Mental Health Awareness Week; Day 6: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

It is Day 6 of Mental Health Awareness Week. Today’s topic of discussion is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Todays discussion is quite difficult for me because I am struggle with PTSD and I am sure that this topic will bring up some painful memories from my past. I am aware that this particular post might take me all day to post because if I need to stop for a while I will. I need to do what is best for me but I also realize that I still need to educate you all on PTSD. Again the information I will give to you on PTSD, I got from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website at nami.org.

The symptoms of PTSD:

The DSM-IV criteria for identifying PTSD require that symptoms must me active for more than one month after the trauma and associated with the decline in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The three broad symptom clusters can be summarized as follow:

1. Persistent Re-experiencing

A person experiences one or more of the following:

  • recurrent nightmares or flashbacks;
  • recurrent images or memories of the event – these images or memories often occur without actively thinking about the event;
  • intense distress of reminders of the trauma; and/or
  • physical reactions to triggers that symbolize or resemble the event.

2. Avoidant/Numbness Responses

A person experiences three or more of the following:

  • efforts to avoid feelings or triggers associated with the trauma;
  • avoidance of activities, places or people that remind the person of the trauma;
  • inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma;
  • markedly diminished interest in activities;
  • feelings of detachment or estrangement from others;
  • restricted range of feelings; and/or
  • difficulty thinking abut the long-term future – sometimes this expresses itself by a failure to plan for the future or taking risk because the person does not fully believe or consider the possibility that they will be alive for a normal lifespan.

3. Increased Arousal

A person experiences two or more of the following:

  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep;
  • outburst of anger/irritability;
  • difficulty concentrating;
  • increased vigilance that may be maladaptive; and/or
  • exaggerated startle response

Again, I got this information off of the NAMI website at nami.org. The DSM has since got an updated version now DSM-5.The diagnosis of PTSD has been updated in the DSM-5 so for more updated information you might want to check it out.

As I thought I am having some problems writing this particular blog. I have made the decision to make this particular blog shorter than I had hoped. It has been quite triggering for me. I am a survivor of multiple traumas and some of those trauma’s were when I was a child. Writing this blog has brought up some unpleasant memories of some horrific parts of my life. That is why I am needing to end this blog. I am sorry that I was unable to convey everything that I wanted. I hope that someday that I will be able to convey more on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I need to take care of myself and I know with the years of therapy that I have had and continue to have that if continuing this particular entry will trigger me even more.

On that note, I will blog again tomorrow on another subject. I am not really sure if I am going to write about but I do know that I will write about mental health. I hope that you will continue to follow and/or read my blog when Mental Health Awareness Week ends. Have a great weekend everyone. Enjoy it to the best of your ability. Peace out and enjoy life!!!!

It’s Still Sunday

     It’s still Sunday and its going better than I thought it would be going. Yes, the PTSD is still acting up however my boyfriend  is being very supportive. He is so amazing and extremely patient with me. Sometimes I wonder why my boyfriend loves me so much.

     Speaking of love one of my best friends is getting marred to her long time partner tomorrow (7/7/2014) evening. My friend and her girlfriend of 15 years asked me to be in the wedding and I of course said yes. I am so looking forward to it. Its going to be a small backyard wedding. I am grateful that I live in a state that allows my friends in the LGBT community to marry. It just baffles my mind why some people of faith have issue with others marrying the people they love when they are the same gender. It shouldn’t matter just as long as you love each other. I have friend who says that she is a Christian and she is telling me that I’m going to hell because I’m in a “gay” wedding. I don’t see what the issue is. I just don’t understand why people are so judgmental. Well, like I said earlier, I am looking forward to it.

     Tomorrow is going to be a busy day for me. I work tomorrow morning. Its only a four shift. I’m glad its an early shift because I have the rest of the day to do things like go to my friends wedding and go see my therapist. I may not like my job but I’m grateful I work tomorrow. I’ve been at my current employment for 9 years now and my co-workers have become family to me. In fact some of my customers have become like family to me. Working gives me a sense of community and that is a good thing for someone who deal with a mental illness. Like I was saying earlier my co-workers and some of my customers have become like family to me. We go to each others major events such as kids birthday parties, weddings, college graduations and stuff like that. Even though I am looking for a new job as a Peer Counselor I will miss my current co-workers because I’ve worked with some of them for the last 9 years. I really hope I can get a job as a Peer Counselor soon.

     Like I said earlier I see my therapist tomorrow. I will be talking to her about the 5 year anniversary of the trauma I experienced. I will also be talking to her about the strong urges I’ve had with cutting. No, I did not cut because I used my Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills. I will be talking about the minor urges I had regarding the eating disorder stuff. Mainly the bulimia but I should talk about the anorexia as well. I’m grateful that I’ve been in recovery from the eating disorders for 15 years now. I think that will take up an entire hour.

     Unfortunately, my boyfriend has to work tomorrow. He has been so supportive of me today regarding the PTSD. He is now telling me dinner is almost done and that I should finish up this blog entry soon. His cooking is fabulous. He is making spaghetti for dinner. We are having strawberry short cake for dessert. Strawberry shortcake is my favorite dessert. 

      I think I should get going now since dinner is almost done. I will blog tomorrow to tell you how work and therapy went as well as how the wedding went. I’m sure its going to be a beautiful wedding. Well, I hope to blog again tomorrow. Have good evening everyone. Peace out.

An Accomplished Week

     Well another Saturday is coming to a close and I am looking back on the week to see what I accomplished. I’ve accomplished a great deal. I worked 3 days this week which equals to 13.5 hours. I went to a 3 day training regarding Co-Occurring Disorders. I also went to a 4th of July party. So I accomplished a great deal this week.

      I had a great time at the 4th of July party I went to yesterday. Yes, I did get overwhelmed a little due to PTSD however I was surrounded by people who care about me. I enjoyed watching the fireworks. They were surprisingly good this year. Still not as good as Disneyland. I really enjoyed all the food I ate. I do have to admit that I had urges to binge and purge with all the food I ate. Its been a while since I had any urges regarding the Anorexia and/or Bulimia. I think the urges popped up because of the PTSD. Overall, I enjoyed my time at the 4th of July party,

     My PTSD symptoms are acting up because tomorrow (Sunday, July 6, 2014) is the five year anniversary of me being date r*p*d by my boyfriend at the time. My current boyfriend has been extremely supportive of me regarding this horrific anniversary. Unfortunately, my boyfriend is working at the moment. He wont get off work till tomorrow morning. He is doing an overtime (OT) shift. I am going to be honest with you. I have been fighting urges to cut today. I still get urges to self harm quite frequently but I choose not to because it just makes the situation worse.

     I know I spoke about this yesterday but I’m going to bring it up again. I really enjoyed the Co-Occurring Disorders training I attended. I loved learning the science of addiction. Its quite fascinating on what the brain does and how it reacts to different things including how drugs and/or alcohol effects it. I reread the material again. In fact I know I will reread it again because I can always learn something new every time I read it.

     Speaking of reading, I continued reading A Tale Of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. It helped me a great deal today because it got my mind off of things. It got my mind off of the urges to cut. Yes, I may be a Recovered Borderline but unfortunately I still get urges to self harm. Its what do with the urges. I have to use my DBT skills. Reading is one of those skills. I love to read.

     Another thing I did today was go to Half Priced Books and bought two psychology text books for only $13.51. I’m not in school but I love to learn. I bought the psychology books in hopes to learn more. I also want to see what colleges and universities are teaching future therapist and social workers because they maybe helping me someday in the future. I didn’t make it through my first year at a community college because of my mental illness. So I’ve been trying to educate myself by buying various types of text books when they are cheap and out of date.

      I best be going because the local news is now over. That means Saturday Night Live is on next. SNL always make me laugh. Humor make me feel better. Well I best be going. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Enjoy the last 25 minutes of your Saturday. I’m glad I’ve accomplished so much this past week. Good night and peace out.

It’s Been An Interesting Day

     Good Monday Evening!!! Today has been an interesting day. On my bus ride to my appointment with my therapist, a fellow passenger passed out because he was so drunk. Of course the bus driver had to stop the bus and check on the dude. The bus driver had to call the police as well as the fire department. The police showed up as well as the fire engine and paramedics. As the firefighters were trying to help the drunk dude came to and hit one of them. The police then tackled the guy and with the help of the paramedics and other firefighters he was handcuffed to the gurney and put in the back of the ambulance. Of course myself and the other passengers had to give witness statements to the police. Finally after everyone gave their statement the bus was on its way again. I got off at my bus stop and walked about a half mile to my appointment. On the walk from the bus stop to my appointment I found $20. Finding money is a rare thing for me.

     I of course made it to my appointment with my therapist on time. In fact I was 45 minutes early. I’m usually an hour early due to OCD tendencies. While waiting for my therapy appointment the admin assistant got me my stuffed Eeyore that I have my therapist hold for me so when I am waiting to see her I can hold on to him. My stuffed Eeyore also sits in on my sessions with me because its easier to talk with a stuffed animal to hold. As I was holding Eeyore, in the waiting room I pulled out a Wonder Woman graphic novel to read. If you are a regular reader or follower of my blog you know I am a huge Wonder Woman fan. About 15 minutes before my session an old high school friend walks into the waiting room of the mental health clinic I see my therapist at. This high school friend was seeking therapy for the first time in her life. She of course was seeing a different clinician. It was nice to “catch up” with an old friend.

    My session with my therapist Diana was quite draining. We discussed what happened on the bus then I pulled out 3 copies of what I wanted to go into my treatment plan. Of course many of things I want to work on can be condensed and we did that. In fact it was getting a bit overwhelming for me. We had to take a break from it and we talked about why it was overwhelming. I had come to the conclusion that I’ve been defined by my mental illness so long that it scares me what it would be like to not be “crazy.” Diana my therapist says that I’ve dealt with my mental illness for so long that now that I am walking in recovery I’m learning what its like to not be “crazy.” She also says that I’m in the process of redefining on who I am. She is absolutely correct. I am redefining who I am. Recovery from a mental illness is difficult work. I still have a great deal to work through so I am no where done with needing treatment but I am an active participant in my treatment planning. I still have to work through all the trauma I’ve been through when I was a child as well as an adult. That’s going to be a long process. So Diana and I still need to finish working my treatment/recovery plan and we both hope that we can continue to work on in in the next session next Monday. I never knew how draining it would be. Working on changing for the better is not only draining and difficult but a good thing. (Side Note: Diana is a pseudonym for my therapist)

   So after my therapy appointment I took the bus home. Thankfully nothing eventful happened on my bus ride home. In fact on my bus ride home, I read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I am really enjoying the book. It’s going to take me awhile to read it due to my dyslexia but that is okay with me. Like I’ve said before, I enjoy reading.

   As I am blogging right now, I am at my boyfriends house. He is fixing me dinner. He is a good cook. Not as good as my grandma but good enough. He cooks better than me and I love to cook. Hell, my boyfriend loves to cook as well. He learned to cook from his mom. I learned to cook from my dad and grandma. My paternal grandpa is not a very good cook. My maternal grandpa was an awesome cook. Anyway, my boyfriend is making me spaghetti. I love spaghetti. I should get going. I want to see if my boyfriend will let me help him finish cooking. After dinner we are going to watch a movie. Not sure what movie but it’s going to be a comedy.

   Well, I best be going. I hope to blog again tomorrow. Have a good rest of the evening. Enjoy the rest of your Monday. Well at least enjoy the 4 hours that’s left of Monday. Peace out and enjoy life. 

YIPPEE IT’S MONDAY!!!!

     YIPPEE IT’S MONDAY!!!! (Stop your moaning, Mondays are my Fridays.) Now that I’ve got your attention with the title of the this particular blog entry lets get on to a serious topic of religion and mental illness and my personal experience with it. The particular religion I will be talking about is my experience with Christianity. My intent is not to speak ill of Christianity but to make those who are Christians aware of the type of harm you may be doing without meaning to. I do realize that there are those “Christians” that realize what they are doing and this blog is for them as well as those who don’t realize what harm they maybe doing. I’m also hoping that pastors read this particular post in hopes that they can maybe have sermon on judgment, healing and mental illness. Now with that being said let me get on to what I want to discuss regarding mental illness and Christianity.

     At one point in time I considered myself a Christian. I now consider myself Agnostic. I believe that their is a higher power whomever he, she or they may be. I became Agnostic because of how I was treated at a number of different Christian Churches. Anytime I go into a church and wear short sleeve shirts that’s when the Calgary comes barging in. See, I use to cut myself in the height of my struggles with mental illness and have scars on my arms. I’ve been told that I need to go to healing service’s to have demon’s prayed out of me. I’ve been told that I was NOT welcomed because they don’t allow “crazy people” at their church. My response to that was and still is, “Didn’t Jesus say come as you are?” The response varies from person to person as well as church to church. I’ve also had people tell me that I didn’t have enough faith because if I did then I would have been healed from my mental illness. How in the hell do they know how much faith I do or do not have. They don’t know what’s in my heart or mind. I even had one pastor tell me that I couldn’t attend their church until they were able to talk to my therapist and that was the first time I even attended that church. I never went back to that particular church.

    The thing that made me loose my faith in Jesus was a particular incident that happened. See I was dating a guy from the church I was regularly attending. I ended up getting date r*p*d by this guy. I do have to say that he had a psychotic break when he r*p*d me. When the pastors of the church got wind of this, they asked me to not prosecute him because it would ruin his life. The pastors also said that they would pay for his attorneys and make sure that his newly found illness would get him off and use my illness against me. They also said they would take it to the media. Due past trauma in my childhood and camera’s them threatening going to the media is what got me to NOT prosecute. I don’t like camera’s of any kind. The pastors told me that it was my fault that I caused him to not only r*p* me but that he had a psychotic break. Yes, I realize that it’s NOT my fault but it felt like my fault for the longest time.

     Now that you all know why I lost my faith, I want Christians to realize what they say and do to anyone especially those with mental illness can determine weather or not they believe in Jesus. I personally think the r*p*  would have not been an issue of me loosing my faith in Jesus if it were not for my previous experiences with various different Christian churches. Like I said I’m not trying to speak ill of all Christians or churches. Some of my closest friends are Christians. I just want to educate Christians that the mentally ill go to Church like the rest of you. People who struggle with mental illness are searching for what you are searching for. My goal here is to not offend but to educate.

    I have come to terms with the r*p* with a great deal of therapy. I am now trying to come to terms on what spirituality looks for me now. Spirituality is another strong component in recovery with mental illness. Like I said earlier, I am Agnostic. I believe that their is some higher being out there guiding me. Not sure who he, she or they are but I know that there is some higher spirit out there.

    Well, its time to end this entry and hope that this blog entry does not cause a debate. This entry is to educate Christians about the judgments they have toward the mentally ill. Yes, I know they are human like me but telling them your judgments and not educating yourselves about mental illness does more harm than good. Have a good evening all.