post traumatic stress syndrome - any advice to share?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by rhubarbodendron, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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?
     
  2. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    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.
     
  3. { Emilia }

    { Emilia } Feminazgul Moderator

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    Seconded.

    I also suggest getting the advice of an actual expert. Don't listen to us armchair psychiatrists here on trekbbs.
     
  4. bbailey861

    bbailey861 Admiral Premium Member

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    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. -
     
  5. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    Professional help and group therapy are definitely an asset in these cases, so listen to the other people!
     
  6. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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 :D)
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  7. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    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 ;)
     
  8. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  9. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    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 ;)
     
  10. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Caped Trek Mod Admiral

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    Best answer of the bunch.
     
  11. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    {{{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?
     
  13. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    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
     
  14. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    LOL is that a hint at me being circumferencially challenged? :D (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.
     
  15. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :bolian:

    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:
    Ah, then by all means work on getting stronger physically if you can. Will help you feel stronger emotionally, too.
     
  16. Leviathan

    Leviathan Captain Captain

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    +1 for trying the pros.

    Tips as requested...though take this with a grain of salt as my situation is odd and ongoing...Meds are self-defeating. Distractions & escapism work in short bursts. Like grieving, I found that acceptance that bad things happen, and doing what little I can to prevent them helps.

    I also actively choose to never, ever, let it stop me. Every hour. Every day.
     
  17. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Same here :)
    I have trouble with that acceptance bit: my head knows it but my guts refuse to listen.
    As the current fit has been lurking in the background for 3 days now without going away (a new record for me), I've decided to go for a really massive distraction and shall paint my living room and corridor in the weekend and finally hang up those 2 huge picture frames with vacation pics that stand around in my attick for almost 2 years now. Plus there's a laundry himalaya to iron and 2 sewing projects to finish. But this afternoon I'll go to the regional flower show. I dislike crowds and today it rains so that I have all the flowers to myself, heehee =) (and my hair needs washing anyway ;))
    LOL I think I need a longer weekend!
     
  18. mari

    mari Captain Captain

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    What's worked for me is a combination of EMDR with a therapist, and I guess what would count as self-directed aversion therapy - I keep putting myself back in the situation, which in my case was crossing the street (I was hit by a pickup truck). Anyway, the EMDR is really interesting, what it does is through eye movement (or for some people, vibration on the palms, but that just tickled me so we stuck with the eye thing) moves the memory from the short-term part of the brain to the long-term storage. That makes it more abstract and easier to deal with. It took a couple sessions but I'm usually okay now. More cautious than I was before, but I also have a baby now so that's probably a good thing anyway.
     
  19. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Mari, I think you mean exposure therapy, not aversion. I've done a lot of the informal self-directed kind, too.
     
  20. Captain Kathryn

    Captain Kathryn Commodore Commodore

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    So sorry you are dealing with this. :(

    I just want to say one thing because I take medicine for anxiety. Please...please, please...try to avoid benzos. They put me on Valium a couple of years ago without telling how dangerous and physically addicting it is. Not psychological addiction...you brain and body become dependent on it (same for all benzos...Xanax, Clonopin, etc). The problem is that they do work for a short period of time and they do work if you ONLY take them sparingly for the actual anxiety. But if they prescribe it to you for 1-3 times a day or something you can be addicted within weeks. And when that happens you will find yourself in a whole new mess of trying to get off of them. I understand if you need something in the moment. But don't let them try to get you hooked on them. If you take it daily, it is guaranteed physical addiction whether you are aware of it or not.

    I am finally down to 5mg (1 pill) a day for Valium. I don't desire to take it but I become very ill if I don't and it's considered dangerous to quit cold turkey (you could have seizures). With any benzo withdrawal, you have to taper off of it extremely slowly. It's painful and can get in the way of living normally. I am fortunately okay and I am not experiencing any withdrawal symptoms since cutting my dosage but I think it's only because I did it slowly and am eating healthy and exercising.

    Just be wary...I don't recommend them from personal experience.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014