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Old June 18 2014, 10:43 AM   #1
rhubarbodendron
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post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

in the aftermath of a traumatic experience I recently developed signs of post traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety attacks and a quite foolish phobia.

As we used to have a lot of military personnel here as well as firefighters and medical emergency service people I wondered if any of you have (or hopefully had - past tense) similar problems and could perhaps share some insider tips.

Besides tranquilizers, is there something one can do on one's own? Relaxation techniques etc?
What tips could you give a newbie?
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Old June 18 2014, 12:54 PM   #2
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

I definitely recommend meditation.

This one is harder but I would also advise paying close attention to your thought patterns. When you find yourself being triggered into an anxiety attack or a bout with phobia, try to determine what it is that set you off, and spend some time thinking about it, talking yourself through it rationally. This, of course, can be very difficult if your anxiety is heightened. It takes practice.

Although I don't know if therapy is an option for you, you may wish to investigate dialectical behavioral therapy. This is a common treatment (in fact, one of the few effective treatments) for borderline personality disorder (BPD), and it has some success with PTSD sufferers, as well. Even if you can't get in to see a therapist, research how DBT works and see if any of its techniques can help you in a self-directed manner. The general idea is to monitor your own thoughts and feelings so that you can learn to regulate them.

I'm sorry to hear you are dealing with this and I wish you the best of luck in learning to manage and even overcome it.
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Old June 18 2014, 01:01 PM   #3
{ Emma Snow }
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
I'm sorry to hear you are dealing with this and I wish you the best of luck in learning to manage and even overcome it.
Seconded.

I also suggest getting the advice of an actual expert. Don't listen to us armchair psychiatrists here on trekbbs.
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Old June 18 2014, 01:24 PM   #4
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

The best advice I can offer is to find someone or a group who has suffered the same sort of trauma and share. Not doing so keeps it bottled up inside and that is a recipe for trouble. In the event that you know of no one who you can share with - do it with a health care professional who is trained in that sort of thing. Confidentiality will remain in place and you still have an outlet for your issues. Having a release is key and from there you will get advice on further 'self-treatment' such as meditation, hobbies, outlet methods, and that sort of thing. Good luck. -
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Old June 18 2014, 02:46 PM   #5
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

Professional help and group therapy are definitely an asset in these cases, so listen to the other people!
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Old June 18 2014, 03:08 PM   #6
rhubarbodendron
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

thank you all for the good advice and the good wishes. Both is very helpful!

Robert, I have been rationalizing it all for the last months and am aware of the triggers and the whole mechanism. Unfortunately, while my intellect understands that it's being manipulated by my gut feeling, my guts don't get it and keep making me feel scared. I just don't know how to take that last step because I've never been in a similar situation.

That's why I saw a psychologist last week (great minds, Emilia Your concern is much appreciated!) and have an appointment for an evaluation test next Monday.
My shrink thinks that a strong tranquilizer during the attacks and developing anti-stress-rituals should do the trick but just in case we decided to try two ways and add a classical talk-about-it therapy (which is what you suggested, bbailey )


So we covered the basics, but I wondered whether there might be any additional things we could try out or any solutions we overlooked. Firsthand experience is always better than book knowledge and so it's quite possible that an armchair psychologist here has a really good trick for me to try out.


The best therapy would propably be to get myself a BF again to have a shoulder to lean on - often a hug helps more than a bottle of pills. But the males here are either taken or suitable to man any tunnel of horror...
(The shrink is nice but looks like The Spleen's twin )
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Old June 18 2014, 03:32 PM   #7
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

Sorry to hear, you´re having such troubles. I had sort of a crisis last year when I turned 40 (in fact, I´m not quite out of it yet) and tried it with yoga first to just, well, calm down. But in the end I went to a psychologist for therapy and he helped me a great deal to put things into perspective and to question my actions and thought patterns. It changed quite a bit in my life, more actually than what I bargained for
But I´d definitely recommend getting professional help to anyone who thinks they´re at their wit´s end. And sometimes it already helps to see you´re not alone with your problem.

Mario

EDIT: I just realised, this wasn´t really answering your question, but maybe it´s helpful anyway
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Old June 18 2014, 05:07 PM   #8
rhubarbodendron
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

It definitely is!
Yoga is a good idea but I think I'll first have to "partially dematerialize myself". I am somewhat equatorially challenged and couldn't possibly fold myself up like that.
I've been doing Tai Chi for decades but I am not calm and concentrated enough during a fit, so that's no option. I might end up accidentially decapitating myself when practrizing with my sword (I use a rather heavy steel sword instead of these feather light tai chi practizting swords)


I'm quite amazed at how many people have or had similar probs. It's really good to know that I'm not alone.
I talked about my problem with a colleague the other day who always seems like the paramount of calmness. He told me that last year he voluntarily spent 2 weeks as in-patient in a clinic when he suffered from a severe depression. I was pretty perplexed.
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Old June 18 2014, 05:29 PM   #9
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

Well, any good yoga teacher will tell you to adapt the yoga postures to your personal and physical abilities and not the other way around. So yoga really is for anyone, regardless of how flexible or athletic they are - yoga will pick you up right where you are. Just as a good psychologist will, BTW
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Old June 18 2014, 06:01 PM   #10
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

{ Emilia } wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
I'm sorry to hear you are dealing with this and I wish you the best of luck in learning to manage and even overcome it.
Seconded.

I also suggest getting the advice of an actual expert. Don't listen to us armchair psychiatrists here on trekbbs.
Best answer of the bunch.
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Old June 18 2014, 09:02 PM   #11
Lumos Ziyal
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

I'm glad you've already contacted a professional; that was going to be my first suggestion.

My own experience with PTSD is that meds helped very little (actually, not at all), psychotherapy helped a lot, and talking with people who'd had similar experiences was a mixed bag. YMMV, of course.

One thing that got me through episodes of anxiety/panic/fear was grounding myself -- telling myself where I was, what was happening, and that I was safe -- over and over and over until I calmed down or the triggering event ended.

Feel free to private message me if you want to talk. Gentle hugs.
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Old June 19 2014, 11:35 AM   #12
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

{{{Ziyal}}}, you're a darling!
I'm trying the convincing myself that I'm safe and it does work somewhat. I also surrounded me by pics of my friends which helps calming me down.
I've tried the meds only twice so far and the effect was not exactly noticeable (apart from a massive drop in blood pressure and distinct dizziness), but the info leaflet says it'll take up to 2 weeks till there is an effect, so I'll just have to be patient.

Mario, I had no idea that one could adapt Yoga to one's abilities. That sounds indeed interesting. I'll see if there's a good teacher in my town. In the country it's a little difficult to find someone who does such exotic things Coincidentially, the property manager's secretary does Tai Chi. We learned different styles and are now going to teach each other occasionally. That'll be fun!

I'm also thinking to get a membership in the fitness studio right across the street. I imagine that a hard workout might possibly make me too tired to worry and get scared. Plus sport makes your brain release endorphines which cheer you up.
Have any of you experience with sports as a therapy? Does it work as I imagine it or does it have no effect?
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Old June 19 2014, 12:37 PM   #13
Mario de Monti
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

The way I learned it, the yoga postures are ideals that can, but don´t have to be attained. Even the yoga teachers I met freely admit, that there are certain areas where they feel less at home or are simply lacking abilites. Only the top yoga gurus can do everything, but you don´t have to become one

In my experience sport didn´t help. Sure you´re exhausted afterwards, but the thoughts, feelings or needs always came back to me anyway. I guess it depends, if you´re really having fun doing the sport that you do or if you just do it to take your mind off of your problems. When you find a sport that you´re truly enjoying and where you can´t wait until you can do it again it may be different. Either way, it won´t do you any harm if you go ahead and try

Mario
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Old June 19 2014, 07:56 PM   #14
rhubarbodendron
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

LOL is that a hint at me being circumferencially challenged? (just kidding)
I used to be a pretty good athlete in my teens and early 20s but never really enjoyed it back then. I miss the feeling of being physically strong, though. It makes you somewhat exstatic to feel your muscles work smoothely.
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Old June 19 2014, 08:13 PM   #15
Lumos Ziyal
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Re: post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
I also surrounded me by pics of my friends which helps calming me down.


Mario de Monti wrote: View Post
In my experience sport didn´t help. Sure you´re exhausted afterwards, but the thoughts, feelings or needs always came back to me anyway.
Didn't help me much, either. Just in a very general way -- it felt good to be doing something healthy to take care of myself.

ETA:
I miss the feeling of being physically strong, though.
Ah, then by all means work on getting stronger physically if you can. Will help you feel stronger emotionally, too.
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