dancesintherain

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I'm sure that to some degree the answer is that it varies from person to person...but in general,, do PTSD symptoms eventually abate.  Will there be a phase where I'm not having flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and intrusive memories at all?  Or is it just that I get them to happen less frequently?  I'm just scared because i'm doing treatment for it and so far the symptoms haven't gone away, in part because I'm no longer avoiding it all (according to my therapist)...so we're dredging it all up and forcing it to be dealt with.  But I'm scared it won't ever go away. Right now I'm having a flashback (though mostly brief) or instrusive thought/memory on close to a daily basis.

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I'm not sure if you've ever come across the saying "it gets worse before it gets better" but that's what it's alluding to. 

I can't say whether or not it abates. What I do know is that this intensity, and this daily immersion in it, fades.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Rosie.  I have stumbled across that one before.  I think my therapist has kind of gently suggested it.  I'm glad to hear that the intensity and daily immersion in it all fades because it's getting old really fast.  I find myself curling up in a ball and just sobbing hysterically while hiding other the covers.  This technique obviously only works if I'm at home when it happens, which is fortunately most times.  I do the whole grounding thing and it eventually gets me around, but it takes some hiding and sobbing first when my brain decides to send me to a bad place.  I guess it makes sense though if I feel like I'm six. 

And intrusive thoughts/memories I just can't get my brain around handling.  I'm trying the thought diffusion thing, but it' only getting me so far.

Edited by dancesintherain

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Sorry, PTSD is an effing nightmare sometimes. Pretty sure I've said this a million times before so apologies if you've already heard it, but there can be a huge divide in knowing better and feeling better. Like, I know so much more about why I feel this way, but it hasn't necessarily stopped me feeling this way. 

This is a weird comparison but it's kind of like Groundhog day, except the reverse. Everything changes but my brain is still running the same loop over and over. I did feel better over the years, and it's an old cliche but time is sometimes the best healer. Someone once said it takes twice as long to recover from a breakdown as it does to have a breakdown. Maybe PTSD follows the same rule book. At least recovery to some degree is on the table.

Like Rosie says, the intensity fades. Hopefully it gets to a point where it feels manageable if nothing else. God intrusive thoughts are probably my least favourite symptom, and theres a lot of competition. I've tried the CBT technique (directly challenging them) and the mindfulness/ACT technique (allowing them to happen and not try and change them) and neither really works. My (non-intrusive) thoughts are with you, this crap is tough but I hope it helps in the long run. 

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Thanks, I don't think I've seen that explanation and it helps (even if the reality sucks).

i was just about to post in here about feeling like I was thinking myself worse/causing it all for myself.  It probably doesn't help that my pdoc doesnt agree with a ptsd diagnosis. But my thought was that if so many things are triggered, aren't isomehow doing it.  I know logically that can't work because I can't avoid the world forever and there are a lot of topics I'd have to avoid.  But it still felt like I was bringing this on myself, if that makes any sense at all. 

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Pdocs are not all knowing, unfortunately. The one who initially diagnosed me completely ignored me when I tried talking about my stalker and symptoms of what was later revealed to be dyspraxia. At any point did you choose the triggers? Sorry that sounds cruel, my point is triggers are not optional or something that we necessarily can control all the time. I have a bunch and if I've gone a day without one being accidentally (or deliberately) set off then I can't remember it. Triggers can ease with time, especially with slow, systematic desensitisation of them (which is hopefully something your pdoc is exploring with you?). But yeah it can feel like you bring them on yourself even when that isn't true. I occasionally watch horror-related things (movie analysis or short clips), which I know is a bad idea but I do it anyway. But I also flinch if someone touches me and I didn't realise they were there. That's not something I can control, or avoid. I think PTSD sets us up with a frame of mind that says 'everything bad is your fault anyway, accept it'. Sorry this is so disjointed, it's midnight here and I'm tired haha. 

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No worries, that's past bedtime for me ;-).  Definitely no choice involved with triggering things and right now I'm not at the point that I can routinely identify what they are.  Broad sweeping category (sex) but some things within it will be perfectly and then earlier today I'll hear the beginning to a song and it'll cause a problem.  I should probably try to figure out if there is a pattern.

my tdoc is the one who diagnosed me and she sees people with a trauma background much more than my pdoc, I think.  Right now we are doing cognitive processing therapy which is like CBT but for ptsd symptoms.  It has somewhat of a desensitization aspect but I don't think it's the focus.  That said, I'm not convinced that one round of CPT per trauma will completely do the trick.  But I'll take lessening in order to do further work.

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Yep, triggers are effed up like that. 'Remember that time your ex gave you ice cream? Well guess what! Now you get to feel bad for eating it!' Like damn even ice cream isn't safe? Is nothing sacred??? The trouble I have with identifying triggers is as you say- they can be so broad just an inkling can set something off. Pure Shores by All Saints once made me dissociate for no reason I can think of. Now, it's fine. But I guess knowing broadly what triggers you, or even having a diary of specific incidences can help reveal a pattern. Most kinds of therapy are worth a shot. There might be some small nugget of usefulness, even if it feels like nonsense at the time. This does get tiring though. So much hard work over something nobody would ever ask for (trauma in general I guess) but we got lumped with anyway.

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I definitely don't advocate avoidance.

It's tempting, yes. I understand that. Yet it introduces new phobias, and then you have to work to overcome those... doesn't seem like a worthwhile tradeoff, on the whole.

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I agree Rosie in the long run.  One of my DBT behaviors to change is avoidance--both of things generally (like work) but also of thoughts and feelings related to trauma stuff.  Out of the general philosophy that more avoidance leads to more trouble down the line.

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