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slow jo

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Hello, I am hoping for advice, I have been suffering from depression for nearly 4yrs, lately a few strange things have been happening, I have seen someone that I was told was dead,( i was told this by the police) this has happened on a few different occassions, he was right in front of me then he was gone.
My best friend thinks that because i am stressed at the moment then i might be having some kind of flash back. i am very worried, what if the police got it wrong(he was there i know he was), advice please should I tell the cmht or will they just laugh at me.:confused:
 
nickh

nickh

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slowjo it is always worth calling the cmht if you are worried - they certainly won't laugh at you (if they did they would be incompetent and worthless beyond belief). Knowing when you need help and seeking it out is vital (if very difficult) for us all.

Nick.
 
spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

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My impressions are that you are frightened of this individual. I'm not sure if I've understood that correctly but if I have, then I would agree with your friend that possibly, you are experiencing a flashback. Sometimes, it only takes one common factor between the past and the present to produce one -- it could be as slight as a movement, a mannerism, an odor...

Many people with PTSD struggle in coping with flashbacks. Flashbacks are considered one of the re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD. In a flashback, a person may feel or act as though a traumatic event is happening again. A flashback may be temporary and some connection with the present moment may be maintained, or a person may lose all awareness of what is going on around him, being taken completely back to their traumatic event. For example, a rape survivor, when triggered, may begin to smell certain scents or feel pain in her body similar to that which was experienced during her assault.

People with PTSD may also experience dissociation. Dissociation is an experience where a person may feel disconnected from himself and/or his surroundings. Similar to flashbacks, dissociation may range from temporarily losing touch with things that are going on around you (kind of like what happens when you daydream) to having no memories for a prolonged period of time and/or feeling as though you are outside of your body.

Both flashbacks and dissociation may occur as a result of encountering triggers, or a reminder of a traumatic event. To the extent that people are not aware of their triggers, flashbacks and dissociation can be incredibly disruptive and unpredictable events that are difficult to manage. However, you can take steps to better manage and prevent flashbacks and dissociation.

Source: Coping With Flashbacks

I would suggest you do see someone, ideally to help you process any fear that remains. The article I linked above also contains some additional suggestions for dealing with flashbacks.



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S

slow jo

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thanks for your replies.
Spiritual you were right ,I am very frightened of this man, he was my childhood abuser who got sent to prision last yr,and like i said died there.
I spoke to the police this morning and they assured me he was indeed dead, but I know he isn't as I saw him last week. I am tempory living in the home where the abuse took place and am very upset by all the reminders around me,but surely I know what i saw, people around me say that i was seeing things, I don't beleive this, I am very confused I don't know what to do am very scared. (i feel as if i want to sh badly, i have cut abit but its not enough to stop thinking about all this)

thanks for listening to me
Jo x
 
spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

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slow jo: I am tempory living in the home where the abuse took place and am very upset by all the reminders around me,but surely I know what i saw, people around me say that i was seeing things, I don't beleive this, I am very confused I don't know what to do am very scared.

Hello slow jo,
Based on what you've said I don't think anyone at the CMHT would laugh at you at all. Your fear and anxiety is quite understandable under the circumstances. Other people, who have had similiar life experiences, have often felt the same way. I suggest you call the CMHT and try to find someone you feel comfortable with and can trust there, someone you can talk to about this. There are ways to move beyond traumatic experiences.

Meantime, here's something important to understand -- the goal is never to be fearless but rather, to be fearful at the appropriate time. Fear is a valuable human response. We are human beings and human beings can be hurt. The presence of fear helps alert us to the fact that danger may be nearby and we should take steps to protect ourselves. Right now, you feel fearful so it may be helpful to try and identify things you can do that could protect you.

As an example, a few weeks ago I was speaking with a woman who -- like you -- was hurt, shamed, and violated by someone in her past. Years later, she can still get frightened if she's alone in her home. We could say that it's almost as if she's haunted by that man's ghost and even though he's no longer physically present in her life he can still reach out from the past to distress and frighten her. I suggested she imagine that man actually showing up in her life and then asked her to imagine looking around -- could she see a doorway she could escape through, or was there something laying around in the environment that she could use to protect herself? She imagined herself picking up a kitchen stool, swinging it at the man's head and letting out a mighty roar! She realized she's not that frightened young woman anymore. She's smarter, wiser, more powerful. She can take steps to protect herself.

Another woman I know had a horribly abusive father. For years, she continued to feel fearful in her present life and to suffer from nightmares and flashbacks. One day however she actually saw her father and was shocked to realize how small, how old, how powerless he had become. Her memories of him had been formed when she was just a small child and he seemed so much bigger, so much more powerful -- this was the image that had haunted her all those years. But that was the past; in the present, he was just a tiny old man. She realized he couldn't hurt her anymore.

In your own situation, you were hurt by a man who the police say is dead. But even if he is, he can still reach out from the past to frighten and distress you. It's good to remember you are not that little child anymore. You know now that what he did was wrong. You know now that you didn't deserve those things and if he told you you did, it's only because he was a liar as well as an abuser. That was then. This is now. And in this now, you are wiser, stronger, more powerful. You can take steps to protect and help yourself.

Meantime, the following links (including the one I linked above) might have more information that can help you at this time:

- Trauma & Recovery
- Recovering Body & Soul from PTSD
- Nature's Lessons in Healing Trauma



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S

slow jo

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Thank you spiritual Emergency for taking the time to read and reply to my posts,
I have read your links they are very informative and i will reread them to try and take in what they say.
I am hoping to talk to my care co-ordinator tommorrow at CMHT but don't think they will take me seriously, it sounds so stupid saying someone who's ment to be dead isn't really, but i know i keep repeating myself, he is still alive. I just can't get his face or smell out of my head no matter what i do. I feel that I am in a no win situation, if as I beleive he is alive i don't know how i am going to cope living close by and seeing him around, or if it is all in my mind, then i must be going mad, not sure which would be worse to be honest. Anyway Again thank you
Jo
 
spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

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slow jo: I feel that I am in a no win situation, if as I beleive he is alive i don't know how i am going to cope living close by and seeing him around, or if it is all in my mind, then i must be going mad, not sure which would be worse to be honest.

Here's a question for you...

I don't know how old you are or how long ago all these things happened but if I understand correctly, those events unfolded in your childhood home. At some point in time though you must have left that home and gone somewhere else to live. Did you find yourself feeling the same way then? Fearful? Seeing him everywhere? Anything like that? Or did you find that by going away you felt safer?

By the way, I don't think you're crazy or stupid. I think you're distressed and you're trying to figure out some answers for yourself. When people are doing that, it's normal to feel a bit confused until you can figure out the answers for yourself.

In a completely different vein, I thought you might enjoy this song. To me, it's a song about a person who is learning to face parts of themselves as well as the difficulty and value in doing that. It also contains many beautiful images of nature and you sound like someone who could benefit from a little sliver of beauty right now.

~ Namaste


Music of the Hour: Indigo Girls: Watershed



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S

slow jo

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Hello just an up-date,
I phoned the CMHT and spoke to my care co-ordinator, told her what had happened, she didn't seem surprised at all, she listened for along time before saying anything then recomended that i went down to see her later in the day.
When i got down there we went through it all and she said she thought that i had alot of stress going on, she also said that she thought that it was most likely that my mind was playing tricks on me but would help me to find out for definate that he had died.
I am to ring her if anything else happens and will see her next week in the mean time she will contact victim support to see if they can help with getting the proof that she thinks i need.
so thankyou for encouraging me to ring cmht.
This forum is so helpful I read posts all the time but don't like to post myself but I really need advice I hope no-one minded my post.
Jo
 
spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

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slow jo: I phoned the CMHT and spoke to my care co-ordinator, told her what had happened, she didn't seem surprised at all, she listened for along time before saying anything then recomended that i went down to see her later in the day.

I'm glad to hear that you found someone there who took your concerns seriously and was willing to help you so quickly. Hopefully, you'll soon have the answers you seek and a bit of peace of mind.

I really need advice I hope no-one minded my post.

I know I would not be where I am today had it not been for the kindness of strangers and the internet. I can't imagine that anyone would have minded your post slow jo -- I'm certain most everyone here has been in your shoes or something like them.

~ Namaste


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nickh

nickh

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Delighted that you got good support slowjo! And congratulations on getting in touch with them which I know was hard for you :clap:.

Nick.
 
S

slow jo

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Thanks again both of you, Things not too good at the moment I have seen him again, but this time I know It couldn't of been him,as it was somewhere different. So that puts me feeling rather odd about myself, I phoned cmht again to say about this other incident yesterday but the care -co wasn't availiable to speak to me she hasn't gotten back to my yet, so I am left worrying about it over the weekend. :(

Jo
 
spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

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slow jo: Things not too good at the moment I have seen him again, but this time I know It couldn't of been him,as it was somewhere different. So that puts me feeling rather odd about myself...

I'm sure that it is disconcerting but it may be helpful to you if you understand what is happening.



The brain is exquisitely organized into three basic and highly interrelated parts and functions.
- The brain stem and hypothalamus monitor regulation of one's internal environment and the fight or flight mechanisms.
- The limbic system balances the internal and external worlds and processes raw emotion.
- The neocortex analyzes and solves problems and is the part of the brain through which we largely interact with the external world.
Together these parts of the brain coordinate the unconscious and conscious functions of feelings, thoughts, memories, communication, and actions.


One of the functions of the limbic system, the center of emotions, is to store fear-based experiences. Rapid and accurate access to experiences of fear and its associations is highly necessary for survival. For example, if a person walks down a forest path and sees a long cylindrical object lying across the path, he may gasp, stop quickly, or run away. The reaction to the object happens before the neocortex gives any information about what that object might be.

Part of the limbic system, the amygdala, records fearful experiences and feelings in intense sensory detail and alerts the person to the possibility that the object is a snake, long before the word "snake" occurs in the person's left-sided cortex. The amygdala also sends messages to the hypothalamus to activate the hypothalamus-pituatary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the fight or flight mechanisms, so that the person will stop, look, and get ready to run, if necessary, before even knowing what the object is.


Source: Recovering Body & Soul from PTSD

I suspect that what's happening is that when you see this person, you are seeing a real person but you're not seeing "him". Instead, there's some sort of common factor between the person you see and "him". That common factor could be a physical characteristic (i.e., a beard or hair color), it might be a behavior (i.e., a manner of walking or speaking) or it could be something else such as the time of day, the way the sunlight is slanting through the trees or being in the same or a similar environment.

Because this man hurt you in the past, when your brain recognizes anything that reminds you of "him", your limbic system, brain stem and hypothalamus respond before you have the opportunity to consciously evaluate exactly what you are seeing in front of you. Hormones such as adrenaline flood your system to fuel a "flight or fight" response and you may feel emotions such as anxiety or fear and physical responses such as a pounding heart or sweaty palms. You might also feel as if you're back in that exact same time and space. When this happens, it's called "being triggered". It can feel frightening and overwhelming but it's not so odd once you understand what's happening within your brain and body and why it's happening.

Because you are currently in the same environment where the earlier abuse took place, you are likely being triggered often -- maybe even several times in one day. All of this may have created a response of hypervigilance within you. It's comparable to watching a scary movie and then, for the rest of the evening, you're alert to every creak in the house. You might jump or startle easily if someone makes a loud noise. This is due to the hormones that are automatically released when the body feels fearful.


Saakvitne and Pearlman postulate that the experience of trauma undermines five basic human needs:

1. The need to be safe.
2. The need to trust.
3. The need to feel some control over one's life.
4. The need to feel of value.
5. The need to feel close to others.

That list can provide you with some ideas as to what you can do. For example, you need to feel safe. That might be a real challenge for you given that you're currently in the same house where the abuse took place. For this reason, it might be helpful to identify places in the house where you do feel safe or places outside of the house where you feel the same. If you have other places to go it might even be best for you if you can go there instead of staying at the house. If you start to feel overwhelmed by your fear, you can go to those places.

It can also help to identify the people you feel safe with. For example, earlier you mentioned your best friend. You must trust him/her if they're your best friend. Do you feel safe (or safer) when in their presence? If that's the case, can you spend more time with them for a while? If you have a pet, you might find it comforting to be with them too.

If you do get triggered, physical activity might help to "burn up" the hormones that have been released into your body -- you might find it helpful to jog in place or do some physical labor such as heavy yard work or chopping wood.

Your counselor should be able to give you more ideas of things you can do to feel safe, trusting, in control, valued and close to others but these suggestions might help you get through the weekend until you can see them. The link above on Coping with Flashbacks might also have some helpful tips for you.

~ Namaste


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S

slow jo

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I can't go out, i know he's watching me waiting and watching am so scared why come back now.
I am home yet i feel trapped inside, he's watching.
 
spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

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Hello slow jo.
I'm sitting here trying to think of what I can say that might help you. The difficulty is, I'm not there. I can' see what you see. I can't feel what you feel. I have no way of knowing if "he" is really outside your home watching you or if you only fear that "he" is.

Since I don't know what else to do, I am going to tell you a story...

This is a story about a woman who was married and somewhere, the marriage went bad. Her husband was having an affair and rather than get a divorce and lose half his net worth he decided to invest a couple thousand dollars in hiring a hit man to kill his wife. Not a very nice husband.

So there she was, alone in the house one day, and this hit man showed up. He was bigger than her, he had a gun and he had the element of surprise on his side. It would seem that the odds were very much against her but by the time everything was over and done with, she had wrestled the gun away from him and then she strangled him, to death, with her bare hands. Ha! I'll bet neither the hitman nor her husband saw that coming!

My point in telling you that story is not so you'll go strangle someone, rather, it's to point out that even though the odds were not in her favor, she took action to protect herself.

Many people, when they have a history of abuse have lost touch with this innate ability to be their own protecter. Sometimes, especially if they were very young when the abuse happened, they are unconsciously waiting for a rescuer to come along and save them and it's this unconscious desire to be rescued that prevents them from acting on their own behalf. But there is a part of them, hidden away inside that knows how to fight; that knows how to get angry; that knows how to use the emotional energy of fear to their benefit. This is the part they need to reconnect with in order to move past the fear of being traumatized again and to heal from the trauma of having been abused in the first place.

Which brings us back to the possible realities of your current situation...

Possibility #1: He really is still alive and outside of your home, watching and waiting for you to emerge.

Possibility #2: He really isn't still alive and outside of your home but your fear of him is still so strong, it feels like he is.

Since neither you or I know which possibility is accurate I suggest you think about both of them and make a list of the things you could do in either case that would keep you safe and protected. Remember that somewhere within you is that part of you that wants to protect and help you; you don't have to go it alone. Even calling the police for help or the woman you spoke to before are ways of helping yourself because you're the one who makes the phone call. Therefore, you're the one who is taking the necessary steps to keep yourself safe. And truthfully, you know you can do that. You already did it the other day -- you called that woman and things went okay. It's you making these posts. You're helping yourself and "he" can't stop you from doing so.

When we take action to keep ourselves safe, we take back our own power -- power that was stolen from us and rightfully belongs in our hands. The more capable we are of acting in our own defense, the weaker our opponent becomes. This is how you dismantle a giant called FEAR and bring it down to size.


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S

slow jo

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Thank you am seeing p-doc tommorrow am so confused to whats real and whats not.
but thank you for the support.:(:confused:
 
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