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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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Therapy Options

My cc has been round today and after meeting the head of psychology, two options have been suggested:

Option 1: one to one art psychotherapy for approx. 6 months and then straight in to a democratic therapeutic community (DTC) with a commitment period of 1day a week for 1 year and then less often for another year.

Option 2: DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) which is 1 one to one session per week, 1 group session of 2 1/2 hours and telephone support.

To be honest, I didn’t like the fact I was being offered therapy for what seemed like bpd when I’ve made it more than clear in this blog that I don’t agree with that diagnosis.

However, my cc said there are two parts to my issues; one being the PTSD and trauma and the other being social problems (i.e. being isolated, anxious and depressed). The thought process of the psychology department is that these two options deal with both parts. Option one is one after the other and option two is at the same time.

I really had no clue which one to chose but purely through the process of elimination, I have chosen option 2. This is because I really dislike the sound of dtc and I don’t think it’s for me at all. Option 2 is also shorter and I hope I’ll be out of services not long after completion.

I should be feeling happy and glad that something is finally happening and yet I can’t help but still have this bone of contention over my diagnosis and to be honest, i’m feeling very scared of finally looking my traumas in the face and trying to overcome them!

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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If you…

If you….

If you had to go back to the worst moment of your life, everyday, as if you were reliving it

If you had to stay indoors because you were too scared of seeing faces in the crowd – even if they aren’t there

If you had to endure sleepless nights where the worst of your thoughts come out to play

If you hated yourself so much that you didn’t understand how you could breathe the same air as others

If you lost time, didn’t know what happened but always came back hurt

If you sometimes couldn’t even get out of bed for fear of what you would do to yourself, never mind the fact your brain won’t allow you to

If you had to put up with this day in, day out, would you still be alive?

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Can you help?

I ususally use my blog to talk about my journey with PTSD and through it I hope I can provide help and support to those that need it. In this post, I am asking for your help.

Back in June, I put together a questionnaire as I thought I would write a pamphlet about PTSD, I soon realised this information was valuable and decided I wanted to try and write a book to help others. I would like to explain further about what I want to do with your help and this is an introduction to try and explain:

So why this book?

Well, during my time, I have found the most useful strategies have come from people who have lived with this illness and I wanted to pull all of these techniques together to help anyone else unfortunate enough to get this diagnosis. I want to set it out in an easy to use way as I know when I was at my worst, it was incredibly difficult to read a chunk of text. It will be put together in symptom order so you can just pick out the tools you need, as you need them, as well as read from front to back if you wish to do so.

However, I also want to address what this book won’t be. I am not qualified and this should not replace professional help. These are purely tools and techniques to help with the symptoms, not an answer to getting rid of them.

When I was first diagnosed with PTSD, I had absolutely no idea where to turn. I had gone to my GP after a period of feeling extremely low and to be honest was expecting to be told I was suffering from depression. However, after a few visits, PTSD was mentioned and after filling in a number of questionnaires, this was eventually given as a diagnosis.

Like I said, I had no clue what PTSD was and in a 10 minute doctor’s appointment, there was not enough time for it to be explained and so I turned to the internet. The main body of information was for war veterans and most forums and other online places were aimed at this. I really struggled to find information about PTSD for my reason (rape).

A lot of the symptoms were the same but all examples of how to deal with them were military based and I really struggled to know what to do with my own problems. And so I set up a blog and a twitter account with the intention of being able to connect with other similar individuals. This was by far the best thing I had ever done. I met some extremely courageous people and they opened my eyes to the possibility of living with this disorder and how to deal with the intrusive thoughts and anxiety that had filled my life.

I am now quite happy with my coping strategies and in the main, my ability to cope with flashbacks, which is my biggest issue and also the other symptoms.

I would love to put my experience to good use and if you would like to help and share your own tools and techniques (no matter how small you think they are), then please go to  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ptsdinfo and fill in the relevant bits.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by either commenting on this post or contacting me here

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Being Positive

This post is about how twitter has literally been life changing for me. Not only does it prove to be a kind of lifeline when I’m at my lowest, but it has also allowed me to meet some amazing people (both on and offline). Every now and then in life you meet someone who you click with and you know there will be a friendship there. On twitter I’ve been extremely fortunate to meet a few people like this and recently I’ve met some of them. All have been everything I thought and more and I feel incredibly fortunate to have come across them.

The most recent was a truly positive experience for me. The person I met made me feel extremely comfortable in myself and when anxiety hit, dealt with me in the exact way I needed. We also talked about some goals and I’ve had to dig deep, but I have found some motivation to try and see things in a longer term view and taking one area of my life at a time, set goals to work on.

I decided that after such a positive day, I needed to carry the momentum forward and so the next day I walked, on my own, outside. Doesn’t sound much I know, but this is huge for me and if I can start walking every day, I can work on my fitness as well as getting some fresh air. And so this is the plan; every day do one positive thing. Even if I’m struggling to get out of bed, this could be something as simple as having a wash.

When I had my business, I had a paper diary that I wrote lists in all the time. Things I needed to do that day and if I didn’t, what happened to them and so I’ve decided that’s what I’m going to do again. I’m going to use this system and write at the beginning of the day what positive thing I’m doing that day. Is it 27 days make a habit?? (or something like that).

Of course, as with anything in life, as soon as you start a plan something comes along to put a spanner in the works. This time it’s my medication. The side effects of the new stuff is a nightmare, I’ve had bad shaking – imagine having about 50 cups of caffeine and that will give you an idea! But it’s been the other things that have been tough, the audio hallucinations, the restlessness and itchiness. They got worse when my dose was doubled and since it’s the weekend I’m not able to get any advice so I’ve decided to reduce it back down and speak to someone on Monday. Normally I would allow this to negatively affect me but I’m taking action to manage it and moving on.

So this post is dedicated to all the wonderful people who have contacted me on twitter and through this blog, you all know who you are. You truly have had a huge impact on my life!

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Update (with a trigger warning)

**TRIGGER WARNING – I TALK OF SUICIDAL THOUGHTS BELOW**

I know it’s been a while since my last post but I’ve had to concentrate on myself and getting things a bit straighter in my head before even thinking about getting it down in writing.

I’d literally just been admitted in my last post. Well, the next day, I met with my psychiatrist and although it was about 4pm on a Friday afternoon, she was willing to spend a bit of time talking to me. I told her I wanted to go home, that the ward had done its job and kept me safe and now it was time to be discharged. She obviously didn’t agree and said that no way could I have had a 180 degree shift in 24 hours. Ok, yeah, she was right but I really do hate being in hospital. We agreed that I could go out over the weekend as long as someone was with me (don’t even get me started on the whole, I’m informal, and therefore can leave whenever I want argument!!). And she also agreed to come and see me first thing Monday morning and if I still felt as I did, then I could go home. In the meantime my anti-depressant dose was doubled.

And so on Monday I was discharged. I told the psychiatrist what she needed to hear and was allowed home. Over the next few days though at home, I realised this was wrong on my part – I wasn’t feeling safe and how no idea how I was going to keep myself ok. For the first time ever, I admitted to myself that I’d asked for discharge when I really shouldn’t have done, maybe even just a couple of extra days would have been enough.

After a weekend struggling (my cc is currently off), I called duty first thing and asked to be referred to the home treatment team. I didn’t know what else to ask for because here’s the thing:

I have a rating from 0-10 on suicidal feelings. Anything below an 8 and I know it’s tough but they are just thoughts and I can deal with them myself. Above 8 and this is when I become a risk. My team know this and I’m totally honest with them if they ask. I guess in the past I’ve been a 9.5 and took action and then regretted it immediately and either hoped I hadn’t done any damage or a few times ended up in a&e.

However, my birthday attempt was a 10. I had made my peace with things and I was ready. The week before, I was happy and finally saw an end. When I woke up in hospital, I told them, “I just want to die, please just let me”. I had never felt that before. I’d always felt some kind of relief, but I was truly gutted.

I struggled for weeks with this feeling of devastation and went on to make another plan. This time however was when I ended up in the mental health unit at hospital and obviously the plan was scrapped for now.

So what next? Since last week I’ve had the home treatment team (htt) and I’ve tried to be as honest as I can with them and have been glad of the break in my days and I guess, ultimately an interruption to my ruminating thoughts when I see them. They can’t change how I feel though and to be honest, I’ve had a testing time trying to bring my number down to a manageable level.

I met again with my psychiatrist and we openly discussed things. I explained about me thinking I’d got it wrong in discharge but that it would be no use to go back in now, that my suicidal thoughts were still there but the intent was less and I could be trusted on my own. I know, and have mentioned before, that she runs a high risk management plan with me, but she does so knowing that if asked, I will be honest. (The reason I managed such a serious attempt on my bday was because I cancelled appointments so my cc couldn’t ask me.)

Anyway, in that appointment, we decided to try a new drug called abilify (new for me, not new on market). I’m kind of at the stage now where I’ll try anything and so I am taking it on a low dose this week and then having it doubled next week.

I think I will be discharged from htt next Monday as well as there isn’t anything else that can be done with them. And then it’s just a waiting game; waiting for my therapy re-assessment (that my psychiatrist said she is chasing up) and starting from there again.

Sorry, I’m aware this post is all over the place but that’s similar to my thoughts right now!

 
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Posted by on October 9, 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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