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Khiori
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13 Nov 2017, 5:13 pm

Hello,

Lately I have been seeing a free counselor that I found in order to lessen some PTSD type symptoms that I have. The biggest barrier I'm running into is that I have really intense flashbacks and panic attacks. I get overwhelmed easily on a good day, by all sorts of small things, but these attacks are on a completely different level. I couldn't through my session today because I was too overwhelmed by a flashback and then I couldn't make myself keep talking, and I've been a mess since then. I know from past experience that I'll be extra on edge for days at least. I have a hard time feeling overwhelmed sometimes even with normal day-to-day things, so I have no idea how to get past something messes me up so badly. I can't afford to see anyone except my (free) councilor, so I'm looking for advice. Has anyone here had to deal with this? And if so, did you find anything that helped you?



Britte
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14 Nov 2017, 2:29 am

I have PTSD, and I used to, often, experience the same symptoms and pattern that you have described, and, still do, on occasion. I have learned from experience, that avoiding certain types of situations and people, is the first step in decreasing the frequency and intensity of triggers/ flashbacks, although, particularly in the initial stages of the aftermath of the traumatic event, we can be met with them, often and unexpectedly. I do what I can to avoid triggers, as I, too, experience the effects, for at least, several days, if not weeks, afterward, and they can be debilitating. I practice meditation, however, if I am already too anxious, meditation is not effective. What often helps me to alleviate some of the panic/anxiety I experience, is simply focusing on my breathing. Focusing on slowing my breath, and anything else that might distract me from the negative thoughts or residual effects of the flashbacks. Redirecting my thoughts as best I can. Even an interesting enough podcast or film can be of great help. Anything that can take my mind somewhere else. Look for a Yoga class that focuses on anxiety and/or PTSD. Of course, yoga in general can alleviate anxiety, to a great extent (with regard to your current budget, you can find yoga classes of which only require a donation of whatever you are able to give). In addition to yoga, I swim long distance, which always proves to have an immediate and lasting effect on my mental state. Not sure if any of this helps. I feel for you and I hope you recover from this bout you are experiencing, very soon.



Khiori
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14 Nov 2017, 1:08 pm

Britte wrote:
I have PTSD, and I used to, often, experience the same symptoms and pattern that you have described, and, still do, on occasion. I have learned from experience, that avoiding certain types of situations and people, is the first step in decreasing the frequency and intensity of triggers/ flashbacks, although, particularly in the initial stages of the aftermath of the traumatic event, we can be met with them, often and unexpectedly. I do what I can to avoid triggers, as I, too, experience the effects, for at least, several days, if not weeks, afterward, and they can be debilitating. I practice meditation, however, if I am already too anxious, meditation is not effective. What often helps me to alleviate some of the panic/anxiety I experience, is simply focusing on my breathing. Focusing on slowing my breath, and anything else that might distract me from the negative thoughts or residual effects of the flashbacks. Redirecting my thoughts as best I can. Even an interesting enough podcast or film can be of great help. Anything that can take my mind somewhere else. Look for a Yoga class that focuses on anxiety and/or PTSD. Of course, yoga in general can alleviate anxiety, to a great extent (with regard to your current budget, you can find yoga classes of which only require a donation of whatever you are able to give). In addition to yoga, I swim long distance, which always proves to have an immediate and lasting effect on my mental state. Not sure if any of this helps. I feel for you and I hope you recover from this bout you are experiencing, very soon.



Thank you for the reply, it had some good advice. Also, you're the first reply I've gotten on this site! I really love to swim, but don't get the chance around here very often. I find the weightless suspension very relaxing. I've actually been contemplating saving up some money from Christmas to purchase one of those yoga trapezes, purely for the suspension aspect, but after hearing about your luck with yoga I think I'll be looking forward to Christmas even more. I've actually been this way, with the flashbacks, for years now and I've generally become great at avoidance. I've only recently decided to see I councilor, because I've noticed myself becoming increasingly isolated and I've read that that's unhealthy. The councilor has been bringing up a lot of the things I've been avoiding for years and yesterday was the first time I really freaked out on her. To be honest, I'm not confidant that she was really prepared for my reaction, or knew how to deal with it and I'll probably stop seeing her. Thank you again for the response and the advice.



Britte
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15 Nov 2017, 1:04 am

You're welcome, Khiori!

Do you happen to know what EEG/Electroencephalography therapy is? It could, potentially, relieve you of flashbacks. It is a type of neurofeedback that normalizes and stabilizes brain function. You can do a revised version on your own, I believe, if unable to access the therapy. I have done a short series of treatments on a few occasions, over the past 4 years. It has significantly diminished some of the more profound OCD symptoms I would experience, and it stopped the rapid firing of chemicals and neurons in my brain, of which resulted from the trauma I experienced. There are EEG videos you can view, on You Tube if interested. If you want to talk further about anything I have mentioned, I would be happy to. I haven't used a yoga trapeze, but, I would love to hear of your experience when you get yours. : )

Thank you for sharing your experience with your therapist with me. I think you are wise, in that you have considered discontinuing therapy with her. A therapist with trauma/PTSD experience could be of benefit to you/your recovery, while an inexperienced therapist has the potential to further harm your mental well-being. Your instincts appear to be spot-on.

I like your avatar. Is he/she your dog?

Wishing you all the best...!



Khiori
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15 Nov 2017, 11:23 am

I had never heard of EEG therapy, so I'll definitely look into those YouTube videos. I think my brain could use all the stabilization it can get! The councilor I was seeing recommended me to a study taking place near me that hopes to treat PTSD symptoms, so I am going to give that a try. I'll be especially motivated to participate because they might pay me enough to buy my yoga trapeze, which I'll be sure to review here if I end up liking it.

I'm glad that someone else thinks it's a good idea to stop seeing my therapist. I didn't completely trust my instincts on the matter because I have such a deeply ingrained pattern of avoidance when it comes to this topic.

Yes my avatar is my dog, I'm glad you like him! We both dressed up in Starfleet uniforms the day that Leonard Nimoy died, that's what the picture was from.

I wish you the best as well, and thanks again for the response. It's nice to feel like you're not just shouting into the void when you're new to a forum.



Britte
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20 Nov 2017, 5:31 pm

Sorry for my delayed response. I neglected to stop by, here, upon my return, yesterday. Good to hear you will be participating in the study. I hope you find it to be a positive experience. I will look forward to your trapeze review.

Thank you for the story about your Starfleet uniforms. It's a sweet photo of him.

You're welcome, and thank you, as well, for your best wishes.



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25 Nov 2017, 4:28 pm

i've had quite a few flash backs of images and also an re-experience esque episode back a couple years ago. I'm not formally diagnosed with ptsd but, It's not very frequent but sometimes it triggers and I get really angry and start shaking uncontrollably :evil: :shaking:


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Britte
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27 Nov 2017, 4:03 pm

Sorry you've had ptsd episodes, Pieplup. I'm glad you aren't triggered, often. The ptsd symptoms that are triggered in me, are, a hot poker feeling in my chest, hyper-vigilance and continuously ruminating about details of the current event that has triggered my symptoms. Thankfully, like yours, mine happen infrequently.

Pieplup wrote:
i've had quite a few flash backs of images and also an re-experience esque episode back a couple years ago. I'm not formally diagnosed with ptsd but, It's not very frequent but sometimes it triggers and I get really angry and start shaking uncontrollably :evil: :shaking:



redrobin62
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02 Dec 2017, 2:33 am

One of the things I despise most about my PTSD is the hypervigilance mode it has me in constantly. By nature, simply being on the spectrum, as well as being bipolar, makes me hypervigilant; the PTSD just turns this whole affair up a few notches into the realm of paranoia.

Another thing I hate is the constant nightmares. Mine are so real that, if I have a nightmare where I'm angry and screaming at somebody, I feel that emotion the entire day. I wish my dreams weren't in full technicolor, but they are. The meds they give me don't help, either.



Butterfly88
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02 Dec 2017, 9:50 am

Medication has helped me. The ones I take are as needed so I'll take them before therapy.



Tibergrace
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14 Jan 2018, 5:31 pm

I have PTSD and I'm currently in EMDR therapy, which is working great. I'm also in a female-only trauma sensitive yoga group, which is nice. It's like group therapy combined with yoga. Only problem is my ribcage is so messed up (thanks to my abuser) it's impossible for me to do some of the yoga, same for my knees.

I would strongly recommend EMDR therapy, it can work even decades after events and it's helped me be a lot more functional. It's really helped me reprocess memories, and lessened the impact of remembering things. Worth trying. I still have a lot of triggers, but the reaction to the worst ones is less intense. For example, if my mom started yelling it used to be that I would jump out of a moving vehicle to get away (sadly not even joking, I literally did that), and then I had to deal with paranoid thoughts of her trying to use me when in reality she's trying to help. Now I don't react to her raising her voice, aside from calmly asking her to chill out lol.

Bupropion has helped me, too. While I was waiting for it to fully build up in my system and kick in, I relied a lot on valium (diazepam). I still use diazepam on occasion, but can live without it. It's for emergency purposes only, now. Pharmaceuticals can really help.



Khiori
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23 Jan 2018, 8:26 am

Thank you for all the replies. At the moment I've stopped doing EMDR, the woman's center I was getting EMDR at only allows for ten free sessions, so by necessity the woman I was working with was kind of rushing me through the process. Unfortunately I think it was rushed too much and she triggered a really massive hiding-under-the-table style panic attack, and now I don't even want to go in that room anymore. The center knew about a PTSD trial that had been very successful with soldiers and was now looking for a wider sample base so I signed up for that. Hopefully this time will help. On the plus side though I do get a little bit of money for participating!

At the moment I can't really afford to get any sort of medication, although I'm sure it probably would help. The last time I saw a gyno I had such a bad panic attack that she offered to prescribe me Valium for my next visit, but I've never been back since then. That was the closest I ever came to being medicated!



Tibergrace
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24 Jan 2018, 2:56 pm

Khiori wrote:
Unfortunately I think it was rushed too much and she triggered a really massive hiding-under-the-table style panic attack, and now I don't even want to go in that room anymore.

Oh yeah, EMDR can totally do that. My therapist was pretty recent in starting me on the EMDR (before, we were just waiting for me to stabilize more and giving me coping skills etc.). Delving deeper into the trauma really stirred things up, and brought a lot of things to the surface that had been hiding. Since then my PTSD symptoms have only increased in severity. I think we dove into things too soon, or at least dove into the most severe aspects of my trauma too soon, and I'm also not sure that EMDR is a good fit for me anymore. Maybe I just need a different therapist, or a different style of therapy. I dunno.

Khiori wrote:
The last time I saw a gyno I had such a bad panic attack that she offered to prescribe me Valium for my next visit, but I've never been back since then. That was the closest I ever came to being medicated!

I'm prescribed valium for as-needed usage. I didn't even think to use it for medical stuff. I had my knees checked out last week (found out one of my kneecaps is out of place and rubbing against the other bones). That is the most hands-on medical thing I've had to do since ending the traumatic situation I was in, and I nearly freaked out just from having my legs touched. The doctor had to tell me to relax every 2 seconds while he was moving my knee joint to see if everything was working right. I had to try really hard to hold myself together.

I had no idea I would react like that. I dread being checked out "down there" or going to the dentist... both are eventually guaranteed to happen unfortunately, but I think I'm going to go as long as I can without. Definitely going to take valium before my first physical therapy appointment for my knee, which is tomorrow.



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25 Jan 2018, 1:32 pm

Khiori wrote:
Hello,

Lately I have been seeing a free counselor that I found in order to lessen some PTSD type symptoms that I have. The biggest barrier I'm running into is that I have really intense flashbacks and panic attacks. I get overwhelmed easily on a good day, by all sorts of small things, but these attacks are on a completely different level. I couldn't through my session today because I was too overwhelmed by a flashback and then I couldn't make myself keep talking, and I've been a mess since then. I know from past experience that I'll be extra on edge for days at least. I have a hard time feeling overwhelmed sometimes even with normal day-to-day things, so I have no idea how to get past something messes me up so badly. I can't afford to see anyone except my (free) councilor, so I'm looking for advice. Has anyone here had to deal with this? And if so, did you find anything that helped you?

That sucks.
I am dealing with this ATM
Maybe less than you or more idk but it sucks still

I don’t think anything has helped me long-term.
I am on med now- Lexapro. It will take a month to kick in but I’ll see and if it works I’ll let you know