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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
What PTSD Is
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 20th, 2013 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>Thank you for the link to that article, Ysabet. I'm going to be bookmarking it for certain people. <<

*hugs* I'm glad I could help.

>>I'd still love to know how my colleagues on that team avoided ending up the way i have ... unless too much empathy was to blame, or something similar - I'll take feeling too much over too little.<<

Anyone can be broken, but not everyone's breaking point is in the same place. In particular, some people are highly resilient to sudden severe shocks but vulnerable to sustained stress, while others are the opposite. Some are damaged far more by harm to others than harm to themselves, some the opposite. One might be fearless in the face of weapons in the hands of an enemy but shattered by abuse from a relative, or vice versa. So if something horrid happens to a group of people, chances are some of them will sustain traumatic damage from it while others won't, and the degree of impairment and symptoms are likely to vary.

The more representations of PTSD that are available, the more likely people with it are to see something that matches their experience. So that helps identify it and encourage people to seek help if such is desired and available.

This divergence between different manifestations and expectations reminds me a bit of the situation with rape, where people usually think of stranger rape because it's so garish, but acquaintance rape is far more common. A lot of people who have been raped just don't realize it because their mental image of the crime is so different from what they experienced, even if it fits the legal definition. So for example, if people think of PTSD as a doorkicker's problem featuring vivid flashbacks, they might not recognize that three years of domestic abuse resulting in insomnia and touch-aversion could be a different facet of the same condition.
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 20th, 2013 08:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

>>I know that *intellectually*,<<

There's a long hard way between knowing and feeling.

>> but there were thirty odd of us all told, and sometimes, when I'm feeling especially broken I can't help but feel angry at them for not even noticed I was being broken by the cases i was dealing with. <<

Sooth. It may be that you hid it well; you're a strong person. It may be that some of them really didn't care. It's downright likely that some of them didn't see how wrecked you were, because they were wrecked too, just not showing it noticeably; it's often the case in groups that some damage will be more visible than others.

>>Both the personal (the suicide of a friend & the death in a RTA of another that forced me to pull away from part of my support structure) and the day in, day out deaths in Afghanistan, some for the stupidest reasons - and some because no one had read our reports yet.<<

Yeah, that last bit is really hard. Lack of accurate information can be fatal. I think people don't realize how crucial knowledge is. One of the things I deal with least well is problems caused by other people's ignorance or indifference in the face of knowledge that I have.
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 20th, 2013 09:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

>>I think the incidents that stick worst in my mind are the ones that involve egregious cases of that.<<

Sooth. That's always going to hurt.

>>and that kind of detail coupled with a mind used to meditations/trances and fabricating worlds for writing?<<

Yyyyeah ... that's a problem. That kind of mindset can tear itself apart under the wrong circumstances. The strength and the weakness of the power are the same thing; like the way super hearing makes it possible to hear a lost person from a distance, but also makes sirens a misery. There are things I try to limit my exposure to for that kind of reason.

>>On the slightly brighter side of things, later this year I should be attending a chronic pain programme specifically geared for people with PTSD, despite technically not fufilling the diagnostic criteria on the UK psych manuals, as my secondary care professionals agree its the best course of treatment for me they can offer.<<

Good luck with it!

A lot of mental health care comes down to "We don't really know what's going on because the mind isn't something we can X-ray but this is the best we've been able to figure out as a solution." Sometimes it helps. It's just so much harder to fix things that can't be touched directly with what most people have available.
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 22nd, 2013 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

So much that people need is either unavailable, or available only with the permission of people who don't always have their best interests at heart. It's very frustrating.
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