I do not want to hurt anyone by saying this, however:
This blog is meant to offer advice and information on how to cope with symptoms healthily, what to expect with therapies, how to open up and build a support network, and how to possibly receive professional help. This blog is meant to be a purely positive space that functions, by existing alone, as a place to relate and feel less lonely and hopeless.
I recently received a submission of a very graphic, triggering story that had overwhelming themes of self-deprecation and hopelessness. I apologize, but I really cannot post that on here, even if people can relate to it. I am trying my hardest to promote a positive mindset, and while sharing stories on here is encouraged I’m looking for people to share stories of their experiences in treating their mental illness(es) rather than stories that would reflect the deeply upsetting symptoms of dealing with mental illness.
Since the submitter was anonymous, I can’t contact them directly.
If you want to feel less alone and need someone to talk to, you can send in questions regarding treatments and coping exercises that I can answer. If you want to get in touch with people who you can talk to, you can send in a message that requests that and to please leave a link to where someone may contact you and I will publish it. There are many blogs that exist to share stories of that nature, but this is not one.
Exposure therapy and similar treatments such as EMDR and “flooding” are 50/50 and depend solely on how the person undergoing the therapy will be capable of handling trauma recall. You definitely don’t do it if you’re not resilient enough! Normally, exposure therapy involves the gradual and controlled exposure to triggers and trauma recall whilst using anxiety coping methods that are taught prior to doing the actual exposure. I know a lot of people in which this has completely severed the panic reaction to trauma and has made it much easier for them to recover, and I know a fair share of people where the therapy either hindered their progress or caused a relapse. It all depends on how emotionally resilient you believe you are at this point in your life, but if done right it can be very helpful.
Of course, you’ll be scared and stressed going through it because it’s a very personal and intrusive means of therapy, but it aaaall depends on how well equipped you are at handling overwhelming emotions and resulting symptoms of flashbacks and triggers.
Sadly, I don’t know much about treating repressed memories, in fact if I’m not misinformed, the field of psychology is trying to throw out the concept of repression. I’m not sure how popular the movement to throw it out is, but I know for certain repression is a big part of trauma responses.
I know people have tried hypnosis done under a trained psychiatrist to try and bring back repressed memories, sometimes it’s immediate and sometimes it comes later at a random time. I know sometimes they never come back at all, and sometimes they come back completely out of the blue all at once. I don’t know of many treatments that guarantee the repression of memories or, on the flip side, guarantee the surfacing of repressed memories.
Depending on your stability and resilience, I wouldn’t suggest trying to purposely surface memories of abuse, as even the most resilient people can be triggered into a relapse. Repressed memories are always awful, the best thing you can do is practice anxiety coping exercises as well as you can so should they surface, you have skills and tools at your disposal to make the ride through less turbulent.
I believe nightmares do not have to strictly be a replay of the trauma because, honestly, I’ve never actually had a PTSD nightmare that relives the trauma exactly as it is! Nightmares that involve elements of trauma, such as abusers, people involved, the event happening in different ways etc. all constitute as PTSD nightmares because your sleep is affected to the point that it is resulting in nightmares that contain many elements of or revolves around a trauma.
It sounds like he doesn’t know very much about the nature of mental illness, specifically PTSD. If you need a supportive person, it may be helpful to look elsewhere, possibly towards good, trustworthy friends, to provide adequate support. It is not your responsibility to educate your husband of course, but it may be helpful to expose him to educative media that would break down the stigmas and invalidating beliefs he may have regarding PTSD.
If he doesn’t understand the symptoms you deal with, you may find yourself getting repeatedly rejected and invalidated and over time that may end up hurting you. If you have a psychologist or therapist that you see regularly, it may help him better understand and support you by having a mental health professional explain him the basics of what you deal with!
This looks like it would be an interesting project, if any of ptsdpuma’s followers are interested the link explaining the article is here!
I wish you luck :)
If you are looking for a diagnosis, I strongly suggest looking for professional help from someone who can give an official diagnosis! I know that not everyone has the privilege to access mental health systems and support, so while I do not necessarily condone the act of self-diagnosing, it is not terrible or irrational to self-diagnose when you identify strongly with many of the symptoms present in PTSD and it affects your life in a significant way, in many cases it can be a very helpful step in being able to receive adequate help.
If you experience flashbacks, panic attacks, and nightmares in relation to her abuse of you, it’s likely you are dealing with an anxiety-related mental illness! Remember that the trauma you went through is not silly, unfounded, “not as bad”, or invalid, because you have been hurt and you are a significant person who deserves support and help through this. I can’t give specific advice for your situation because it depends where you live and what you have access to, but if you go to a school it is likely you can request an appointment with a counsellor or psychiatrist and perhaps ask if you can be hooked up to a therapist within (or outside of) your school system. There may be many clinics available in your community that offer free/sliding-scale therapy services, often services like this are offered at women’s shelters and youth centres!
tw: emotional abuse
It is very important to understand that PTSD can be caused by anything that causes trauma to a person - abuse is a very common cause of it!
Big age gaps, especially amongst developing teenagers and adults, are dangerous in that they open up the risk of manipulation and abuse on part of the adult. This has a profound effect on teenagers, as this is a developmental period, and can easily be a cause of a lot of anxiety! PTSD is often characterized by nightmares of traumatic events, difficulty sleeping, flashbacks to traumatic events, and intrusive, involuntary thoughts about the traumatic event. There’s a chance you could be experiencing PTSD symptoms from what you have experienced, but all in all, your best bet would be to seek professional help.
Asking for help is a very scary, big step, especially for mental illness. It can be very beneficial to have a support group of friends and family who understand your needs and can help you cope with your symptoms emotionally, but it also requires a lot of trust. If you can find a friend, family member, or anyone else, that you can trust enough to be supportive and understanding of your situation, that can give you the confidence to further seek help - depending on where you live, there may be school counsellors who may help you and they may be able to contact professionals outside the school district but who still focus on youth mental health. I wish you luck!
(cont.) Gets talked about like no one actually experiences it. It’s triggering and frustrating and makes me unable to think about anything other than the abuse I’ve experienced.
TW: ABUSE, ILLNESS, MENTION OF SUICIDE
I understand very well how you feel, many very disturbing topics are spoken about as if no one in the room has possibly experienced such a thing. The lack of publicity, proper education, and separatism from developing countries encourages a belief that “oh, we’re a privileged country, therefore the rate of these things happening is very rare since we’re good and civilized people!”. Clearly, that is a very wrong, not to mention extremely erasing and racist, belief to hold. Most of my experiences in traditional high school, when speaking about abuse, mental illness, sexual trauma, etc. were very triggering and assumed everyone was unaffected - in one instance for an assembly on suicide, the speaker publicly shamed everyone who potentially had mental illness problems because his stemmed from cancer. In an online class of mine, though, there were warnings and help lines provided with the course material that involves topics of abuse and such.
It’s truly a mixed bag of wonders whenever abuse is spoken about in public, but to assume no one in the room has possibly experienced it is unthinkably shortsighted! I’m sorry you were subjected to that, anon, try to rest and distract yourself with positive activities in the meantime!