Anxiety or PTSD or other??

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Regarding the mental health evaluation done on me- I wrote a letter to clarify the numerous mistakes in it and hand delivered it yesterday. I might have let it go but since so many court authorities could end up reading it, I didn't want them thinking I lied to the psychiatric. Anyway, it led me to think more about this and what appears to me is that a lot of people have been blowing off things when I try to bring my concerns to them because they are assuming if I have an anxiety diagnosis, then my "concerns" are really irrational fears or worries.

    I remember being treated like a neurotic fruitcake by a lot of people when I was young and first sought out a therapist who was just teaching me relaxation techniques until they all figured out that my tremors were familial tremors and not a result of anxiety, although stress can make it worse. Also, none of those relaxation techniques helped me but the intensive therapy for trauma did, even though it did include me learning different types of methods for dealing with anxiety, or at least what I would call anxiety. But I'm not so sure that my definition of anxiety is the same as a therapist's anymore.

    In the situation with difficult child and the court authorities though, and as I summarized in my letter back to the psychiatric, I didn't end up unemployed because I had anxiety that interfered with my job. It was the countless times I had to go pick difficult child unexpectedly because he'd gotten into trouble, had to go take him to tdocs, PO, court, etc, that led to my unemployment. And every time difficult child got into trouble, DSS was called in (except this last time) and they had told me if difficult child gets turned over to them, he goes to my family. Period. The PO always threw out orders and threatened sanctions by the judge and blamed me for all difficult child's trouble- so did the GAL. Then, difficult child started getting physically aggressive.

    So my stress level went thru the roof. If they were "threatening" all these things, then how is that an irrational worry, knowing that difficult child was continuing to get into trouble? And if there is reason to be stressed out, due to losing job and health benefits, now losing home, etc., then is that clinically anxiety or is it PTSD? Or is it something else?

    Personally, I think this is PTSD but the people in the courts would probably flip out more if they saw that. In the evaluation, the psychiatric wrote that PTSD symptoms subsided as a young adult after that intensive therapy. True, but my current psychiatric problems returned after I testified about all the family problems from childhood and the PO and GAL continued with their threats and blaming me after difficult child kept getting into trouble, etc. (Although this psychiatric seems convinced that these symptoms have always been persistent even though he acknowledged current, different stressors. I hate it when tdocs/psychs make assumptions about other times in your life when they have absolutely no first hand knowledge to support that conclusion.) The psychiatric wrote what he thought my specific symptoms were and he listed the exact same ones in the sentence where he was talking about anxiety as he did in the sentence where he was talking about depression. I am aware those same symptoms could apply to both those dxs- but those specific symptoms also are on the list for PTSD.

    As a side note, I had to chuckle when he wrote in there he thought I was "easily overwhelmed", right after talking about difficult child stuff I'd been dealing with, being unemployed, and now losing home. I hate to think what a person would have to live with before he'd consider it normal to get overwhelmed by it. His title on the evaluation says he is the court evaluation supervisor, which tells me that all he does is work with people ordered by the court so my guess is that he's somewhat desensitized to difficult child issues. People ITRW that I worked with and live in neighborhoods with, etc., never considered these issues typical or normal. And my therapist last year said she thought I had become too tolerable of difficult child issues.

    I guess I'm wondering if the clinical definition of anxiety means it has to be an irrational worry or fear. As an example, right before difficult child started having difficult child issues, I had a mammogram that came back showing something. We had just known someone who had died after the first chemo treatment for breast cancer. It took months for me to get further testing to find out whether or not I had cancer. difficult child learned more about his father not being in his life and basicly, turned into a difficult child. I was scared I had cancer, what would happen to difficult child, trying to deal with his new-found issues, etc. Yes, I can see where my stress level was thru the roof and am sure it contribbutted to difficult child's issues. However, I had been terming that anxiety but I don't think these concerns were unfounded or irrational. So what term should I use with a therapist?
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think there can be anxiety that is because of real threats, irrational threats or just stress.

    I have anxiety a lot. I dont particularly sit down and tease out which type I am having but I will attempt to give some examples. I sometimes get extremely anxious and upset if Tony is late getting home from work. It used to be that I would be freaking out and pacing and so mad I couldnt see straight. I didnt know back then that I was anxious because I was worried about his safety...all I knew then was MAD! Now we have two cell phones so I just call him and I can relieve my fears.

    I have fears in crowded places like walmart. I dont like being in that store. I start sweating and feel like I am going to choke to death. I have to get out of there in short order.

    There is also a disorder called Acute traumatic Stress Disorder which is what happens to a person when the stress is happening right now. Like what happened to the folks immediately surrounding 9/11. Only after time passed could it become ptsd.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Then maybe the problem is just the general public's assumption that an anxiety diagnosis automatically means a person is irrational.

    I didn't dispute his diagnosis in my letter- I was just questioning it myself. He didn't say I had panic disorder (which is what you described in your walmart example), or paranoia. He recommends therapy for depression and anxiety and medications for familial tremors. I wouldn't have had an issue with that either except he says court ordering it and monitoring by the courts to get it "might motivate me more". Ha! I did dispute that. He concluded that based on things he was wrong about and I don't know if that's because he didn't write certain things in his notes and then didn't remember by the time he was actually writing the report or what. But the things like leaving out I'd sought treatment for these issues before (even though during the evaluation he said I was telling him specifics about techniques taught in therapy for coping with anxiety so he kknew I was telling the truth), I was already intending to get a therapist thru VA (apparently he didn't get the fact that there is a required application process), and assuming things...well, I don't know. He got a lot of other things wrong too. He mentioned my bro when talking about my early childhood then turned around and said I had never had siblings until my teen years. Obviously, both those statements can't be true. The letter was primarily to clarify things like that.

    I did say I was not willing to take medications for familial tremors in the letter though. For one thing, I've never known anyone who's tried medications get rid of them that way. He said medications "might help reduce" them and others might be interpreting them as anxiety symptoms being worse then what they are. Well, since there is no way that they caused or justify difficult child's delinquency, I'm just not willing to take them based on his conclusion that they might help and the issue is that others might be interpreting it anxiety.

    Also, I said if the courts determined that living with me was the cause of difficult child's delinquency, then I would support his placement in a different home as long as it was an appropriate and safe guardian because reinforcing to difficult child that I'm going to be blamed for his behavior causes more problems between us, makes it harder for me to parent him effectively, and I want a resolution as quickly as possible for him. That's not the first time I've said that although it will be the first time this judge has heard it.

    Where this gets even more screwy and what keeps it going around in a circle is that this stuff always leads them back to family therapy. Okay- that's where I started. When difficult child first became a difficult child, I started us seeing a family therapist- he told me to take difficult child to a psychiatrist. And we've been in this frreaking revolving door ever since. LOL!

    He talked about there being extensive family history of depression and anxiety (true- it's not just me), so it will be interesting to see if the courts people remain firm that difficult child doesn't have his own MH issues. How long can they convince themselves that everyone in the family has been MI except my bro and difficult child and they are completely healthy and unscathed?
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hmm... k, with all the stress Onyxx causes, would it be a surprise to know that I am now "easily overwhelmed" by the little stuff?

    At least some of the good stuff made it in there. Hugs, and you're getting there... Little by little!
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Are you sure that it isn't just one more little thing being the straw that broke the camel's back because you're already overwhelmed by the stress of the bigger stuff? LOL!

    In the context this was written, it just came across funny to me.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I feel like a newborn camel in a grain silo, honestly.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member


    All I know is that I don't think I'm willing to have these people in more control of my life, especially making my MH decisions, for the next 2 1/2 years when they've been in our lives for over the past four and it hasn't helped difficult child yet. If they've got a better place to difficult child, they can get him there as quickly as possible, in my humble opinion. I wrote in my letter that placing him somewhere else would obviously resolve things quicker than waiting on a therapuetic process that frankly, won't cure this. I didn't write this part, but I had told PO before that if the courts have no alternattives for most of these kids but to leave them with the parents (Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s aren't available much anymore) and the parents are doing everything they can already, they ought to be thinking about backing off the parents some instead of treating them like c arp. It is not uncommon in this state for parents to completely walk away after a few years of this revolving door because of the way our juvenile courts people handle things and treat the parents. They keep piling it on, talk to them like dirt, and have cost many families everything they have. And they wonder why the kid doesn't respect the parent's authority.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    k, we have all been stressed beyond belief by our own life's circumstances, by our difficult children, etc. It's not wrong to be diagnosis'd with an anxiety disorder - heck I've been diagnosis'd with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) & PTSD in the last few months.

    However, through all that I've done for kt & wm it was all about what is in the best interest of the family. Not just kt or wm. Saying that, a placement outside of your home, whatever placement that may be, will give your body time to heal from whatever is going on. If others blame you invite them to walk an hour in your shoes.

    All of these evaluations are based on a moment in time. The background can help with an evaluation but the current evaluation is based on what's happening today. What are the coping skills? How are the cognitive abilities & executive functioning?

    Really, in my humble opinion, it's time to let go of all this stuff ~ time to concentrate on you. Take the medications if it's ordered by the court. Why cause additional stressors by not taking medications for the familial tremors. Honey, you have to let go (ask me I know). I've been working "the system" for 10 years now. The system is like a brick wall - it's not going to move.

    Just a few thoughts for you to consider. Please know I'm not judging or being critical. Know that I've walked in your shoe in many ways with my difficult children (even down to whether I'm able to parent). Take this as it's given - with care.
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    ...And they wonder why the crime rate just keeps escalating, too.

    It's like this whole house arrest thing. Yup, let's punish the parents, too. husband and I are living in a prison, too - I do NOT understand how they just tell the parents, "you have to be more strict/more lenient" or whatever. Ya think we haven't tried? Reward good behavior, yeah, THAT doesn't work...

    (You SURE you don't live near me?!)
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have found MANY of the decisions the past four years to be enabling difficult child a whole lot more than helping him. Obviously, he hasn't changed for the better. While they want to blame me for it, I'm looking at it like it's their job to rehabilitate him so why don't they change their methods? That's when they say it's just difficult child's own choices. OK, then quit blaming me. But no matter what they say, I'm drawing the line at them trying to use familial tremors as an issue. That's beyond ridiculous and if they are grasping at straws that much, they can move on to Plan B. Playing along only keeps them going further and further with this stuff. So what happens when those medications don't cure them? (And like I say, I've never met anyone who said these medications work for this and I've talked to more than a few who have this problem.) Court ordered surgery? (Yes, it is an available option for those who want it but it doesn't necessarily cure it either.) For something that had nothing to do with difficult child's delinquency? Honestly, I know they are legal authorities but our government is getting a little out of hand with this one, in my humble opinion.

    They want to take the position that it's environmental (as in family)?? Then why on earth would you send him to other family members who contrtibuted to my childhood issue?
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  11. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    But they haven't ordered you to do anything yet, all you've seen is the report. You're making an awful lot of assumptions about what the court will do with this information. I know your history with this system leads you to believe in a worst case scenario, and that's not unjustified, but try not to stress youself out more by worrying about things that haven't happened yet, and that you don't even know for sure will happen. It's the good ole serenity prayer.. you can't control these things. If they order you to do something you're not comfortable with, you can deal with it then. My concern is that if you announce up front that you will not comply with things they *might* order, and dispute the results of the report before the court has even said what they'll do with it, you'll put yourself even more in the spotlight with the court, and might even inadvertently cause them to scrutinize you further.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Too late- I already hand-delivered the letter and actually feel much better ever since.

    I didn't dispute the results- only that court-ordering and monitoring would not lead to an effective therapuetic relationship, therefore it would not motivate me and I did flat-out say in it that I was unwilling to take medications for the tremor at this point in time based on the things I posted before. But if I began working with an effective therapist in the future and all things were taken into consideration- such as medical history- I would consider it. That's it- my line is drawn and I'm sticking to it.

    Crazy, there has not been one single thing ever even vaguely mentioned in difficult child's case that hasn't ended up a court order. I have every reason to believe this would, too. It's because they can't find an effective solution for difficult child so they order every. single. thing. that anyone says could possibly, might, potentially, help, a little. (Except of course the psychiatric Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that two psychiatrists recommended last year.) But this is stupid. The highest, most informed professiionals were ignored- everything someone from their CSU mentions gets ordered.

    And this was a psychiatric recommending a certain medication not an MD or psychiatrist or neurologist (it's actually a harmless neurological disorder- harmless unless it interferes with daily life but mine is not that extreme and aren't even there all the time)- that is actually a hypertension medication. OK- my blood pressure runs low and the medication is not supposed to be used on those with asthma or breathing issues. I have repetitive bronchitis and have to stay on allergy medications. When something gets court ordered, they push it and look at any info the patient provides as just being said to get out of it. I have to draw a line somewhere and with all sincereity, it would be different if I thought it would help difficult child but this is ridiculous. And the medications supposedly have serious side effects.

    There are things that can really help with them- I don't know if it varies from person to person or not. But I do the things that helps mine although in very high-stress situations- like court where difficult child is getting sentenced- there is no hope- my hands are more than likely going to shake.

    The GAL brought up the tremors a couple of years ago in court and said maybe the problem was that difficult child was embarressed by them. (They are worse in court due to the stress.) Anyway, I said "tough"! I asked what she thought they should do if a kid had a parent in a wheelchair and got embaressed if others stared at the parent, take custody away so the kid didn't get embaressed? What does that teach the kid? And since they are hereditery, what's her plan if difficult child develops them?

    I have no reason to think difficult child is troubled or embaressed by them. I am aware though that people who are not familiar with them are almost always bothered by them. I look at that as being their problem. I noticed the last time we were in court that there's a new attny working over there that has them. I wonder what they'll do about that. LOL! Maybe she can educate them.

    It's one thing to TDO a person who is danger to self/others, to order someone with MI who is breaking the law to get treatment, etc, but from what I read, the JD&R court is only supposed to order a parent to something if that parent is contributing or causing to the juvenile's delinquency (unless it's a CPS case, of course).

    I can only imagine how well it would have worked if I'd been arrested as a youth and told them it was because my parent's hands shake. LOL!
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    by the way- my original question about the diagnosis was not to dispute the diagnosis written in the report. The attnys in our JD&R court would probably assume if I had PTSD now, I was about to go postal 24 hours a day so I'm better off with them thinking Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

    It was so if I see a therapist in the future, I don't want to use a term that means something different to a professional than what I mean. Obviously, I want to be treated for what I really have and not be barking up the wrong tree. So if I really have PTSD, I don't want to have to be treated for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) just because the court ordered it and a psychiatric who made too many assumptions recommended it. I tend to doubt that the VA would do that though since they can access my MH records from my enlistment and they work for the fed government and are less likely to be "ordered" by a local jurisdiction. Of course then we would be back to this jurisdiction ignoring what higher qualified professionals said just because they don't agree with it. I think they have a bad case of denial over there!

    Don't get me wrong- I know it probably appears I'm worried about too much because it would be extreme for the courts people to do these things. But they really have insinuated and threatened all this and they know it- just like MST guy knows he told me he needed my entire military record and all that. PO used to think I was being a bit paranoid about difficult child getting out of Department of Juvenile Justice, reoffending, and that I'd get blamed for it. Uhh Uhhh... then after it happened he said "I don't know why the def attny went that route." Well, all I could say was that I knew it would happen and saw it coming. I don'typical teen know of any other parent that has been scrutinzed and blamed repetitively for their kid's delinquent behavior but it is the way this case works.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  14. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    i have both Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and PTSD....and my anxiety is based on very real issues...its the excessiveness of the anxiety that got me diagnosis'd. its pretty constant....its the ruminating over
    every little thing and the amount of time i spend where i can't shut it off.

    some of the issues are ginormous, can't overcome, altering issues...real, honest to goodness life and death stuff (difficult child 1, mainly--add difficult child 2 for extra flavor) and then some of it is
    more mundane...(like how on sunday i'm already obsessing over my insanely crazy calendar, or wondering repeatedly if ped2 will give me an rx for bloodwork for nov or if i'll have to make an appointment or whatever).

    so, welcome to the club. i'm guessing based on what you post here, you are a card carrying member.

    but so what? if i could find someone doing EMDR close to me and in my ins, i'd go. i'd also take medications by the handful if could. its exhausting worrying about everything.

    particularly what you cant change ;-)
  15. ML

    ML Guest

    I don't have anything to add but a big hug ((((KLMNO)))). Be good to you, k? Love, ML
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you, Ladies! This has been helpful in helping me distinguish things, see what is going on now in my current situation, and remind me of more details about therapy when I was younger. I am convinced now that Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is not the primary problem, although I got that diagnosis when I first started in therapy, too. Once more details came out about symptoms, things changed.

    I can see why this psychiatric came up with this though- I'm the one who told them all my previous dxs were depression and anxiety and most would stick to that unless they had reason to think otherwise. It's no big deal for court purposes. It does make some difference in treatment though.

    ETA: I'm not saying I don't have any anxiety- just that it isn't Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010