PTSD
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24-02-2018, 02:24 AM (This post was last modified: 24-02-2018 02:45 AM by LadyJane.)
PTSD

There is no tl;dr version, sorry. It's just me, airing my dirty laundry out on the WWW. Shy



I don't post here often anymore so I may seem unfamiliar to a few of you. When I used to share more stuff it was awhile ago, so even seasoned forum members might not remember how what little of my personal life I did share used to be.

I have always been the helper. I have a counselling degree. I've always cherished my relationships so much. I will see the good in people no matter how rough it gets. Not perfectly of course, but I have an interest in truly understanding and trying to solve problems or alleviate pain and suffering. I have great skills under my belt and a healthy amount of knowledge (I feel). So for me to be in a vulnerable position is humbling and confusing. But here I am, and this is hard to put here and I'm trying to be brave.

A few years ago my marriage ended suddenly. My ex had come home after a dentist appointment to disclose several things. Just before he walked in the door I remember feeling so content in life. We had ups and downs (he has bipolar and has since run into other mental health diagnosis). I remember reflecting how in the last few weeks we seemed to be in such a good place. Our goals were coming together, our two daughters were healthy and happy and things were good. We had, what I felt, was a close relationship. We always laughed, hung out all the time on his days off from work, talked about all kinds of things.

He came in and asked to sit down and talk. We went on to the sunny porch. He disclosed he wanted to leave the marriage. I was floored. I thought maybe he was starting a BPD episode. We went to the Dr, but it had nothing to do with mental health at the time. Then I found out some more of the bigger picture. During our years together, he had been unfaithful. Not once, not a few times. He had done this with coworkers, with acquaintances of ours, with girls off craigslist in between dropping our daughter off at school and grabbing morning coffee for me. For years. Online, off line. While I was pregnant with our second daughter. While I went on a trip with my sister for a small vacation. When I thought he was depressed I would make sure to make things easy. Cook food, have a nice home, take care of finances, etc. I later found out this was a way for him to be distant to carry out his infidelity plans. I am only capturing here a small less detailed picture of what happened in this time. There are so many many other lies and double life I found out.

Luckily for me I did not catch anything from his risky behaviour. It was so scary waiting out results. When that was done I took a bit of time to mourn a person that never truly existed and come to terms that this monster was in my life. That's what he became. He left my girls and I and we were on our own. This was a very strengthening time in my life. I know how tough I can be when I have to think fast on my feet and pull things together. Those girls probably saved my life and gave me the push, too.

Within the years to come I have been happy. I met a wonderful man who has been the best. He is kind, patient, supporting, has amazing integrity, respectful and loving. He is close with his family. He has a history of being a good person. Our views and values are aligned nicely. Also, I really school-girl crush like him. We got married last year. We are planning to have a bigger family, and I am carrying, I am 5 months along. We have a beautiful home in the country and we do all kinds of fun things together and as a family (I have a stepson now too).

So, all good. And many days and times I am sooo happy. I realize, in the end, this actually turned out to be the way better version of anything I even hoped for a long time ago.

So this is the part that I am having a hard time with.

About the time we married I started to get, what I now know as, some triggers. I was confused at first. I thought maybe I was jealous, which is not what I've been before, I've never been particularly like this. Little things would make me questions everything. An old photo, a comment, etc. Or taking a bit longer at the grocery store. The fact that I'm pregnant, maybe I can't be enough at this time. Feeling content is a Fing trigger, that's messed.

I never knew what hypervigilance really was (defined as "an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect activity. Hypervigilance may bring about a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion.") My doctor explained that this is what I am experiencing, not jealousy (which is linked more to compulsive behaviour). I am always, always looking for clues. I am exhausted. I started to get nightmares, vivid and very real. I'd be in an awful mood with nightmares or triggers for hours and sometimes days. During this time I will collect clues or evidence that something is happening that I don't see. I try to hide how I am feeling because I have been embarrassed that I am so Fed up in my mind, but also because in the past when I would disclose what was going on when things don't add up in my mind my ex would use that to figure me out and he became a better lier as the years passed. I am now terrified to be duped and deceived again.

Some days I look up rental houses by my daughters school so I can have a plan B and feel safe and in control. I work out all the math of being financial stable on my own as a single mom again and what my daily routine would be so I can manage it all because I am terrified of finding out what my new perceived truth is again.

Often when my husband comes home, especially if he's been out of town for work or coming home from an appointment, I will go be busy instead of coming to the door to greet him. I'm terrified things will be different and he'll drop the truth bomb that things are over.

There are other more personal things I experience that I can't even write here involving flashbacks, vivid imagery that just won't get out of my mind. I often can't sleep. My dyslexia is on overdrive. I was supposed to go to a clients house and completely mixed the address up. I see prices wrong at grocery stores. Etc. A couple other things too embarrassing to write. I can't follow conversations, articles or TV shows, my concentration is not there at all sometimes. I come here to TTA and I can't focus on the text or follow the conversations (funny that I am now writing a wall of text).

I visited a clinical psychologist who works with other doctors. He is semi retired and does therapy now, I have been seeing him for years. He knows my history extensively. Prior to our recent visits I had not seen him since my divorce was fairly fresh, so a few years now. Back then we had worked on grieving. I suspected this but thought I was being dramatic, but with my new set of problems I have PTSD.

The doctor was so good at getting me in the right direction. It's only been a few weeks since beginning to help myself and I see improvement. He told me not to tell many people (hello internet! Ha ha. Don't worry, my plan is that if I get a bad response here then I can just never log back in- safe!) I haven't told anyone else in my personal life. I am not ready to share that just yet, what I am going through. Which is crazy, because I cannot begin to express how terribly isolated I feel right now, and alone.

Having said that, I did of course tell my husband as this is really directly affecting him personally more than anyone. He has always been concerned, and of course I haven't been myself. He is also, of course, amazing and supportive. He offered all his passwords to everything and the app that tracks where the phone is. I did not want this. I don't want to be that person, that's not the goal. I just want my life, and our life, back. I want to trust freely and live without any of that on my mind. I want to have openness in all my relationships, I want to work productively again, I want to think about amazing things and dream about travelling, take photos and paint again and all the beautiful life experiences that are within reach.

So I picked up the book"The Body Keeps the Score", by Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk who has amazingly dedicated his life work to treatment. I am to start taking yoga/meditation, I've done a small amount of hypnotherapy and practicing EMDR (so good! I can't believe how wonderful this simple trick is.). My days have been slightly better, the pressure of this debilitating mind set are a little less. I have more appointments booked. I am trying so hard to stay positive even though I know this will be a long, possibly life long, struggle. I try not to grieve too much the way I used to be, so free and unchained in my mind. I remember what thats like and in a bad moment it's pretty morbid feeling, it feels like I am experiencing a tragedy. It's difficult to explain.

I am too scared to share this with other people. A lot of people (I've been told) do not actually understand this experience, how it is a physical miss-wiring of the brain based on survival after a bad experience. Brains are trying to help, but they cause more stress than prevent. I'm worried someone would say the wrong thing and have me start down a negative path, which is not hard to do. Terrified to be in that place.

So I guess I am posting here to maybe feel a little less alone in this. This feels a little safer (not much) to put this all somewhere. Maybe someone can even relate or show me something encouraging that they, or someone they know, have been through after a bit of work. Maybe I can land in that nice sweet spot where things will be good. Because I can feel that often, even if fleeting. When I am sharing a sweet moment with others, or I feel like what is here is real and true with no secrets and nothing being held back. I know others have that, I know it exists. I want to feel it too. I want to be able to reach a little further and hold on. I am just trying to figure out how. How to stop the image and move on to the good stuff in the moment and in times to come. How to feel safe when I'm around people I love. To live a day without fear of terrible around the corner. How do I get there and live like that? Please share. Shy
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24-02-2018, 03:10 AM
RE: PTSD
Dirty laundry? You're just another person doing life. You and my sister could totally do a duet while I clap along. It's hard, but way possible, and you are wonderful. Hurl yourself into life and love, knowing that you can fly by yourself if you have to. Enjoy!
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24-02-2018, 03:30 AM
RE: PTSD
Ladyjane,

You’re an amazing person. PTSD sucks, it’s like you’re just walking around and you suddenly step on a land mine, your foot touches the ground and you heard the click.

Your so lucky that your man is trying to create an environment where you feel safe. That’s really a good thing. You’re not alone. You’ve got him, your girls and another on the way (congrats).

Pregnancy sends your hormones into overdrive, and given the details with your ex, I’m not at all surprised that you began looking for things that aren’t there. Fear is a powerful thing, but remember it also lies to you, it will make you tilt at windmills (I used to do that all the time).

Meditation helps, unplugging and practicing mindfulness can improve concentration. As time passes you begin to count more misses than hits and you mind will become more settled. It does get better.

You are loved Heart Hug


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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24-02-2018, 04:53 AM
RE: PTSD
I was also going to mention that pregnancy hormones have a way of magnifying things. But, I know you have to learn that this is not the same man as your first husband. I know you know that but you will have to get to the point where you really know that. That you are aware, in counseling, and taking steps to move forward are all good things.

I spent (and still to a certain degree) years 'paying' for the cheating my husband's first wife did. I turned myself inside out and walked on eggshells and gave up some things I love because of his reactions to things I had nothing to do with. He got better about it and I stopped being beaten up about Liz's behavior but there are years of doing things I will never get back. Not cheating...I loved to go out dancing and haven't in nearly 30 years...no, I won't get that back (that's just one example). He was stuck in the loop of suspicion and we should have gotten professional help to free us both. sigh

Try to remember that your husband isn't your ex. Move forward and don't let what happened in the past stand in the way of your future.

I know I said it before but congrats on the new little one.

See here they are, the bruises, some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. -JF
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24-02-2018, 04:54 AM
RE: PTSD
It sounds like you are smart and well-informed about all of this and doing everything you can already. Your lack of concentration may simply be exhaustion from hypervigilance.

You just need time.

I've lived through a few personal betrayals myself. The main thing is to spend more time with honest people.
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24-02-2018, 07:17 AM
RE: PTSD
The closest I can relate is when I went through menopause.

So I am thinking hormones. Pregnancy is also a hormone riddled time.

Maybe this is all your body and not so much your mind? That's what I had to keep telling myself. I would suddenly dive into very dark moods. There was no external reason at all, my husband was wonderful, my career booming. The dark moods came out of nowhere. They were strong, to the point of being disabling.

See if you can separate yourself from these moods and watch them like you were standing outside yourself and just an observer. You quickly see that there is no actual reason for the mood. When your hormonal household is wonky, you are wonky. It can just control you, your feelings and hence your thoughts.

I kept trying to stay aware that this was not me, it was the hormones in my body and the fact that I could not control them. This helped.

And one day I realized that I had normalized. As a matter of fact, I was a much calmer and balanced person. These dark moods never came back. Now, when I feel bad, there is a tangible reason.

Being pregnant, you are more focused on safety and security than ever, consciously or not. Being hormonally imbalanced, the slightest insecurity can set you off and send you into a spiral of emotions.

It's different from your previous pregnancies because you are older and not used to hormonal fluctuations anymore, and because you have had a traumatic experience involving safety for you and your kids.

You have a few more months of this ahead of you, that would be my guess. Whether you can rationally separate yourself from it or not, it's going to stop.

Just hang in there.... Heart

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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24-02-2018, 07:34 AM
RE: PTSD
Hug

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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24-02-2018, 07:57 AM
RE: PTSD
*hugs* I'm so sorry you are going through all of this. After everything you've been through with your ex, after all you've had to deal with, it's your body's natural response. All totally understandable. I can see myself feeling the same exact way (and reacting in the same exact way) if I was in that situation.

It sounds like you have a wonderful husband now and you are being very proactive in doing everything you can in getting yourself to where you can be happy and trusting again. You've been through so much and have now made a wonderful life for yourself and your girls. I think you have to give yourself a lot of credit for that.

If you ever want to talk or vent off the forum, feel free to pm me Smile
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24-02-2018, 08:33 AM
RE: PTSD
Hug

"If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu."

[Image: beb1339cfc76b95693fe0fd59c12ec05.jpg]
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24-02-2018, 09:56 AM
RE: PTSD
I can certainly understand how difficult it must be for you to trust happiness and truth. My husband is eight years sober now. After many, many years of...not. And after a couple of years of pretending to be. Or I should say, successfully lying to me that he was not drinking. THAT did more damage than he can imagine. I don't know that I will ever be able to fully believe that he will stay sober. Or HAS stayed sober. It's the LIES that did me in. For a long time my "go to" whenever anything vaguely suspicious was on the table was "are you drinking again?" But it didn't take me all that long to figure out that asking was a waste of time, because if he was drinking---he'd just lie about it.

Where do we go from here? I don't know. I think your husband's willingness for total transparency is a great sign that you can trust him. I hope you can find a way to allow yourself to be happy with him.

Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?
"Life is not all lovely thorns and singing vultures, you know." ~ Morticia Addams

"You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." Robin Williams
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