Focusing on PTSD makes it worse for me

I find that I've evolved quite significantly in how I approach my disease. I have complex PTSD from profound, repeated childhood abuse and trauma (physical and emotional) and suffered PTSD symptoms from age 8 on. Brought to my knees 7 years ago (at age 44) after a traumatic rock climbing fall put me on a path of horrific insomnia and huge anxiety related issues that overwhelmed me, I found help in the law enforcement and military world for my PTSD. What I learned there helped me tremendously. Here is what I do now to manage and care for myself:

1. I use the Sedona Release Technique to release emotions that get "stuck" inside of me. Often I'm actually resisting how I feel as it seems so dangerous that I fight it but the Sedona Method unties all those knots and allows me to accept and release any feelings - positive or negative. Fyi, positive feelings can be just as difficult for me so releasing them is fantastic too.

2. The LE/Military world talks about things like resilience, compartmentalization, pragmatic optimism and specific techniques to revisualize and reframe traumas. I did this mostly without a therapist after being diagnosed, (but have had 15 years of therapy before that) and frankly, seeing myself as resilient and compartmentalizing difficult thoughts and feelings has been huge for me. Knowing that being practical and optimistic and resilient is a great way for me to handle my life is huge. I constantly adopt this POV and it helps tremendously. Revisualizing is nothing short of miraculous for rewiring my brain about these events.

What doesn't help? Pathologizing myself and every feeling I have and every thing I do. Obsessing on PTSD and seeing it everywhere in my life and constantly analyzing myself. Now it's true that in the early phases, after diagnosis, you have to dive deeply into it and yourself, but once I learned these techniques and ideas, I think less and less of myself as having a disease or being impaired by PTSD. In fact, seeing myself as not sick, but just the way I am is quite affirming and healthy for me. In other words, the more i focus on stress relieving tools, and the other things I mentioned here and the less I think about PTSD, the better I am.

I came here initially because I felt maybe it would help, but instead I find that most here seem to be fetishizing their PTSD and making a lifestyle of it or something. You folks are welcome to do so, but that is not the pathway to a better and happier life from my point of view. Doing the work and transcending PTSD in real ways is the pathway. And seeing every single thing as PTSD is the opposite of what is good for you. I also really doubt many here actually have PTSD.

I know, many of you won't like hearing this from me. I don't care. I'm writing it for the people out there who come here and scratch their heads saying. WTF to some of the comments and posts. To those people I say, remember, almost none of the participants here are professionals and what they have to say about PTSD in many ways is nonsense they've made up in their heads. Even more to the point, many here also have self-diagnosed. If you think you have PTSD, go see a professional who treats it and get diagnosed before running around here claiming every bad thing that ever happened to you gave you PTSD or is caused by PTSD.

Just sayin'...

18 Replies

  • It's weird because of all the places I've been before online-PTSD-related this is the most opposite to what you're saying. I get what you mean in general though. And actually think the points you make are fairly in line with the attitude of this forum, rather than distinct. Michele's approach is exactly about just that - focusing well beyond the diagnosis and wrapping ourselves up in impairment and negativity. A little twist of positivity in your post would transform it into a beneficial 'share' of knowledge (that's not meant as an attack - we're all free to have an opinion).

  • ChilliDawg and McBrody have both made substantial points, Glennd1. I would add the following:

    1. PTSD does become a lifestyle until healing is achieved; a nationally televised psychiatrist actually made that comment after interviewing me about my personal survivor story for her book. Healing becomes a lifestyle, too, but that happens at different times for each of us. In this forum we suspend judgments; it's a place where everyone can feel safe to be themselves and live their truth as it evolves.

    2. This forum is also a place for discovery, exploration, research, education, support and connection. Those things can only happen in a compassionate, open-minded environment that lacks derision, belittling and disrespect. Certainly, everyone is encouraged to have a personal opinion, but we request that it is put forward without subjectively criticizing others. We all only know ourselves and so can only accurately comment on our own experiences.

    3. Many people don't have the funds or the access to mental health professionals so they lack an official diagnosis. Still, their trauma and symptoms are real and so they belong here. Anyone who lacks a stamped diagnosis but self-identifies and finds support and a path to healing by being here is an integral and welcome member of this group.

    I think the title of your post may be the most salient point: You have developed a different mindset and that's fantastic for your personal progress; at the same time it sounds like it renders this forum less useful to you. If focusing on PTSD makes it worse for you then clearly this is the wrong place for you to be. To that end, please feel free to remove yourself from the forum. You deserve to find a community that will more serve your focus.

  • Yep, Glend1, we are not for you. Thanks for telling us. Solution: you don't have to post anything :)

  • I don't believe this is the support forum for you, GlennD1. I wish you well on your healing journey. :)

  • I would just like to make a comment on this with all respect;

    I DO find what the writer wrote useful and it appears to be intended to help although rather "strong" in the attitude but this is probably what this poster has had to adopt and found works. I do "get it"; I see it like this poster could be mainly talking about the way THEY have found works to deal with it and they have to be strong with themselves in order to achieve this so it can possibly come across as "too strong" or critical for some ? (but the poster is sort of "taking him/herself in hand" because they have had to and it has worked for them. I feel that it is a very valid point and the post has helped me (though I have said before it could be argued I don't have full symptoms of PTSD and yet I relate a lot to this forum)

    This is just my opinion and only based on my own reaction to it; I agree with Michelle too that everyone is at a different step of the journey but I did not find this post disrepectful; sometimes for example i feel that giving myself (or should I say my negativity) "a kick up the backside" can be the right thing to do. It is the "fight" talking but in my opinion nothing wrong with that and right now I see fighting against negativity as a really good thing; though there are times when possibly what this person wrote could have irritated me or felt "out of touch" with how I was feeling depending on how I was feeling at the time.

    Those are my feelings on it for what they are worth and genuinely no disrepect intended to anyone . I did find another poster recently very ungenuine and obsessed but I did not have these feelings about this post and i feel atuned to it and feel it was said with the best intentions; that is my intrinsic response to it though I could be wrong as there has only been that one comment made and I do not know this person obviously.

    Gemma X

  • Gemma, you are always right about your feelings, zero need to qualify it. That's exactly what a healthy forum is designed to allow: everyone's respectful opinion. :)

  • I agree to some extent, Gemma X, when the person was talking about what works for them. I'm fine with that type of sharing.

    The person made a subtle shift and began talking about the group, and labeling the members - "most here seem to be fetishizing their PTSD." That is no longer about their experience. In my opinion the statement ceased to be helpful and became just belittling and derogatory.

    That doesn't promote a supportive environment for the group. :)

  • I think he may have forgotten how fragile people are at the beginning of this journey. His words could really sting someone who is just beginning to learn about PTSD :(

  • Agree, Equis-Canine there's potential to really sting someone just exploring PTSD. I think what is telling is "...won't like hearing this from me. I don't care." That attitude of not caring about the feelings of others is a concern.

  • Wow, that hurt, is that why he posted such a negative post? To hurt others? It worked!

  • I hear you Whirlwind. Yes, this hurt, and was really negative. I agree with you, and don't understand why someone would do this. If you don't like what's going on with the forum, just leave.

  • My experience is that my emotional health journey has gone through its fits and starts. Every time I think "I figured it out", I find a life event triggers my PTSD. I sometimes have long stretches of healthy, happy living. During those times, I do not need a forum like this to help me as much. Then there are those times that I run into a emotional brick wall that I do not seem to be able to climb over by myself. Then I turn to places like this to help me do some climbing. I find it very helpful to read that other people are in all types of different situations and hearing about how they over came their difficulties. It does not really matter to me if the person on this forum has been diagnosed accurately with PTSD or not. All that matters to me is that the person is doing their best to improve their situation is some way. Some suggestions do not work for me but worked for them. I find nothing wrong with that. There are plenty of people out there doing nothing about their difficulties in life. They are just sitting around making life miserable for everyone around them and themselves. I choose to communicate with people who are searching for improvement. Everyone are at different stages of this journey but most of the stuff that I read here have the essence of searching for improvement. I applaud the people who are doing this. I want to hear from those people.

  • I can share that a big reason for my PTSD is a result of critical judgmental people. The type of person that might say they don't care. It seems to be the uncaring hurtfulness that gave me PTSD ! I understand what was shared not to "obsess" on PTSD, but it is a fact of my life. It is an illness, a state of mind? Who knows all I know is that I was "well" and now I am not and that is "my" PTSD".

  • When I read this post I agree there were some great points but the negative masked the good. It seemed really mean and careless to write something like this on a P.T.S.D support group. I was not going to respond because I felt insulted for everyone who is suffering and had to read that but I guess it's better to speak out. I think this person needs to find a new support group.

  • Well said, Capejoy. The negative masked the good. I'm glad you spoke out! It almost feels like an intention to hurt, rather than to help.

  • I did that compartmentalizing stuff for 27 years as I suffered through those years....

    Compartmentalizing means that you put something in a container.....but if you never take that object out of that container. But because what we are compartmentalizing are emotions and feelings - it sits there in that box going unaddressed as it festers. Before you know it everything in that box just explodes - and when it does - you wont understand what is happening and you wont have any control over it before it's too late and causes consequences such as losing a job.

    Looking back it was ok to compartmentalize but my mistake - I completely ignored some of those containers.

  • I know many people who once they recover from any emotional or mental illness try to forget about the pain of their past and forget where they used to be. And so denounce their old selves by pushing the memories away. And then they project their 'new" Beliefs and feelings onto others. Kind of like a child throwing away their doll and getting mad because they are grown up now. Then calling the other children their age immature. I am still on my journey to healing and I hope to heal someday but never forget where I came from. We need time patience understanding compassion and unconditional love.

  • Hi everybody - it has been awhile. Been struggling but I came online this morning, read this person's post and all of your very generous and thoughtful comments. Truly this is not the place to belittle others. Many of us suffered emotional abuse in just such a fashion. I know I have. This reminds me of the few times I went to Depression support group meetings. That had been my diagnosis - as I have told you guys. Well when I am nervous meeting new people I tend to talk a lot. Overcompensating for fear? Well I was told on two separate occasions that I did NOT have unipolar Depression! "Are you sure you aren't bipolar? This is not the right group for you."

    Can you imagine? Someone making a blanket statement like that? Well that in my opinion is what this man just did when he said "some of these people don't even have PTSD."

    Tolerance and acceptance is what support groups AND forums like this are all about. And anyone who has walked through fire should remember how it felt to be burned.

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