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Wow, this is so eye opening. I never thought this is what I would of had, but it is. Its been so hard recently after my mom lost our house and left my 3 year old daughter and I homeless while she was in and out of hospitals for mental illness. I was 17 at the time. it was driving me crazy not knowing what was wrong with me, but now its just shocking.

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Really great tips to deal with PTSD,  its very common to have such symptoms after a traumatic incidents. So don't feel alone. Just don't spend time alone, find your happiness in small things, spend time with family, talk to others.

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Hi everyone.

This is a really great thread about PTSD.  Thank you to those that posted the informative articles.

I was officially diagnosed with PTSD by my online therapist 2 days ago.  I've had it for a year or more now, but it was never diagnosed as this is the first time I've sought help for the problem.  My official diagnoses are Dental Phobia, Anxiety (With Panic Attacks) and PTSD.

Long story short, I have been repeatedly traumatized by dentist and other doctors/professionals who work with teeth including specialists.  I've needed a lot of dental work over the years and I'm only 29.  The trauma first started at age 9 and has gotten worse and worse ever since.

The phobia started at age 9 and has gotten increasingly worse.  It became a full blown phobia in 2011, when I was 24.

My therapist and I are working on CBT and exposure therapy.  My current dentist is aware of my issues and he is also helping me with exposure therapy as a part of my dental treatments.  I've got a good team together now and we are on the road to getting me back to good dental and emotional health.

JJ

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New year's 2014... My regular cabbie left me stranded and it was close to midnight, around 11 and I was struggling to find a cab over the phone... I go out to look for one, carrying bottles and what not as I was going to a friends party, I also owed him $ so I had $500 on my wallet. After 5-10 mins of waiting I just feel a bad vibe and decide to walk back to my apartment (this could be cause I was coked up and drunk).

As I'm opening my gate I see 2 guys walking at me with a gun... I literally was 3-5 secs away from being mugged/possibly shot if my house was farther away I dont think it would have been good. As I'm closing the gate the guys just stop and stare at me, p***** that they missed their coin. I went upstairs loaded my gun and waited there while doing more coke thinking, in coke psychosis they were going to try and come in. The fireworks didnt help, they sounded like bullets in my head. I felt terrified.

Since then I developed a little PTSD I feel. I get extremely violent when I feel the threat of someone, anyone. I cant stand fireworks.

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Person hugs fake fur blanket to faceTrauma is defined as an injury, either physical or emotional, which can lead a person to experience psychological, physiological, and emotional distress. This distress can manifest in our thoughts, emotional experiences, and body sensations. When these symptoms persist, this sometimes leads to the development of posttraumatic stress, also known as PTSD. Posttraumatic stress is a condition that can significantly affect a person’s ability to enjoy life, relate with others, and function normally.

Signs of Posttraumatic Stress

Posttraumatic stress can manifest as frequent fearfulness, persistent unwanted thoughts such as flashbacks and nightmares, and avoidance of certain people, situations, or stimuli. Individuals with PTSD often describe feeling outside of their body, “disconnected” from themselves and others and often experiencing a sense of “meaninglessness.”

PTSD can originate from a single traumatic incident or from chronic traumatic stressors experienced over the course of a lifetime. These traumas can include, among other things, abandonment or a lack of nurturance from key attachment figures. Commonly held beliefs by a person experiencing PTSD are “It was my fault” or “I am unsafe” to more defective beliefs, such as “I am unlovable” or “I am incapable.”

Find a Therapist for Trauma / PTSD

 

It is important to know that while these beliefs are deeply ingrained and painful, each of us holds the capacity to heal. With proper treatment, one can process through these traumatic memories, connect with
strengths and resources, and allow healing to take place.

Shifting a Negative Memory into a Positive One

Given that PTSD generally has to do with negative memories leading to negative emotional experiences, the best immediate antidote when experiencing emotional distress is to bring up or “install” a positive memory. Installing positive memories refers to a person’s ability to intentionally generate a positive memory and allow it to shift their present emotional state. When done correctly, doing so can effectively alter a negative emotion into a positive one.

To do this, think of a memory that brings up a feeling of warmth or safety. What image comes to mind? What can you see, smell, taste, hear, or feel? When you think about this positive memory, what do you believe about yourself? How does this memory make you feel? Where do you experience that positive feeling in your body? Bring up all of those details and allow yourself to experience the positive experiences related to this memory.

Other things to do when triggered:

  • Sniff an aroma. Do you have a favorite aroma? Eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, maybe one of your favorite herbs? Take a sniff. Notice any shift in your affect? Aromas are an easy and immediate way to shift negative affect. A pleasant aroma activates the limbic system, stimulating a deep-seated positive emotional response.
  • Chew a candy. Have you ever noticed that your mouth gets dry when you get distressed? This has to do with the sympathetic nervous system, also known as the natural stress response. Sucking a candy is an effective way to generate saliva, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. This can also be done by chewing gum, drinking water, or just by generating saliva.
  • Notice two objects in the room. Have you ever noticed that when you get triggered, you respond disproportionately to the situation? When we get triggered, we are mentally and emotionally responding in a way that is more related to our past than our present. When you notice this start to happen, look around the room and bring your attention to two physical objects in the space. Just notice these two objects. Shifting your attention to the space will bring your awareness back to your present orientation. This is a hallmark of mindfulness.
  • Carry an anchoring object. Do you have a person who represents a quality of nurturance, protectiveness, or wisdom? Do you have an object or symbol that represents something meaningful? A picture, a rosary, a favorite quote, or a piece of jewelry? These things are resources and strengths to utilize when overcoming PTSD. Carrying or holding an anchoring object can help bring the positive emotions related to these resources into your current emotional state.

© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Lisa Lerner, LCSW, therapist in New York City, New York

 

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Effects - Detatched and Disconnected @

You’re Not Crazy! – Disconnection from Reality Is Common in Anxiety Sufferers

September 10, 2014 by Marie Glenmore 

Do you ever feel like you’re outside your body, looking at yourself – as though your actions aren’t really yours? Do you ever have the sensation that you are living in a dream, and nothing around you feels real? If the answer is yes, does it make you feel a little bit crazy sometimes?

When Nothing Feels Real: @Derealization  @Depersonalization and @Anxiety

These are phenomena called depersonalization and derealization, and you may be surprised to learn that it’s actually quite common in psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. They are especially common during panic attacks, but depersonalization and/or derealization (DP/DR) can happen at any time. For instance, derealization is something I’ve experienced throughout most of my life, and strangely enough, it has never occurred while I was actually having a panic attack.

DP/DR can be incredibly distressing. These experiences tend to fuel further anxiety and panic attacks, and perpetuate the feelings of DP/DR. It can become a vicious cycle that feels impossible to break, and this is often very frightening for those who don’t fully understand what’s going on.

If it’s happening to you, I hope you can take some comfort in knowing that it happens to many of us, and it does not mean you’re crazy, or that you’re going crazy! Despite feeling uncomfortable or scary, it’s actually not dangerous and will not cause lasting damage.

Disassociation through Derealization and Depersonalization

Depersonalization and derealization are considered to be dissociative symptoms, which can occur on their own, or alongside other disorders. It is often a result of past trauma, but can also come about after experiencing prolonged stress and anxiety.

Essentially, depersonalization is feeling divorced from your sense of self – that feeling that you’re watching yourself do things, or that you’re not in your body. Derealization is a state in which the things — or even people — around you do not feel real.

Chronic DP/DR is classified as a dissociative disorder, which can occur on its own, but is often comorbid with other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. It often comes about from severe traumatic events, but can also be a result of prolonged stress and anxiety. DP/DR — when not induced by drugs, alcohol, or another health condition — is thought to be a coping mechanism of the brain that gets “switched on” in order to allow to brain to experience stress or trauma less intensely. (This is why it’s a common occurrence during panic attacks.)

However, it’s important to note that DP/DR can happen even when you do not feel particularly stressed or upset. Sometimes, when it comes on unexpectedly like this, it can feel even more disturbing.

Common DP/DR experiences include:

Feeling disconnected from your body, or that your actions aren’t your own (depersonalization).

Being in a dreamlike state, or feeling as though you’re looking at everything through a haze or fog (derealization).

Feeling like an alien or a stranger, even in familiar places; in severe instances, you may not recognize people or things you know.

Questioning everything, even things that you once felt certain of – your faith, the reality of everything around you, and even your purpose and what it means to be alive.

Feeling that the things are lacking in significance, as though they are lacking in depth and meaning.

A sense of hyper-awareness, as though you cannot stop over-thinking or over-analyzing everything.

Feeling totally absorbed in your own thoughts, or even feeling that you are in your own world or dimension; sometimes finding yourself in a place and not remembering how you got there

Not remembering what happened during the dissociative state (though this is certainly not always the case)

Managing Depersonalization and Derealization

The good news is that depersonalization and derealization caused by anxiety are not actually dangerous, even if it feels particularly distressing. For most people who do not have a chronic dissociative disorder, these states eventually pass. The best thing to do is not fight it, since this can cause more stress or panic and feed the cycle of anxiety and DP/DR.

Here’s what’s been helpful for me and others I know who experience DP/DR:

Take a deep breath or practice breathing exercises.

Focus on mindfulness and whatever’s going on in the present moment – this can help keep you “grounded.”

Practice regular meditation and yoga. These activities increase your awareness of your own body and mind, which can help to prevent that disconnected feeling. Additionally, over time, yoga and meditation can greatly aid in emotional healing and recovery from anxiety disorders.

Try to keep busy. Many people report that they don’t struggle with DP/DR as much when they’re busy. It tends to be more common when you’re alone or not doing anything in particular.

Find a helpful distraction, such as a funny video or an absorbing book. Distractions don’t work for everyone, but for some, they help pull them back down to reality.

Avoid alcohol and other drugs, as they typically intensify the feelings of DP/DR.

Make sleep a priority – fatigue also intensifies dissociative states.

Reach out to someone you trust. We are often hesitant to talk about these feelings because we don’t want people to think we’re “crazy,” but maintaining a connection with others is important to prevent further withdrawal from reality.

Explore these issues with a therapist

My personal favorite strategy: Accept what is happening, remind yourself that it’s just a little “glitch” in the brain, and even try to embrace it if possible.  When derealization kicks in for me, I like to go for a long walk, preferably in the woods or someplace with a lot of natural beauty. I may feel like I’m walking in a dream, but usually by the time I get home, things feel real to me again. However, any physical activity can potentially have this effect – go to the gym, dance, take a yoga class. These are all great options.

An Important Note on DP/DR and Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines such as Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin are commonly prescribed to anxiety patients, but ironically, they can induce DP/DR in people, especially after long-term use. This is the case even if you always take your medication exactly as prescribed and keep a consistent dose. In fact, the most intense period of derealization I’ve ever felt was during the months when I was prescribed Klonopin twice a day.

Additionally, stopping benzodiazepine use is also known to cause depersonalization and derealization. This can last even after other withdrawal symptoms have subsided.

Therefore, anxiety sufferers who experience DP/DR should consider whether these drugs may do more harm than good for them,  and explore other medication-free coping strategies.

 

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I was raped by my father starting when I was only 5 years old. It continued for approximately 4-6 years. I first told my sister when I was afraid it would happen again, I was 12. I am now 13 and still have nightmares. I am going to a therapist once every other week. I have no idea wether or not my father is in jail or not. My mother remarried when I was 6. She gets mad at me for not being "nice" or "kind" to my stepfather. What she doesn't understand is that I don't trust anyone that is a father like figure in my life. I'm not sure if I will ever trust that kind of person again. I feel like she hates me. I have thought about overdosing or ******* myself more than 16 times in the last 3 months. Thanks to my loving and caring boyfriend, and all of my amazing animals. I don't know what to do. Should I run away? Should I say goodbye to this world? I really need to know. And thank you to anyone who answers me!

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I can understand the lack of trust towards a father figure after that. If you do come back and read this just hang in there, and be 100%honest with your therapist. That's the only way it works. 

I was in an induced coma back in 2008 for chemical exposure, which caused lung and kidney failure. Ever since I got out of the hospital, my life feels like some sort of screen play. Everything's gone down hill. I've lost much of my closest family, can't keep a job, got totally worked over by the woman I loved, and now am trapped living back with the parental...who takes every cent I make. When I have a job.

I am convinced sometimes that I am actually dead, and this is hell. It's my life...just gone terribly awry. 

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I have finally started treatment for ptsd, many years after coming home. I've lived with it so long that I don't know how to live without it. 

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I've had similar cases like these too within my family and let me assure you, the support of your family members and loved ones play a critical part in healing yourself. The rest you do on your own by reading and coping up with other depressed people. I cured my anxiety dizziness which I got afterwards just by reading a post to which I'll share the link when I'm done. I hope you get well and cure yourself of all the things you are facing. Lots of prayers, love and support! Take care and goodluck!

*link removed*

Edited by Natasha1
Link in violation of ToS

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I was diagnosed with having PTSD by my psycho-therapist after seeing her about 5 year abusive "relationship" with what turned out to be a sexual predator who was 20 years older than me, and who essentially held me under his brainwashing manipulation between the ages of 21-26. I got out when I was 26 and moved out but he got my address (out of me...) I hadn't awakened to the horrors of exactly what he was until several months later, but it was a very slow awakening out of a very long coma of being under someone's abusive manipulative, coercive and ultimately utterly humiliating "spell" for so long in my younger adult life. I really have a hard time coping with myself after that happened to me. I started opening up to it to family members and to friends, and a therapist did help but I still struggle and have relapse days where I just don't think I can go on with the vivid memories of his humiliation and sexual exploitation and abuse he inflicted upon me. I have joined other forums in the past to talk about this, I even managed to let another type of pervert into my life through a "support forum"....that's another layer on my PTSD I now battle, but honestly my life's just been going south, and I feel my health and wellbeing going with it, every day. 

 

I am here because I really need to reach out as I get to a point in my life where I am still deciding if it's worth the struggle.

Edited by PineappleBlossom
addition to text

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When I first learned that the term ptsd was being applied to non veterans it really upset me but then I met a very fine doctor at the VA, right after my brother and fellow police officer were ambushed and killed. After talking for awhile, discussing my life, how and where I lived she tells me that my trauma didn't begin when I was overseas, that it actually started way back then and made worse by his death. Now I see it in so many young men and women and truly understand. So please hang in there everyone. By the way what I learned from her and additional clinics has helped me more than the meds I used to take. So my apologies for my ignorance and I sincerely am supportive and want nothing but wellness and good days for all of you.

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On 6/14/2016 at 2:18 PM, Horses4Life said:

I was raped by my father starting when I was only 5 years old. It continued for approximately 4-6 years. I first told my sister when I was afraid it would happen again, I was 12. I am now 13 and still have nightmares. I am going to a therapist once every other week. I have no idea wether or not my father is in jail or not. My mother remarried when I was 6. She gets mad at me for not being "nice" or "kind" to my stepfather. What she doesn't understand is that I don't trust anyone that is a father like figure in my life. I'm not sure if I will ever trust that kind of person again. I feel like she hates me. I have thought about overdosing or ******* myself more than 16 times in the last 3 months. Thanks to my loving and caring boyfriend, and all of my amazing animals. I don't know what to do. Should I run away? Should I say goodbye to this world? I really need to know. And thank you to anyone who answers me!

My God my heart breaks for you, it must have been and is horrible but don't run away and definitely don't take those damn pills. Sounds like you got yourself a fine man plus your animals. Please know that not all men or father's are your sperm donor, most of us are good men who love and would do ANYTHING for our children. I hope you find a way to cope with your trauma and are able to live the best life ever possible. 

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