PTSD from reading posts?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by meowbunny, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Sometimes, I'll read a post and start to reply. Before I can get much more than two words out, I'll start shaking or crying because it brings back so many memories. Anyone else react like this?

    I know that sometimes I really do have somethng to contribute because I have gone through the situation and even (occasionally) have had success with the problem but I can't reply due to my reactions. I have to keep going back to that thread and trying over and over to reply. Sometimes I succeed, many times I don't. Mind you, these aren't for the big issues but just day-to-day stuff like standing in lines, shopping incidents, stuff like that.

    Is this peculiar to me or does anyone else have that problem? Any suggestions on how to get over it?
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Not unless I'm already in the doldrums and then it will send me over the edge. :)

    It's more like I'm excited that I can identify with-someone else.

    The only thing that works for me is to read the same thing over and over again until it doesn't affect me any more. Sort of a desensitization.

    I hope that helps. Take care.
  3. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    No, not because of the reason of getting upset about memories. I have a problem finishing replies due to it taking me so long (up & down from computer) & then having the feeling that I "lost" what I originally wanted to say or that maybe my whole reply will not come out the way I intended it to. Then , I get upset because I feel like I had something to offer from my experiences or just to send good wishes and I end up not posting.
  4. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I usually find comfort in seeing that others are facing similar issues, but I tend to get overwhelmed at times. I will get "addicted" to the board and try to offer as much insight as I can, learning from others' situations, and posting my own pleas for advice. Other times, I just can't read anymore, or I read but can't bring myself to post, I am just too burnt out by my own difficult child problems and I feel like everything I have tried has failed anyway so what is the point of offering my advice? This is how I am feeling right now about difficult child in general.
  5. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Kinda, MB.

    I go in spurts on the General Board. I read fairly regularly, but go in spurts with responding. Sometimes I just don't have the emotional energy to do it. And sometimes I read something and have been there done that with my daughter and try to reply, but it just brings all of that 'stuff' back to the forefront and I just can't. I'll start and then have to stop because I just feel so drained, exhausted, weary.

    Maybe one day I'll get to the point where just reading, thinking, talking about this stuff doesn't put me emotionally right back in it.

    I can't even post that much about my daughter because it's too draining to rehash it.
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    No, I don't react like this and if I did I seriously would be inclined to take a break from reading.

    There are times when I can deeply emphathize with someone, times when a post brings back bad memories, and while typically I'm more than glad to share my experiences, I have a personal line drawn in the sand which I won't cross in terms of causing me stress or pain. That's when I trust there are a lot of posters here that make up the ebb and flow of discussion.
  7. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    If I'm really upset about something going on with my difficult child, then it gets hard to respond. I'm not sure if it's because of PTSD or that I don't have faith in my own abilities at that moment, so why would I have valuable advice for someone else.

    And I have been known to take a break from the board, but it's because I'm taking a break from obsessing about my own difficult child's issues, not everyone else's.
  8. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    I normally am comforted that I am not alone or the only one, but I also feel sincere empathy for the poster, like I wish I could help or make it better
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    YOU STOLE MY POST! :rofl:

    MB, some posts that hit particularly close to an emotional scar do conjure up old, painful memories. Or if I'm having a particularly trying time, I can find myself really getting swept up in the emotion of a post. Not all the time, but once in a while.

    I don't know what you can do to get over something that's triggering you specifically. Do you have a therapist?
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Occassionally it has happened- usually not. But when it does, I think it is because I haven't quite gotten over going through the similar situation with difficult child yet, or because I haven't really grieved yet over it. I go have a cry occassionally, then I'm good to go again!! Yes, they are things I will discuss in therapy because I know I haven't processed it all yet and truly gotten over it. My difficult child's life moves much faster than my emotions can keep up with sometimes.
  11. Steely

    Steely Active Member definitely happens to me. Definitely.
    Then I retreat to the watercooler, or go chill on another activity, because it is evident I am already too activated, and need to relax. However, there are some posts that bring that response, but by responding to them, I am able to release that PTSD stuff. It just depends where I am mentally.

    I totally understand, though. There are days when I wonder why I am subjecting myself to flashbacks, but then I know, know, there is a catharsis in releasing and identifying.

  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    There are some posts that are painful to read, because of the amount of pain that person is going through. There are others that are painful because I've been there, and it wasn't a good place to be. I think anyone raising a difficult child has an incredible amount of emotional pain going on, whether it's from dealing with our children directly or dealing with the issues surrounding them, and I wonder if that kind of pain ever fully goes away.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    For varies upon what is happening in my life and my strength at the moment. On some days, it almost feels like some sort of validation knowing that others are going through similar issues and managing to get through them. On other days, I tend to be a little quieter, because I really don't want to think about this stuff very much or I am just too busy to read and reply to posts. You should do this because you feel supported and wanted to support others. I think if you are feeling overburdened by the reading of posts, it is a signal to simply stop reading them. You can stop reading for a few days (or decide what seems right) and then check in for a few minutes each day or a couple of days a week, etc. ( pick based on your time, feelings that you are being supported and ability to support). I have even used a timer, because it is easy to lose track of time when one starts reading. Don't ever do something that doesn't feel right...but don't assume these are "forever" feelings either. Wishing you well.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I had PTSD following difficult child 3's birth and other big problems we had about the same time, including having to be evacuated from home while in early labour, due to the biggest bushfires in 100 years. The problems went much deeper than that, dug up a lot of connected stuff form the past and three months later I knew I was in trouble when I began having flashbacks and found myself mentally right back in the scary situation - images of stainless steel with flickering flames, the smell of disinfectant and the feeling of heat on my face. I would lose seconds, minutes, when it was as if I had been transported back to the fire, the delivery room or both combined.

    For about a year I found that images of fires or TV programs dealing with babies or childbirth would have me in a sobbing heap. Even now, I'm fighting tears just writing about it.

    But a big thing - I am here on my own, nobody else can see. I don't have to try to hide it and it will pass in seconds. Time and therapy has helped with a lot of healing.
    Of course, I wasn't able to get enough help soon enough, so a lot of the stuff that emerged due to the PTSD had already begun to bury itself again, and that is the stuff that keeps resurfacing.

    What I've had to realise - I had the problems to begin with, because over years from childhood there were a lot of problems that were never resolved. The trauma of the fires and the rough childbirth brought it all to the surface, like a raging flood will carry a lot of eroded mud and torn branches. The sediment settles, some of it quickly, but it can be dislodged later on much more easily, and in smaller amounts. THAT is when you get another chance to deal with it.

    Don't try to bury it again, in fact try to hang onto it long enough to work out WHY it's a problem and how you can move closer to resolving the distress.

    Over time, you work your way through the silt and debris in your mind and slowly find the landscape underneath. You clean is up as you can handle it.

    PTSD is when you get too much at once to handle. Simply being upset by something isn't PTSD. It's when it totally overloads you and you just can't see where to begin, to try to fix things up or even understand what is going on. Too much at once - that's when I asked for help. Once I found where I could begin to work on my own therapy, I made good progress.

    I can watch video of the 1994 fires now and I'm OK. We've endured another fire since, but it was much smaller and really was no threat to us. I had no sense of panic with the smell of smoke; merely a sense of purpose. I knew what to do and I knew what is important in my life and what is not. Actually being able to DO something is actually really good therapy.

    I can watch video of childbirth now and again, I'm OK with it. I still get angry over how I was treated when difficult child 3 was born; I am still in pain from the damage done to my pelvis. I have a constant reminder every time I sit for any length of time!

    But doing something - that helps. For me, part of doing something is posting here. Or listening to a friend having a rough time. If I cry - so what? It's empathy. If I hadn't been through what I went through, I would have less understanding.

    It's OK to be sad sometimes. It's when it gets out of control that you have a problem and need to ask for help.

    Steely had some good suggestions, they really make sense in the context of what I was trying to explain, too. When you find a post that really shakes your foundations and it's a bit too overwhelming, instead of running right away from it just back up a bit to the point where you can cope. Go read other posts in Watercooler, or similar. Then when you feel you can handle things a bit better, go back and explore what made you upset and how you can find a better way of handling it.

    You do what you can, little by little, and you find your tolerance increases with time.

    Some people are softies, they cry at the drop of a hat (or hankie!). Others are stoics, you never see a flicker of emotion on their faces (and often inside, they're marshmallow because they never allow themselves to clean up their flood debris). The people who constantly release their pressure valves are the ones who can handle a lot more grief in life without cracking.

    I'd like to think I'm in that category. I'm not. I have to keep reminding myself to deal with it and not bury it.

    If you can deal with your feelings in a positive way, it will help you. What doesn't help you is when those feelings make you feel more helpless, more frustrated.

    Maybe if you can tell yourself that you are using your own experience to help someone else not have to endure quite as much as you did? It helps me if I can do that. I'm finding it helps me in other ways, too.

    Sit down for a few minutes and allow yourself to be selfish. What do YOU get out of this site? Put yourself first. Then think further - while still getting your own needs met first, what do other people get from you that is good?

    If you can help other people while also helping yourself - THAT is good and should be able to help your tightly strung emotions to be eased with time.

  15. threebabygirls

    threebabygirls New Member

    I get stressed out after reading some of the posts, and usually end up feeling worse about my situation. Most of the time I'm glad I found this site and have support, other times it makes me fear things can and probably will get worse as difficult child gets older.
  16. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    When my daughter was first diagnosis'd...I had the exact same feelings. I wasn't coming here. I was going to a website specific to her diagnosis. There were times that paying attention to medications that were helping children were very beneficial for our family. Every child is different and I always kept that in mind. But sometimes it gave me ideas of things to ask the doctor or to look up for myself. I tried to limit looking at posts where someone was in trouble, although I did look at them and offer help where I could help. The ones were folks were showing some improvement as the result of medication, therapy, experience...etc. I tried to pay more attention to. I did find reading of great difficulties taxing. It created a PANIC in me...what will the future bring? Is this what I have to look forward to? Obviously, folks coming to these websites are seeking support and solutions. Ya that you mention it...I think mentioning solutions that have worked for us is a good long as it is done with- the understanding that each child and family are unique. But ideas are helpful and might help with stress.

    Generally speaking, many of these diagnosis's are lifelong illnesses requiring much support. Support in terms of emotional support and potential ideas. I would think about setting up your own personal system with reference to how often you will look at the posts and what type of posts you will look at and respond to so that you will feel benefits from coming from this site. Take control and consider setting up limits.
    Lasted edited by : Aug 20, 2008