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PTSD and complex PTSD

(11 Posts)
blueandyellowstripes Thu 09-Nov-17 16:49:34

Just booked a GP appointment. I think I have PTSD or complex PTSD.

I was in an emotionally, financially, and sexually abusive relationship for around a decade,with the father of my 2 DCs. During that time he pretended to be terminally ill, used the 'illness' to control me (e.g. any time I would get upset he would clutch his chest and collapse to the ground, then go to hospital (well, not really, of course) and later tell me that his consultants had told him that his condition had got worse because I had caused him so much stress), even got a tattoo of a scar to make it look like he'd had surgery. He sabotaged my bank account so I was completely dependent on him, stole thousands from my family, made us homeless, then we moved in to the attic of some relatives of mine in the middle of the country where he would go out for hours every day 'to hospital' while I stayed at home with the DCs and literally nothing to do except go for walks, no money, no means of getting anywhere. Won't bore you with more details but I ended up genuinely going a bit mad, I think - I seriously believed that bad things were happening in my life because I was thinking the wrong kinds of thoughts.

Fast forward 5 years and I have a great job, my DCs are 8 and 6 and thriving, I'm raising them completely single-handedly. Ex used to see them a few times a week until I discovered that he was using my name and address to make fraudulent benefit claims, at which point I completely cut him out of our lives. We haven't seen him since May 2016. He took me to court this year to try to get access to the children - we have the third hearing in December and it looks like he will lose. CAFCASS were involved and recommended no direct contact between him and the DCs (almost unheard of, I understand - my solicitor told me she had never seen them recommend no direct contact before). Throughout the court case he has lied in bizarre ways: denied claiming tax credits in my name even though I had a stack of paperwork from HMRC proving that he did, claiming to have been diagnosed with a personality disorder but then refusing to provide a GP letter to confirm this. (At least he admitted all the abuse!)

Anyway. Before the court stuff, I thought I was reasonably well adjusted. I fell utterly in love with someone 2 years ago - still in love with him, even though it didn't work out and we haven't been in contact for a year. But for the past 6 months or so I have been feeling bad. Like I am horribly damaged and my life is basically over (I'm 42 and 'technically' very fit and well). I keep having dreams involving my ex that are not exactly nightmares, but which are depressing and disturbing. I try to get myself out of the rut I'm in (i.e. being in love with someone who didn't work out) by joining dating sites, but I find that I feel absolutely nothing for any of the men there, and I can't help but view them as probably basically predatory and evil, even though I know some of them are probably quite nice. Even the fact that I'm in love with the last person I was involved with seems quite man-avoiding on reflection: it was a long distance thing, and I wonder if I deliberately chose him because I wanted to keep men at a distance.

For some reason, I would find it comforting to have a diagnosis, or a label to signal what is wrong with me. I feel very unlike other people - I have very lovely friends and family, but I feel cut off from them, as if normal life is something for people like them but not for people like me.

This is just a vent, really. Thank you for reading.

acornfed Thu 09-Nov-17 16:53:18

Hi OP,

You have been through a great trauma, and will need time to heal. You need proper, professional psychological support too to help you do this. It will help.
I wish you well,

wineandworkout Thu 09-Nov-17 17:48:09

Thank you ❤️ I asked a close friend who is a psychiatrist if he thought I might have this and he basically said yes (or as close to saying yes as he could get without being unprofessional, I suppose).

acornfed Thu 09-Nov-17 19:30:40

Op,

I think you sound very vulnerable.
What is your support network like ; friends /family?
I would avoid dating until you see your doctor and are having psychological support. You don't want anything to wobble you in the way of unstable relationships

blueandyellowstripes Thu 09-Nov-17 20:13:47

I'm very close to my sister and dad, although they live nearly 200 miles away. I have lovely friends, although I don't get out much what with the kids. I have people I can talk to and they all think I'm super strong! Which I suppose I am because I've had to get the children through all this. But I don't think anyone would be remotely surprised if I turn out to have PTSD. I expect you're right about avoiding relationships...

WellThisIsShit Fri 10-Nov-17 04:57:32

I got diagnosed with PTSD last Friday and am so relieved. It’s the first step to getting the right kind of help, and I finally have hope.

A diagnosis can really help some people, in some situations. It doesn’t help everyone though.

I’m now nervously awaiting the psychologists report, which I can take back to my GP and say ‘See, I’m not just making a fuss / completely and irredeemably mad!’ I hope the report is as clear and helpful as the appointment. In my area there is no facility for anything trauma related, so my symptoms have been ignored or wrongly diagnosed. That’s why it came as such a relief to see an actual expert specializing in PTSD (more than that, PTSD and Complex ptsd in women), who reassured me I was very very typical. And that she could help.

blueandyellowstripes Fri 10-Nov-17 10:28:21

Well I'm glad you got a helpful diagnosis! I feel the same: the main thing I want from this is a diagnosis, so I can feel that there are other people like me. I feel like I exist in a bubble where the sort of things that happen to other people don't happen to me, and vice versa.

WellWhoKnew Fri 10-Nov-17 10:34:07

I have it and am finally getting some therapy for it, which is helping.

Ye

WellWhoKnew Fri 10-Nov-17 10:37:30

Accidentally posted too soon.

as if normal life is something for people like them but not for people like me. Yes, your description is exactly how it feels.

WellThisIsShit Fri 10-Nov-17 11:46:50

Yes exactly, my biggest relief is feeling ‘normal’. I’m a normal person who’s been through a series of absolutely awful traumas, who’s been effected by those traumas in a really normal way, and have ended up with a mh condition that A. Lots of other people have in the same way I do, and B. That can be treated.

It was awful feeling untouchable and so freakishly mad that no mental health route exists that can help me (in my trust anyway! Turns out other trusts do believe that trauma based mental health problems exist). I’ve been fobbed off, undermined and then misdiagnosed by someone who, it turns out, ‘doesnt believe’ in Complex PTSD. That really didn’t help with feeling so isolated and out of touch with the world!

Anyway, it was a revelation. The trauma specialist was saying things that was as if she could actually peer into my brain (!)... because other people have this too, and it is actually predictable in the symptoms and reactions people have.

She also said that there is a standard way to treat PTSD, and that it is proved to work, and she’s seen it work, (drumroll), on people like me smile

(Yay! Ray of hope what are you? So long since I’ve seen one of those!)

I’m waiting for her report and then I’m going to do a few sessions privately and see where it gets me before the money runs out.

wineandworkout Fri 10-Nov-17 16:47:35

Well That is heartening to know. TBH I'm so used to feeling like this that I hadn't even thought about treatment - I've just been focusing on getting 'validated' through a diagnosis. The idea that I might be a normal person one day is really quite alarming ...

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