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Background

I’m a 32 year old female who until 16th December 2009 was living a life I was extremely happy with. I had built up my own business, lived on my own in a nice new york style apartment and had a close network of friends giving me a social life I was really happy with. Obviously I had the normal life problems that everyone has that made life unpredictable but nothing that caused any amount of real issues. If I’m honest I had the mentality of ‘If you aren’t happy, then change things until you are’ and really couldn’t understand how people got so low that they couldn’t just sort it out themselves. Yes, now I am ashamed of those views but I guess I represent a lot of people in society and how they view people who have any type of mental illness.

To me safe meant making sure you weren’t alone on a night out with friends at 3am…. not keeping yourself safe from yourself.

Engaged meant the step before marriage…not the relationship I would try and get with mental health services.

Anxious was a state I very rarely felt and only came about by things like university exams….not the act of opening my door to try and go outside.

I could go on but I think you get the jist of how things have changed for me.

Anyway, on 16th December 2009, I was attacked by 4 men – one of which was one I was kind of seeing at the time. I am not in a place where I want to go in to this too much now but I have written it as if a story here.

For the next two years I buried my head in the sand and threw myself in to work and in all honesty thought I was ok and I had nothing to deal with. And then the 1st anniversary hit and ever since then I have gone downhill. I have since been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a major depressive episode and social anxiety. I been involved with the local crisis team a few times, think all the time about suicide (and even attempted it a couple of times) and now have a care co-ordinator (called cc in my posts) from the local community mental health team (CMHT), psychiatrist and therapist. I also spent 2 weeks in a psychiatric unit in Jan 2012. How times have changed!!

The one thing that I do to try and deal with my emotions is write things down and so I decided to collate everything on this blog. The intention of it is purely a place for me to vent and get my feelings out but if in any way this can help just 1 person then I would be really happy!

I have found notes in my diary from the beginning of March and so have tried to put them in some coherent posts but they are written more in a more factual way than emotional. Only from now on will I be writing in the present and so will write about things that happen as they happen and any emotions involved.

The aim of this blog is to show my journey (and hopefully happy ending) after something happened to me that I always thought happened to other people. By putting this online for everyone to see I want to show (myself more than anything) that I should not feel ashamed. It wasn’t my fault and that’s something I need to start accepting – maybe this is step 1!!

I am also twitter as @femaleptsd – please feel free to add me & say hi!

 

9 responses to “Background

  1. chocolatewig

    March 26, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I am so pleased you are blogging, I found it very cathartic and hope you do too. You absolutely have no blame what so ever and should be far from ashamed.

    How you have coped to date is bloody admirable, would you expect anyone you care for to have got over it and moved on by now? No? So why are you expecting that from yourself?

    Unfortunately depression causes feelings of guilt and embarrassment and as you get stronger you will see that it is part of the ‘place you are in’ right now.
    You have so much to offer,
    You deserve a quality of life
    Nothing as bad as this will ever happen again. You have made it this far don’t let them destroy you they don’t deserve that satisfaction.
    And most importantly be kind to yourself. Please..and treat yourself how you would treat a friend. Change those thoughts as if someone is telling you its them. what would you say?

     
  2. jelly

    April 5, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I cannot thank you enough for posting this. While I would never wish this on anyone, knowing and seeing I am not alone has so much meaning. I was made a victim leas than two weeks ago. I am determined to be a survivor.

    My heart and gratitude goes out to you

     
    • femaleptsd

      April 5, 2012 at 8:31 pm

      I’m really sorry you are in this position. If I can be of any help at all, please just get in touch through my contact page!

       
  3. ELIZABETH SPRATT (@ELIZABETHSPRAT1)

    May 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I went through the same thing with PTSD .It was like a roller coaster of emotions. We are all survivors in what has happened to us. Make sure you get the help that you need. It wont be like this forevever. You may have to work on things to get to the other end.

     
  4. Lloyd Lofthouse

    September 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    None of us ask for PTSD. Mine comes from my 1966 combat tour in Vietnam and I write about those experiences on one of my Blogs. Your PTSD comes from being raped. You have attempted suicide. I thought about it a lot that first fifteen years back. At one point, I had the rifle loaded and ready to slip the barrel into my mouth, but I changed my mind and faced my demons and learned to live with them. It has not been easy. It takes a lot of time and the monsters are not gone–they are never gone.

    You say you are ashamed of the way you once thought, and no one can stop you from feeling that way.

    However, I do not feel that your shame is justified. We are what we are due to the experiences we live or have lived. Until December 16th, 2009, you were a different person and the way you saw life was a direct result of your life before that day. I doubt that you could have seen things or acted any different than you did because you did not have any experiences to cause you to think differently.

    Then in one day, your life changed dramatically.

    The same thing happened to me. At age twenty, before I landed in Vietnam in 1966, I had no concept about the brutal reality of war. Instead, I had a head filled with the fantasies that Hollywood movies and books put there that war was a noble thing where heroes stood up against evil.

    But, since 1966, I’ve discovered that the world is not as black and white as many may think it is. It took me a long time, decades, to learn to live with my PTSD and accept that it is part of me as if it were a tumor and/or viruses that cannot be cut out or destroyed by radiation. There is no going back to 1966 and shedding that PTSD I brought home as it if were a winter coat. That does not mean I have to allow it to ruin my life.

    One thing I’ve learned about PTSD is that it puts us in a perpetual flight-or-fight mode on constant alert even in our sleep. In this state, our mind is flooded with cortisone and over time this chemical imbalance causes the PTSD to grow worse and has been found to damage the brain and magnifying the PTSD symptoms. After I learned that, I wanted to know if there was a way to reduce the amount of cortisone in my system and according to what I read, there are herbs that help. I went to Whole Foods and bought some but I have no way to know if it helps or not. I’m not trying to treat the PTSD with the herbs I bought but I am attempting to slow down or stop the damage from the over production of cortisone that may cause permanent damage as we, who live with PTSD, age, and I’ve lived with my PTSD for forty-six years.

    For the first 16 years after Vietnam I never talked about my experiences in the war. I drank a lot, was a very angry person and was killing myself from the booze and anger. Then in 1982, I decided to do something about it and instead of ignoring the PTSD and/or fighting it as if it were an invader, I started learning how to live with it in an attempt to dampen the damage it causes. PTSD is a demon and if we do not tame the demon it will possess us.

    In China and most of East Asia including Japan and Korea, one grows up being taught to eat the bitterness that is part of life on this Earth and by eating the bitterness, most people in China and other East Asian countries get on with life without letting the bitterness eat them. For example, my wife is Chinese. She was born in China about the time of the Great Famine 1958-1960 and experienced hunger. As a teen, she lived through and survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution. In the 1980s, she arrived in the United States on a student visa, and while earning her university degree in Chicago was robbed and raped (two different incidents), but unlike many, due to her culture, she swallowed the bitterness and moved on without allowing the experience to eat her from the inside out. The man that raped her also tried to murder her and left her for dead in the bathroom where she was raped. She was not dead. She was unconscious. When she woke up, she managed to escape that apartment into the cold Chicago snow and run barefoot through the snow with the rapist chasing her. She managed to elude him. A friend forced her to go to the hospital for an examination but soon after that she was back at work and in class because to survive she had no choice. Instead, she swallowed the bitterness and moved on.

    We, on the other hand, grew up in a culture that believes it can fix anything and if it cannot be fixed, the problem must be because we are unhappy and unwilling to let the doctor fix us and the problem is somehow rooted in our past so many end up blaming their parents or someone else for that anger and depression.

    In our Western, American culture, it seems to me that we do not know how to swallow bitterness and if we cannot fix what haunts us, then we believe it is our fault when it isn’t but only part of life as we live it. With life comes both traumatic and wonderful experiences and everything in between.

    The day I held that loaded sniper rifle and was ready to slip the barrel into my mouth (I was in my twenties then), it occurred to me that if I pulled that trigger I would never find out about the wonderful experiences that life brings so I decided to live on and discovered over the next forty years that along with the nightmares came many wonderful experiences that I would have missed.

    I learned that the cloudy, dark, brooding days do not last forever. Eventually the sun comes out and over the years I’ve felt the sunshine of what life has to offer more than I’ve felt the chill of that PTSD.

     
    • femaleptsd

      September 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment, it really meant a lot to me that you took time out to explain and show that there can be a life with PTSD!

       
  5. Lloyd Lofthouse

    September 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    You are welcome. The VA provides counseling for PTSD, but veterans have private sector support groups for PTSD where vets with PTSD from combat come together sort of similar to but not the same as Alcoholics Anonymous and recovering drug addict support groups. I suspect there are support groups for civilians with PTSD in the private sector too—possibly rape support groups where women that have been raped come together to offer support to each other. With the Internet and Goolge, it is easier than ever to find such support. It helps the healing process to know we are not alone.

     
  6. Daisydown

    November 8, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Thank you female ptsd. Your story is harrowing. I am so sorry that this was your experience. I have had ptsd for over 50 years. Like Lloyd I have tried to learn to live with it. Eventually light and life shines through the pain. Meditation can help too and deep relaxation.
    It was not your fault. You did not let yourself down, you were a victim. I wish you easier moments and freedom from the pain and memories.
    It is the cortisone released in the blood that concerned me and still does as I am aware that I’m over anxious despite my best efforts. I fear there is no easy answer.

     
    • femaleptsd

      November 8, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment although sorry to hear you have it too. Yes, the release of the stress hormone cortisone is a concern but I guess that’s what we are left to deal with isn’t it. Thanks again for your comment x

       

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