some good starters. Then again it depends on the severity of the original trauma.Sometimes I feel like I'm going to disappear. I'll dissociate and then have no idea where I am or what's happened. You try to avoid triggers and do all the right things. It's a nice day and this s**t feels endless. What do I have to do to have some peace for a change?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dissociating and Multiples
One basic rule to remember with PTSD is this. The more severe the initial trauma, the more dissociating you'll do to compensate. When most people hear PTSD, what's the first thing they think of? Rambo, vets who will go postal and blow away lots of people, etc. Instead, a large majority of the population is at risk for either getting or suffering with PTSD for many many years.

PTSD can come from sexual, physical OR verbal abuse as well. Unfortunately in the States most people think of abuse as physical. They don't stop and think about the devestating effect that verbal can have. And how the combination of these is one of the worst things a PTSD victim/survivor can deal with.Let's clear up a big misconception. When trauma is severe and ongoing you'll dissociate to try and cope. If the trauma is really severe you'll develop multiple personalities. This is NOT schitzophrenia. That's a physical illness. Instead multiple personalities in PTSD are a way for your mind to cope with what's happening. When multiples develop (and if you're lucky) this combination will help you to somehow cope. The bad part happens when you finally realize that it's PTSD and you try to get the proper help. Most people at this point try to get all the personalities to work together so the person can function day-to-day.

Can you re-intergrate all of these personalities? Yes you can. But it takes a long time and might involve a mix of treatments (EMDR, cognitive and medication). More on this later.In my case I had ongoing sexual, verbal and some physical abuse all together. Right now I have about 25 multiple personalities that fight for attention. I try to get them to listen to me and understand that, yes what happened was horrible. But if we don't work together we can't survive.Who are these? The little kid, the cynical one, the shy one and others who I still don't know that much about yet. It's hard to explain. You're aware of 25 different voices in your head all competing for attention. Imagine a board meeting that has the usual mix of personalities. Arguments and various other stuff happens while you try to keep some control. But many times that doesn't work well.Last night was really rough. Lots of dissociating and many times I felt like my body wasn't there. You try to stay in control but you feel like you're going to disappear. You want to enjoy a nice sunny day. But then you start to dissociate and feel like you need to hide. But what if you're in a crowded place and there's nowhere to go? What if you're driving from home to somewhere and you have to turn around and go back again because you can't concentrate? These are some of the everyday things that many PTSD sufferers deal with all the time.

Unfortunately many politicians are using these people are political pawns and really have no freaking clue about it at all. You want to stand up and explain. But if you do most people don't want to listen. If you're not a celebrity and you go public this could have serious consequences. So what do you do?

Sorry if this seems like a lot. But thanks for sticking it out. More coming soon.


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