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!!

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.

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.

New Year Straight Ahead

I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions. I cannot remember what I did yesterday. I do have goals that I would like to keep.

One, is that I see my kids as much as I can. They are all teenagers and it will not be long before their social life and calendar are full. I want to try to have meaningful conversations that will allow them to be successful.

I would also like to reconnect with people. I have spent so many years in the house, scared of everything around me. I would at least like to explore the area that we live in and some of the parks. I have seen deer near one of the parks. I wonder what else that I could see?

By dancing and taking courses that kept me active, I always got movement into my week. I need to try to exercise a couple days a week in order to maintain my health since I am not getting any younger.

Finally, I want to try to maintain my composure during stressful situations. I am not sure how that goal will go, yet I at least need to try. Next time that I write it will be 2020. Happy New Year!

Coping Skills

When I am in the hospital, all I hear about are coping skills and being able to use them. I understand that they are important, however;’in the real world they are not always effective. For example, I journal as a coping skill, yet I cannot carry my journal around everywhere I go.

Part of what the hospital wants is for us to go to staff if we are having issues. Again, that is great in the hospital,yet who do I go to in the real world outside of the hospital. It is just me for most of the day.

I wish that they would teach coping skills that could easily be used in public. Maybe then we would have more success.

Another Hospital

Day hospital is supposed to be the one that helps me next week. It does not specialize in trauma, it is a regular adult day program. I agreed with my doctor to try it out.

I am a bit worried how well it will work. I have been put inpatient so many times after attending day hospital because it just brought up more memories. I have also walked out of day hospital, frustrated that others around me spoke of PTSD as a diagnosis to just be able to get over with a few therapy sessions.

I have not been to this particular program in years. I hope that it has changed. Having groups all day will keep me busy and I will have to leave the house. That is stressing me out. I think it will be better once I know more about the program. If this does not work, it is back inpatient. I am debating about whether to pack a bag.

Ratings

I had to make a list of goals that I would achieve in order to function at the most basic level. Yesterday, I was told to rank those goals into three different categories: easy, medium and hard.

At first I thought that it would be no problem. I just had to make a list. Then last night, I looked at the list and really thought about what goal would go where. That is when I realized that I am struggling even more than I thought.

A goal like going and getting the mail sounds easy, yet I am deathly afraid to leave the house. I have mastered getting everything that I need delivered. Then there was a goal about preparing meals when I have trouble making the simplest foods.

Maybe these goals are going to be a lot harder to attain than I first thought. Hopefully, I can be true to myself as I rank them and realize that I am having a hard time right now and some goals may not be so easy.

So, today I will attempt to work on the list. Just getting out of bed is hard. Maybe I should begin with that as my first goal.

Circles

I feel like my mental illness is a never ending loop that I need to find a way out of soon. Every September, my mental health declines. It seems to get a little better around the holidays and then improves in the Spring.

The same cycle has been going on for years, following me wherever I have moved and interfering in my life. I wish that I could identify what it is that I cannot get away from. It is like my mind or body is not strong enough to handle whatever the memory or time of year represents.

This is a particularly bad cycle and I just want to stop this so that it does not happen again next year. I am at a loss for what to do at this point! Any suggestions???