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Running Out of Options, Time to Try Catharsis by ThanatosRising on Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:22 pm
I was diagnosed with PTSD after a car accident in 2010 (age 25), and was shocked when repressed memories from the past started surfacing without warning. Along with the scenes from the car accident replaying without end, images of an abusive relationship I had been in for three years started playing, a sexual assault by a boyfriend at 19 that I blocked out, a rape I had experienced at age 18 that I COMPLETELY blocked out, emotional and mental abuse from age 11 at the hand of a boyfriend of my mother's, and various bullying events I had sustained from around age 8 through 14. It was entirely overwhelming; for about two months after the accident I spent most of every day in bed, having nightmares when sleeping, waking up screaming thinking whatever I was dreaming about was happening, then having no perception of time when I was awake, being continually trapped in recurring flashbacks that seemed to last for hours when they were really just 10-15 minutes. I sustained serious lumbar spine and nerve injuries that required heavy medication (50mcg fentanyl patches every 3 days, 200mg neurontin daily for nerve pain, 10mg klonopin for panic attacks, 30-50mg oxycodone daily for breakthrough pain, 100-200 mg orphenadrine daily for muscle spasm and opiate potentiation). I could barely muster the energy to get out of bed to go to the bathroom and shower because of the pain, so I stopped eating, lost nearly 25 pounds within a few weeks (I am a 5'5" female and was an active and relatively muscle-toned 130 lbs., so I became underweight and lost a majority of my muscle tone), so coworkers I ran into once when I had to go to my office to sign some insurance paperwork started rumors I was abusing drugs due to my frail and noticeably gaunt appearance. I withdrew almost entirely from my social circle with the exception of a few friends who were so worried abouy my sudden changes they forced me to keep in contact with them. After nearly two full years of weekly psychotherapy, many hurdles, setbacks, tears, angry and violent outbursts, losing my job, and weaning off all the pain medication, I finally got my PTSD symptoms under control in 2012. During this time I was also pursuing my undergraduate degree in psychology, which obviously delayed my studies as I dealt with my illness and injuries. Since then, I have had a very exaggerated startle response that never went away (loud noises or someone approaching me from behind seriously frightens me, causing an immediate panic response). I've had difficulty with controlling or moderating anger, and sometimes respond angrily way out of proportion to the irritant or situation. Social anxiety that I always had got somewhat worse, and depression has been a nearly constant battle also. However, I was able to find a new, better job, and maintain my GPA at 3.85.
Things were going relatively smoothly until this October, where I suddenly experienced a PTSD retriggering event. I did not consciously recognize or want to acknowledge it at first, instead convincing myself that the eerily familiar feelings were just imaginations and nothing serious, until it suddenly dawned on me one day what was happening, about three weeks after the initial retrigger. I began addressing it with my psychologist and the psychiatrist I started seeing right before the retrigger for my depression that was getting out of control in the summer. It just caught me so off guard and has made me feel so powerless again. I keep thinking that no matter how far I get in time from these events, no matter how well I do, these horrible feelings are going to arise at any time and ruin my happiness. I feel that I never truly have felt happiness, and that now I may never know what it is like. It's caused me such horrible thoughts, the suicidal thoughts, the thoughts of giving up on everything, the thoughts of withdrawing into myself, the paranoia that everyone can see through me and thinks I'm pathetic and weak for not being able to just get over it....
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