Does knowledge help you to recover?

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.

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23 thoughts on “Does knowledge help you to recover?

    1. Cat Post author

      I mean, what people do to help them live with/recover from their own particular diagnosis…medical knowledge…AA/NA.. I hope that clarifies..

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      1. shoe1000

        Cat,
        When I am somewhat ‘centered,’ I stay connected. It can be friends, AA, friends, healthy practices, etc. This dis-ease for me is about whether I live in the stigma or laugh at it.
        Love
        Jim

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        1. Cat Post author

          Can I ask, Jim… when you’re not feeling ‘centred’, are you still able to tap into those coping resources or does it sometime feel like you’ve learned little? Many thanks for your comment.

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          1. shoe1000

            Cat,
            When the stigma/shame takes over, I am fucked. Right now I am catatonic this morning as I am stirring up some old wounds that are setting my “if I dont move, I cant get hurt,” defense into action. I was just texting with the Fanatic this very thing as a topic of dicussion. One of the most important thing a friend of mine, he is called the leprechaun on here because we are all anonymous on our blog, was to honor my resistance. It was telling me something. Now I am trying to learn to talk with it and let it know that today is not then and they are not going to hurt me again. Keep doing what you are doing my friend. You are still here!
            Jim

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  1. Gel

    Hi Cat,
    I can relate to all you are saying here. I think knowledge helps if it’s ‘part’ of my inquiry but not to rely only on knowledge. I can remember other stuff you’ve written here about questioning diagnosis and labels for mental illness (a part of knowledge seeking).

    I think that having a drive to understand and help ourselves, and therefore seeking knowledge, is a healthy drive. It’s a part of self care. But the knowledge by itself is not necessarily the answer. It can also be an impediment if we give too much power to outside authorities, those from whom we seek knowledge. I think we have to combine knowledge with intuition, experience, and probably a bunch of other stuff.

    I have found it really helpful to get a ‘diagnosis’ for somethings that are difficult for me. The main help is that it gives me words to use to communicate about what is going on. And it helps to feel less weird and alone to know that what I’m experiencing is understood by others and even identified, and that others are working on ways to heal these things. But it has never helped me to stop there, at those labels or with what the medical professions says to do.
    .
    I have found it to be a double edged sword. There are also a lot of different interpretations of terms and labels and what to do with this knowledge. For example being diagnosed with Major Depression for some would lead to taking medications which for me has not helped at all. Or (for me) having a diagnosed eating disorder means that I should get help through going to a treatment program or O.A. I’ve tried both and neither of these has helped me much. But they have added to my knowledge and understanding.

    I have to go further than accumulating knowledge or diagnosis’s. And that ‘further’ has been inner originating, it has been spiritual, it has been being willing to listen to the cutting edges of my soul, it’s been creative and it’s been shamanic…..It has been about considering my ‘illnesses’ as having some kind of wisdom that it’s my job to grapple with. I don’t mean to romanticize mental illnesses, but our medical system pathologizes many things that I question. So I think acquiring knowledge has to be more than gathering someone else’s information or paradigm.
    Blessings to you. It’s good to hear from you.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Gel

      Yes, I probably have questioned diagnoses in the past and have sometimes struggled with understanding other people’s interpretation of them. The beauty of having independent thought is striving to understand what it means to US rather than learning what we SHOULD be feeling.

      “I think knowledge helps if it’s ‘part’ of my inquiry but not to rely only on knowledge”
      and
      “I have found it really helpful to get a ‘diagnosis’ for somethings that are difficult for me. The main help is that it gives me words to use to communicate about what is going on”

      … sound very wise and sits well with my own thoughts. I have always admired how you indeed seek balance in your life and will absorb your comment completely.

      I am rather strong minded and set in my ways and have always had barriers up against any medical authority dictating what MY treatment should be or when/where it should take place. I seldom trust their knowledge on MH medications because I belief that information is largely based on what the pharmaceutical companies want them to hear. I would like to see how they would cope trying to come off the very same drugs they claim are not addictive.

      Thank you for your wise and very kind thoughts

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  2. panikikubik

    Hi Cat. You know my opinion. I go for the EMDR. Then you can use it toghether with medicin or traditional therapy talking. But livin with mental illness or problems for years creats wounds in all soul. Because it doens’t matter what diagnos you have. The impact of your life quality is devastating in the long run and after 10 -25 years..it’s easy to get depressed and overwhelmed by the fact that the problems have “stolen” ltime and possibilities from you. You need to allow yourself to mourn for that. And it affects your self esteem. Here is EMDr such a big help. It helps you to get a more balanced view of your past, so that you get that little rope of hope and one day really wants to move formward with joy and pride.

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    1. Cat Post author

      This statement you made, “The impact of your life quality is devastating in the long run and after 10 -25 years..it’s easy to get depressed and overwhelmed by the fact that the problems have “stolen” ltime and possibilities from you”… I feel like you were reading my mind. Regret for the past….the opportunities missed or wasted…. is a big one for me lately. Thinking in terms of “you need to allow yourself to mourn that” does make a lot of sense and is something I will ponder in the days to come.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, they are very helpful

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  3. safirefalcon

    I do a lot of reading too. I also like the YouTube videos by SpartanLifeCoach. Not selling him here, I just like what he has to say. He talks a lot about narcissism, C-PTSD and borderline.

    I first heard about emotional flashbacks from him actually and then read some posts on the blog you reference, after. It’s all helpful and can be comforting that others experience the same kind of stuff, even though at the same time I don’t wish it on anyone.

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    1. Cat Post author

      It can help to hear how some others cope with their MH. I will make a point of checking out the Spartan life coach video’s.

      Many thanks for your comment

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  4. Eric Tonningsen

    Cat, while I do not have a MH diagnosis, I can confidently share with you that of all the knowledge that is available to us (and to which we avail ourselves), the most significant in terms of wellness, inspiration, hope and opportunities is self-knowledge. We we learn more about ourselves we grow more comfortable with who we are — and the external world, with all of its stimulus, becomes secondary. Be and stay well, friend.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I probably approached my own MH by looking within first. I’m sure the additional knowledge will contribute towards being in a better place. Thanks Eric, your support is always appreciated

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  5. RisingSong

    I find that I do better when my therapist explains to me (in technical/medical terms or otherwise) why I may act or behave a certain way, or when he gives names to these behaviors. That said, I rarely do any kind of mental health or psychological research on my own. I am afraid that I may get lost in all the information and fall deeper into whatever I am experiencing…with a couple of exceptions.

    When I first approached my therapist about my self-harm, I read several books on the subject. It was the first time I realized that there were other people doing what I was doing. There was a name for it, a treatment for it, and I was not alone.

    I also did extensive research on EMDR before I began the therapy. Because it is such an intense process, I wanted to know every detail of the procedure before I embarked on that journey.

    I think we all have our levels of how much information we can tolerate on our own. I imagine you will find your own balance. Thank you for this very engaging post 🙂

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    1. Cat Post author

      I was only just thinking that I should maybe ask the professionals for their opinion more often.
      I’m not so worried about being drawn in by all the MH info, but I do wonder how i’ll manage to retain it.

      Thanks for commenting, always nice to hear from you

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  6. karenbethc

    HI CAT … I sure miss seeing you around over at my blog … I just read and caught up on some of your writing … I have the day off today and blog hopping and connecting 🙂 glad I stopped by .. I hope your doing well …

    Karen

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    1. Cat Post author

      Lovely to hear from you Karen. Sorry I have missed your posts, I’ve been so caught up with this and that. However, I will pop over…. I remember your excellent “5 minute Friday” posts…and your grace!

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      1. karenbethc

        Hi! it’s okay cat, I understand that you have been caught up with things.. I myself get in that place too, but I just wanted to check in on you and make sure all was okay 🙂 I still adore your blog and you … thank you 🙂

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  7. Priceless Joy

    I am not exactly sure what my diagnosis is rather than just severe depression. But..severe depression can lead to paranoia, psychosis, PTSD… When you referred to MH I am not sure what you are referring to?

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