Complex PTSD Changed Me

This post is one that those in the field of psychology debate. To me, the belief that your trauma is what you make of it is complete crap. What happened to me has altered the way that I view the world. Innocuous activities become a source of panics and flashbacks.

One of my main issues is trusting each people. Throughout my life, people have revolved according to what my abuser needed. My abuser caused me to fear the people and places around me. That began at age 3. A 3 year old believes their caregiver. By believing, I was scared that if we were out someone was going to take me or hurt me.

Being touched was painful. No was not a word that was respected or listened too. Obedience was necessary to survive. Even if that meant pain. Eventually, I just inherintly knew was expected of me. I followed knowing that I did not have a choice. To the day, I cannot even pick out a place to eat or answer what my favorite color is because that was drilled into me.

Trying to Find Treatment for C-PTSD is a Nightmare

For 17 years, I have been diagnosed with C-PTSD along with other psychiatric illnesses. Along with C-PTSD I have DID which is a direct result of the trauma from the past.

I have a name brand insurance. That insurance company does not have anyone in my area or even within driving range who treats my condition. When I have called those on the list that is provided on their website, the providers do not even know what DID is let alone how to treat it properly.

Maybe I expect to much. I expect for a psychologist to be familiar with my diagnosis and to know the best treatment methods in order to improve my symptoms. There is not any medication to treat the symptoms of C-PTSD. The treatments effectiveness relies on the experience of the therapist.

I am so worried that I am going to backslide into darkness again. Right now, I am hopeless about getting any help for my symptoms at this point. I am sure that there are others out there with the same issue. Why is it that a psychological condition is not taken as seriously as a medical condition. A doctor would not send a person with kidney failure to a cardiologist, yet that is what they do for mental illnesses. We are not all the same. Please start to realize this!!

Am I More Than Just A Business Transaction??

My treatment team up until roughly 4 years ago was excellent. They listened to my symptoms and concerns. Sometimes, we discussed my art or photos that I had come across. Even the names of people that had played a significant role in my life were remembered.

Yes, it is ultimately a profession and money is exchanged for services, yet at that time I felt like an individual. Like they actually cared about me and my mental health. If I was doing poorly, they often could fit me in for additional sessions and made a point to communicate with each other and exchange notes as well as concerns.

Today, I have different providers. They care about money. Before I even see them I have to pay or my session will get cancelled. I have never not paid them. In fact, at one point this year, I had a credit. My therapist rarely remembers what I say from one session to the next. Often I have to answer the same questions week after week about who a person was to me. I often think to myself, why don’t you just take notes??

After providing medication lists and hospital histories, they act like I have not provided them with any records. For those of you who have had or are in treatment, how are your providers? Do you trust them to assist you as much as possible? Do they care about more than money? I am just curious.

What a Bad Day!!

Mental illness and the symptoms that come with it have taken another thing from me. My current husband wants a divorce because he has stated that I put to much of the past on him. Maybe that is true knowing all the shit that has happened.

For me this means that I have nowhere to live and that my son will not be able to see me because I will not have a room for him to stay in. Right now, so many things are up in the air. This also means that I may not be able to take or see any of my cats which are my babies.

I guess I will just have to take one day at a time at this point and hope that somehow things will work out in the end.

C-PTSD and Challenges

C-PTSD. Five letters that seem to divide those who have it from those who do not. I often hear, I got through —-, why can’t you just get over it? How long are you going to sulk? It was a long time ago, can’t you just put it behind you? Why do you need to go back to treatment?

All of these questions discount what a person has been through and how their brain has responded. Maybe, psychology classes need to teach more about PTSD and C-PTSD. Even if everyone goes through a traumatic experience, they will all have different reactions. Only a certain percentage will develop the diagnosis. For example, all soldiers do not have PTSD. Only some of them do. Society seems to be doing a better job understanding that and veterans are receiving better treatment. Although, I am sure there is more to learn.

I am going to go with what I have read in peer reviewed journals, learned through groups, and learned through talking with others who have the diagnosis. No one chooses to have C-PTSD. It sucks!!! Nightmares, flashbacks, hyper vigilance, dissociation, anxiety, and depression. Add in that most of the people I have met believe that they could have stopped whatever happened including me. By the way, NO medication is effective for any of these symptoms. Those who have this diagnosis often need years of therapy and other treatments. They need to learn to feel safe in their own body.

Treatment is a persistent issue among patients. Medicare does not cover any long term treatment. Private insurance, if one is lucky to have it, does not have any long term facilities for trauma that are in network. What does this mean? Patients wind up cycling through the same safety level of treatment when they need more. More costs a lot and when you are unable to work and don’t have rich parents that treatment becomes out of reach.

In my quest for treatment, I called many of the residential centers whose treatment times range from 3 months to 18 months. Only one accepted my insurance and it was out of network. I was told I needed $5,800 up front and they could only guarantee that it would cover 28 out of the recommended 90 days. Why go? I found it odd that I had been on a unit for safety and stabilization over 20 times. I did the calculations and it would be cheaper to provide the higher level of treatment in the long run. Other centers wanted as much as 12,000 a month and were 6 months or more.

Then there are the people who think because a person has a mental illness that they cannot do a job and are inferior. My experience came when I went to school to become a social worker. I was trying o get a BSW. My advisor seeing that I already had a bachelors, recommended going right to a Masters program. I was so excited to get accepted. I wanted to work with elderly patients or in a hospice. My placement was in neither of those areas. The school placed you without any input. After my first field placement interview I was asked to come in to see the head of the department who quickly told me all of her doubts about me being able to do this.

Fast forward to getting a field placement and being there for 6 days. Time for the faculty advisor to come in and see how we were doing. I was the last one that she saw and she was not alone. My field supervisor was in the room with her. I was told that the head of the building did not want me there any longer because I was diagnosing clients. I had been a teacher, I knew better than to diagnose anyone. None of my notes or reports showed this. What was going on? It did not matter. My mental health was to bad to be in a placement. I did not understand. I had completed all of my work and was doing well in my classes. Then I was told that the principal had also checked my background. I knew it was public knowledge that I had lost custody of my kids. That is why I did not want a placement in a school or an environment with a lot of children. I was told that the parents would be upset. The school provided me with a medical leave.

Today, I still want to be a social worker band assist families and patients with navigating the medical system. What chop would even want me???

C-PTSD comes with its own stigma and oppression. Maybe, patients do see things differently, yet that would seem to be a strength not a weakness.

What the Doctors Don’t Tell You! * May Trigger*

Asking for help in itself is hard for most of us. Asking for help with the symptoms of a mental illness seems impossible. There is the stereotype that still runs through our society that somehow a person with a mental illness is weak or damaged. That they cannot take care of themselves or have chosen to have this. They are just not fighting enough.

Then a person goes to the doctor. For me, I was told that within 3-5 years that I would feel better. It has been 16 years and I still feel as horrible as on day one. Even to get to the right medications took months. Sometimes the side effects would make me feel worse or cause new symptoms to creep in over the first few weeks. Give the medication time the doctor would say. I do no need time when I know that I feel worse.

My body was no longer my own. It began with the medications. Then came the sleep routines, the mediation, the ECT, and with that the memory loss. My brain was now trapped behind a barrier. I was no longer in the drivers seat. Just a passenger in a car that did not have a final destination.

The doctors do not say that your friends will feel so confused about how to treat you, that many of them will politely bow out of the friendship. They do not say that your spouse will be overwhelmed and feel like they are helpless, causing them to leave. If there are kids and the mental illness is severe enough, the system will make sure that you lose them unless you have 10’s of 1,000’s of dollars. Divorce, loss of children, loss of friends, loss of self, and a constant pressure that just gets worse over time because you are expected to be well. Somehow all of these things miss what the doctor says. Reducing symptoms is sometimes not possible and some people are treatment resistant, causing them to live in limbo.

For me, the doctors missed a lot that I wish that I had known. Maybe I could have prepared myself or at least knew the reality of the future that I was facing. B

When Even the Smallest Tasks are Difficult

Depression and PTSD have taken a part of me away. I am not even sure what that part is anymore. I know that I do not seem to have any energy, I remember the details of my traumas daily, and I struggle with things that others can do easily. I do not leave the house with the exception of therapy.

For some reason there are those that equate depression with sadness. It is so much more than that. It is like someone has completely darkened the space around you and then confined you into an even smaller space.

Cooking, laundry, showering, talking, and many other small things become absolutely earth shattering chores. With PTSD it is hard to hear triggers and try to do anything remotely easy. My cats are my support. As long as I pet them, they still like me. In fact, one of my cat’s is my emotional support animal.

There is not any medicine left to try at this point. I just need to work on my skills and try to do a little at a time. Sometimes it is very little at this point.

My Experience with Parental Alienation *May Trigger*

When the dust cleared and the agreement was signed, neither parent was supposed to negatively discuss anything about the other parent. The problem is that when one side has a top attorney and the other side does not have the money to afford an attorney, the terms of the agreement tend to get overlooked.

That is what happened to my children. It began with my ex and his mother. They would say that I was faking my mental illness, that I was not giving their father enough money. And even that I did not love them. When my ex married, the comments became worse. My kids were told that they were not from my culture, my daughter’s body was criticized, I was accused of lying and of not being genuine.

Every time that I went into the hospital for treatment of my mental illness there would be a long breaks between visits.‘I had to get letters from all of my doctors stating that I was not a danger to my children. Then I had to be evaluated by an independent doctor. This process could take as long as 10’months.

Now, my kids are teenagers. One does not speak to me and repeats that I am a selfish individual and a liar. That I do not look out for him. My second child visits and ask questions about my illness to tries to gauge the truth. He has also done some research. My third child has begun to move away from me. She is frustrated that I do not always know how I will feel in advance and believes that I am keeping the truth from her.

The state that my divorce was finalized in does not even have a statute for parental alienation. What I have learned over the past 10 years is that parental alienation begins with the adults surrounding the children. The messages become like a broken record. As the child ages, those messages are internalized and become the child’s beliefs. Once that happens it is hard to adjust their thinking.

I believe that every state should have laws regarding parental alienation and try to prevent it from happening in as many cases as possible. It can ruin a relationship between a parent and a child for life. Keeping each from experiencing the love and affection from each other. Life events go by without acknowledgement and soon kids turn into parents and grandparent is kept from their grandchild. More needs to be done!! Parents should not be shut out of a child’s life because of the other parents negative feelings.

Telehealth is a Great Idea, Yet Needs Some Help

COVID19 has brought many changes to all of our lives. I know as someone with a mental health issue I have had some interesting experiences. The first couple of times that I tried therapy over the internet, the signal was not so great and I could not hear half of the things that my therapist was saying. That was an easy fix. We now just have therapy directly moved the phone and we go over everything that I need to discuss as well as homework.

My psychiatrist has been the harder of the two. My outpatient psychiatrist has now become inpatient. During this time, I have had to work with a new psychiatrist. My medicines have been hard to keep track of without any appointments. Some have had refills, others did not have any left, and still other were questioned by the insurance company. This week, I am beginning to keep better track of what I need.

Having therapy while on the phone can be interesting. Cats are getting in my lap and meowing. The kitten is trying to eat all of the non food items in the house. Not to mention that I feel exposed. I like the office setting. I can take my artwork in and discuss what I have worked on. There is no way to do that over the phone.

I know that things will improve with time as all of the glitches are worked out. Maybe, I will finally be able to have a face to face session. Here is hoping that things go smoothly. Remember to use hotlines and reach out to others if you are struggling.

7 Weeks of Finally Feeling Normal

COVID19 has changed how we think about viral transmission, how we shop, and maybe even our priorities. Board games and kids playing outside became sounds and activities again. Parents had more time with their kids. It even changed some of our lives in negative ways. Job losses, children and adults who could not get the services they needed, and many burned out essential workers.

For those of us with a mental illness, it changed therapy in person to over the phone. Hotline calls became the norm for anyone in trouble. It was not the same. For some, this has caused a situation in which one cannot wait to get back to going to the therapists office or support groups.

Maybe there are others out there like me. I have agoraphobia to the point where I do not leave the house except for therapy. I do not have many friends and I do not feel comfortable with any social gathering. I do not have photos from parties or get togethers to put on social media. Holidays are a hit or miss with visitation. There are once again no photos.

What I do have are books, coloring apps, and other activities that I can do by myself. Not to exciting for others to see. The past seven weeks has made me feel normal. Stay at home orders meant that all of the gatherings on social media did not exist. People only posted about what they were doing in their homes. For once I could actually relate. The pictures of pets became the norm.

Now the country is trying to get back to going out using social distancing. I am not sure what that will look like? Will the virus start to spread again? I will no longer feel that I can relate to friends and families getting together. Maybe, this is the time to work on changing me. Social distancing means that no one should come close to me. Maybe my therapist and I could work on a plan to get outside? Maybe I could actually begin to be around others. We shall see!