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noraasnave's avatar

What event led to a diagnosis of PTSD for you?

Asked by noraasnave (3094points) November 8th, 2008

I am reading an interesting book on PTSD and how it is completely curable. I am very interested to get a better understanding of how often it is diagnosed and what events have caused it in your lives.

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12 Answers

augustlan's avatar

I hope you come back without it, N. If it is unavoidable, I hope you seek treatment for it ASAP!

As for me, I was sexually abused by an uncle until I began defending myself at 13 years of age. When I was 14, he moved out of state and though I suffered from depression and anxiety, I was in pretty decent shape, all things considered. When I was 19, he came back and I began to suffer flashbacks. It sent me right into therapy, where I quickly realized that as an adult, I was in complete control. As soon as I informed my family that I would no longer be around as long as he was, the PTSD went away.

It took me another 20 years to figure out that I was furious at my mother. She never defended me or called the police, and was still friends with her brother. Once I informed her that I wouldn’t be a part of her life any longer, another huge weight dropped off my shoulders.

MarcIsMyHero's avatar

I watched a marathon of 6 seasons of 24. I was suspicious of everyone and loud noises sent me ducking for cover.

noraasnave's avatar

@Augustlan: Thank you for sharing your experience. It appears that setting up boundaries and enforcing them is an important component in any healing process, but even more so with PTSD.

@MarcisMyHero: How long have you experienced these symptom? Thank you for sharing, many would laugh at such symptoms, but in reality, many people experience PTSD simply in the retelling of a suprising violent, or chaotic event.

madsmom1030's avatar

My PTSD was diagnosed within days of my husband’s suicide. he died while in my arms. i was placed in the same ptsd category as a soldier that saw/killed someone. i couldn’t sleep because everytime i shut my eyes i say that same scene. i would keep my self really busy so that i was tired and would fall right asleep. i had a wonderful grief counselor who worked with me because she knew i wouldn’t take antidepressents- was sad not depressed. my counselor and I worked very hard together to teach me techniques on how to deal with it because she said it will pop up now and then- triggered by some event. i learned meditation skills and people around me were taught ways to refocuse my mind if it comes up. she told me that in spite of the traumatic event i had been through i was one of the most well adjusted people she had ever met. working through PTSD alone in not good you really need a counselor- i have graduated from counseling and you could say i was cured but there will be small events/things that might bring the memories back but i now know how to deal with those.

hearkat's avatar

Like Augustlan, I was sexually abused in childhood by a family member. I never told because I carried a sense of shame and guilt for years. I also have a long family history of depression, so I naturally struggled with it for my whole life. I have also had a lot of body image issues and major self-esteem problems to work through.

My rage towards my mother was always evident to me, though. Even though I never told her, I still felt unprotected by her… how could she have not known that something was wrong? This has bothered me even more since I became a parent, because I make an effort to be involved and know what is going on in my son’s life. My ex-husband told her about it when we first separated. She went to therapy for a little while, but it seems she remains somewhat in denial about it.

I have talked about it with both my perpetrator and my mother, and while they both acknowledge what happened on an intellectual level, neither of them accepts responsibility… the both rationalize out some B.S. excuses. I accept that they have these defenses because they are incapable of living with the guilt, so I forgive them.

Over the years I tried many different therapies and medications, and read a lot of self-help books. But what helped most was to accept that it happened and no fairy-godmother was going to come and wave a wand and make it go away. I also had to let go of my shame and guilt… I realized that if I were talking to a young girl who had been through such an experience, I would tell her that it wasn’t her fault; so why wasn’t I extending that same compassion towards myself? So I did begin speaking openly on sites such as this about my experience to help remove the sense of shame and stigma associated with it. So many people with similar experiences express gratitude for my candor. We are not alone.

I also began practicing gratitude and literally counting my blessings rather than always focusing on the negatives. And any time I started feeling sorry for myself, I would stop and remind myself that I can’t change the past and I can’t control others, all I cancontrol is what I do with this very moment… and I need to stop letting those thattried to push me down decades ago keep influencing my life.

I use a few mantras to help me:
Living well is the best revenge.
This too shall pass.
If it is to be, it is up to me.

sparkley's avatar

Had a severe heart attack after two previous near death experiences from blocked arteries and stent operations. Dreamed about the heart attack before it happened. (Story at Also putting together a website on movies about ptsd.

jholler's avatar

I spent last year driving 5mph and hunting roadside bombs in Iraq. I’ve got some PTS, but I’m trying to avoid the D.

noraasnave's avatar

@madmom and Hearkat: Thank you very much for sharing your experience and your healing process. It is amazing how many different ways there are to recover. The common denominator seems to be self realization.

@jholler: Thank you for your sacrifice. Were there any defining events that led to your PTS? Any close calls?

jholler's avatar

one friend KIA, don’t know how many medevac’d, hundreds of ied’s, three direct hits ( I was looking out my window into the hole when they exploded). I was usually lead truck in our patrol, and spent 8–12 hours day as bait. Kinda wears on you.

noraasnave's avatar

@jholler: Wow. That is intense! I am in Iraq right now, but due to my Military Occupational Specialty, and due to our location and the success of our predecessors we haven’t experienced that.

What are you doing to work through these experiences?

Kayak8's avatar

Surviving a close-call house fire started it for me. Then found a dead body (unintentionally). Worked in job where many, many people died. It was just the accumulation of junk without much of a break that did it for me. Treated underlying depression and I am MUCH better (still a bit jumpy and certain situations will trigger me—mostly smells).

noraasnave's avatar

Thank you for sharing. That is intense!

There are emerging technologies that might even be able to take more of those symptoms from people with PTSD.

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