Author Topic: PTSD?  (Read 1388 times)

alemja

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PTSD?
« on: July 12, 2016, 10:18:03 AM »
I was wondering if what I am experiencing is some kind of ptsd?

My dh had bipolar 1 and the time before he died was very dramatic and traumatic, chaos, psych wards, police, etc, etc. I was the one who found him when he hung himself, I cut him down and tried to resuscitate him.

It was three years ago last month but I still dream of him most nights, sadly almost all of the dreams are bad, scary and full of confusion. There is almost always him or someone else experiencing some kind of psychotic or depressive episode and I am the one trying to help them.

I had no feelings of anger towards my husband, he was genuinely ill, to see someone become lost inside their own mind is so so awful, I wouldn't wish it in my worst enemy. I have moved forward, I was luckily enough to meet a widower and we live together with our children and we are happy. I just can't shake these dreams and the occasional flashbacks to finding dh, I saw a psychologist in the first year and have been on antidepressants for about a year now. My daily life is good, I am functioning fine, am hopefull about our future and all that, how do I handle the dreams and flashbacks or do I just have to live with them? Is it ptsd, can you treat it?

Mizpah

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Re: PTSD?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2016, 11:34:12 AM »
Certainly sounds like PTSD.  I think that talk therapy/psychotherapy is supposed to really help.  I definitely had some PTSD after DH's sudden death.  I was in therapy twice a week for 8 months, then once a week for a year more.  I credit therapy with a lot of my fairly healthy (IMHO) way of dealing with his death.  It sounds like not only his death, but the time leading up to it was extremely traumatic and heavy with responsibility for you, and it's coming out in anxiety dreams.  Therapy is awesome.  I love it.  I highly recommend going.  It may help you feel lighter. 
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

Portside

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Re: PTSD?
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2016, 01:32:18 PM »
I was wondering if what I am experiencing is some kind of ptsd?

. . . . or do I just have to live with them? Is it ptsd, can you treat it?

Yes, PTSD can be treated. No, you do not have to just live with it if in fact you have it.

No one can diagnose PTSD other than a well trained professional so seek out someone who is skilled in diagnosing and treating it. There are therapies that can help a great deal.

Good luck, Mike
The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

SemperFidelis

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Re: PTSD?
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2016, 12:06:56 AM »
Hi alemja. I hope I am able to provide you with some kind of useful information here.

I am a first-hand witness to my husband's highly gruesome death....also suicide.  I have dealt with PTS since it happened a year ago. My husband had a lot of mental health issues......namely severe and debilitating/disabling PTSD from his USMC service in the Iraq invasion. I was his full-time caregiver.  So I have developed a fairly intimate knowledge of PTSD in its most severe form. Me, I am coping with PTSD but am not totally disabled by it. Flashbacks, intrusive memories, severe avoidance of triggers, hypervigilance, anger, numbness.....these are the biggest beasts I am battling regularly.

Like you, I also do not harbor anger or resentment toward my husband....as there was genuine stuff going on with him and I understand where he was at mentally. It is indeed very hard to watch someone is such a chronic state of distress.

Dreams and flashbacks.....everyone is different. There is no one size fits all as far as scope of problems, results and changes and experiences with PTS symptoms. Some people experience a gradual remission of these symptoms over time. Some people experience a worsening of symptoms over time. Sometimes it correlates with a particular method of treatment and other times not. Yes there are avenues you can try to address the dreams and flashbacks....like emdr for example. Some people get good results with that and others are made worse.

I also realize you dealt with some other things which can cumulatively be somewhat traumatizing......all of the chaos that the spouse of a mentally ill person has to field and handle has its own effect.  Prior to medication my husband was horribly violent and made attempts in my life....thats adding another layer to my cake.

That leads to the next thing..... Medication. I have my own opinions about the role of  mind and heart altering medications. All I will say is 1) be careful and take everything as directed. 2) have a point and purpose to the meds....and determine if you are trying to treat depressive symptoms or PTS symptoms.....

You will notice I drop the "disorder" part because flashbacks are f*cking normal when you endure and witness this type of trauma. NORMAL. That doesn't make it any easier but anyway.... You can have trauma reactions and symptoms of PTSD without having a full blown disorder. You can look up diagnostic criteria for yourself. But at any rate. You may or may not experience relief from your symptoms with or without treatment. Some things are treatment resistant and that's OKAY. It just means figuring out how to cope with the problems and navigate life with them in mind.

Do your own research. Educate yourself. If you are not inclined that way, go to a psychiatrist and they can sort out options with you.



alemja

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Re: PTSD?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2016, 03:23:08 AM »
Thank you SF, you are right the PTS is "normal" given the experience.

I feel like I am doing well with the antidepressant that I am on and after watching DH being plied with one drug after another I am hypervigilant about anything that could have an effect on my brain chemistry.

I am feeling stronger that I was when I first posted, so I guess maybe it will come and go like the other kinds of waves of grief.

imissdow

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Re: PTSD?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2016, 04:18:46 AM »
I have pstd. It is quite normal and a common reaction. I went to a trauma therapist  for several months. I did EMDR and it helped a lot. I can now sleep thru the night. I would recommend it.

MrsDan

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Re: PTSD?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2016, 11:34:09 AM »

You will notice I drop the "disorder" part because flashbacks are f*cking normal when you endure and witness this type of trauma. NORMAL. That doesn't make it any easier but anyway.... You can have trauma reactions and symptoms of PTSD without having a full blown disorder. You can look up diagnostic criteria for yourself. But at any rate. You may or may not experience relief from your symptoms with or without treatment. Some things are treatment resistant and that's OKAY. It just means figuring out how to cope with the problems and navigate life with them in mind.


This makes total sense to me. Do I fit a firm diagnosis of PTSD? Probably not. Have I been highly traumatized by my husband's death? Hell yes. Just these past couple days I've had a visceral physical and emotional response to my boyfriend being sick. It caused horrible memories to flood back in. I'm doing okay for the most part. But certain things...Like last year, when a friend posted a series of memes joking about alcoholism, and particularly liver failure. I was in my car and I just started sobbing, and crying, "He was a human being!" that's how traumatic it is to have your husband's  death reduced to a trope. I was there; I saw and felt what happens to a body when your body when your liver shuts down. More recently, stepping into the funeral home for my FIL turned me into a sobbing, shaking mess.

For a while before I moved out of state last year I got on Lexapro and started seeing a therapist who specializes in trauma. I highly recommend this to any widow, as very few specialize in grief, and I didn't find the rest very helpful. But she had specific techniques. As far as meds go, as a lifelong sufferer of OCD I can tell you that often meds just situate you so that you are able to participate most effectively in therapy, or to reset your brain enough to get you through a particularly bad period. I'm back on Lexapro, but for my OCD now rather than trauma. I also keep Xanax on hand, and I did have to take one yesterday, but I very rarely use it.
You are the Bear of my heart dear,
And nothing can take that away.

alemja

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Re: PTSD?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2016, 05:05:03 AM »
Huge hugs Mrs Dan