Do I have PTSD?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MICHL, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. MICHL

    MICHL New Member

    I'm wondering if I have PTSD from having a very difficult difficult child. I feel like I do... stressed.. and have insomnia for the past year.. I feel so burnt out, it doesn't seem to ever get better...
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    PTSD involves a little more than that, although you might not have given all the symptoms you are exhibiting. There are some great web sites about it if you sort thru the google search to make sure you are finding info that isn't just war-related PTSD. The symptoms might be similar but it's a little harder to identify with if the cause wasn't war. I found a couple of sites a few weeks ago but unfortunately, I didn't save the links.

    To answer your question in general terms- it certainly is possible to end up with PTSD from living with a difficult child- it depends on the effect it has had on you and the long term effects it left you with. Also, even if it isn't PTSD, it still can be something else that you could benefit from getting treatment for.
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Pretty good chance of it....I see you suffer from depression and am assuming that you take medications and see a therapist or psychiatrist? Have you spoken to your doctor about PTSD?

  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I can only compare to my own PTSD experience. I'm not sure if you can call it PTSD if it's not from an acute situation. Long-term "constant dripping wears away a stone" issues with a difficult kid is certainly distressing and stressful and yes, therapy for you is almost certainly going to be of value for you. You sound like you've burning out and feeling overloaded. But PTSD? I'm not sure. It really depends on how the label is applied in your area.

    In my case the PTSD was a combination of factors all happening very close together in time. The danger was extreme, the pain and trauma was out of expectation. There was a specific time frame in which the issues happened although the trauma didn't go away fully afterwards, there was a daily reminder plus my usual de-stress options were gone. All linked in. At about the two month mark I began to have flashbacks which jumbled the traumas up together and it was scary; almost a break from reality, except it was more like my mind looking back through a window, part of me was still aware of the reality I was in and not fooled by the images.

    What you describe sounds different. It is not necessarily less a concern than PTSD. It could actually be more serious, because it is long-standing and the stressors are ongoing.

    Too few women ask for help in this situation, scared tat people will see their difficulties as laziness or weakness. But reaching out when you feel you need help is strong, it is also showing that you care deelpy about the mother of your children. It is a pro-active thing to do, very wise.

    Go find yourself a good counsellor and don't get fobbed off by anyone who tries to belittle your distress.

    You can't compare your distress with mine, or your friend's, or your neighbour's. We have no way of knowing if you would cope better than me with my problems, or I would cope better than you. All you can do is deal with what is, and reach out for help when you can't cope as well as you feel you should. It is the wise ting to do and you deserve to be validated in this.

    Let us know how you go with getting help.

  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    A good psychiatrist or therapist would be able to help with this. Websites are also very helpful. It is entirely possible that you do, but you don't have to have it forever. One of the best treatments for PTSD is EMDR (Eye movement desensitization something) and it is amazing. If you search google for EMDR certification you will find the group that does certification for this and they have a good list of tdocs. We got a LOT of help from a therapist on this list for Jessie.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I wish I'd found that EMDR, Susie. My PTSD got left for too long despite me asking for help ASAP. The first shrink I had was useless, although he was supposed to specialise in PTSD. He made me feel like I had no right to feel upset and traumatised and wanted to put me on medication for depression, when in my case I wasn't depressed, I was ANGRY. Absolutely furious, at what I'd been put through. I wanted to put someone through a wall except there was nobody in my sights. But certain flashbacks and reminders of the trauma would have me in floods of tears, utterly distraught. It took me years before I could see TV coverage of a bushfire, or childbirth, without falling apart. While my trauma did link in with long-term problems that built up from childhood, it was the traumatic incidents that were the last bale of straw (rather than last straw). Without them, I would have simply been a person who could benefit from a bit of healing in my past. Instead, I was a basket case for a few years and I know it's still not fully dealt with. But now I know it's there, and why.

    I've also (before the trauma) had times when I was feeling overloaded and stressed by life. It was bad, I needed counselling. It had a totally different feel to the PTSD. I know then I was depressed, feeling hopeless, having problems either at work (sociopath colleague/boss) or with one of the kids, not sure what to do with myself or how to find my way out of the problem. At such times I take myself off for counselling and find it helps a lot. Doesn't always fix it, but it gets things to a point where I can once more step in and take control of my life. But having had all my experiences - I'm not sure I could categorise the other events as PTSD. Nobody labelled it at the time, other than "stress". A label would have changed nothing anyway. I just needed help, and went and got it.

    Hang in there, hon. You deserve to feel better.

  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    The categories listed here are the primary ones- this is put out by our National Institute of Mental Health and give the guidelines listed on most reputable PTSD websites.

    Some treatments help some but not others- the most consistent contributor to treatment seems to be CBT, whether or not a person also benefits from medications, EMDR, group therapy, etc. in my humble opinion- and this is speculative only- the "add-on" treatments that are effective for each individual person might have something to do with their own personal triggers and symptoms.

    It doesn't list this on that particular page, but the symptoms have to persist for a certain period of time- 6 months I think. If you had previous trauma in your life that caused PTSD symptoms, you are much more likely to develop them again if 1) you experience another traumatic event, 2) you are forced to "relive" (as in tesify) the original trauma, 3) something else I don't remember- sorry....

    you can poke around the web and find more. If I find that one great link again, I'll post it, too. It was by a therapist but had very informative data on it.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
  8. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I would at least go talk to someone. Can't hurt. My husband has LOTS of stress from our G'sFG and he is prone to depression, I would not say he has PTSD, but he has had issues from all of this for years...

    I had lots of traumatic events occur over most of my life starting from the time I was 4... some say these things can trigger the BiPolar (BP) that I was already pre-disposed to??? Who knows.

    I think a lot of my anxiety is from this as well. heck a lot of my issues!!! LOL
    I have wanted to try EMDR I have heard it is wonderful.
    Either way, therapy helps no matter what your diagnosis is.

    For me medications and therapy have helped.
    Good luck and take care of yourself
  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think it is a good idea to talk to someone. My therapist says it would be very possible for me to develop PTSD from living with my difficult child. She compared it to a war zone. She said it is also possible because I have to be hyper-vigilant around difficult child. Due to his history of violence when he is escalating or even when he isn't I have to be aware of my surroundings to him (ie.. last year he pushed me down a flight of stairs and so I am constantly on the lookout for my proximity to him especially when he is in a bad mood).
  10. MICHL

    MICHL New Member

    I guess I may have a form of it, or just extreme stress. I think my insomia started with just a feeling of being unable to cope. I have an appointment with a therapist, maybe it will help to talk. I can't sleep, and that alone is a major stressor. I do have medication to help with that, but still..... I try to take one day at a time. A few weeks ago I adopted a gorgeous cat, and she is a good therapist also, and I love her!
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Good for you! Even if it doesn't meet the criteria for tru PTSD, the stress of it all is enough to tip anyone over some sort of ledge and having a good therapist to talk to can help a lot. In that sense. it doesn't matter what the diagnosis is. If it turns out though that you really think it could be true PTSD, I would strongly suggest getting a specialist in that area.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Whatever this gets called, you need to de-stress and get help from a counsellor. The furry counsellor is a good start, but something that can ask you more specific questions would also be a good idea. Maybe they can work in tandem?

    Look after yourself, it is the best gift you can give your children.

  13. Bean

    Bean Member

    I've often wondered/thought I was dealing with a form of PTSD stemming from a very traumatic timeframe (a lot of it difficult child related). One example was the phone. Every time the phone rang I would start to panic. My daughter would run away, put herself in dangerous situations and would often call, sometimes they were scary calls. I really struggled with that for a while, and still do but on a smaller scale. So, yeah, depending on what's going on in your life, what kind of mental/emotional state you are in, etc. I'm sure there can be some PTSDish issues for you. I waited a long time to get specific me help, vs. group-focused help or kid-specific help. Can't hurt to go see a counselor and often the first visit is free.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think many parents of difficult child's end up with some form of ptsd. I know my ptsd started because of a rape but it is heightened because of all the koi with the kids. Phone calls and police sirens are biggies for me. If I see a certain 3 digit number come up on my phone that I dont recgonize right off the bat, my heart starts pounding thinking it is the jail calling. The hospital number just about sends me round the bend. First thing I think of is "who is dead?" Irrational.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

  16. MICHL

    MICHL New Member

  17. Jena

    Jena New Member

    I think marg hit it on the head, taking care of you is the best gift you can give your kids. I was just saying same last night. it's sort of like when your on the airplane and the oxygen mask drops down rule is take a hit of oxygen first than your kids. (so you can take care of them). makes sense.

    i'm at that point too, totally worn out and done. still trying to figure out how to take care of me. Yet small steps often help i find, a quiet moment alone, cup of tea alone, quiet walk, reading a book. even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom to get it! still is my favorite place :)

    i'm sorry feeling that way bites bigtime, but you will prevail and find your way, and talking is huge huge help. Helps to empty your cup and thoughts so you can recharge and refill yourself.

    ptsd doesn't sound like it though, i have it and it's more of like janet said triggers left and right. mine is same stemming from childhood and early adulthood incident. it's more of a marker kinda thing for me, my basic packaging would say "DONT DROP HANDLE WITH CARE" lol.

  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No problem- the tips at the bottome of the page actually do help. You've probably figured this out already, but identifying and acknowledging to yourself each emotion bouncing around inside you helps, too. At least for me and I think it's pretty standard treatment to try to work thru all them- whether the stress has reached a level of PTSD or not. Write it out if you don't have anyone around who'll listen and validate your feelings.
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think the issue here is - dealing with kids is stressful. difficult children much more so. PTSD is a specific disorder and while it can be a shocker, it is not the only stress-rlated mental disorder, nor is it necessarily the most serious. But it IS specific.

    MICHL, I strongly suggest you go to your doctor and say, "I am needing help in dealing with extreme stress," and DON'T mention "I think I have PTSD." Because although this MAY be PTSD, it also may not. And it would be a shame for you to be sent away with a pat on the head, when you really do need help.

    It's like going to the doctor after you've had a car accident and saying, "I think I have a broken leg," and the doctor says, "No, it's just bruised," and sends you home - when you happen to have a broken pelvis. And sprains, bruises, cuts and abrasions.

    Deal with what you know IS, not a label you think might apply but are not sure. Because frankly, from what you describe, what IS is plenty bad enough to be asking for help.

  20. MICHL

    MICHL New Member

    I agree, it's not PTSD, just the stress of living in a 'war zone'. Today difficult child, after not getting his way: Threw about six shoes at me within 1/2 hr, hit my bdrm. door with-fist, hit glass on wall clock with scissor blades, kicked hall wall, pushed door so i could not get back in the house after going to my car, and profanities... ...and he soiled his underwear twice; he's not cooperating well with the miralax maintenance instructions.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010