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DV Has anyone had 'post traumatic' episodes a few years after? I think I may be :/

(9 Posts)
LeadingToGadeBank Thu 27-Feb-14 17:45:12

Left a 7 year DV relationship in 2009, took my four week old newborn and 2 year old toddler and moved hundreds of miles away nearer family for support.

I turned down support from the police affiliated DV unit when I resettled as I had a personal sense of achievement, that I'd overcome this massive thing by myself and must have some fortitude to have come through it so unscathed (as I thought then).

A few years later I settled into a normal relationship with someone our family has known for years, amd for the past two years it has all been good with him.

I have noticed however -since my youngest started school September just gone- that as I'm now due to return to work, that combined with my being naturally shy and self conscious around people anyway, is starting to cause anxiety which is manifesting in some very odd ways indeed.

Although it was a physically violent relationship (to the point of him wanting to kill me) it was primarily his intent to make me feel like I couldn't trust my own mind, so I spent those years not knowing if I was 'normal', that people could see I was weird or a psycho. His method was quite deliberating and he intellectualised the process rather than bullied his way about it, so almost convinced me.

I'm now wondering if I'm experiencing something similar to 'post traumatic stress disorder' as I'm about to return to work and leave the 'bubble' of myself amd my children that kept me going for all those years. I'm feeling especially at night, a conscious effort not to slip into a panic attack, feeling like my pulse is slowing, or I'm dying, dizzy or faint, and worrying how I'll cope in the workplace after such a long absence, mostly if people can tell that I've been under DV. I suppose, if they think I'm a bit odd.

When talking to people, whilst I'm listening to them, I'm also intently concentrating on their actions, reactions, wondering why they don't smile at me, to ascertain if they think I'm loony and stuff, or just strange. The lady at the Careers Advice appointment, my Jobcentre lone paremt advisor. All this time I've thought I've come through it all unscathed, but I now think perhaps I should have processed it, perhaps got counselling, as nothing else in my life is worrying me, everything's rosy really I feel happy, hopeful and content.

I have no personal history of depression or mental health issues either.

Perhaps you might advise me to have counselling now, years later, but although I don't think I have unresolved issues with that time, I understand the reasons behind it now,-helped enormously by support fromMumsnet forums over the years and other reading on the matter- as I'm about to embark on a huge new change in my life, am I going into it unprepared?
I don't really want to talk about it again anyway with a counsellor. It makes me feel weak and stupid and not of the strength of spirit required to cope with returning to the workplace, to have to relive my unbelievable naievety and impressionability during that time. I know I will also be more concerned that the counsellor is checking to see if I really might have been mentally damaged and is trying to suss me out, rather than concentrating on her good advice! I'm not paranoid about what others think of me, I don't worry about it constantly, but it can't be right to think I got through it all unscathed, can it? He Lmost killed me twice, I was losing consciousness and starting to black out one of the times and thinking, 'this is it, I'm about to die!'

This is going to be a huge post isn't it, sorry! grin shock

Summarily, has anyone else who's recently come out of a long term DV relationship thinking they'd coped fine, now wondering if post trauma symptoms are creeping in, and whether they have or might benefit from counselling years after?

Hissy Thu 27-Feb-14 19:07:03

The very fact that you say you don't want to talk about it as it makes you feel weak, is the very nub of the matter.

DV doesn't ever go away by itself. If you don't 'treat' it, it just gets buried.

It's highly likely that you are suffering from ptsd.

You left, felt euphoric due to the adrenaline, and then got busy with your life, shutting the old one away.

We would ALL want to do that, given the chance. But it won't help you long term.

I know of women exhibiting ptsd signs 25 years after escaping. Then they had to deal with it.

Counselling absolutely would help you. As would the freedom programme (free)

You're still carrying some of the shame of this, and that's absolutely wrong. You weren't ever to blame for what you did.

Have you read 'Why Does He Do That'? I think that might be a great place to start. It'll show you how boringly predictable they are.

Meantime, you need to get yourself onto the Emotional abuse thread, open up about your experiences, and talk about your feelings.

Hissy Thu 27-Feb-14 19:08:23

I now realise that the anxiety I felt was DV related ptsd.

I dealt with it and it really has gone.

I'm the 'me' I was before I met him, but even better tbh! I'm proud of who I am.

sus14 Thu 27-Feb-14 22:12:29

Counsellors don't give advice, or opinions.

Plus it does sound like PTSD, a friend of mine had it after her son was very ill and she had some very specific counselling to tackle it

sus14 Thu 27-Feb-14 22:16:29

Also I went back to work after trauma and it is hard as you feel so separate. I feel like that after a year. I feel the same way about people's reactions. But I don't get the physical stuff you describe as that, in my very uninformed view, could be the PTSD

Meglet Thu 27-Feb-14 22:19:01

I think I do. I split with XP at the start of 2009 and had to internalise everything sad so I concentrate on looking after the kids. I've been fighting to get counselling for 2yrs now and it still hasn't happened.

I'm sure it's why I'm such a nervous wreck.

omletta Thu 27-Feb-14 22:23:10

Not sure if this is relevant... I had an unpleasant and violent childhood, I thought I was completely fine, couldn't understand why my siblings had MH issues.

Left home at 15, had a great life since - wonderful DC, DH, career - no real money worries. I'm 42 and just diagnosed with depression and anxiety, which I appricoate is not PTSD, but is still pretty grim when I thought I was coping.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 27-Feb-14 23:55:15

I had a phase of crying when police cars with blues and twos went past.

I think things have to come out somewhere. it is difficult though when you have to get on with it for the sake of the children.

whatdoesittake48 Fri 28-Feb-14 10:40:19

I also have some long term effects from a relationship which was almost 20 years ago. I can't bear raised voices, loud bangs, swearing or confrontation. this led to problems in my current relationship where I failed to stick up for myself. i have corrected that now - but still find it very hard.

For a long time I scanned the street for his face, a jumped at every phone call, I expected contact of some type for many years. Even now I wouldn't be surprised if he turned up on my doorstep - even though I now live on the other side of the world. the thought makes me sick. he wasn't even half as bad as your ex sounds.

i just live with it - but I also think that counselling is a very good idea.

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