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vondick

To All of You- a note :)

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I came here to get a sense of what was wrong with me, what was going on, how to get through it, etc. etc. Through it I've already learned a lot, talked to some great people, and I'm sure with my continued visits I will meet many more great people. However there has been one black spot on what has been so far a great experience- I see a lack of empowerment- not in the way everyone talks to each other (which from what I see is very empathetic and supportive), but in ourselves. Afraid to give ourself permission to do/feel/say the things that we need.

This is not an insult, I understand why- it should be fairly obvious to all of us. I think part of my observation may have to do with the fact that I am new to the medicine side of all this- I have not been under the microscope of multiple doctors for years of my life. Many of you have, which I can't imagine helps (this aspect anyhow). Constantly being surveiled and monitored by those around you.

That being said, I just wanted to let you all know that from what I have heard so far (which I can only imagine is just the tip of the iceberg) you people have been through some insane shit. INSANE. Horrible horrible things, that I hope, at this point in your life, are in the past. The fact that you are out of bed and reading this makes you an inspiration to me.

You have all survived things that in an ideal world no one would ever have to go through. And you made it out the other side. You are such strong people. And even if it might not seem like it when you hit a trigger and need to hide/cry/not breath/whatever, you get up and you keep going. That does not make you weak, that makes you fucking strong.

All of you are so strong.

And I know you all don't know me, so this might not matter to you- but I believe in all of you. You're all still standing. And whatever life throws at you next- is just another thing you will have conquered. Conquered.

These feelings will not last forever. This- this can't last forever. Tomorrow is a new day, and tomorrow- you do whatever the fuck you need to do to get by and get healthy, you say what has been on your mind, you take that step you've been afraid of, because it can't be worse than what you have already seen.

You are all an inspiration to me. And I plan to keep telling you that, and I hope that if I (we) tell you enough, you'll start to be inspirations for yourselves.

That is all. Everyone have a great Friday.

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it is great hear someone declair what I know ive felt thank you

+1

vondick, your intentions may have been good but please don't even begin to try handing out advice here unless someone has specifically asked for it. we've all heard the "you're so strong" crap before. we're not special. bad shit happens and some of us survive and some don't.

if you're hearing a lack of empowerment, then you really really don't get it. do you think we are unaware of the issue? not being empowered is often the problem we notice FIRST when we become aware of our issues.

i feel like i, and the other PTSD folks here, am being studied by you. i don't like that feeling.

please stop with the PTSD forums unless you've got something you need help with. we don't need someone to tell us what we need to do. we don't need someone to tell us what we feel. and we don't need cheerleaders from anyone who hasn't walked the walk.

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Vondick,

I appreciate you trying to encourage people. I agree that our members address each other with empathy and support and I’m glad you have been able to experience that in your time at CB.

However, I feel that some things in your post come across as the opposite of empowering. When you address us as a whole without acknowledging the individuality of our experiences, or state that you have added insight into our ‘black spot’ that we have lost due to experiences with professionals, it places you as the driver of change. This is the opposite of empowerment.

You also seem to judge our interactions with mental health professionals as detrimental. My tdoc AND pdoc take a strengths based perspective where they hold me in high regard and respect that I (and my story) are unique. They acknowledge that I am the agent of change and their role is to help me identify my strengths and resources. It’s a concept of ‘power-with’ rather than ‘power-over’. When I speak with them I feel validated and valued, which is not how I felt when reading your post.

At face value it sounds good to say “you are all so strong!” but it can seem invalidating. Some people may feel helpless when they have experienced trauma, and they need to feel safe in saying that without being drowned in platitudes.

I hope we don’t come across as being too harsh. I know in the other thread on the boards you were able to take our words with humility so I hope you are able to do the same here.

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Guest Vapourware

@vondick: My treatment has been really helpful for me - I was a mess when I returned to CB in 2009, and I would still be a mess now if I didn't seek help back then.

My first therapist helped me identify that what I experienced as a child was abuse, and not my fault. I wasn't exaggerating, it wasn't something that I brought upon myself. It was something beyond my control. My pdoc helped me find my new therapist because he believes I really need to talk about both that, and my experiences with one of my past partners.

So, for me, my treatment team has been very beneficial.

I don't understand the comment about the "lack of empowerment". I don't like talking about some of my issues because they are still difficult for me to process, to the point where it becomes overwhelming. It's not about not giving myself permission to feel/think/say, it's about how I respond to the emotions, thoughts and words.

I appreciate the sentiment of your post but I think there might be a few misunderstandings along the way.

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Hmmmm... personally I don't like being told that I'm strong. I've never understood it. Maybe other people do, but I just find it confusing.

I'm not strong - we just did what we needed to do to survive. Sometimes it was ultimately detrimental (becoming a drug addict, for example) but it was what we needed to do to survive at the time. Is that a sign of strength - trading one problem for many more? I don't think so, not for myself anyway.

Even now, when every year I learn that I'm safer and safer (with fewer setbacks) I don't think that I'm strong - it's just time doing it for me. That's how time works. Quite lovely, actually, but it has nothing to do with my intrinsic character at all.

I think that there are periods where we need to tell ourselves "I am strong" but that it can come off as condescending or insensitive when others do. I know that I just end up confused, anyway.

I don't feel un-empowered (dis-empowered?). I know that sometimes I have no words because I still have a censor that stops me from saying things that it deems unsafe (and that it hasn't quite figured out that we're safe yet). I think that working with the censor to figure out what I can say and how (which is why art therapy is amazing! by the way) is a pretty freaking big deal. But it may not always show on the outside and that's okay. The fact that it's okay is the empowering part.

I know that you meant well, though. Sometimes it can be really hard to know what to say that will be encouraging and not sound like talking-down.

Edited by WinterRosie

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Sometimes it can be really hard to know what to say that will be encouraging and not sound like talking-down.

Yes, that is true. I appreciate that vondick was trying to be supportive, but it did come across as talking down. Like we are Other and she is a beneficent spectator. I spend enough time feeling like Other, I come here because I am not observed in an uncomfortable way. Plus, I really hate touchy feely empowerment talk. I love CB because it's not like that.

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it is great hear someone declair what I know ive felt thank you

please stop with the PTSD forums unless you've got something you need help with. we don't need someone to tell us what we need to do. we don't need someone to tell us what we feel. and we don't need cheerleaders from anyone who hasn't walked the walk.

On the first page of this board, it says we are all survivors. It is made clear all over that our trauma is our trauma. Which makes me sad to see that a staff member is telling me I can't express myself.

I am different (so it seems) I haven't had all the experience with doctors you have, I haven't run through the mill of therapists, I haven't had the opportunity to. I tried to get into a counsellor when I was in junior high school, but I couldn't see anyone because it had literally become a fad for the kids in my school to cut themselves. I cried every day for multiple years of my life and my family was too busy dealing with the deaths of 5 other family members to deal with me. I've been being told my entire life that my trauma wasn't good enough, I don't need to hear it from you.

If you want me gone- get me kicked out. I'm a positive person. I always have been, and hopefully, I always will be. Yesterday was a bad day for me, but by the end of the night, I felt better having expressed my opinion to you all, because it was genuine. You don't want to hear the "you are strong and you can survive another thing" shit from me? Then don't read my posts. Because I'm not talking down to anyone, I genuinely believe it.

-----------------

I don't think being under the care of a doctor is a bad thing. I'm in the process of doing so myself. Because I know it will help me. But everyone who is already under the stable care of a doctor is accountable to a lot more people than I am right now. So yeah- right now there is a me and a you. I just wanted to remind everyone that the most important person in the equation to be accountable to is you. Not in the do whatever you want and fuck everyone else way, just in a- you inspire me, take some time for yourself today way.

I'm not some asshole who thinks I'm better than anyone else. That I'm doing things the best way. I'm fucking 21 years old, I don't know shit all yet. What I do know is that I am constantly being censored, whether I say something seemingly bad or seemingly good. Lysergia, if you have a problem with me tell me what I'm doing wrong, don't tell me to leave. The others tell me why they didn't like my message, you just tell me to fuck off.

To everyone else- I believe what I say when I tell you that you're strong. I wake up a lot of days feeling totally helpless, and sometimes just having someone tell me that I can do it is enough of a little push to get something stupid and easy finished. You don't know me yet, so it doesn't mean much coming from me. I can understand that. Sometimes telling someone else they have the strength to keep on going reminds me that I do too.

Edited by vondick

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i have no intention of kicking you anywhere. i was strongly suggesting. perhaps that was inappropriate, but i'll tell you how i came to believe it would be best.

these are my thoughts from this morning:

i don't know anything about you. your signature doesn't indicate that you're a survivor of anything. and most of all, i don't hear you talking about your issues - i hear you opining about the strength of others (which i do recognize was trying to say something positive). if i heard you talk about yourself, and how trauma has affected you, or what you might personally understand from your own experience, i wouldn't feel as if those of us with PTSD are being studied from the outside. i don't see your connectedness with the issues at hand - perhaps you do have a personal connection, but i can't know that unless you share what you know about you (instead of what you see in others).

now that you've spoken a little about your own trauma, i can appreciate that you are grappling with what to do about it, and trying to learn what others have done about it. (sorry, i don't mean to assume your motives if this isn't the case). it's not about how long we've all been seeing how many different therapists, or how bad the trauma was. it's about knowing you feel some of what we feel, because something struck deep enough to hurt us even today. that's enough. i'm glad you wrote what you did, because now i feel less studied.

i appreciate that you are trying to bond with the community here and be supportive. you might find me abrasive, and that's fine, take my opinion with a grain of salt. if not my posts, re-read some of the posts after mine. hear what these survivors are trying to tell you. they aren't angry with you, but they want you to know how your words made them feel.

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Well, I know that I've been seeing tdoc for less than a year (maybe ten months, now?). When I came to CB it was because I was looking for advice on how to find a tdoc. Prior to that I spent fifteen years (or so, my sense of time isn't great) running away from one because I was too scared. This is why I don't see it as strength.

I'm glad that you're getting help sooner than I did.

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I knew I wanted help when I was younger, when I couldn't get it, I just sort of buried it, and it took me a long time to admit to myself that I needed help. I am where I am now mostly because I have a lot of really great and supportive people in my life that I feel safe being really honest with. Just lucky. As an outsider, Rosie, if you were so scared that you ran for 15 whole years, the fact that you are seeing one now makes you seem stronger than before, at the very least :) I know an outsiders opinion won't really change anything going on in your own head. So I'll try to avoid pushing them on you. It's not my intention, I just find kind words from the right person generally help me, none of you know me, so I'm not really that person.

@Lysergia, my sig doesn't say anything because I've never been officially DXed. I'm seeing a doctor now for what by all diagnostic standards is PTSD (flashbacks, amnesia, triggers, numbness, lack of interest in activities I used to love, extreme anxiety, etc. etc.), but I've only had a social worker tell me so, not a doctor, so it's not there. My day to day issues are mostly anxiety based. If you go check out some of my other posts, you'll learn more about me, I've been fairly frank about why I came here. I am pretty blunt about my feelings because I can't remember my original trauma, and all the deaths made me pretty numb. And I don't really know anyone so it's safe. Internet anonymity and all that.

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Hey vondick

I'm glad to hear that you're getting help finally. That sucks that your pain was sidelined for so many years.

A friend of mine called me strong the other day, and I cursed him out for twenty minutes. I think, sometimes, it's just exhausting being strong. People say you're so strong you're like a rock, and what flashes into my head is that childhood I never got to have, and it just pisses me off. Makes me want to have a tantrum. Once in a while I do.

The other day I was sitting in bed with a guy I was dating. I was reading an article about Britney Spear's engagement and I was like "Wow, this is kinda freaky. She's marrying her manager, and her dad has power of attorney. She doesn't have any control of her own life." and he said "Well, she isn't in her right mind, perhaps it's for the best." and I said "You are a fucking asshole." and he said "Does that scare you because you're afraid that might happen to you? Yeah, that must be so weird for you." So I broke up with him. I broke up with him because I felt othered. I am saying this not to berate you. Not to make you also feel othered. But to explain why people reacted so strongly.

I do not think that you don't belong on this board. You are more than welcome here.

Like you I did not remember my original trauma at first, and I still do not remember the bulk of it, but I'm not as cut off from my emotions as I used to be.

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I understand, I appreciate everyone giving me feedback, if I say something that offends, feel more than free to tell me so and why, just let me know the why so I can understand.

The other day I was sitting in bed with a guy I was dating. I was reading an article about Britney Spear's engagement and I was like "Wow, this is kinda freaky. She's marrying her manager, and her dad has power of attorney. She doesn't have any control of her own life." and he said "Well, she isn't in her right mind, perhaps it's for the best." and I said "You are a fucking asshole." and he said "Does that scare you because you're afraid that might happen to you? Yeah, that must be so weird for you." So I broke up with him.

I'm not quite sure what to say on that one, but wow what a dick. See- That scares the shit out of me, just the idea that people can be forced into hospitals against their will while everyone around them decides their fate. In no other medical area can someone have treatment forced upon them. That in and of itself leads to a lack of power to the patients. It should also be said that I'm afraid of doctors to begin with, I used to near panic attack just setting foot in a hospital, (not anymore, yay) so my thoughts are a little skewed. But it is jus so vastly different than any other branch of medicine.

Like I said- I'm seeking out treatment because I know it will help, but just the whole idea of it is weird and alien to me. There is still so much about the human brain that is unknown- and people that don't luck out with good doctors (and even some who do) are treated like lab rats, try this medication, try this medication, oh that's not working? Try this instead. Tell me all your deepest darkest secrets. It's just very very different. And a relatively new branch of medicine with a pretty brutal history. Very brutal history.

I don't mean to other anyone, it's just hard because I feel so out of the loop from everyone here right now, Like I feel the same sort of things, but the experiences through the system of it are so vastly different. And I'm sort of hopping on a whole new topic now hahaha. So I'll just stop.

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You are certainly welcome here Vondick. I hope you feel a bit more in the loop soon. Like PC I'm sorry nobody noticed what was going on for you when you were younger.

I think I understand what you mean with the hospital thing. I was traumatised in hospitals whilst undergoing treatment for physical health issues, and it made it so much harder to seek help from mental health professionals. I'd have panic attacks at the smell of disinfectant or a blanket with the same texture as hospital blankets.

I was terrified of being involuntarily hospitalised. In the end though, I was surprised to find that there were doctors who were able to help. I came across some jerks, and I never went back to them. It was hard and I spent a lot of therapy sessions talking through it, but ultimately I'm glad I didn't give up because eventually I was able to find a medication that did work.

It might help to keep in mind that involuntary hospitalisation is a last resort. It doesn't happen unless a person is a risk to themselves or others, and even if you are hospitalised you do have rights and appeals processes.

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A friend of mine called me strong the other day, and I cursed him out for twenty minutes. I think, sometimes, it's just exhausting being strong. People say you're so strong you're like a rock, and what flashes into my head is that childhood I never got to have, and it just pisses me off. Makes me want to have a tantrum. Once in a while I do.

I hate being called strong sometimes as well. To me, "you are so strong" sometimes seems like a statement that invalidates my pain. As if my ability to function as a seemingly normal person on a purely superficial level makes me "not that sick." I won't speak for anyone else's experiences, but I get pretty tired of being told I'm strong because it does seem like a meaningless platitude. The fact that I survived all the pain and suffering in my life doesn't make me feel strong, it makes me feel broken and weak. I, my entire being, am in shambles and sometimes I need someone to just acknowledge the fact that I am a complete trainwreck.

That being said, I read your post as positive and optimistic, if perhaps somewhat misguided. I appreciate your eagerness to share your thoughts. I, too, have the tendency to sometimes say things that come across the wrong way so I try to read between the lines when possible. I hope you find the help you are looking for to deal with what you are faced with.

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The idea of losing my agency terrifies the living daylights out of me, too. I'd suggest learning the laws of your geographic region (province/state) very carefully. Understand them. Know how to find a patient advocate, or client services, or whatever your district/hospital/region (etc) is calling it. Know what they can and can't do. I did this and it helped a lot. I know where I stand, now. Knowing is actually one of the reasons that I finally got brave enough to seek help. Besides, knowing is half the battle!

I still don't have many memories of what happened (and those that I do have are not mine). What I do have is physical scars and flashbacks. I try to match them up, but this is quite an imperfect system when it comes to re-construction your past.

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It has recently been suggested to me that I may have been 'drugged' in some way, possibly alcohol or something of the like. I don't know, I really can't remember, I just remembered the day even existing a few years ago, and once I remember that the day happened, things were a lot more clear, but I can't at all remember the actual events.

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Neither can I. It takes time. I get flashes sometimes. My memories are very broken up - I'll remember only smell, or only sound, or only touches, or only sights, or only tastes. Rarely do the senses happen not in isolation. It happens.

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