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Poor Choice Of Words


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Hi,

 

I suffer with PTSD and while it's generally under control it's surprising to me how some choice of words from other people sometimes bother me quite a bit.

To illustrate, I was at the Gastroenterologist today and he's asking me about my medical history, meds etc, so I told him I am under psychiatric care for PTSD. His first words were: "were you raped?" I didn't particularly care for that question, didn't seem very tactful, but I answered anyway, that no I wasn't raped, I grew up in a very abusive family. His answer was "Oh so only physical and emotional abuse." I didn't care for the "only". I know he didn't mean anything offensive, but still, it made me feel belittled. Like what I went through wasn't that bad, and I was a weakling for getting PTSD from it. Has anyone noticed some poor choice of words from people about your PTSD?

 

Also, why is it that every time I have physical issues, as soon as I mention I also have PTSD people sort of go "aaahhh" as if every medical problem I have must be caused by my PTSD (read: all in my head)? Does PTSD make me somehow immune from normal physical ailments? My stomach pain must be caused by PTSD because... what, I am immune to the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers? How does that work? Again I realize that attributing everything to psychosomatic is the easiest answer but I feel like I am not taken seriously. Anyone else has had this kind of experience?

 

Thank you for reading this. English isn't my first language, so thank you for your patience.

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He sounds incredibly unprofessional.

I really get where you are coming from. I've had PTSD since I was very young due to emotional and psychological abuse from my father, but I was diagnosed with everything from depression to borderline personality disorder. It wasn't until I was raped that i was diagnosed with PTSD. It took me two years to tell anyone what happened and within that time, I was being treated for bipolar disorder. Everything I did/felt was supposedly part of my bipolar disorder. No one ever showed sympathy towards me until I told them I was raped. However, that sympathy was short lived. No one felt comfortable bringing up after things cooled down, and I certainly didn't either. I still don't but sometimes when I'm having a bad flashback, I break down and I tell someone (only my bf so far) what I'm feeling, the details of what happened and it has only been misinterpreted as me looking for a pity party. For most, my experience is unrelatable and too disturbing to hear about.

Yet, the emotional and psychological abuse I suffered growing up is not a big deal. I feel there is no space to discuss PTSD. You are seen as either overreacting or too broken to be human. The rape haunts me, but so does recounting it to the police, being driven by where it happened, being told nothing could be done, and my father telling me it was my fault and then asking if that was why I gained weight. Many things haunt me that happened before any of that too. Would people think I had an excuse to feel bad if I wasn't raped? Probably not unless I was a veteran or a victim of a deadly assault and that really bothers me. Regardless, in the end it doesn't matter if you have an "excuse" because they only ever pretend to care.

Honestly, the more disturbing your experience is, the less they want to be around you. They become afraid of you acting emotional; they no longer feel at ease around you. If they think your problems are trivial, they can always just tell you to "get over yourself". If they see your pain as something serious, they know they can't react that way, so they see it as better to just avoid you altogether. Nether situation is good, so PTSD is extremely alienating.

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I am very sorry to hear, UFO

Unfortunately we still live in a society that largely condones hitting children, so when I say I have PTSD from family physical abuse, people seem to think I just got one or two swats to the butt and my fragile little mind blew it all out of proportion. 

Because of what you say, I prefer to keep my mental health to myself. You are right, people don't know how to deal with it, or act around you. There's this media fueled idea that people with PTSD are very unstable, and go crazy at random moments because of flashbacks, etc, so everyone has to walk on eggshells around them lest they trigger some violent outburst. In fact we are the perfectly regular person they meet at the coffee shop, or sit next to on the bus, or works in the office next to theirs. 

 

Besides I don't want my illness to define me. I am not the one with PTSD. I am a person. Who also happens to have PTSD. My life and personality isn't dictated by that. In fact I very rarely think about my PTSD in my daily life. I don't want it to be the first thing people think when they think of me.

 

I also notice what you say about discounting your feelings. It's very convenient to people who are being nasty to you: instead of taking responsibility for their words or actions they can just say you are overreacting because you have PTSD. Pretty sickening. That's why nobody other than my husband and my best friend know of my PTSD. 

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It really is sad that most people don't see the depths of emotional damage caused by child abuse. As a young child, you still don't know who you are or what the world is like. Everything you learn will set the foundation for how you see yourself and how you form relationships.

If a parent beats their child, what does that teach them about trust? To a child, their parent is God. Forever they will have to deal with feelings of worthlessness and fear. It doesn't just hurt the child, it continues to hurt the individual for the rest of their life. It destroys lives before they've even begun.

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Hi,

 

I suffer with PTSD and while it's generally under control it's surprising to me how some choice of words from other people sometimes bother me quite a bit.

To illustrate, I was at the Gastroenterologist today and he's asking me about my medical history, meds etc, so I told him I am under psychiatric care for PTSD. His first words were: "were you raped?" I didn't particularly care for that question, didn't seem very tactful, but I answered anyway, that no I wasn't raped, I grew up in a very abusive family. His answer was "Oh so only physical and emotional abuse." I didn't care for the "only". I know he didn't mean anything offensive, but still, it made me feel belittled. Like what I went through wasn't that bad, and I was a weakling for getting PTSD from it. Has anyone noticed some poor choice of words from people about your PTSD?

 

Also, why is it that every time I have physical issues, as soon as I mention I also have PTSD people sort of go "aaahhh" as if every medical problem I have must be caused by my PTSD (read: all in my head)? Does PTSD make me somehow immune from normal physical ailments? My stomach pain must be caused by PTSD because... what, I am immune to the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers? How does that work? Again I realize that attributing everything to psychosomatic is the easiest answer but I feel like I am not taken seriously. Anyone else has had this kind of experience?

 

Thank you for reading this. English isn't my first language, so thank you for your patience.

 

Hi SlySy,

 

I've experienced the feeling from my younger half-sister and i have to admit it hurts. Once when she found out i was in the hospital due to my depression ---- her response, "I'm not surprised" 

Some days I wish people would live our lives for a day. To actually go through the feelings, thoughts, ect .....

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Slysly,

 

This is the cr*ppy thing about ptsd if you ask me. Its about something that happened and so discussing it all supposedly leaves the door open to all sorts of insensitivity. I plucked up the courage to tell the first friend a couple of months ago and got the question in return. My answer was that I dont want to say. ou would think people would wait for one to volunteer the info.  But on top of that peoples ignorance then shows. I know for me that it is such a loaded topic that I am extremely vulnerable to those signs of ignorance. 

 

Being repeatedly beaten is a horrific thing for a child to go through and the ignorance that he showed insinuating that it could only occur from s^xual abuse is just plain ridiculous. Dr's should at least know what is in the DSm or ICD criteria even if they don't know more. Did he not absorb the whole threat or experience of serious physical harm clause? The horrors of things that don't include that type of abuse are endless. It reminds me of the other common ignorant comment of not understanding how anything outside combat can be a possible cause of ptsd. 

 

And yes it seems that if we have mental health issues then all is to do with that! 

 

Take care and I hope you find more understanding people in your life. 

Edited by Fizzle
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