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Complex PTSD. Seeing counsellor now GP wants to meet

(24 Posts)
WeAreNotInKansasAnymore Mon 06-Mar-17 20:15:41

I'd like some advice if poss. Marriage counselling then psychotherapy has uncovered a number of issues involving complex PTSD around childhood neglect & abuse.

Last week I went to the GP about a skin complaint & she asked about my stress. I told her the above & she said to make an appt with the GP (she is a locum).

What will the GP actually do? I have lived with this for pretty much 40 years. I feel suicidal and angst ridden but don't think I would act on it, nor am I depressed. I need to become a stronger parent but equally I don't have much support. Would a GP help with that?

Has anyone else been in the same position?

WeAreNotInKansasAnymore Tue 07-Mar-17 00:44:32

Can anyone help? Would be good to hear from others with this condition.

BretonRose Tue 07-Mar-17 00:58:01


Generally speaking I encourage people to seek as much support as possible. But if you're still in psychotherapy with someone you trust and so are receiving active support, I would say the following:

1. I know that it is a feature of my complex PTSD (childhood neglect, childhood traumas, aggravated by traumas in later life) that it can be extremely retraatising for me to talk about things with people I haven't established a bond of trust with
2. So, given that, plus GP workloads/gaps of specialist knowledge, I wouldn't rush into telling my GP if I didn't know them a bit already
If you do know and trust your regular GP, then fine. If not, don't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.

By the way, I found the website of Pete Walker very helpful re childhood neglect and complex PTSD.

Good luck c

BretonRose Tue 07-Mar-17 00:58:39


WeAreNotInKansasAnymore Tue 07-Mar-17 01:28:14

Thank you BretonRose, that is exactly the case and you have articulated perfectly what is on my mind. The nature of the dx (same as yours) means I need my bond with the therapist to continue and I don't think I can form new bonds for now.

I have never even met my GP as rarely go to the docs. Best to leave it, I think.

I saw one website of Pete Walker's - thank you for the recommendation, will have another look soon.

I appreciate your reply vv much. I'm a mess. Marriage breakdown has stirred up so much stuff. Guess it was lying dormant. Not sure how much I can stuff back away.

shitgibbon Tue 07-Mar-17 01:51:52

I think she thinks that discussing with your GP may give you an extra layer of support. I would suggest that to take your GP up on this but make it clear that it will need to take some time for the trust to develop.

FYI I have the same diagnosis as you. It's never a bad thing to have more than one person 'on your side' medically.

WeAreNotInKansasAnymore Tue 07-Mar-17 02:33:40

Hi Shitgibbon I think you're right, as she was asking me about what sort of support I have in place.

I suppose the next obvious question, is - what sort of support could a GP give in cases like ours? What should I expect?

I'm sorry you have the same. I have really had a lightbulb moment. Didn't realise this had a name, or even that other people felt the same way. I guess years of social isolation makes you think you are the only one suffering. Appreciate your reply.

highinthesky Tue 07-Mar-17 02:39:54

It's crucial that you play your GP in here. They will be able to help you access appropriate services that you may not be aware of.

WeAreNotInKansasAnymore Tue 07-Mar-17 03:30:52

Thank you, High. Given that I am having psychotherapy & have developed a great therapeutic relationship with the counsellor, is there anything else a GP could offer?

Is it worth my taking time off work to make appointments?

Sorry for endless questions. I haven't seen a GP for about 10 years and was not expecting this reaction from her.

BretonRose Tue 07-Mar-17 04:41:47

Maybe talk to your counsellor about it. She'll be likely to be aware of other services, and also knows your situation/what is likely to work for you intimately, so she is in a good position to help you reach a decision.

picklemepopcorn Tue 07-Mar-17 06:46:46

I think you need to ask your counsellor what he's/she has in mind from the GP. Explain you do not know your GP and wonder what the GP can offer.

BretonRose Tue 07-Mar-17 09:58:32

Think it was a locum GP that told the OP to see the long term GP pickle.

OP, you could think about seeing the GP again about your skin rash or something similar to gauge whether you are now/re likely to be comfortable talking to her in the future.

If you do decide you want to let your GP know, you could also think about writing a note for your gp about your situation, stating you don't really want to get into the details out with a therapeutic setting, but you'd like to make her aware. Also that you would be grateful if she thought about whether there are any specialist services she thinks you should try to access. Ask her in the note not to ask a lot of questions in quick succession though and explain you need time to build trust. You would need to make an appointment and sit there were while she read the note. I mean, go in and say "I find it very difficult to talk about this so I have written down a brief explanation".

Anyway, goood luck x

WeAreNotInKansasAnymore Tue 07-Mar-17 12:47:29

Picklemepopcorn To clarify, I saw a locum GP about a skin problem and she suggested I book an appointment with my 'proper' GP about the complex PTSD issues. She said something about ensuring I am supported, but she knows I am seeing a psychotherapist separately. I will tell my counsellor about this, and will see if she has any ideas for how to communicate with my GP (if, indeed, I should).

Great idea, thanks for further posts, BretonRose, that is a brilliant idea. Half the time the problem is that I do not have a 'script' for articulating so it helps to think that I could write a note. I don't really want to unleash the whole story to the GP and I am fearful about my medical records (might be too late, anyway). Thanks so much. Also for luck. Going to need it! You too, good luck. x

paddlenorapaddle Tue 07-Mar-17 15:45:29

Z. B

paddlenorapaddle Tue 07-Mar-17 15:46:24

Sorry posted in error blush

RhuBarbarella Tue 07-Mar-17 15:53:40

Hi, I have had the same diagnosis. I would also suggest talking it through with your therapist. Maybe you can write something for your GP together if you come to the conclusion that they need to be told. Otoh, you may conclude that they don't need to be told, or not now. I can understand that it is not helpful to go and talk about it with someone you don't know.

Piffpaffpoff Tue 07-Mar-17 15:55:31

I was told to go and see my GP by another medical professional who diagnosed my PTSD (I didn't realise I had it but then EVERYTHING made sense once they talked to me about it! What a relief) and I wrote down what I wanted to say, what help I thought I did - and importantly didn't - want/need from them. Handed them the note at the appt - pretty much did what Breton Rose suggested in fact, right down to the handing-over-the-note speech!). Had a chat about what help the could provide, took some help, went back a month later for a follow-up, not seen them since.

I think getting on their radar is no bad thing in case you do need further help at some point. Best of luck.

NolongerAnxiousCarer Tue 07-Mar-17 22:03:34

Your GP probably wants an overview of whats going on for you and to check that you have the right support inplace. You don't necessarily need to tell them the details. I've never told my GP the details of my PTSD, just that I'd been told thats what it was and what support I had inplace. She offered to make furthur referals if I wanted them and prescribed ADs which she monitors.

There are good treatments for PTSD, the one with the best evidence seems to be something called EDMR, I had a similar treatment called Eye Movement Integration and it was like a magic wand, the improvement was so dramatic and quick. Mine was not complex, so obviously my results were probably quicker than with CPTSD.

picklemepopcorn Wed 08-Mar-17 06:22:27

Sorty, I misunderstood. Thought the psychotherapist/counsellor wanted you to see GP.
That makes much more sense.

SeriousSteve Wed 08-Mar-17 06:30:03

Hi, I'm in the same position, suffering complex PTSD. You should involve your GP, and treatments at main psychological service, instead of wellbeing/catch-all services. These treatments include psychotherapy and EMDR. You should ask for a referral to psychiatric services too if you need something to sleep, or get over panic attacks. Your GP can prescribed drugs like diazepam but lots are very wary of doing so.

I'd recommend posting in the Stately Homes thread (Relationships) as there are lots of us who have been through childhood neglect and/or abuse.

Itisnoteasybeingdifferent Wed 08-Mar-17 08:08:44

I suggest you do see your GP.. if only to allow them a better understanding of your underlying situation. At some time in the future it will be useful for him /her to fully know your background.

As to the trust matter, you don't need to tell them everything straight away. Just open the door to future conversations. Please keep us updated.

WeAreNotInKansasAnymore Wed 08-Mar-17 14:51:20

Thanks so much for the recent posts. You all give me hope. I have felt quite overwhelmed but regaining control of my life has helped. Not easy times.

RhuBarbarella Sorry you have had the same diagnosis. I'm seeing my therapist on Friday and will talk it through then. She has been wonderful and yes, I trust her to help me write something for the GP. I need to think about this more. I have never met my GP, so it's hard for me to judge, but I guess I could see her, be brief, and then take it from there.

Piffpaffpoff Sounds similar, sorry for your suffering. Same here, once I made the links it felt like a relief. My therapist suggest "this is trauma" with stuff I told her, and she has been great to tell me "this is abuse and not neglect" as I simply didn't have the script. However, I made the link with complex PTSD and at my last session told her and she was in agreement (although therapists can't diagnose as such). I gave the locum GP a broad description and she seemed in agreement that I have complex PTSD. I don't know if that is the right way to go about it, but there is no doubt that my symptoms match the Royal College of Psychiatrists' definitions of it.

Why am I even doubting it?

Maybe, like you, I should write it down. I am so scared of it all. I'm going through a divorce and we have shared care of the children. I'm worried in case it impacts upon my rights to have the children living with me.

NolongerAnxiousCarer Yes, I imagine the GP will want to be kept informed. I was asked if I have suicidal thoughts which - although I don't know if I would act on them - I do. I suppose they need to be kept on top of that. I just don't feel able to go into the details with all and sundry, so it is encouraging to hear your case, that there is someone to hear that it is all in place.

The locum offered me ADs if I would like them, but she agreed that for now I can manage without. I have bleak thoughts, but I am not depressed. Does that make sense? I just feel sorry for my younger self and stuff like that.

I've heard about EMDR and will consider it. It has excellent results for 'straightforward' PTSD. Maybe I'll try it alongside the current therapist, who is brilliant. At last I feel I have someone I can trust, in her, although I am aware that I am paying for it (rather than it being a genuine friend or partner).

picklemepopcorn Please don't feel you need to apologise - was not clear! Thank you. Glad it made sense.

SeriousSteve Huge thanks for sharing your case. Ok. I will involve the GP. I am scared of losing the current therapist, who has been wonderful at delivering psychodynamic counselling. Very big thanks for outlining the different treatments available. I hadn't considered it from these different angles.

I'm not having panic attacks - just panic, and I control that through breathing and self-soothing. I've learnt to deal with it. Sleeping terribly but going to try some OTC remedies. Think I can omit psychiatric services.

I have lurked on the Stately Homes thread in the past but I find it very hard to get entrenched in the posts on there, and reading about everyone else's trauma. I do occasionally dip in and out. I am still in touch with the parent causing my abuse and it is easier to take it in small steps and to focus away from the negativity. That was then, this is now, kind of thinking. I don't know if that is correct, but it works. Am very, very low contact.

Itisnoteasybeingdifferent Thank you. It sounds like seeing the GP will be a positive thing, especially as I am divorcing and (although amicable) will be alone. Ok. Yes, it might also be helpful for them to know the details.

Thank you so much. Will try to come back to this thread. Appreciate your help.

NolongerAnxiousCarer Wed 08-Mar-17 18:10:39

I've not been depressed either with PTSD though I have been in the past and so know what that feels like. I had a lot of anxiety and pannic attacks and the ADs took the edge off that.

I don't think you need to worry about losing your current therapist if you are seeing her privately, its your choice and nhs waiting lists are long. My GP was more than happy not to refer me on as I felt I had enough support through work initially, and then saw someone privately for the Eye movement integration. In retrospect I wish I'd pushed for a referal as the psychologist work provided wasn't a trauma specialist and made things worse as traditional talking therapies can retraumatise you. So I got desperate and saw someone privately, if I'd had a referal in I'd have probably been near the top of the waiting list by then.

WeAreNotInKansasAnymore Wed 08-Mar-17 22:04:58

Thank you, Nolonger It helps to hear your story and I'm glad you understand about not being depressed. True, I hadn't thought that ADs might help with panic and anxiety. Will see how I get on.

Would love to keep seeing the therapist. It is costly but it is worth it for my sanity. She says she will be there for as long as I need, and will be guided by me. Weird even typing that, it makes me realise how much of a dissociated state I was in - not really hearing it. I simply can't trust people.

Will think some more about asking for a referral, regardless. Know what you mean about trad talking therapies sometimes re-traumatising you. I often wonder if some things are made worse by raking them back up, but therapist and I have come to the understanding that I can put things 'back' without doing anything about it. She is experienced at working in trauma but it is not her only line, IYSWIM. Also I think my illness is 'mild' in the grand scale of things - have learned to function with it and she says I use sophisticated coping strategies to deal with it. Maybe just seeing her is enough for now, although there are days where I can't face leaving my desk.

Annoying about having been nearer the waiting list. Very annoying... You sound very on top of it, hope it continues for you.

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