Friday, 26 September 2014

Dealing with my emotions

Last night I had my first counselling secession. I have to say it was both traumatic and liberating. I now know what is happening to me and although none of the emotions have gone, I know this is the first step in dealing with this.

I'm feeling the trauma as if it was happening to me and I'm feeling the anger my partner cannot express towards her abuse ex husband. I think that's called cognitive transference and is experienced a lot by therapists and social workers when they are dealing with abuse survivors.

But the major thing is that I have PTSD. Below is an extract from a website that details the symptoms and I've underlined the ones that I can relate to. I've started to control the anger and rage I've been feeling, the first part was to write down and express my emotions, I also starting the gym more to help remove the hormones that are in my body as a result of feeling angry. The one technique I have is to try to push the visual memories my mind has constructed as far away into the distance as possible, I have the next secession booked next week.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop following a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless.

Most people associate PTSD with battle-scarred soldiers—and military combat is the most common cause in men—but any overwhelming life experience can trigger PTSD, especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncontrollable. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect those who personally experience the catastrophe, those who witness it, and those who pick up the pieces afterwards, including emergency workers and law enforcement officers. It can even occur in the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma.

PTSD develops differently from person to person. While the symptoms of PTSD most commonly develop in the hours or days following the traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear.

Traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include:
  • War
  • Natural disasters
  • Car or plane crashes
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Sudden death of a loved one
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Childhood neglect
Or any shattering event that leaves you stuck and feeling helpless and hopeless 

The difference between PTSD and a normal response to trauma

The traumatic events that lead to post-traumatic stress disorder are usually so overwhelming and frightening that they would upset anyone. Following a traumatic event, almost everyone experiences at least some of the symptoms of PTSD. When your sense of safety and trust are shattered, it’s normal to feel crazy, disconnected, or numb. It’s very common to have bad dreams, feel fearful, and find it difficult to stop thinking about what happened. These are normal reactions to abnormal events.

For most people, however, these symptoms are short-lived. They may last for several days or even weeks, but they gradually lift. But if you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the symptoms don’t decrease. You don’t feel a little better each day. In fact, you may start to feel worse. 

A normal response to trauma becomes PTSD when you become stuck

After a traumatic experience, the mind and the body are in shock. But as you make sense of what happened and process your emotions, you come out of it. With post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), however, you remain in psychological shock. Your memory of what happened and your feelings about it are disconnected. In order to move on, it’s important to face and feel your memories and emotions.

Signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can arise suddenly, gradually, or come and go over time. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell. 

While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are three main types of symptoms:
  1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event (although I never witnessed it I have a strong mental image)
  2. Avoiding reminders of the trauma
  3. Increased anxiety and emotional arousal
Symptoms of PTSD: Re-experiencing the traumatic event
  • Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
  • Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
  • Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
  • Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
  • Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)
Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing
  • Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
  • Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
  • Loss of interest in activities and life in general
  • Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
  • Sense of a limited future
Symptoms of PTSD: Increased anxiety and emotional arousal
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled
Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anger and irritability
  • Guilt, shame, or self-blame
  • Substance abuse
  • Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
  • Depression and hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • Feeling alienated and alone
  • Physical aches and pains

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