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Twilightprincess
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26 Jul 2022, 5:04 pm

Without going into the details of what you experienced (unless you want to, of course), what are flashbacks like for you? How do you experience them?


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IsabellaLinton
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26 Jul 2022, 6:13 pm

C-PTSD

Being overcome by guilt and shame
Guilt = "I did something bad."
Shame = "I'm a bad person."

Self-gaslighting, hating myself, self-harm
Believing others who gaslight me / thinking they're right
Thinking it's all my fault no matter what, because fml
Feeling enraged, conflicted, incredulous, helpless, vulnerable

C-PTSD gives me emotional flashbacks as opposed to a visual replay of events
If I chance upon an emotion that I experienced during trauma, I short-circuit
I don't even know the names of all those emotions because of Alexithymia


Temporal:
I'm very sensitive to the date on the calendar / seasons / anniversaries of trauma
I never forget the date of anything
I feel like my body goes through cycles instinctively knowing what happened when
My body alerts me to look at the calendar to explain how I'm feeling
I can be triggered with emotional flashbacks at certain times of the day as well


Temperature and Sensory:
I can be triggered by ambient temperature, the smell of the air or the level of humidity
If it matches a trauma memory I'm incapacitated ^
Smells, sounds, textures, colours, etc can all bring emotional flashbacks


Body Sensation:
I call them "floods"
It feels like being hit by a tsunami without warning
I get very tense and hot
It's like hot lava or hot cement fills my body
My arms get heavy like they could drag on the floor (limbic system)
I feel my pulse go faster
I get tunnel vision (literally, and in my thoughts)
I start ruminating about how terrible I am (guilt and shame) and I look for proof
I usually go mute / avoid, but sometimes get sarcastic in a trauma meltdown
I might become very defensive or infodump if I'm online
I get very protective of friends, or others who have been harmed like me
Flashbacks are particularly bad if I have two flashback emotions at the same time


How to Deal:
I end up trying to avoid anything that might cause emotional triggers
This leaves me in a state of hyper-vigilance
I avoid unfamiliar books, TV shows, songs, movies, places just in case


Sleep / Nightmares:
I need nightmare meds because I often have visual replays in dreams
This is the only time I see or re-live my trauma memories factually
I see a person's face, hear their voice, or have reenactments of things I've forgotten


Important Thing:
I can't control this
I have no idea when it's going to happen ahead of time
No, I'm not always in a bad mood
Talking myself through it doesn't work
CBT doesn't work
EMDR may have caused my stroke
I don't remember all of the actual events, because I've blocked so many
I have to read all these cues ^ to know what's going on


Acute PTSD

I have some Acute PTSD but it's overshadowed by Complex (C-PTSD)
My acute flashbacks are much more literal like a movie, but very rare



Twilightprincess
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26 Jul 2022, 6:33 pm

Sometimes my flashbacks are caused by emotions, especially ones like perceived helplessness.

They are usually like movies although they often focus on specific parts of the trauma that are really bothering me at the time. It’s like having a specific movie scene on repeat. I seem to be troubled and fixated on specific things lately for no good reason.

My nightmares don’t always involve the events themselves but similar events that cause similar emotions.

December is often an especially difficult month for me which is tough because I always want to give my kid a good Christmas.


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IsabellaLinton
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26 Jul 2022, 6:46 pm

I was trying not to name my specific triggers, but:

Helplessness is one of my main triggers.
It's also a feeling I spiral into, in response to other triggers.

It's a cycle of disbelief like "I can't believe this is happening again".
I often deny it's starting / happening until I'm in full-blown Flood Mode.

My worst months are April and August because of things that happened.
Mid-Feb is also really bad.
Christmas is emotional because my dad died on Christmas Eve -- but that's not PTSD.

I guess to some extent I can predict when things might happen, but not always.
Sometimes I get through those times better than others.
Sometimes I'm totally blindsided.
Sometimes I repress it all and explode at the smallest / least relevant trigger.

The RvW threads have totally done my head in.
I have to avoid them but I keep going back to justify my emotions via rumination.
Also, it purges some of my angst when I can defend other survivors.



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26 Jul 2022, 7:11 pm

I can relate to a lot of that.

In the past and present, I’ve read news stories or participated in online discussions about triggering topics, in part, as an attempt to justify my feelings, leading to a nosedive of misery.

From a logical standpoint, I know that my feelings are absolutely justified and valid, but it’s a mind trip just the same. It doesn’t help when one sees people invalidating others’ experiences. I saw that a lot on certain subreddits, so I’ve had to avoid them.

It gets exhausting.


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IsabellaLinton
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26 Jul 2022, 7:40 pm

Sorry to hear you're experiencing the same.

I normally avoid the topic of abortion like the plague.
This year I decided to dive in head-first.
Some days feel therapeutic, but others are like self-sabotage.

It's brutal when a person tries to judge my traumatic experience.
If anyone dares to threaten human freedom, my kids or my family, I go ballistic.

Yup - it's hard (impossible) to overpower the feelings with cognition.

I've never used Reddit but I've heard that's even worse.



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26 Jul 2022, 7:49 pm

It really depends on the subreddit. The subreddits that should be the most supportive are some of the worst, though. It’s not really due to a lack of rules in those cases. It’s more like jerks are drawn to them like a magnet and mods can’t be watching constantly. I’ve seen people tell a 16 year old that her experience wasn’t valid. Some people are just awful people.

At least hurtful opinions here are in the minority. That’s one of the things that I was hoping my poll would demonstrate, not that it’s solid evidence or anything. Sometimes one person can feel like 50.


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IsabellaLinton
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26 Jul 2022, 7:58 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:

That’s one of the things that I was hoping my poll would demonstrate, not that it’s solid evidence or anything.


The poll was a good idea.
I don't even have issues with anyone Pro-Life, so long as they don't choose for others or judge people.


Twilightprincess wrote:
Sometimes one person can feel like 50.



It's kind of like 10 people feel 1000, but that does put it in perspective.
It's been a particularly rough couple of months here.
I've never seen so many hostile threads on WP before.
I think the US election might be getting under people's skin?
It seems everyone feels more vulnerable than they care to admit.
I have a lot of crap going on behind the scenes, too.

I wish we could all treat each other with more compassion.



Questions:

- Do you have a Panic Disorder?

- How do you like people to respond if you have a PTSD meltdown? (Real life, not so much online)

- What helps you self-soothe or get past one?



Twilightprincess
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26 Jul 2022, 8:30 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:

Questions:

- Do you have a Panic Disorder?

- How do you like people to respond if you have a PTSD meltdown? (Real life, not so much online)

- What helps you self-soothe or get past one?


I had Panic Disorder. It's quite a bit better now. I suspect that it's in remission. It tends to come and go, and I have trouble pinpointing why. For awhile, when things were at their worst (a state of panic for days with no breaks and no sleep), I was prescribed 3 Klonopins per day which helped me get through the worst of it. I still have some to take when things get really bad.

When I have a panic attack or some sort of PTSD crisis, I mostly try to find ways that I can be alone, so other people don't have to see that. I try to avoid triggers to prevent them from happening in the first place. If I'm having a bad day because of an accumulation of whatever, I call off work. I do worry about what I'll do when things get bad again. It would be hard to work with that much medication in my system.

I'm not really that good at self-soothing. I have a crisis plan with a list of things to do when I'm in crisis but none of the things on it are that helpful when I'm at my worst.


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IsabellaLinton
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26 Jul 2022, 10:34 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:

I had Panic Disorder. It's quite a bit better now. I suspect that it's in remission. It tends to come and go, and I have trouble pinpointing why. For awhile, when things were at their worst (a state of panic for days with no breaks and no sleep), I was prescribed 3 Klonopins per day which helped me get through the worst of it. I still have some to take when things get really bad.


Wow, it's good to know it can go into remission. The bad days sound awful though.
Klonopin doesn't work for me, but then a couple of days later I get lasting depression from it.
For me, panic which comes and goes is easier to deal with than a persistent depression.

Lorazepam doesn't cause me any depression but it doesn't help with PD either.
I think I'm immune to most meds to be honest.
Buspar kind of helped but it made my Tinnitus go crazy.

I should likely try CBD oil but haven't bothered.


Twilightprincess wrote:

When I have a panic attack or some sort of PTSD crisis, I mostly try to find ways that I can be alone, so other people don't have to see that. I try to avoid triggers to prevent them from happening in the first place. If I'm having a bad day because of an accumulation of whatever, I call off work. I do worry about what I'll do when things get bad again. It would be hard to work with that much medication in my system.


100% agree.
I used to miss work for mental health and medication restrictions as well.
I wish it was easier to avoid triggers but that's impossible in an unpredictable environment.
Sometimes I think I wake up triggered because of dreams I don't remember.



Twilightprincess wrote:

I'm not really that good at self-soothing. I have a crisis plan with a list of things to do when I'm in crisis but none of the things on it are that helpful when I'm at my worst.



I hear you.
If I can self-direct I usually need a long period of silence to rant in written form or in my head.
Music and other stims are a big help if I can handle sensation.
Sometimes it just evaporates on its own quite quickly and I'm fine in moments.
Sometimes the self-gaslighting thing can go on for days or weeks.
It's always fun when one trigger overlaps onto another one, too. :(



I have severe ADHD which doesn't respond to meds.
I assume that makes the ruminating and impulsive thought loops much worse for anyone with PD.



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26 Jul 2022, 11:58 pm

I cannot handle panic attacks very well, especially since I had that one which lasted days. I feel like something broke in me when that happened, and I’ve never felt quite the same. Of course, I was going through lots of trauma at the time.

Due to all of that, I’d rather be depressed although suicidal thoughts aren’t good.

It’s tough when triggers run into each other. Not getting sleep is a huge trigger for me based on some of my trauma, but I can’t sleep sometimes due to insomnia despite the fact that I take stuff for it. It’s a vicious cycle.


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27 Jul 2022, 12:18 am

Honestly, I feel like I've been in a slow-motion panic attack for 20 years.
It's never really stopped since my trauma started in 2002.
It's kind of like Epilepsy -- it's always there but flares happen unexpectedly.

Three days of full-on panic is tough.
I'm sorry you feel broken but I know what you mean.

I don't have problems with feeling suicidal, or very rarely.
That's because I would never leave my kids.
That in itself adds more stress to my plate, because I know I can't just "exit".
When I really hurt I wish I could just vanish or not exist, without hurting anyone.
I wish I had never been born.
I wonder WTF I did in a past life to deserve such bad karma.

Insomnia is a serious problem for people with PTSD.
I ran on about 3-4 hours for years, even with meds.
Lately I'm getting about 6 because I moved my Magnesium to bedtime.
I'm pretty shocked by the difference it makes.

Thank goodness I'm not working anymore and I have no schedule.



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27 Jul 2022, 10:34 am

I wouldn’t actually commit suicide but the ideation is there. The end of last school year was pretty bad in that respect.

I think I’m beginning to learn and accept that my PTSD is not going anywhere, so I just need to learn how to live with it better.

It’s hard to make improvements when I’m usually feeling maxed out as it is, though.


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