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What are the most common symptoms of PTSD?

A couple of weeks ago, I put a post up asking for people to fill in a questionnaire for me (seen here). I’m not sure if anyone would be interested but this is the responses from 65 people on their most common symptoms – remember you are not alone in this!

PTSD symptoms

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Tough Week in PTSD Land

Since my last post, I have been in a pretty bad state. I’ll be honest and am still struggling to see things any differently to how I did in my previous post, but this is a quick update on what’s happened since.

In terms of services, I had been avoiding my care co-ordinator in the run up to my attempt. This was for two reasons; firstly I am very honest with her and I knew that if she asked me anything about suicidal thoughts etc, then I would have been honest and told her, thus defeating the point of my plans. Secondly, I was still so in the air after the therapy decision that I truly didn’t know what she could do for me anymore.

So whilst I had been avoiding her, my cc had tried to get in touch via mail and on my bday she was on weekend duty and left me a voicemail wishing me a happy birthday. And then when I checked my mail on the day after I got out of hospital, she had also sent me a birthday card (yes I know how lucky I am to have the cc I do!). However, all in all, I had avoided her for about two weeks and so when I called last Tuesday to speak to her and she wasn’t in, I asked duty to leave her a message to call me as soon as she could. Just so you know, I never say as soon as possible – I figure that she knows I need calling back and has her own triage system so by me saying that, it was showing the urgency.

Luckily, she phoned first thing weds morning and arranged to come straight out. It went as well as it could have done. We spoke about me feeling I had no support in the two weeks that they knew were my worse and she explained her point of view. That in the past, I have taken to bed, hidden under the covers and when things have passed, I’ve got back in touch. She explained that she was trying to respect that and not hound me, but yet know she was there by sending letters etc. I understood her point and realised that plus avoiding her for the above reasons, I had to take a huge part of the responsibility of why I had no support.

I told her how I was currently feeling, and she said she couldn’t leave me knowing I was still suicidal but I explained that I didn’t have any means and I was in such a mess that I couldn’t be bothered to do anything. That I trusted myself. We put a huge emphasis on my word as I always keep it and she knows that. And so she left but arranged to come back on Friday.

To be honest, nothing had really changed in those two days. I’d managed a shower, which was huge, but I was still very reflective and still physically not feeling great. We discussed my options as she was due annual leave for two weeks. She explained that if I had spoken to her earlier than Wednesday I’d be in hospital now but she’s hoping we just need to ride the wave, in the community, and then try and move forward. I told her I was never going back to hospital and if she says that then it just pushes me to put my wall up if feeling that way. She said that on that statement alone, she didn’t feel she could just leave me to stay under my duvet in the future and if I didn’t answer her calls, she’d be knocking on the door with a warrant. I explained I didn’t mean it that way and she knew that I didn’t, that honesty is important to me and will continue to have my word.

Anyway, after going back and forth with the options available (home treatment team, duty etc), we decided on a colleague of hers stepping in to her shoes for the two weeks and doing visits etc and also being a point of call if I needed it.

And that brings me pretty much to this week. Since seeing her on Friday, I haven’t been out of bed except for a quick 4am visit to the supermarket and a few 5 or 10 min episodes on the sofa. I haven’t showered and not eaten much or drank much. Stupidly, I think if I don’t drink then that means I don’t need to get up for the toilet. I’ve not slept for longer than 25 mins a handful of times since last Tuesday. My mum has been back from holiday since Friday and I haven’t seen her since then and I cancelled the appointment with my cc’s colleague. I know I’m isolating myself, but right now I just can’t be bothered. Whilst some see it as negative, it also means that whilst I can’t be bothered to get up, I also can’t be bothered to do anything about my suicidal thoughts!

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Psychiatrist Appointment

Today I had my quarterly psychiatrist review to see how I am getting on and if anything can be changed with medication etc. Normally my care co-ordinator is there as well but she couldn’t make it today so it was just me and my psychiatrist. I actually get on quite well with her, I think she is fair and I know that she backs the high risk management plan my care co-ordinator uses with me and without her, I’d be in a very different place right now.

Each appointment basically takes the same brief outline with questions such as:
How are you?
Do you think you are better or worse than last time you were here?
How do you think your meds are working?
How is work?
How do you see your future?
etc…

I generally struggle with these appointments because it feels like you have to bare your soul and then just be able to switch off all emotions once you’ve done that. It was all going ok until she asked about work and I told her about recent issues with my main client and with a smaller one which has left me with little income (I’m self-employed). In response my psychiatrist said she doesn’t think I’m fit for work and I should think about stopping it altogether at the moment.

I can see where she is coming from but I also think work has given me the incentive to get up at times and taken my mind off things. It has helped with my self esteem as I’ve known whilst working, my clients see some worth in continuing with my service and therefore that I am good at something.

We also spoke about suicidal thoughts and my recent overdose. I explained that I’m currently struggling daily with thoughts but they have just been thoughts. I told her that I have the means and a plan but that’s all and the last time I seriously thought about it was this morning but my plan needed darkness so I didn’t do anything. I guess this shows me how precariously on the edge I am – if it was dark and I had those feelings would I have gone through with it? I can’t answer that right now!

My psychiatrist then told me that on Friday, her, my cc and a psychologist were going to be meeting to discuss the way forward in terms of therapy. Is this not something they think I should be involved in? I only hope they are meeting to discuss options and not to make a decision as I honestly believe I need to be part of that final choice.

The next thing we spoke about was my medication and how I was finding it. I said I felt the promazine (for night anxiety) wasn’t as effective anymore and that I’m not sure the fluoxetine (anti-depressant) has ever been much use. She explained to me that she didn’t believe I had a major depression and so didn’t think upping my anti-depressant would help. Instead she believes because I have been victim of severe abuse, this is just the reaction to that abuse.

To be honest, that has completely thrown me. When I had depression as a diagnosis, I could tell myself, it’s ok, your brain isn’t working properly and that’s ok. But now I feel like this is my fault, that it’s about my ‘reaction’ and therefore I’m in the wrong.

I always remember an equation someone taught me; e+r=o (event + response = outcome). They said that the only thing you can control in that equation is your response to change the outcome. Now all of a sudden I am being told its my response to the event that is leaving me feeling this way, and that I have full control of that response (as opposed to only some and depression the other), I feel like a complete failure.

So basically the outcome of today was that

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s Been A Long Time

So it’s been a while! A lot has happened since my last post but I’m not sure I’m ready to fully go in to things at the moment. I am only just feeling like I am coming out of the other side of what I feel has been a bad depression and I’ve not had the motivation to be out of bed never mind write a blog post.

A brief update on my therapy – A couple of weeks ago my therapist told me she would be going on maternity leave in November. It felt like she expected some kind of reaction from me but I offered her my congratulations and we briefly discussed what we would be doing in that time and then moved on.

In this weeks therapy session, she said she had been checking how many actual sessions we had left and with her taking annual leave, we have 9 sessions (doesn’t sound much when put in figures rather than months!). I asked what would happen at the end of our time, thinking that over the last few sessions someone else might be introduced to take over. She explained she thought we would be done with the coping strategy side of things and so it would be a natural conclusion and I would go back on the waiting list for a different type of therapy – the waiting time is between 6 & 9 months plus depending on the type of therapy.

I asked if she wasn’t going on maternity leave would I still be stopping with her and moving to a different therapy? She explained the plan was to work on coping strategies and then trying again with EMDR with her, so I guess my question is why does the plan change because she is going on maternity leave, surely it should still be the same? But instead I’m being told that we won’t do EMDR and instead I’ll be looking at a different therapy (CAT and more psycho dynamic therapies have been mentioned) but that will be 9 months later. When I was waiting for therapy initially I was sold emdr as a magic pill, that is the best treatment available for PTSD, so why all of a sudden isn’t it?

I know I should be grateful that I’ve had therapy at all on the NHS and for the period I have (about 9 months), but I guess this is me feeling the cuts that have taking place as I don’t think they are replacing her when she goes, hence me going on a waiting list.

I’ve already seen her leaving have an effect my therapy; on weds, we spoke about the fact I’m scared to sleep because I can wake up screaming and dripping in sweat after a nightmare. We discussed exposure therapy in terms of writing out in detail my nightmare after I’ve had one and then in therapy exposing myself to it (reading it back) and doing this again and again, over weeks, so the impact of it diminishes.

As with any exposure therapy, the more you expose yourself to it, the less impact it has. But I told my therapist that I was worried we would open a can of worms and in 9 sessions wouldn’t be able to deal with that as well as the other stuff she has planned and then where would I be? Feeling exposed, vulnerable and on a 9 month waiting list!! Not too sure on this one what to do?

I know people have advised me to fight it, that it’s wrong but I know at the minute I’m fighting so many battles in myself that I can’t take another one on!! I had a visit from a cpn (community psychiatric nurse) who is covering for my usual cc and I asked her about the therapy thing and she basically agreed with therapist. She said that my cc will have access to psychology services in the meantime to ask questions and maybe work through things with me that they recommend but surely they are totally different jobs?

Anyway, that’s my rant over for today!!

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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24 Hours of Someone with PTSD

For those that follow me on twitter, writing this is number 5 out of 10 on distraction technique.

This time yesterday I had pretty much woken up from my day of dozing after my EMDR session. I felt horrid when I got back in the morning and so I took some of my sleeping tablets and after sleeping on it, I felt like I needed to be a bit easier on myself and give it chance to work.

I tried to do something for me and so took a long bath to try to relax and get rid of some of the emotions that had been brought up by the earlier session. I then wrote a couple of blog posts whilst I had some concentration and spent the night on twitter. It was at this point that I began to feel my emotions coming back about my dad and so I took another lot of sleeping meds to knock me out (about 2am).

I woke up at 4.30am curled up on the floor at the side of bed screaming – yet another night terror. No matter how many of these I have, I never get used to the feeling of waking up and for few seconds not knowing where I am and adrenaline pumping round body!! I went and made myself a hot water bottle, went back to bed and just lay crying for the next hour or so.

I was scared of going back to sleep again so I just lay, no reading etc watching my room get lighter and lighter. I couldn’t get up, I had no want to so I just carried on lying there. I tried going on twitter but every time I tried catching up on tweets, I got frustrated because I had to re-read too many times, so I gave up on that as well.

I’m often asked (by cc and psychiatrist), if I am in bed all day what do I do? And to be honest the answer is I don’t know! Time goes by and I’m still lying there. If you can remember the times when you are driving along and before you know it you are at your destination but for the life of you can’t remember the journey – that’s the best way I can describe it. my journey is the time and when I look at it I have no idea how I got from previous time to this one.

This afternoon I got a text from my local car garage saying my MOT had cost £410 and that was it. Such a small thing which normally I would work out a way to deal with it (I don’t have that money at min due to lack of work), turned out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I was supposed to pick up medication today (I’m still on weekly scripts), but there is no way I can leave my bed at the minute and I’m not sure having tablets here is a good idea right now!

And that’s the past 24 hours, nothing majorly significant but a number of small issues that I have completely lost the coping ability for. So here I am, working through my distraction technique plan! Number 5 done and still feel the same!!

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Blue Monday

I am in a bad place which means I might be a touch more sensitive than I normally am but one thing is really getting to me today. This whole concept of blue Monday. I saw a headline “Today is Blue Monday for Depressed Brits” and think that sums up the ignorance attached to depression. It’s also all over the social media “tips for the depressed to get through blue Monday”.

So here is my issue; feeling low because of ‘normal’ life stresses is NOT depression. I do not choose what day of the week or year I feel like I’m in a black hole. This whole concept only strengthens the stigma attached to mental health that people should just ‘get on with it’ and cheer up.

Today I feel like I don’t have a way out. I feel like there is no end to what is happening to me. I feel that the only choice I have is which method I die by in order to stop this pain. I don’t feel this way because it is the 3rd Monday in January!!!

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Still with the crisis team

I decided not to write this straight away after my last appointment as I wanted to write when I wasn’t so emotional (not in a good or bad way, just in an emotional state).

It was the same lady from the previous 2 times which I was quite surprised with. My only other experience of the crisis team was heavily marred by the fact I hardly saw one person twice in the whole 6 weeks, nevermind the same person 3 times in a row. Before she arrived I tried to calm myself and just accept what she might say. I made sure there were no dishes on show (ok, so I put the dirty dishes in a cupboard, but one step at a time eh!!).

I’ll admit, my guard was well and truly up. I was expecting the patronising to begin, and I wasn’t disappointed. I continued to answer the questions honestly, but just going through the motions (in their words, they just needed to make sure I was alive and she had done that). But one of her comments made me bite. I said one of the things I really struggle with at the minute is that I will never be the same person that I was before the attack. She said that it was only me stopping me from being that, that the world hadn’t actually changed. This was my response, I might not make sense now but it did at the time to me:

The map is not the territory. Basically, we use our own personal internalised map to make our own individual realities. When we watch the news and see terrible things every day, it doesn’t have an impact on us because it doesn’t affect our own realities. So back to my situation. I did experience it, it did change my internal map and so my reality has actually changed. Whilst I can apparently work to change my internal map in a positive way, I can never remove the actual event.

That’s how I tried to explain it to her and to her credit she did say she had never thought of it in that way. I’m glad she was open to new ideas but surely that shouldn’t be a new idea to her in her job role?

She also told me that she didn’t think there was much they could do until I was on some medication. I tried to explain that neither my GP, psychiatrist or cc thought medication would be that helpful as I needed to deal with the flashbacks as the thing that’s causing me most trouble. And even if they started me on meds on Monday (which was supposed to happen but hasn’t), I said I thought they took 4-6 weeks to kick in and so why would that make any difference to her visits now? I honestly wasn’t meaning to be difficult, I just like to know answers to things. I think a lot when I am on my own and hate that I sometimes think of things I should have asked and didn’t.

She said that if she said the sky was blue, I would argue it wasn’t. I replied, no, I would ask how do you know my blue is the same as your blue? My point being, I’m not in it to argue, to disagree with everything they are saying. I want to understand why they are saying it and if I have a different opinion, tell them so they know where I am coming from – is this so wrong? Does this make me the patient from hell?

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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