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.

Resources for PTSD *Trigger Warning**

There are very few resources for people who have childhood trauma. First, there are few groups where people can gather to get assistance and support if they are struggling with symptoms. More outpatient groups are needed in order for those with symptoms to not have to turn to the hospital.

Then, very few doctors know how to treat someone with trauma. The symptoms can change depending on the time of year or if a client is triggered. Most psychiatrists do not know how to handle a patient in which suicidal thoughts run like background noise and self harm is pervasive. They cannot prescribe a pill to take the memories away or decrease the intrusive thoughts.

The cost of childhood trauma is far worse than what happened. Therapists are scarce and often do not accept insurance. For those on a limited income, therapy becomes out of reach. Unless one has a name brand insurance many hospitals that treat trauma are not accessible or affordable. A stay at a specialty hospital where all of the staff are trained on the techniques to help a client can start at $30,000. Again, for someone struggling with the outcome of childhood trauma, this is impossible to come up with.

General units do not seem to help with PTSD and trauma symptoms. Often, they are only acute care designed to just get someone out of a crisis. The problem is that a patient who is having and increase in nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, or other symptoms is discharged and has no where to go. General units do not have staff trained to handle trauma or they are so short staffed that there are few around to help.

It seems to me, as a patient, that there is a big hole in the mental health system for those who have experienced childhood trauma. We need more doctors and affordable care. Insurance companies need to be aware that just because a client is not symptomatic one day does not mean that the symptoms will not increase in the following days.

Childhood trauma needs to be addressed from the doctors and therapists to the insurance companies. Once a week therapy is not enough. Limiting the number the number of sessions only increases stress and could mean that there is not any help when memories come up. The huge gap in the system needs to be fixed. Those with childhood trauma and PTSD should not have to hang on by a thread because there is no affordable help.

Really Struggling *Trigger Warning*

I have been trying to hold it together and now I feel like I am coming apart at the seams . There were the thoughts of self harm that slowly crept their way back into my mind. Then I began to have trouble focusing and concentrating on things like tv and reading. I found that I could not remember what I had just did or said. I have been more moody than usual and have no desire to do any activity.

My treatment team has been attempting to treat me outpatient. That normally works. If I go into the hospital, I potentially lose my kids again. Now I feel like I have to choose between my kids and my health.

I am having trouble doing the simplest things. I cannot drive without trouble because I cannot focus. I want help and am not sure what to do! The driving is affecting my ability to get to outpatient treatment. I just want some help right now. I have called my treatment team, yet they have yet to call me back.

So right now I sit here waiting and attempting to stay safe until someone can help.

September Issues *Trigger Warning*

Most years, since 2004, I have gone into the hospital in September. I begin to have more nightmares and flashbacks. My coping skills seem to evaporate. Many times I self harm.

This has been one of the worst years. I am beginning to clearly remember things that were fuzzy. Instances of trauma have been verified. I feel trapped in my own skin without a way out.

Those closest to me have no idea what to do and are overwhelmed with what they are seeing. They want to help. I just cannot seem to catch the life preserver being thrown and at times handed to me.

For the first time in a long time I am scared how the rest of the month will go. I do not want to make a choice that will negatively impact those around me. For right now, everyday is a struggle.

The In Between ** May Trigger**

Over 10 years of therapy and relatively nothing has changed. Treatment resistant, medication resistant, unable to assist. All of those have been written on my paperwork.

I told my therapist the other day that I want to die, yet no way of dying is 100%. It has been suggested that I get out and join a club. I tried a book club. The book had to many triggers and the discussion was even worse. Child abuse, spousal abuse, and substance abuse were all a part of the book.

Then I am told to go out and do normal activities. I have panic attacks at the store that leave me frozen and feeling like the store is closing in around me. I always feel like I will be attacked at places that do not have many people around like gas stations. My vocal cords seem to freeze up when I want to ask for something.

I have resorted to buying things online. Even then, I do not answer the door when the doorbell rings because I am scared of who may be on the other side. I feel like people can tell I am damaged by the way that I shake and avoid eye contact.

Then there is the anger that can be activated at any time. This is not normal anger. I am afraid I will actually hurt someone else. Anything can set off the anger and once it begins I have trouble stopping.

Where is my place in society? What do I do if I cannot leave the house and am scared to hurt people? How do I perform everyday tasks while the space is closing in on me and I am shaking to the point of just wanting to sit and scream for help?

How do I begin to work through this? When are my thoughts not automatically going to go to not existing? Who am I ? All of these are questions that I need to answer, yet do not seem to know how.

Unreal

When my therapist asked me how I felt yesterday I replied that I felt unreal and out of my body. It is like I am just watching things go on around me.

Maybe I feel like I do not have a say in what goes on. Life just happens. Visits with the kids, feeding the pets, and so on. It is like I am on auto pilot and cannot find myself anywhere.

I am losing so much time anymore. I do not watch TV series because I cannot remember them. I can read the same book over and over and not remember what it is about. I tune out all the time and do not even realize it because this coping mechanism has become such a large part of my life.

My therapist suggested a service dog may be a good idea in the future. One that could detect when I dissociate and be able to get me back to the present. The cost is just prohibitive at this point.

Another day has started that I honestly will not remember. The cats need to be fed in a few hours and then I am not sure what will happen.

Why am I So Angry? ** May Trigger**

Coping skills. I have tried to use them over the past few days. I have journaled, breathed, used distraction, talked to a friend, and even left the situation to try to calm down. Nothing has worked. I am still as angry as I was before I did all of those things and now it is another day.

I am scared that I am going to hurt myself. I know I am so close because I feel like I am going to go every which way and I cannot hold myself together.

I should not feel like this. I have a great husband and my kids are here for their summer visit, yet here I am mad and angry as ever. Just wanting to be alone and try to get myself together.

Later, I am going to try to do some art work and see if that helps. I have already taken a PRN. Right now I feel hopeless that this is going to change. I feel lost as to what to do!

Learning Myself

Abuse takes so much from any person. My abuse took my ability to make my own choices. I was told what to like. My abusers told me what color, foods, classes, college major, and even where I should live. This has been detrimental as an adult. When anyone asks me where I want to go eat, I have a panic attack. I am always scared of upsetting the other person. What I have learned is that saying that all the time frustrates the other person, yet I cannot seem to stop doing it.

Then there are memories of college majors. I was fine at regurgitating information. I often thought that I failed exams to find out later that I passed. I had a problem when I would have to complete a task with another person. Whether that be nursing or making a lesson plan. I could not come up with my own thoughts and even when I did, I felt like I was a failure.

I know that this is something that I need to work on in therapy and it is not going to be easy.

When Life Gets in the Way

My divorce was 10 years ago. Since then, I have tried to go to nursing school which ended when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and placed on a narcotic until the doctor could figure out the correct combination of meds. The narcotic made me ineligible to continue my clinical.

During those years, I was also in and out of the psychiatric hospital and my ex successfully took my kids away for 10 months while I was evaluated by the court. Eventually, I had them back. A little over a year later, my oldest stopped coming over and talking to me. I have missed so much with him that I cannot get back and miss him everyday.

Having PTSD and having problems leaving the house began working with my therapist on ways to get me out of the house. Since I knew that I could not go back to nursing and I still wanted to help people, I went to school for social work. The first year was good and I was comfortable with the other students and campus. Then I was accepted to graduate school.

I did not even last three weeks. In the classroom, I received A’s on my papers and was successful with projects. Field placement was another story. I had to interact with others. I knew that it would be a challenge and attempted to keep my head down. I was at my placement for a total of three days when I was told that I was no longer welcome. My mental health diagnoses were a problem and the supervisor did not think that I was stable enough to work with the clients. There went another dream and another potential career.

At this point, I stay in the house and only leave to go to therapy or to pick up medications. I do not even like to answer the door or open the door for delivery people. In some ways I have isolated myself, yet every time I have tried to put myself out there it has not worked out. It is like people know that I am different and stay away.

Feeling Alone

How does one explain this feeling to someone else? Just existing. Getting up, feeding the pets and hopefully myself, and then going to bed. Repeat. Very little to no joy in anything that one does or happens.

Disconnected from everyone even while in the same room. Feeling like their is a transparent barrier between myself and the rest of the world that I just cannot break through.

I feel this way even with my therapist. In appropriate and predictable fashion, I am not going to therapy. What is the point? To be told that I will feel better is like telling someone that they can touch the stars. No matter how close they seem, that will not happen. The barrier is there as well. I just sit there in silence feeling uncomfortable. What is there to talk about that has not been said before?

It is not that I do not want to feel better. The coping skills I have learned seem to be ineffective. It is pure white knuckling at this point to try to get through the day.