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Post Traumatic Stress Experience

C

Charliesdad

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
5
Location
Newcastle
Hi all,

I'm new to this site and thought this section of the forum seemed like the best place for me to start.

I have recently been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after 4 1/2 years of suffering mental health problems. My problems began when I was still serving in the army. I had a career spanning 8 years over which time I served all over the world regularly being exposed to stress which at the time had no significant effect on me.

It was not until I was sent to Sierra Leone until I was involved in an incident in which I genuinely thought I was going to die, when I began to develop symptoms of PTSD. I don’t really want to be more specific right now since the memories of the event are still very upsetting.

Once I had returned from Africa I began to think about the event which occurred and while those around me told me that I should put it behind me and feel lucky to be back home safe, I began to relive the event over and over in my mind, the experience is what I referred to at the time as a dream/nightmare during the day. The process of reliving the event caused me to experience all of the fear/anxiety symptoms which I felt when I originally had the experience.

This quickly began to affect my life and my ability to operate normally. At the time I was still in the forces and offered psychological counselling which amounted to a doctor telling me "these things happen, the best thing you can do I soldier on".

Along with reliving the experience over and over I began to suffer with depression which I put down to dealing with all these unwanted emotions and psychological reactions.

I began to notice that the dreams during the day (which i now know are flashbacks) I was having would be triggered by stimulus which at the time I was unaware of but which I soon began to realise. Once I had identified the triggers for my flashbacks I began to avoid situations where I thought that I may have a flashback triggered.

This began to affect my ability to operate socially and lead to an extended period of not going and avoiding social situations, which I realise now only, add to the problems I was having.

I left the army of my own accord and returned home to live with my parents. It was now that I began to notice increased symptoms of depression and anxiety along with a very short temper and anger, I found my ability to deal with normally stress free things was diminished and I would easily snap and loose my temper about the smallest thing. This had a bad effect on my relationship with my family.

This behaviour continued for about 4 years until I went to my doctor and was referred to a psychiatrist, I was prescribed Lofepramine and diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. I found that Lofepramine caused me to feel drowsy but did after a bedding in period, help with my depression and anxiety symptoms. I have also taken diazepam from time to time when I was particularly anxious. I am currently waiting for a course of CBT to begin.

Last December I went to a place in Scotland called combat stress, which I believe is only for ex forces, where I received some counselling sessions and met others with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Overall I found the week I spent there totally brilliant and would recommend it to any other ex forces who are having mental health problems.

I have basically come on this site since recently I have been feeling isolated and wish to communicate with others who understand my situation and hopefully find ways of coping better with PTSD.

Thanks

Matt :)
 
B

bellbell

New member
Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
3
Hi there :)

I've also got ptsd as well. I'm not ex-forces, but I also got mine from being in a situation where I was also terrified I was going to die, and still wake up afraid I'm back there.

From the sounds of your ptsd, I think some of the problems you're having are because you weren't 'allowed' to have anything wrong with you - eg doctors. In my experience, this makes it far worse, because if you're not allowed to have anything wrong with you, there's no problem to deal with - which makes us avoid it completely.
It was in my opinion, at best, highly irresponsible of your doctor to say you have to soldier on. I've soldiered on, its not a very good or healthy way to live, because it's not life, it's just existing.
Hopefully you're on the rocky, but healthy(!) road to tackling ptsd :)
 
C

cotswoldhedges

Active member
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
37
Location
Houston Tx, USA
Hey Matt,

I can relate to your situation. I have PTSD too, mainly because of what I witnessed whilst on a posting.

It ain't no fun is it. It's just a relief that at last the PTB admit that PTSD does exist, in whatever form it's likely to affect the individual.

It kiiled off my career too!

And it's in the process of killing off any relationship I have with my partner.

You don't have to be isolated man, theres thousands of us out here.
I found the "combat stress" course helpful too, if only in helping me deal with the direct symptoms, and I gotta admit, life has been easier since I've been able to recognise them as and when they occur. But it didn't help with the flashbacks, the insomnia, or the daily "fight or flee" relfex.

When I gotten home, they shoved me in a hospital with civilians initially. yeah try telling a rebellious kid of the horrors we witnessed, and it's enough to make their hair stand up on end! I got the feeling " no-one understands me", which was right, they didn't, but while I was there another soldier came in, and we struck up a friendship, and I reckon we actually helped each other more than the medics could, simply because we knew where each of us was coming from.

I know I'm gonna suffer from the after effects probably for the rest of.
But I like to think I've gotten a handle on it now, and am starting out in civvy street - I gotta get on with my life, ( I ain't a sit around all day, feeling sorry for myself kind of guy).

Yeah it's hard. Soldiering is all I know. I was groomed for the Marines in High School. 15 years down the line, and I still consider myself a soldier. Even though I'm not -- anymore, because of the PTSD.

Here for ya Man.
 
J

jornacam

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Messages
20
Location
N.E. Scotland
from the other side of the coin..

HI, i was a 'wife of' im sure you understand. The change in my husband was at first very subtle, something not quite right, within the year hed hit the bottle to help blot out the images. Hence the divorce, not due to the drink but the violence that followed the drink. He was still serving and trying to cover up and cope as everyone thought that if you fessed up to being looney your career was over. Guess what, hes still there now, done 20 yrs now, but it did cost him dearly before he gave in and got the psyc treatment. We are still friends and he does see the kids but they are weary still. Promt treatment can help so much, i just wish it were compulsary for everyone coming back from conflict zones. I wish they had proper service psyc teams that can understand, they seem good at mending broken bodies but seem to forget the broken minds.
 
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