Mental health

Ugly Truth 46: June is PTSD Awareness Month!

“The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.”

-Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror


The Facts:

*PTSD is not just Veterans of War
*Rape Victims Have a 49% Chance of Developing PTSD
*7-8% of the U.S. Population Will Have PTSD at Some Point
*Women are Twice as Likely to Develop PTSD
*Symptoms can Take Months or Years to Develop

*Individuals with PTSD are 2-4 Times More Likely to Develop a Substance Use Disorder
*78% of Those with a Diagnosis Experience Depression in Their Lifetime
*People who Suffer From PTSD are More Likely to Commit Suicide
*1/3 of Veterans with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Also Meet Criteria for PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after a very stressful, frightening or distressing event, or after a prolonged traumatic experience.

Events That Can Lead to PTSD Include:

*serious accidents *physical or sexual assault

*abuse, including childhood or domestic abuse *exposure to traumatic events at work, including remote exposure

*serious health problems, such as being admitted to intensive care *childbirth experiences, such as losing a baby

*war and conflict *medical trauma

*civil unrest *pandemics

PTSD develops in about 1 in 3 people who experience severe trauma. It’s not fully understood why some people develop the condition while others do not. While treatment is available, some symptoms may never diminish.

Symptoms Include:

physical pain

nightmares or flashbacks

depression or anxiety

withdrawl or avoidance

repression

emotional numbing

insomnia

hyperarousal

irritability

guilt or shame

Discuss: Does PTSD impact your life in some way? Share your experience in the comments below.

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

Mental health

Trauma Confession Series: The Letter

“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”
Michael J. FoxDear Readers, In my previous post Trauma Confession Series: Confronting Abuse, we discussed the importance of taking back power and the tough-love approach as an abuse survivor. As promised, I took the time to pen a few words of harsh truth for my perpetrators. I have yet to decide when I will actually send it, and will likely alter it a bit more. I place value in the short and simple, assuming these type of people seldom find the time to read – or genuinely give a shit about what I have to say. So I will not pour my heart into it, for it would only be a gift wasted. Instead, I choose facts. For those of you who have followed along these past few weeks, asked questions, or contacted me as a result of my work – I want to express my most heartfelt gratitude. You’ve offered a warm response to the most honest series I’ve ever written. I remain humbled, aware and empowered by it. The Letter
I want you to know that I am healing from trauma as a direct result of the things you did to me as a child. The next step is confrontation and resolution. So I have decided to tell you, and the world, in words. I want you to know that you hurt me. I want you to know that you objectified a child. I want you to know that I haven’t forgotten. I want you to know it caused a decade of self loathing and poor choices resulting in near death experiences. I want you to know that I know that I am not the only one. I want you to know your behavior is unacceptable, and does not go unnoticed. I want you to know that your selfishness cost me 15 years of therapy, multiple hospital stays, and psychotropic medication. I want you to know your lack of acknowledgment hurts more than the abuse. But also – I want you to know I’ve put the work in, and you can’t hurt me anymore. I want you to know that you should keep your hands to yourself. I want you to know I seek to forgive you, but it hasn’t happened yet. I want you to know I found strength in suffering. I want you to know I found restoration in self love. I want you to know I found solace in self care. I want you to know that I chose to break the cycle with my children. I want you to know that you will suffer isolation as a consequence, and these words as a reminder. For additional reading on confrontation and boundaries when recovering from trauma visit Confronting an Emotional Abuser, Psychology Today Other posts in the Trauma Confession Series in order of appearance: Overcoming Avoidance (my story) Love After Abuse (my relationship) Mourning (my grief) When Trauma Work Wakes Other Sleeping Monsters (my diagnoses) Confronting Abuse (my decision) **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!
Mental health

Trauma Confession Series: Confronting Abuse

One person may really feel that getting justice, coming out, and not hiding is necessary and a part of their healing. Some feel that exposing the perpetrator is helpful, whereas others feel quite the opposite.” Rachel Elliot, Thrive Therapy & Counseling Dear Readers, Welcome back! It appears this Trauma Confession Series is reaching many of you in need. I want you to know that I am eternally grateful to have my hand held in this corridor through the loving words, affirmations, and encouragement of so many of you. Thank you, Readers. As indicated in the above quote, choosing disclosure versus non-disclosure when faced with abuse of any kind is an extremely personal and consequential decision. Many resources encourage you to write a pros and cons list before making a decision since each individual’s suffering is relative to their own set of circumstances and support systems. For me, I believe it is paramount that I not only name my abusers publicly, but that I also inform them of the memories, the cost, and the aftermath of the abuse. Confrontation is not only about awareness, but taking back the power. This is significant because many instances of abuse, especially sexual assault, hinge on this shifting control dynamic. Now that I’ve decided to expose my story, how will I go about it? Why must I go about it? The How There are many ways to confront another human being in their wrongdoing. You may choose to write a letter, engage in a verbal conversation, speak over the phone, or record a video. In my opinion, the method is not as important as the execution. Some might openly disagree with me and say that the last thing a monster deserves is tactful communication and grace. However, I believe this is important for two reasons. One, it allows you to lead by example in terms of how one should carry their anguish when engaging others. Second, this display of character, regardless of how it is received, allows you to show your abuser just how much you’ve gained back despite being derailed by inexplicably horrific circumstances. Processed grief is highly sophisticated, and generally more impactful than flailing with open wounds. Therefore, it is important to allow yourself due process so you can execute confrontation from a position of strength, rather than victimization. That said, I think writing letters will suit me best. It will provide the pause necessary to say exactly what I intend to in a way that is highly personal. The Why Some survivors of abuse may deeply struggle with the notion of confrontation, ultimately choosing not to. That’s fine for them, but not for me. In general, I am a highly passive introverted individual so confrontation is always to be circumvented. However, this is an exception since abuse is a violation of self, predators thrive on avoidance, and wholeness will always supersede public opinion. Additionally, I know for a fact that in at least one of these cases, my perpetrator favored other young girls as well. This tells me that I am not the only one, and swells in me a rage there are no words for. While I will never be responsible for the choices of others, I am obligated to speak openly about it due to the very nature of my being, and my passion for crisis prevention. Ultimately, my theory is that this encounter will bring my trauma full circle so I can very simply, let it go. Finally, if you take nothing else from this post then take this: When navigating the waters of abuse confrontation, you do not have the luxury of expectation. Let me say that again. You do not have the luxury of expectation. Many people often hope highly of their interactions with others when faced with serious subject matter. These false aspirations may drip with fantasy dialogue, or the response you needed as a child but never received, or silver-tongued apologies. Not only is this rare and unrealistic, you may even find yourself faced with blatant denial, social consequences, or additional abuse. You may receive nothing at all, and you have to prepare for that. So, you must articulate what you want to say with tact, understand how and why this will take place, and drop all glittery wet dreams of reconciliation or remorse. Next week, the final chapter of this series will be published in two parts. I will feature the confrontation letters, and coach you through the resolution so that we may finally be free from our childhood nightmares. **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!
Mental health

Trauma Confession Series: When Trauma Work Wakes Other Sleeping Monsters

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.”
Roald DahlDear Readers, Today I hope to dispel some myths and promote understanding. Yesterday we discussed acknowledging, allowing, and accepting our grieving process after childhood trauma in Trauma Confession Series: Mourning. Well, no sooner than I mentioned the possibility of comorbid mental health conditions resurfacing did I experience psychosis in combination with the tag-a-long depression that follows. So, let’s talk more about what that means and (perhaps more importantly) what that doesn’t mean for me. Do keep in mind psychosis is always relative to the individual, and varies greatly among the population. It started yesterday while walking down a warm sidewalk at 4pm. Suddenly, I noticed peripheral shadows and distinguishable sounds along the wooded pathway. This included walking feet and whispering voices following me along the fence line. Then the thought hallucinations, commonly referred to as delusions, surfaced with the conviction that I was being followed, and certain harm would come to me. Fortunately, this is the only delusion I experience and it consists solely of other people’s intentions toward me. I have never felt grandiosity or that I was a deity. I have never had false visions despite evidence to the contrary. However, it is worth noting that these things are progressively degenerative. I believe my episodes of psychosis are linked to Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder) and trauma (PTSD), and are not to be confused with Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder. After about an hour of this, I rode home in a moving vehicle still distracted, but virtually free from fear. In general, I can tell the difference between what’s real and what isn’t, but not always. Upon arriving home, I felt strange but mostly okay. This is what a textbook would describe as depersonalization, a sensation of being outside one’s self or that nothing is real. I sat out on my patio in some attempt to release the day (grounding technique) when I caught myself within the flickers of flashbacks and racing internal dialogue. This feels like time travel in a gag reel. The sensation of flashbacks following hallucinations is intense, and I physically shook my head in attempt to keep myself grounded in the here and now. That’s when the person I  lived with noticed I wasn’t quite right, and offered to help in anyway he could. I thanked him, and sat this way a few minutes longer. When relief didn’t come I decided to take a bath. One thing I have learned over the years is that even when my wires cross, I can usually tolerate it if I stay calm and stop talking. This often includes isolating myself so I can better distinguish my surroundings, and not become overstimulated or agitated. Coping with mental illness has everything to do with self-awareness and requires practice. In the bathtub I remained in a state of detached rumination, fighting the good fight – but I was tiring quickly. I realized then that I needed a distraction while waiting for my brain chemistry to correct itself. I logged into one of my online support groups where thousands of people exist who are just like me. After posting what I was experiencing, I received nothing short of an outpouring of love and support within seconds. Remember, distraction and the knowledge that you are not alone is invaluable while tumbling like Alice down the rabbit hole. Within two hours the fog lifted. Although I am less familiar with articulating the post-psychosis depression that followed, I am proud to say I navigated this episode unassisted by medication. I say that to say this: Even though Bipolar symptoms are more chemical than environmental, this is an opportunity to understand the relationship between trauma work and triggers that can flip a seemingly unrelated switch when living with multiple mental health conditions. The truth is, they are related and rarely travel alone. Many people with mental illness can not digest stress properly. Processing pain is extremely distressing, so it is not uncommon to find yourself suddenly faced with new mountains while seeking self-development. While hallucinations are a facet of my Bipolar Disorder diagnosis, they are also almost always linked to past abuse or abandonment and/or tied to a future fear of harm. This distrust for humans is a natural response to an unnatural childhood. The manifestation of my mental illness is simply the product of a mind unable to properly place the context of this logic. Likewise, psychosis is one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized topics in mental health. Here are eight more myth busting truths for you: Yes, I am mostly cognizant in-between breaks with reality. No, I am not alone. 100,000 young people experience psychosis each year. Yes, we are your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. No, I am not at risk to harm others when this happens. Those with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violent crime than they are to be perpetrators. Yes, loved ones can help by picking up on red flags and assisting in a predetermined action plan. No, I am not embarrassed. Education and proclamation has afforded me the opportunity to rid myself of shame. Stay tuned for the next phase of this Trauma Confession Series: Confrontation. **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!