Do I Have Post-Traumatic Stress? Tired, Mentally And Emotionally Drained

Jul 21, 2013

I feel like I'm on the outside of everything. I don't feel much of anything, most of the time, and I always just want to be alone because I feel I have to pretend in front of other people. I've been through awful things during my life, the most recent being the loss of two beloved pets within 4 months of each other. Yes, I consider their passing to be awful. I've been through cancer, abuse, abandonment, etc. My earliest memory is witnessing my mother being beaten by my father.

I'm not a miserable, unhappy person, normally. Lately, I just haven't been able to feel or care about much. I'm tired. Mentally and emotionally drained. I have zero energy for other people, which saddens me deeply. Often, all I want is to be left alone to stare at the wall or bury myself under the covers.

Maybe it's depression, but the reason I suspect some kind of PTSD is because my brain feels as though there's a block that prevents me from processing any new experiences. I don't know how to explain's like wanting to run from the room, covering my ears with my hands to keep from hearing any bad news or having to deal with anything unpleasant.

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i can remember the event but i still have a lot of doubt and feel like my mind is tricking me into thinking that it's real. i've told my psychologist, but i don't want to right out ask if this is ptsd. i really just want something to call this.

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The first twenty years of my life had a variety of chronic torture & abuse. As a child my home life constantly shifted and alcohol, physical and mental violence was the order of the day. I felt wholly unworthy as a person to be alive. It drove me into drug addiction for eight years. Within the first year, the dealer and his friends cornered me into the back of his shop and raped me, protracting the incident over three days. My addiction exploded and it forced me into dealing with the rapist for a length of time after the incident occurred. I did not develop PTSD at the time, my drug addiction was becoming life threatening and I spent the next twelve years in and out of rehab until I finally one day carved out a functional routine for myself. Life became better, I worked in a shop, got creatively involved and got married (Although I was never able to fall pregnant). Years later we decided to immigrate to Australia. My husband collided with the culture from day one. Within a short period of time he became manic. We had just given everything up and returning back would be security suicide I felt, so I found work, moved us out. My husband tormented me for the next two years until it exploded one afternoon with police coming to arrest him. In the last days of my time in Australia I worked abnormally long hours to pay migration costs, as I wouldn't be able to, once returning to South Africa in an unemployed state.

Landing back in S.A I was hit with the chronic diabetic condition of my mother, who had not gone to one doctor about her condition. I dug in to get her health back to a manageable level for almost a year before I found employment and finally moved out. The nightmare began then. After a court order against my now ex-husband, I landed in a strange town, with new work, where no-one knew me.

Nightmares began to pour into my sleep about the rape that happened over twenty years ago. Functionality levels became dangerously low. I sought help, but without any real finances I was thrown into a system of waiting and small bits of attention here and there. Being alone also didn't help. I had already lost my first job, after flashes bled into my waking hours. A friend came from Australia, three years after my landing back here and saw my condition. These episodes have already taken on a form of torture that has made me terrified to talk about them. Somehow one of the men who raped me, detached themselves into a character that would invade my mind throughout the day and talk to me, telling me of new ways to torture me, that I will never be okay again, that I will always be stuck here. My friend is adamant about me leaving work and seeking help...I am terrified that I will be put away into an institution.

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My trauma stems from very violent situations a few years ago that are so difficult to talk about I can barely breathe when I even try and get the words out of my mouth. It has left lasting scars both physical and mental that seem a daily reminder or like having a giant necklace of rocks hung around my neck constantly pulling me down.

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I was recently diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The difference between C-ptsd and PTSD is that Complex happens over an extended period of time, and usually originates in childhood. Whereas PTSD is typically a one-time traumatic event (such as rape, war, etc).

After spending my entire life in pain, confusion, and emotionally abusive relationships, I finally have an answer. While it is a big relief, the process of recovery is not easy. I feel like there are two versions of me: The chameleon who has put on a good act and adapted for the sake of everyone else, and the real me, who has been hidden all these years. I'm just now starting to get to know the real me.

This is a relatively new diagnosis, and it didn't make it into the new DSM, but I read where someone said that Complex PTSD is at the core of a great many mental health issues.

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I feel like this is another women's issue that no one talks about. I had no idea it could go on for so long and cause such a laundry list of symptoms. Why isn't there more discussion about it? It's like when I went through infertility. Another taboo women's topic.

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I recently saw a rheumatologist here in the State (I had previously seen one in Korea). She did a bunch of blood work. My Vit D was 28 (reference range was 30-70). RF, ANA were negative. CRP not done, but has been elevated in the past (multiple draws over a two year period, but none in the last year). ESR was 58 and has been elevated for 20 years (I went through a lot of blood work in high school and nothing was ever found, but it was with ID, not Rheum).

Rheum was next to useless. She said the sed rate wasn't relevant and that there was no need to worry about the Vit D (which was lower in the past) even though I was taking 2000 IU a day.

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I try to be an informed consumer. Current rheum just wants to throw more pills at the issue without getting to the root of it. It seems like if I go in with a fibro dx, everything must be fibro. How do I approach this new appointment (in September!!) to finally figure things out? This new doctor will be in the UH system as are all my other docs. I think she'll have access to previous lab results, if not I can pull them up in my EMR.

I could use words of wisdom, advice, a kick in the butt (if necessary), etc.

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