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Unsure of how to tell tdoc...I think I have PTSD?


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So last night, after another night of being afraid to sleep I decided I would tell my tdoc what happened to me when I was younger. The thing is I've only told one person, ever, about this and that's my wife and she doesn't even know the details.

 

It only recently started (for the past 4 months) that whenever I try to fall asleep I get these weird memories from 10 years ago. I won't go into details because I'm pretty sure it'd be triggering to most people on this forum but when it happens I get overwhelmed by fear, hopelessness, and anxiety. It's so intense that while it's happening it's like I'm there again, reliving the experience.

 

Anything that reminds me of the experience causes me to experience intense memories and feelings. That includes people touching me and men who are older than me. I'm terrified that every guy wants to torture and do things to me, which I know they don't but I just get overwhelmed by those emotions whenever I see a guy...

 

I'm not sure how to tell my tdoc about all this, am I going to have to tell her specifics? Because to be honest I barely remember it, just that it happened, and small details and I don't think I'd want to talk about it right now anyways. I'm afraid she won't believe me or she'll tell someone else about it because of the nature of what it is.

I'm not even sure I'll go through with telling my tdoc, I'm terrified of actually saying what happened out loud because that makes it real I guess. Any advice guys?

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No real advice, just my experience.  Once I started talking and my therapist didn't act outraged or anything like people have acted in the past when I told them things, I was able to keep going.  Yes the memories came out to play in full color and dolby surround sound but the therapist kept me on track.  As the sessions went on, I spoke more and more about it, remembering things I'd forgotten on purpose.  I felt better and less weighed down after the sessions.  I didn't get down to specifics really.  Therapist seemed fine with that.

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Music, I'm in the midst of talking to my T about things like this. She's the one who raised the 'torture' word. I've never been keen on casting value judgements, including diagnosis. I let her handle that because it's more her job than mine.

I tend to prefer letting her raise hard words like that. Maybe that's just me.

 

You don't need to go into specifics. We dealt in generalities for about two years before now when we're just getting into specifics. Partly because I really can't remember specifics, and partly because it took me that long to trust that she wouldn't run screaming from the room (or something. I'm not entirely sure, but I know that I'm scared of her reacting negatively).

 

She won't tell you that she doesn't believe you. She will believe you. If she tells you otherwise I will send you a picture of me eating a hat! Saying it out loud does make it more real. I completely understand you there. I struggle with this. Some of the ways that I work to overcome it is to email her (although I don't like to do that) or to write it down and give it to her. She gave me the option of her reading it out loud, but I declined. So she reads them and thanks me and then asks if I want to talk about it. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes just having her know is enough and it can come up later if it has to.

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Thank you for your replies, I did manage to say something during my tdoc appointment. All I said was I was having trouble sleeping because of something that happened 10 years ago. She asked if it was something traumatic, I said yes, then she asked if I wanted to talk about it right now and I said no.

I think that the appointment went well, at least now she knows that it's been bothering me. Next appointment I'll tell her more, at least that's the plan. I'm going to take little steps every appointment to get it out there. It wasn't easy but I think it was worth it.

 

Rosie, I can't really remember what happened to me either, is that normal?

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Good for you for bringing it up. That's a huge step! It can take a lot out of me to do something like that. You're right that it isn't easy. But I do feel that it's worth it. I'm glad that she respected your boundaries and that I don't have to send you a picture of me eating a hat. I like your plan of approaching it in baby steps. I did that for a long time. 

 

I think it's pretty normal to not remember things. It's also normal to remember in exquisite detail. The way that our brains work with trauma is highly personal. They sort of just switch into "whatever works" mode. For some people that's dissociation, amnesia, or forgetfulness. For other people it's hyperfocus. I'm pretty sure that a tdoc can work with which ever one.

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I agree with everything Rosie said.  I also want to mention that I switch back and forth between amnesia and hypermnesia (remembering too much) depending on my emotional state.  If I'm calm, I tend not to remember anything.  If I'm overwhelmed, upset, etc, I tend to have flashbacks which basically just feels like the memory's happening all over again.

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