Over the years, I have only read one or two pieces of information on PTSD. I came across a website http://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/ that made me wonder why I’ve never gone in search of more knowledge. Maybe I didn’t imagine that it would necessarily lead me towards healing or, at least, assist with the most troublesome symptoms.
I have a multiple MH diagnosis. For thirteen years, I put a huge emphasis on the importance of being accurately diagnosed. It made more sense to know exactly what I was trying to recover from/live with. Once that goal was finally achieved, I seem to have taken an unexpected turn.
I barely even looked at the extensive info on depression and held an attitude of, ‘what more can they tell me..’. I did graze around websites about BPD and quickly understood how my own life is challenged by many of those symptoms. However, once again, my arrogance won over, ‘what more can they tell me…’
Despite enduring the associated traumatic experiences, I did quietly doubt the PTSD diagnosis. I seem to have completely misunderstood the symptoms, particularly in relation to flashbacks, and was unaware of hyper vigilance.
I’m not quite sure why I’ve never experienced visual flashbacks. There are times when I will become consumed by a memory, but can usually snap out of it. The emotional turmoil they leave behind can stay indefinitely. I actually thought full-blown visuals were a prerequisite of PTSD. My ignorance created doubt and I do wonder why I never once thought to check it out.
I have learned about ‘emotional flashbacks’ from the above website. I can face these on an almost daily basis, but have always interpreted them as stroppy mood swings. To realise they might also be contributed to PTSD, feels somewhat enlightening.
Similarly, the term ‘Hyper vigilance’ is new on me. This is what I formerly knew as paranoia, albeit to the extreme. It has been an ingrained feature in my life since as far back as I remember, almost like a second nature, something that is a part of me, without fully understanding why.
Paranoia has had a negative impact on every aspect of life. While illegal drug use (many years ago) is a contributory factor, violence and verbal abuse, both within and outside the home, have created this heightened awareness for the intentions of other people. There are times when it has also attracted the wrong type of person.
Life seemed easier to withdraw and completely isolate. It simply got out of hand. I didn’t intend on spending most of the days alone, safe from harm’s way. The big outside world feels a very scary place.
Adopting a medical point of view is very much an individual choice. The internet provides copious amounts of information. I imagine there’s potential of becoming expert in our own diagnoses.
I would be very interested to hear how other people manage their own diagnosis.