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How do you know if it is PTSD?

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Old 07-24-2011, 04:49 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2011
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clf4 HB User
Unhappy How do you know if it is PTSD?

I know that I am scared of an event that happened in my past - not so much scared as alert really - it cant happen again (well at least I hope not) but I do find that, when I am stressed (which I am at the moment), I think more about this event and I can visualise it as if it happened yesterday even though it happened almost 7 years ago

A bit of background: When I was younger (11) my dad was arrested in front of me - he was already separated from my mum who I lived with but I happened to be on a holiday with only him and his partner when this happened - the purpose of the trip was for me to really get to know his new partner properly - he was arrested whilst we were there and I was left with the partner who I barely knew until I could fly out the next morning back to my mum - I know this doesnt sound like such a big deal when there are people who suffer from this because of war experiences or car accidents, etc - but to me this was a terrifying time in my life because I didnt know what was happening and didnt have anyone immediately there to turn to - he has been in jail since

It has never been something that I have been shy about and those who know me well know about this and know about him - I have always appeared to be very 'strong' about it and have coped (externally) just fine for a number of years
What no one knows is just how much, especially at the moment, I think about that time and what happened - I remember ever little detail and it often comes to mind whilst Im sleeping which always scares me as it seems so real that it feels like Im living through it again

It's not a conventional PTSD story and Ive never told anyone so its obviously undiagnosed but I think this may be what I have but I just dont fit the stereotype

Can anyone share their experiences or opinions please? I just want to know if what Im going through at the moment is normal and why it is that whenever I get too stressed these thoughts come up


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Old 07-25-2011, 04:43 AM   #2
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Re: How do you know if it is PTSD?

I can see how an ordeal such as this happening to you at such a young age could be very stressful and the fact that is still is bothering you in times of stress indicates that you have not fully healed from this experience. I could not diagnose you for PTSD, not being an expert in that, but I do think you have a good reason to look further into this for yourself, in order to make a full recovery and let it remain in your past, instead of continuing to pop up when you do not want it to.

This will likely take the help of a therapist trained in such an area. PTSD is a very personal issue and just because your story does not include war or death, it doesn't mean it cannot be PTSD. Hav you ever spoken to your mother about this? Is she aware of how much the incident affected you at the time, and that you are still struggling with it? It might be very helpful for her to know about this, if she is not aware already. And your dad is still in jail? Do you have any relationship with him over the years?

I really feel for you, to have to go through such a traumatic thing at such a young age, and far from home. I am proud of you for seeking some help with this, because it is not something you want to carry around with you any longer..enough is enough.

please let me know what happens, ok?

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Phoenix (03-19-2012)
Old 07-31-2011, 06:48 PM   #3
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Re: How do you know if it is PTSD?

Writeleft had some good ideas for you. When you wonder if it's PTSD, go see someone who can tell you.

I've battled PTSD almost my entire life so I can tell you some of the hallmarks of the disorder. In PTSD, the trauma from the past has "triggers', things that will suddenly remind you of the trauma and they can be very small and not even related to the trauma. I can be triggered by a rainstorm because I had something bad happen shortly after a hurricane went through the area.

These "triggers" result in "flashbacks", seeing or even re-living the initial trauma all over again. It makes you feel the same emotions that you felt when it happened the first time. Extremely intense.

The flashbacks cause you to go into a "panic attack" or intense "anxiety attack". You may feel like you are dying as the anxiety or panic releases the "fight or flight" hormones. Your heart is beating rapidly and you feel faint. It can go on for hours or even days. You feel a lot of fear.

And lastly, in some, the panic attack can trigger a "dissociative state" where you feel like you are "out of it" or floating and not really there. You feel like you don't exist and can't seem to talk about what is happening. It can be a very disturbing state to be in and hard for others to get you to come back down to earth. We used to use the words "zoned out" and that is a good description.

If you feel that your trauma produces these kinds of symptoms, then definitely see someone who can help you understand and stop the cycle. But I think you just have a bad memory of a disturbing episode in your life that has left you with a lot of concerns...and that is more normal. We all have problems like that and seeing some to talk it over helps.


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Old 07-31-2011, 07:58 PM   #4
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Re: How do you know if it is PTSD?

You are so lucky to have gotten Jenny's words on this subject, as she has worked so hard on her past and has so much personal experience to speak from.

I would consider this to be the beginning of a voyage, rather than a little trip across town. When you are ready to explore your past, and uncover things you probably never have connected together before, it can be hard work and demand your full attention. For some people, this trip back into the past is too difficult for them and they can choose not to delve into it again.

For others, it is a longing, a need to move on through and beyond the past. I hope you are in this latter group, and have the courage and the stamina to work though it all, and come out the other side as a stronger and wiser person.

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clf4 (08-07-2011)
Old 03-04-2012, 04:09 AM   #5
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Thumbs up Re: How do you know if it is PTSD?

Jenny has described exactly what my CPTSD is for me. To explain it to someone that doesn't have it they look at you as if to say "you are crazy" and that is sad and annoying to get that response believe me. So, like the others have said talk to someone. But, from my experiences and the others with our diagnoses CPTSD/PTSD involves flashbacks and bad anxiety attacks that seriously leave you debilitated and hard to function afterward. The flashbacks take you to another dimension (if that is a word to explain it), like leaving your current situation and you feel you are somewhere else and cannot return for that moment and re living a memory and cannot leave it at that time even though you may want to. It leaves me short of breath, shaky and sometimes I throw up, light headed and have to lie down and sleep some of the times. Sometimes I have a trigger (ie see a colour or a vision and sometimes it just hits me out of nowhere). Good luck. Talking to someone is always good.

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