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Would PTSD be judged?

(26 Posts)
user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 10:42:40

Hi all

NC for obvious reasons.

Divorced several months back was dragged through courts. During this time I was badly assaulted (unrelated, actual bodily harm) and subsequently diagnosed with PTSD.

ExH is now playing mind games in the midst of this pandemic where I can't go out because shielding. We have 2 x DC under 10 who live with me. I've been managing to control my symptoms for several weeks now - agoraphobia had eased (because I can't go out), as had anxiety (neither can my DC), but because of the stress exH (and his horrid family) is putting on me my anxiety levels are once again through the roof, I'm short of breath with the onset of panic attacks, I can't sleep, can't eat, having awful flashbacks and the loop of over thinking is incessant. Debilitating. I feel like I've regressed and I can't turn it around quickly enough.

If he was to be informed of my PTSD diagnoses as a tool to get him to back off, does this mean there's a risk I may lose my DC??? I'm terrified that if he doesn't stop I will crumble. I don't break in front of them but I completely shut down - I'm at least conscious of that.

I've got an emergency phone appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow but I just don't know what to do to make this better. Would it go against me if they knew? I'm so scared that they are going to break me.

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nether Tue 26-May-20 10:48:03

Well done on coping this far.

The surefire way to lose your DC is to be unable to,see the wood for the trees and to stop the treatments that you need. A well-controlled MH condition, for which you have consistently sought proper medical input and ensured does not impact on your DC is unlikely to be sufficient grounds in itself to change child arrangements.

You say you are shielding. Is it you or DC whomhave received the shield letter?

Spied Tue 26-May-20 10:52:32

I don't think it would go against you.
That's not to say your ex won't try to use it to his advantage.
Just be prepared.

user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 10:54:52

Thank you so much @nether. I'm so worried, and in my rational brain it's absolutely the PTSD which is wreaking havoc by making my head over think and over scrutinise everything. DC are both shielded for the foreseeable. Got a lot of letters and texts. They've been amazing so far, but their history is just that: they are immunocompromised so have spent a lot a lot of time out of school.

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user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 10:56:23

@Spied this is what I'm scared about. On the one hand it might make them temporarily back off but on the other it would only give them more ammunition. I can't win. And I've got nothing left to fight with.

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user1635482648 Tue 26-May-20 10:58:25

Your ex does not sound like a reasonable person - he would just incorporate it into his game playing. It would be another tool to control you. He would probably be pleased to know how effective his tactics are, not chastened as you hope.

He sounds controlling, possibly abusive. Have you spoken to Women's Aid? There are more effective ways to deal with this, although I appreciate he's pushed you to the point of desperation.

user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 11:06:07

Thank you @user1635482648 - I haven't spoken to woman's aid as I didn't think it would be relevant now that we are divorced? But thank you for seeing the abuse is there. ExH (+ family) is a dreadfully cruel person, cannot see beyond making my life absolute hell. It has been an exhausting few years of divorce proceedings. I was absolutely shattered. They terminated at the end of last year and I suddenly again feel utterly exhausted to the point of just wanting to crawl back into bed and stay there until they go away.

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user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 11:06:58

And yes, @user1635482648 it's all about control.

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Dinosauratemydaffodils Tue 26-May-20 11:11:28

Based on your description of your ex, I think I'd advise against. He doesn't sound particularly reasonable. Is he pursuing custody now? Does he disagree that your DC need to shield? I don't think it's necessarily that it would go against you in a court but you're giving him added vulnerability to focus his mind games on.

I also have a diagnosis of ptsd. I don't share that with most of my friends so wouldn't with someone who doesn't have my best interests at heart.

user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 11:17:20

Thank you @Dinosauratemydaffodils - you're right he is not reasonable. He isn't fighting for custody but without going into detail he / they are not doing what they were told to do to enable me and the DC to move on into a happy future, so it looks like proceedings will be recommenced. My head is fried. And I agree the same - I haven't told many people at all, why would I tell someone who has almost certainly added to the gravity of the diagnosis. I am deluded if I think it would help. I think the victim:abuser mentality with him is so ingrained I have to remind myself to not go into that dangerous territory again as it never ever helped. It always hurt.

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user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 11:22:48

I don't think they're ever going to allow me to be happy. I feel so let down.

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user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 11:26:29

Sorry @Dinosauratemydaffodils - no, he agrees they need to shield. It gives him an excuse not to see them. Sorry I didn't answer that before.

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user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 11:34:33

I've put a call in to my doctor. I can't stop crying. He's calling within 24 hours.

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SkySmiler Tue 26-May-20 11:43:43

Keep talking on here and remember the samaritans are on hand flowers

MatildaTheCat Tue 26-May-20 11:51:41

I definitely wouldn’t share any personal information with your ex or his family. They have no right to that information. Can you take any further steps to reduce your exposure to his communication?

I suffered from PTSD and had EMDR treatment which was really quite successful, I do recommend you ask to be referred to a therapist who deals with trauma.

Best wishes.

Dinosauratemydaffodils Tue 26-May-20 11:57:24

I agree with a previous poster, contact women's aid and see what advice they offer.

In the meantime, tiny steps, focusing on breaking today into chunks that you can cope with. Eat when you feed the children, even if it's just a few mouthfuls. White noise at bedtime can help a lot. I quite like rain and there are multiple YouTube channels which provide 10 hours worth. I also have a night light as I can't sleep in the dark when I'm struggling.

Are you taking any medication?

Mittens030869 Tue 26-May-20 11:59:39

I'm so sorry you're going through this, and you're doing so well to cope and stay strong for your DC.

To reassure you, I'm an adoptive mum to 2 DDs of 11 and 8 and I suffer from complex PTSD and CFS (and now long-term COVID-19 symptoms) and no one has suggested that I'm not fit to bring up my DDs safely. There was SS involvement at one point (at my own request, no one had expressed concerns about my parenting), but all they wanted to see was that I was taking the right steps to seek support for my issues.

You'll get through this, just keep on as you are doing and seek support when you need it, and you will get through this. thanksthanks

I have, or have had, cPTSD. I don't mind who knows, as it isn't a source of shame to me. Strictly speaking it's not a mental health disorder: it's a psychological injury. It's also a textbook, human and very normal response to extreme trauma. Although it can make you very physically unwell, it's not so debilitating that it precludes you caring for yourself or dependent children. It's also eminently treatable (EMDR therapy has changed my life).

It's very doubtful a court would remove children from your care for this reason, and it's also likely that if a former partner tried to use this against you, they'd recognise this ploy for what it is. Don't forget, they see this every day. That said - as a former sufferer myself I'm well aware of the kind of abuser who would use this as a tactic against you. If you're thinking of using the PTSD diagnosis as a means of making him back off, don't. Here's a story of what happened when I did this.

I grew up with an abusive father (one of the main reasons I've carried the condition around with me for so many years). He was never in my confidence but he was the first person who learned I had been raped at 15. I finally broke, after having him constantly in my face, needling me, pinning me up against walls where I couldn't run away so I'd be trapped while he sneered unpleasantries in my face but he wouldn't leave a mark. I was in that position one day two years after the rape and threw it out at him in desperation as the only means I could find to make him back off and leave me alone. It felt like my only escape mechanism.

He went absolutely ballistic. First he victim-blamed me telling me it was my fault because I was a slut (as if he'd know). Then he told me he didn't believe me anyway. Then he assaulted me. Then he tried to call the police, which I didn't want because I was afraid the whole street would find out and laugh at me (my two rapists had mocked my anatomy and made me feel like a freak). Also, my memory of the event was hazy (I later learned this too was likely a response to trauma, but with two rapists' word against mine and the whole event partly blocked out by hysterical amnesia, what chance would I ever have had in court)? Then came his trump card: if the rapists ever did it to anyone else it would be my fault.

The reason I'm posting this info here is borne out of a strong conviction that it's never a good idea to give an abuser leverage. Once they see a vulnerable area, they don't let up. Don't tell him. It's not going to make him back off, and if you're as unfortunate as I was it will have the opposite effect. But nor do I think you should fear that if the diagnosis did become known, your children would be taken away.

I hope you can get the help you need. It's a truly dreadful condition. It seems impossible to see the end of the tunnel when you're in that situation, but with time and the right treatment, you will. If I did, anyone can.

flowers flowers

user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 12:16:30

Thank you @SkySmiler, thank you @MatildaTheCat - I've been recommended EMDR but I can't find someone nearby who practices - do you by any chance have any contacts who can recommend / I can search locally? I obviously can't share where I am.

Talking is hard, typing is a little easier. I've been doing a (now cancelled due to pandemic) PTSD stabilisation course and the breathing techniques sent me spiralling into an absolute onslaught of panic - it was what my attacker did. Stopped me breathing. So I can't even revisit the techniques as I'm too nervous to open that booklet back up.

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user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 12:17:47

@Dinosauratemydaffodils Bitesize chunks is where I was weeks and weeks ago, it improved and now it's bad again. Thank you for the recommendations I will try to eat with the DC. I just feel so so sick.

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user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 12:18:21

@Dinosauratemydaffodils yes I'm on beta blockers. Sorry I missed that again. blush

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user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 12:19:53

Thank you @Mittens030869 - and you must also be commended on just how amazing a person you are to have carried on doing what you're doing despite the constraints and the stresses.

Like with a pp is there a chance you could recommend a source for EMDR? Thank you.

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user0866785432 Tue 26-May-20 12:24:55

@MarieIVanArkleStinks - bloody hell. I am just so sorry at what you've been through. I cannot begin to imagine how scared you must have been. In the beginning of my divorce proceedings a family friend decided he was going to try it on: I told him no and confided in my sisters. One asked what I was wearing and the other said I was a drama queen. Turns out they are flying monkeys and my parents are Narcs. No wonder I felt so comfortable entering into an entirely (financially) abusive marriage, and then the emotional abuse came. I have been through enough therapy for a lifetimes worth and I was doing so well. Then I was attacked and thought I was going to die. Even typing that is terrifying. My DC get anxious each time they ever go to my exH - they worry worry worry that I will die. I nearly got killed that night of the attack and I cannot get past it. They're who keep me here, and now all the fears and the flashbacks have come back.

Sorry to go on. I'm so so sorry at what you've been through. I don't know what to say apart from honestly well done for travelling your path and for keeping the light ahead of you. thanks

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MatildaTheCat Tue 26-May-20 12:27:08

My GP recommended a few people to me and I looked them up on their professional site and made contact with the person who looked a good fit for me. I actually had therapy for about a year before having the EMDR but with hindsight I should have done it sooner. Talking was helpful but didn’t improve my worst symptoms.

The breathing example you give is probably a good example of ways you could improve your condition. I would also recommend Alexander Technique constructive rest as a good way to relax and take back some control. You can find lots of this on YouTube.

Mittens030869 Tue 26-May-20 13:14:27

Thank you for the kind words, OP. I've had EMDR twice, as the memories came back gradually after my DSis and I had repressed them for many years; they came back once we had young DC. I paid privately the first time, while there was a police investigation going on, which was horribly expensive, then I had more EMDR on the NHS a couple of years later. (Like you, I was worried about SS, which was why I hadn't approached my GP surgery initially.)

The surgery was excellent in the end, I was referred to a psychotherapist. It was a long waiting list, though. But I very much recommend it, and it will demonstrate that you're taking action to find help. thanks

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