With PTSD and Other Trauma, How Do We Measure Success?

PTSD is an individual experience. We have similar yet different symptoms In order to recognize improvement, we must learn roadways along the journey.

1.  From The Thing About Stigma by Jenny Little:

I need to say this, but it really should be obvious?

I do not look down on myself because I have PTSD or security issues or sometimes react inappropriately — right? I do NOT have the stigma.

You do.

The stigma doesn’t come from me. I know why I’m here (now). I know why I react the way I do (mostly). I have spent a large part of my life learning wtf was wrong with me???

And the answer to that question? It’s simple: It’s nothing. There’s nothing wrong with me. I reacted in a normal way to an abnormal or substandard set of circumstances. All of the people with PTSD aren’t “sick,” we’re different, yes, but NOT sick.

PTSD IS NORMAL — in certain circumstances. Mental health issues ARE normal, in certain circumstances. Get over your superiority people! The only reason you aren’t where I and others are is that you haven’t been tested this much, yet.

How well do you think you would you do???

2.  From From Survivor to Thriver: “Getting Better…Slowly”:

I adore my doctor.  She’s been my doctor for about 8 years now, and I’ve never given her enough credit.  I’ve always been afraid to ask her about anything having to do with my mental disorders because I was terrified that she wouldn’t believe me.  Not only does she believe me, but she very much so wants me to get to a healthy place.

I had another appointment with her last week, and she was concerned that I am taking the ativan every day.  She doesn’t want me to get addicted to it.  I understand her concern because I feel the same way.  It’s helping me so much though.  I take it when I can feel a panic attack coming on, and it calms me right down…within a few minutes.  I told her that I feel the celexa working, but it’s not enough during those really high anxiety times.  She increased my dosage to 40mg per day from 20mg per day to see if that helps.  She did promise not to take the ativan away, but she’s hoping that I’ll use it less.  Me too.

She also suggested I find a therapist, and talked with me about FMLA when I told her I was worried about missing work for it.  I know I need a therapist, and my company will pay for the first 10 sessions, so there’s really nothing stopping me but myself.  It’s seems such a daunting task.  I’ve talked about it a lot on my blog.

I’m still very frustrated that I can’t write in my handwritten journal.  I strained a ligament in my hand.  I’m hoping that with ice and ibuprofen, it will get better soon.  I have to take it easy.  At least typing isn’t painful anymore.

I guess the bright side of my injury is that I’ve been reading a lot.  I’m almost finished with the first book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire, and I will read the others.  It’s a great series so far, but it’s been a bit triggering.  I will write about it in another post.

3. From How Being Diagnosed With PTSD Influenced My 2013 Academic Life by Jeannette:

Previous to beginning my 2013 quarter at Clark College, I was immersed in a trauma which contributed to my diagnosis of Severe Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and PTSD.

To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must have been present in a life or death situation. I will admit PTSD is life altering and reshapes who you are.

If you attain anything from my writing today, please note: Rehabilitation acquires time, in many instances a lifetime. It has been six years, and nevertheless I’m still coming up against countless triggers.

My recovery began in 2012.

I perceive as if for you to fully grasp the severity of my mental state in 2013, I should disclose the circumstances that contributed to the trauma.

It happened the day my sister broke up with her boyfriend of six years. My sister Jessica, my five-year-old nephew Damian, as well as my mother were all at home. We had just sat down to watch a movie when the door behind me started rattling.

I went into the kitchen to find my sister and nephew staring attentively out the glass back door. Seconds later the sound of a commotion came from the front of our house–the front door was wide open, and there stood my sister’s ex-boyfriend, Mike, pouring gasoline excessively over the loveseat.

As Mike approached me, he insisted “this is what you deserve. ” This phrase became ingrained within my mind; taunting me and instigating panic attacks.

Only then had Mike moved close enough to touch. The smell was now so potent. Mike stood facing me furthermore, pouring gasoline out into a puddle at my feet as I froze.

Mike then shifted directions, going down the hallway in the direction of the bedrooms. My sister bolted past me and headed in the direction of Mike. Jessica dared to snag the jug away. The two fought over the gas, splashing the gas all over each other in the process. Ending with gasoline in Jessica’s eyes and overmuch of her body.

I recognized my sister scream “he poured it on me!” I proceeded straight towards her voice; Only to nearly collide with her about halfway there.

I stepped out into the grass of my backyard cell phone in hand dialling 911. By the time we ran to the front of the house mine, and Damiens bedroom had bright orange, yellow and red flames engulfing the windows. I stood petrified in the middle of the street and screamed. I tried my best to calm down so I could relay to the 911 operator what was happening.

An Ambulance and police officers came and attempted to help my sister flush her eyes out. I got into the ambulance with my sister and we were on our way to the hospital.

I was questioned by a detective whose first question oddly was where Mike was? I answered “jail hopefully.”

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