PTSD/ A CASE STUDY -answers? familiar ?

Discussion in 'Rape and Abuse' started by allofme, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. allofme

    allofme Staff Alumni

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


    "I was raped when I was 25 years old. For a long time, I spoke about the rape as though it was something that happened to someone else. I was very aware that it had happened to me, but there was just no feeling.

    "Then I started having flashbacks. They kind of came over me like a splash of water. I would be terrified. Suddenly I was reliving the rape. Every instant was startling. I wasn't aware of anything around me, I was in a bubble, just kind of floating. And it was scary. Having a flashback can wring you out.

    "The rape happened the week before Thanksgiving, and I can't believe the anxiety and fear I feel every year around the anniversary date. It's as though I've seen a werewolf. I can't relax, can't sleep, don't want to be with anyone. I wonder whether I'll ever be free of this terrible problem."

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that can develop following a terrifying event. Often, people with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to. PTSD was first brought to public attention by war veterans, but it can result from any number of traumatic incidents. These include violent attacks such as mugging, rape, or torture; being kidnapped or held captive; child abuse; serious accidents such as car or train wrecks; and natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes. The event that triggers PTSD may be something that threatened the person's life or the life of someone close to him or her. Or it could be something witnessed, such as massive death and destruction after a building is bombed or a plane crashes.

    Whatever the source of the problem, some people with PTSD repeatedly relive the trauma in the form of nightmares and disturbing recollections during the day. They may also experience other sleep problems, feel detached or numb, or be easily startled. They may lose interest in things they used to enjoy and have trouble feeling affectionate. They may feel irritable, more aggressive than before, or even violent. Things that remind them of the trauma may be very distressing, which could lead them to avoid certain places or situations that bring back those memories. Anniversaries of the traumatic event are often very difficult.

    PTSD affects about 5.2 million adult Americans.
    1 Women are more likely than men to develop PTSD.
    7 It can occur at any age, including childhood,
    8 and there is some evidence that susceptibility to PTSD may run in families.
    9 The disorder is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or one or more other anxiety disorders.
    4 In severe cases, the person may have trouble working or socializing. In general, the symptoms seem to be worse if the event that triggered them was deliberately initiated by a person—such as a rape or kidnapping.

    Ordinary events can serve as reminders of the trauma and trigger flashbacks or intrusive images. A person having a flashback, which can come in the form of images, sounds, smells, or feelings, may lose touch with reality and believe that the traumatic event is happening all over again.

    Not every traumatized person gets full-blown PTSD, or experiences PTSD at all. PTSD is diagnosed only if the symptoms last more than a month. In those who do develop PTSD, symptoms usually begin within 3 months of the trauma, and the course of the illness varies. Some people recover within 6 months, others have symptoms that last much longer. In some cases, the condition may be chronic. Occasionally, the illness doesn't show up until years after the traumatic event.

    People with PTSD can be helped by medications and carefully targeted psychotherapy.

    Ordinary events can serve as reminders of the trauma and trigger flashbacks or intrusive images. Anniversaries of the traumatic event are often very difficult.
  2. allofme

    allofme Staff Alumni

    though I do have PTSD - this case history is not me -- but it can be very helpful to many of us love Cindy
  3. Montage

    Montage Well-Known Member

    very helpful, thanks cindy
  4. Hazel

    Hazel SF & Antiquitie's Friend Staff Alumni

    Cindy, your description of PTSD is spot on. For me unfortunetly medications and psychotherapy have not helped. I have reached the stage of desperation.
    I remain numb as regards the perpertraters of the event tho I am told that the uncontrolable rages I fly into may actually be aimed them - who knows, all I know is the effect they must be having on my children.
    Life and me as was before is gone, now its just unbearable
  5. Catherine

    Catherine Guest

    Any coping strategies in that article you found, Cindy?
    Ooops-just been to the item about nightmares. LOADSA coping strategies! very helpful, well worth a look.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2004
  6. AnnaA89

    AnnaA89 Guest

    I was told I had PTSD.. is it a serious thing you can suffer from, then?
    I just dismissed it. :confused:
  7. furiaedesu06

    furiaedesu06 Well-Known Member

    so... if you suffer from some flashbacks like, around the same times or whatever that you were raped/abused, you've kinda got PTSD??? I've always wondered if i've got it, but then again, my story is really confusing.... i'm jst gonna leave now. i'm confusing myself.
  8. neverlived

    neverlived Guest

    i would like to add something if i may. If you have had PTSD in the past you are vulnerable to it again. i have PTSD due to childhood physical and sexual abuse and emotional abuse throughout most of my life. About three years ago i began feeling better the flashbacks and anxiety were much less frequent and becoming farther and farther apart. That is until last year when i was in a really bad car accident. Not only did i begin having flashbacks about the accident but they began to bleed over the earlier ones. By this i mean it was like having two flashbacks at the same time. i haven't located a term for this and as far as i know there is none. i would like to know if anyone has had a similar experience?
  9. Jaded

    Jaded Member

    That is so familiar to my experiences but I never thought of it as an actual disorder. I feel a lot better now, I thought it was just me being rubbish at coping with things
  10. ~CazzaAngel~

    ~CazzaAngel~ Staff Alumni

    Cindy, that was GREAT! thanks.... I have PTSD and not all fits me but a great deal.

  11. butterfly

    butterfly Guest

    Thank you for the post. I also have PTSD, from a recent car accident and an old rape and the info you gave really is great. I just wish I could be done with it :)
  12. kireira

    kireira Guest

    very rarely will you find a person who has been raped or sexually abused or have suffered from trauma, does not show the symptoms of PTSD.

    For the severe cases, it is normally when we stuff and deny the hurt and pain. Our lives do seem surreal and sometimes we can even talk about the abuse but we have learned to disconnect with our emotional side. It is a way to protect ourselves. Our brains even let us live in a low level of denial in order to get by day to day.

    The longer you disconnect the more your life becomes unmanageable.

    For me PTSD is just another way of reminding me of things I never wanted to remember or FEEL. Our dreams and nightmares and flashbacks brings us back to reality that the abuse did happen and there is much to much pain to deal with it in a single setting. For many of us it takes years to undo what was taken from us.

    It is possible. It takes hard work and yes pain. The pain we all have been running from for so long will not go away and not disappear.

    We all need to get to the core of the pain so the memories and nightmares and flashbacks become less frequent and may finally end when You find peace within yourself and learn to love yourself and the inner child that was never loved. You can comfort nd nurture the child who was so horribly abused and neglected and treated like yesterday's trash.

    My pain is still there but not as overwhelming. It has taken many years of psychotherapy for me to Begin to live and not continue to disassociate myself from the truth of the heinous crimes committed against me and my body.

    To all who have been abused and hurt....I hope you find supportive people and a good psychotherapist who specializes in abuse and PTSD.
  13. raw

    raw Senior Member & Antiquities Friend


    A very insightful post. I agree with everything you said. Many people experience PTSD after a trauma. Most are able to work through the trauma in a relatively short time. This, of course, depends upon the nature of the trauma, ones ability to cope with the trauma, the support and assistance available to help deal with the trauma, and the resulting feelings and false self-descriptions which may occur. Unfortunately there is occasionally no knowledgeable support or assistance available depending on the cause and circumstances of the trauma.

    I won't disclose the cause of my trauma, but it occurred many years ago. PTSD symptoms can be pushed just below the surface and maintained at that level for many years. I agree completely the sooner the trauma is recognized and addressed, the less difficult it will be to begin to overcome the awful effects. I pushed my trauma just under the surface for 20 years. I can attest, the longer it takes one to begin to address the issue the harder it will be to begin to resolve it.

    In fairness, sometimes the mind is simply incapable of dealing with the trauma. I spent 20 years of my live living numb and isolated. Most of the cause was the source of my PTSD. Of course, one of the results was developing severe dissociation disorders, as well as the PTSD. However, supressing the issue(s) cannot be maintained forever. Mine came roaring out about a year ago and once the genie is out of the bottle, it can't be put back again. I'm sure it has been much more difficult for me to deal with because of the time it took for me to truely acknowledge what happened. I am also bipolar, but it isn't clear the extent to which the PTSD and my life style of denial caused or intensified the bipolar. The sooner it is acknowledged, the better. The flashbacks, nightmares, and other dissociation issues such as depersonalization, etc. are harder to deal with the longer they are allowed to flourish and develop. However, I must say at the time of the event which caused my PTSD occurred, there was no support or assistance available and still isn't

    I didn't write this to gain sympathy, but I guess to use my experiences as an example of what NOT to do. My message is to seek help as soon as you are able when serious trauma occurs. My plea is that knowledgeable support and assistance be available to everyone irregardless of the cause or circumstances. We have a long way to go.

    To anyone experiencing PTSD, I wish you all the best. I know it is a very difficult road, but things can really get better.

  14. kireira

    kireira Guest


    I can say that u have undoubtedly suffered a great deal of pain and suffering with whatever traumatic event that occurred in your life. I live where you can find help for just about every situation and not just for victims/survivors but for perpetrators as well.

    Maybe one day you will fell like sharing your story and maybe one day not. It is of course your choice and no one is here to judge you.

    I still find myself at times going back to the old methods of coping but it does no good cause issues don't just disappear and neither does our pain.

    Sending you many hugs:hug: :hug: I hope that maybe one day u can find someone you trust and share your story because you never know when your experiences will help another or save the life of another.

    If Ever you do ever want to talk or vent u can pm, im or email me. I don't expect you to share your story because like your name says "Raw".

    I also wanted to comment on your quote. For so many years, I have thought the very same thing and have had to ask myself "If I am dead before I am born then why stay alive"? I have found many reason to stay alive and I no longer carry the belief we are dead before we even hit the cradle.
  15. tracy

    tracy New Member

    i have now been diagnosed with ptsd, and although i have been living with it for 18 years, it was never really that bad, just that odd smell, or vision, over time i learnt to cope with these, and reassure myself that it was just a memory, however, after starting therapy for anger, it came out that i was gang raped for 7 hours at the age of 14. i had always thought i had coped with this, but now im not just having flashbacks, but im actually realiving parts of the attack for anything up to 2 hours at a time, this happenes at any time of the day or night, as often as 4 times a day, every day, i have also started dissociating, which causes me to be completely unaware of where i am, or who i am, or what im supposed to be doing at the time. im completely at a loss of what to do anymore, therapy is sooo slow, and i hate it, i hate the fact that these b###ds have reduced me to this. oh and i have 3 young children too, what a fool thinking i could ever have a normal life, now there suffering too. does anybody have any suggestions?
  16. silverflash

    silverflash Well-Known Member

    There is some comfort in reading these threads and realising that I am not alone in my pain. I too have been diagnosed with PTSD although some people have been quite negative about giving me any support and help as the rape took place over 20 years ago and up until recently I had suppressed all emotions connected with it. Now I have triggers on a daily basis, but have no access to medication or psychotherapy. I struggle through every day. Life is ****.
  17. The_Discarded

    The_Discarded Staff Alumni

    That was very helpful.
  18. Insignificant

    Insignificant Account Closed

    i was diagnosed like four or five years ago with ptsd now. i was glad there was finally a name to the hell i was going through. it has subsided some but when the flashbacks come now they strike with such vengence and i too am usually led to more than the one at the time. i hate this illness with all my heart. i just wish it would be over with already. no therapists have wanted to walk down this road to recovery with me. i just wonder if there will ever be one or the day that this will come. i am strongly doubting this.
  19. ggg456

    ggg456 Guest

    I realised how much I was dissociating last year and this year and what dissociation means to me. Dissociation can be kind of pleasant when it's manageable. I've been chronically traumatised for nearly all my life by people and other things, so it isn't just one event it's just years and years of repeated trauma- and the creative way my mind has tried to adapt to my experiences through 'psychotic' symptoms which arguably has saved my life. Last year a lot of things were dug up involving sexual abuse and I just don't want to go's way too frightening to think about, and I'd rather leave it where it is, behind a huge fog. And one thing that I realise when I beat myself up about my fear when it comes to personal relationships is that it's not my (or yours, if you're reading this) fault, I/we find it so difficult, it's because I've had such horrific experiences with people, that's why I'm so scared and to stop punishing myself for my 'failed social skills'...and/or anxiety, phobias, fear and the other things you feel.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2007
  20. jeannate

    jeannate Active Member

    I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and usually I cope quite well with it. I accepted what happened and found a way to move past it. But I am still plagued with bad dreams of my abuser. I just hate that feeling. Usually I rarely think of it otherwise and then I get a dream and it brings it all back. I think the dreams come about when I am feeling vulnerable about something. At least that is something I noticed with the dreams, I think. Especially when I feel things are out of control and it reflects back to that time I had no control. Who needs a shrink when you can analyze yourself?, jk. I have to say the worst part of that experience is the reliving it in your dreams now. It is over, I am safe now, and it returns. I just hate that.