Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Long term support over the journey / Sharing strategies to help with PTSD

Topic: Sharing strategies to help with PTSD

  1. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    10 January 2018

    One of my biggest learnings has been - PTSD is not like a broken arm. When you break your arm, it mends. PTSD is with you for life. It took me ages to recognise that I'd been triggered. Some of the simplest things - like going to the shopping centre at the beginning of winter and seeing the multi-colour shirts - red, blue, black squares. The hardest part for me is identifying the trigger because the pacing heart, the sweats, the panic, the fear doesn't happen immediately. It happens after I walk out of the shopping centre.For the first few years after being diagnosed with PTSD I was hell bent on identifying the trigger. Now - I don't worry. I simple accept I'm triggered - do my breathing, relaxation to beautiful music, write down my feelings and emotions, talk with my husband. Let him know I've been triggered. Most times my cats won't come near me while I'm working through a 'phase', but they certainly know when I've come out the other side. They come and give me lots of comfort and love. The down side of how I manage is to drink alcohol - to stop the feelings and emotions. It doesn't work, but it helps go to sleep. I'm not recommending drinking as a strategy!!

    I have had 2 excellent psychologists that helped me. It's important to find someone other than those close to you to talk to. One was very good at helping me identify what was happening - e.g. being super alert, wanting to save or please people. Recognising these things helped to build better relationships with my work colleagues and my friends. I have conversations in my head - oh, you just want to please because something has frightened you. Then I say - you're okay, you're safe, you can say what you need to.

    Basically, the strategy of self talk in a challenging way - I challenge what I'm doing, what I'm thinking. But I also recognise the little girl who screams out when things happen and comfort her. Very important to know she hurts terribly and needs comfort. The comfort she never received as a child.

    10 people found this helpful
  2. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    11 January 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    Wow, fantastic post Pam, I really appreciate you putting those strategies into words.

    I remember one of my very first therapists helping me with `mothering' my inner child. She actually made me sit in a different part of the room and speak to her from the perspective of the vulnerable` inner child' , and another part of the room to speak as `the parent'. It was strange but very effective. I realized how mean I was to myself-Critical, perfectionistic, shaming. She helped me learn the importance of kindness, and of being a witness to these different parts of myself. in those early yeas of therapy, and i didn't go often, I think I overcame shame. That was a huge hurdle for me.

    And then, I don't know, I stopped trying.I had some difficult relationships with men after that, people not at all interested in healing or psychology. Like you, I easily fall into the `saviour' role, and I let it take over. If its not people, it animals. These days (in my late 40's) I have dozens of birds and animals, various rescues and disabled wildlife that I keep safe and happy. I'm usually finding homes for unwanted pets, and treating this or that illness or broken bone. I don't know why I let it take over. I totally lose myself in it. Maybe that is the point? I'd like to hear what you think about `saving', I would be very grateful to hear your thoughts..

    5 people found this helpful
  3. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    11 January 2018 in reply to bindi-QLD

    Hiya Bindi, the mothering the inner child therapy helped me (and my inner child) wonderfully. And my therapist did as you indicated got me to sit in different seats with different hats and talk to one another. It worked well and at the very least got me to acknowledge my inner child and the pain she suffered.

    You rescuing birds, pets and wildlife is fantastic. My thoughts are this is some very positive in your life. You're wonderful. Someone has to take care of ones that are abused by the more powerful. If you think though it's a little over the top (e.g. obsessive), then maybe limit the number of animals you'll take in. Set yourself some goals for 2018. I'm sure you've wonderful abilities to do this just by the things you've written! I just get the sense you're afraid of the world (people/men) out there. My biggest way to combat that fear is think myself as a 'lion' 'tiger' 'elephant'. What I could do to them.

    My need to 'save' people stems from a couple of sources I think. One being my mother was the most negative, sad, stressed and whinging person I knew growing up. OMG, if you looked the wrong way you were in for it - beatings. So I learnt, to read the signs. Being stressed was particular the worst, so when someone around me is stressed, I have to find out what's wrong. I've used various techniques. In my earlier years I was very 'uncouth' and just asked - 'what's wrong', then try to 'fix it'.Of course this didn't go over very well with most. I hadn't realised what I was doing. My therapist helped identify my need to 'make things good' so 'I was okay'. But that's as far as it's gone. My worst experience was in the 90s while going to uni and one woman I got to know had some issues. My technique was not very well received at all and she told me so. That put an end to our friendship. I think from then on i was a bit wary about my 'questioning technique'.

  4. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    12 January 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    Hi Pam,

    Thankyou, I'm so very grateful to have these conversations with you:)

    I found what you said about surviving by being very observant and fixing things very insightful. I came from a` walking on eggshells' background too, my mother was violent , moody and unpredictable. A lot of my coping skills revolved around reading body language, being calm, independent, figuring out her emotional needs and meeting them to my best ability.

    I sometimes forget to see the ability to manage my mother's difficult nature as a gift, rather than only a response to trauma.

    Thank you for supporting my wildlife and pet rescue, what you said made me feel very good. I suppose I'm just a little isolated, and don't normally receive encouragement for what I do. It really feels so nice when someone thinks to praise me; Thank you for that. I also run a business so I have to be wary of how I manage my time.

    I was wondering what you meant about being rejected when you tried to fix your friends problems (or encourage them to fix them?) Do people find that rude?

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Emily...........
    Emily........... avatar
    2 posts
    12 January 2018 in reply to bindi-QLD

    Hi there,

    I'm new to these forums, and reading both your posts has made me feel a bit less alone.

    I was diagnosed with PTSD a couple of weeks ago, after self medicating with alcohol and drugs for most of my teens and 20s.

    I also feel the need to try and 'fix' people's problems, or animals, and get overwhelmed sometimes because I pour a lot of myself into these things, and sometimes it feels like I'm draining myself. It's like a compulsion, I guess, to try and help those suffering and 'make it better'.

    I have been trying to support a friend who has been going through a really rough time, and it's been a long time friendship, but have recently realised it's a bit one sided sometimes.

    Can you help someone if they don't want to or know how to help themselves?

    Anyway, just a few thoughts, thank you for posting your experiences. It's good to hear that I'm not alone.

    3 people found this helpful
  6. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    12 January 2018 in reply to Emily...........

    Hi Emily, Its so nice to meet you, I am glad you are here. It means a lot, finding people who understand. I really hope that talking about it will reduce the burden you carry. I am very impressed by all the different physical activities you do, and your accomplishment of being sober for almost a year. I wish I had your martial arts skills, that's great you learned that!

    I haven't put enough thought into `fixing' in recent years, its a compulsion for me as well, and when it comes to wildlife rescue, it almost feels like my vocation. Its brings me purpose and a lot of joy.

    But I feel when it comes to helping or saving friends, family, or partners, we are on rocky ground. These are people we need too, to meet some our needs. So if their issues mean they not present for us, then we can suffer.

    I feel most comfortable and safe caring for people a little at arms length. I feel the worst situations for me were trying to save `problem partners' who were not able to provide me with what I need, and often brought chaos and pain to my life. So I wasn't really in a strong position to save them, even though they needed help.

    Some people I try to be wary about, are the ones who won't help themselves, because having problems gains them attention. I call that `playing the victim' and it can sometimes be a form of extreme selfishness IMO.

    Anyway really nice to be talking to you too. I look forward to many discussion,when you have time or the need for it :)

    1 person found this helpful
  7. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    12 January 2018 in reply to Emily...........

    Hi Emily

    Welcome to Beyond Blue. Must admit, I'm very new to BB myself, so learning from everyone.

    About helping friends - I think I used to automatically do that because I'm a problem solver by nature. Give me a problem which is what friends often share, I looked at it logically and what were the logical things to do. I learnt however, through counselling that people sometimes just want to ventilate. I did have one friend, a beautiful person, though very troubled, who always ventilated, always wanted me to listen. Which of course I did. However, this began to drain me terribly. And while that person was my mentor and motivator to go to uni, I've found I've had to let her go. It was just too draining and she didn't really want me to fix her problems. Had I realised that then perhaps our relationship may have been different and we'd still be friends. So I guess from my experience is people need space to 'just ventilate'. They often know what they need to do, but they have to make the decision to solve their issues. As a friend you can't do it for them. You can be a listening ear, help them to explore their different options, but ultimately they will do what they will do.

  8. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    12 January 2018 in reply to bindi-QLD

    Hiya Bindi

    I too enjoy our conversations! Especially when we have some things in common, like - caring for animals, birds etc.

    Yes, that person found my 'fixing' 'rude'. In hindsight, the way I questioned and proposed solutions was rude. I think I've developed much better ways of communicating. Mostly through the counselling I've had over the years and the self reflection I learnt to do through my studying behavioural sciences.

    It is great talking with you, Emily, Doolhof.

  9. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    14 January 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    Hi Pam, Sorry I missed your post, sometimes they seem to take a little bit to show up.

    I think I understand what you mean. I wouldn't find your `problem solving' rude at all myself, I would consider you a good friend, but I can see what you mean.

    Particularly, I understand how beneficial it was to realise that anxiety can drive the need to solve other people's problems. Perhaps some people feel pressured by that, or perhaps they worry we need them to be perfect to be our friend, which also creates pressure? I usually don't have a problem with it, but like you said, perhaps good communication is the key to helping people, and seeing venting as valuable too...theres lots of wisdom in what you've learned I think. Thank you!

    1 person found this helpful
  10. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    14 January 2018

    ...Just getting back to the topic, of strategies. I've been thinking a little bit about that these past few days.

    Sometimes, I just don't know. The feelings surrounding my worst triggers are just so big. They have proven to be so powerful, they caused me a stress breakdown. I can have panic attacks that make me fade out, feel like I'm about to faint, or actually faint. And even then, I'm still not really feeling, just reacting to stress.

    I like crying at movies or reading a book, perhaps you could call it `grieving indirectly'. Maybe that gets the grief out in little ways I can handle. Things like relationship breakups and crisis can get me crying. And of course I've cried a world of private tears as a wildlife rescuer, when some beautiful creature loses the battle for life.

    The last person I saw said I should talk about it more. Truthfully, I'd rather laugh about it, make a joke of it, not think about it. But maybe I have to have a balance.

    What about you, do you talk about it much?

    1 person found this helpful
  11. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    14 January 2018 in reply to bindi-QLD

    Thank you Bindi for getting back to me and sharing your feelings.

    I had a breakdown after 18 months of working through my childhood rape (that I only remembered 7 years ago). I couldn't function, couldn't think, couldn't feel. I relented and took antidepressants and saw my counsellor almost daily for about 3 weeks. I came out the other side. My husband's been a strength to help be through this period. So I did talk about the things I was remembering, but only to the counsellor at that stage. Later on I was able to talk with my husband about the atrocity. Then much, much later (a few years) I started talking with friends and colleagues at work. Never about the detail, only about how I was feeling. Talking about how I feel does help. Not immediately because I go into anxiety when I first disclose. It happened to me today when I was at the macro photography workshop. I disclosed to one friend who I've known for 12 months that I have PTSD. Well, of course I suffered later on and it's taken some talking to myself to bring me down. That is - I'm safe, I'm in no danger, give comfort to my inner child who hurts and doesn't like me disclosing.

    When I am triggered, I go fuzzy in the head, I want to run away (escape) from the situation I'm in, I get nauseas, and have strong heart palpitations. I've begun to recognise that wanting to escape is the first indicator that I've been triggered. Overtime, I have found, as soon as I acknowledge and accept that I've been triggered, the symptoms seem to decrease a little. Not sure this helps you at all.

    I don't talk much, but I do try to express my emotions verbally. I've found that crying over sad movies doesn't help, I need to talk about what it was in the movie that caused me to cry. So now I do try to talk about the movie and it's intricacies. I try not to watch the news and current affair programs anymore and only watch movies that are filled with adventure, action or comedy. Avoid the sad ones, I really hate being sad. While one counsellor suggested that is my personality type, I think it's more to do with having a mother who was incredibly sad and despondent, amongst many other horrible things.

    2 people found this helpful
  12. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    14 January 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    Dear Pam,

    I really feel like calling you `dear' after that post, for quite a few reasons. I relate to so much of what you wrote. I understand how you felt through all that, and appreciate you so much for sharing those experiences.

    I don't know if we spoke about it yet, photography is one of my main passions. I want to ask you about what you use, as I'm a total gear geek, not that it matters. I'm mainly using specialized wildlife photography stuff, my partner and I love nature and bird photography together. We started out with gear when it was `wow 5MP!!!' , and now we finally enjoy some pretty nice specialised lenses and camera bodies, including macro.

    Its how I started in wildlife rescue, I am not able to notice suffering and not do anything about it, and so on....I'd be one of those documentary makers filming polar bears dying on melted ice caps, and that polar bear, no way was he going to die. I would do everything to make sure that guy lived, I'd carry it home and noone would mess with me, because woman protectiveness.

    I was going to talk to you about your mental breakdown, and how much I relate to the way you described experiencing it. How I felt exactly the same way as you did. See what I did there? I totally avoided it:) I will write about that. I think ti deserves a proper discussion, because that experience really gets to the heart of PTSD IMO.

    I like what you said about trusting people around you, gradually.

    2 people found this helpful
  13. Guest8901
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Guest8901 avatar
    1634 posts
    14 January 2018 in reply to bindi-QLD

    Hi Pamela. We spoke earlier today in The Cafe. I said then that I had been following your threads with interest, to which you said to drop in. So here I am.

    I must say that I feel like a bit of an imposter coming here right now, because I havent been diagnosed with PTSD. However I have read a lot on the Beyondblue website about it, and I appear to have almost all of the typical symptoms. The cause is one of the classic ones, sexual assault, where my life was under threat. I have an appointment with my GP this coming week where I hope to take the first step in the process of finally doing something about my mental health. Until now I have not spoken to anybody about it, nor received any assistance. The symptoms have been there for many years, to varying degrees, but they have become consistently worse these past couple of years. There have been a number of additional stresses recently which have probably contributed to that.

    So I would like to follow along with your thread here if I may? I will probably be mainly in the background, but definitely listening and hopefully learning. Thank you for allowing me to be here.

    Amanda

    5 people found this helpful
  14. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    15 January 2018 in reply to bindi-QLD

    Dear Bindi

    Thank you so much for your post. It heartens me that you are opening up. It takes time, hey. Writing down feelings is a great benefit. The tears used to roll down my face and I sobbed and sobbed, but continued to write it all down. I will have to destroy all my journals before I die. They are pleasant reading, though when I used to get really, really low and couldn't understand why, I went back to the journals and read the horror I endured. I haven't looked at these for many years now. Not the I've come to terms totally with what happened, but rather, I'm in a better place in my head. The anger I had for decades has passed and I'm at peace. Though still get panic attacks when I've been triggered and depressed when I don't do something about it. It's a vicious circle with loads of learning on the way.

    It's marvellous that we have such a common interest - the outdoors, photography. And yes, I too have a partner who has the same interest. In fact it was he would got me interested in photography. It makes life very easy and good. Love to take photos of nature - animals, birds, trees, water. Everything. A little less inclined to take photos of people. However, I do sometimes at events.

    Over the past couple of years we've acquired a range of different cameras and lenses. It's expensive and the purchasing will cease now that we've both retired. But I really do want the latest Fuji X-T2.... LOL. My husband has it and I love it. I have the X-T1.

    Yes, I did notice that you avoided the purpose for which you were really writing. But, hey, that's okay. Give yourself time. Don't be hard on yourself. Trust is a big thing to people with PTSD. I've spent my life keeping people at arms length. It just so happens that my partner also suffered sexual abuse in his late teenage years and suffers from PTSD too. But he is someone I totally trust. I can't say there are many others out there that I do.

    BTW - I really do like your wildlife rescue. It's awesome!! I can imagine you out there saving some poor stranded polar bear. Such great qualities Bindi.

    Kind regards

  15. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    15 January 2018 in reply to Guest8901

    Hello Mandy8

    Welcome to the PTSD forum, sharing strategies to help with PTSD!

    I'm so pleased you took me up on my suggestion. No pressure for you to participate - feel free to read. I'm happy to share some of the things that I've done to cope. I don't think you're an imposter :) There are no rules that say you can't read or reply to specific forum threads.

    There are a couple of things for anyone who wants to read this thread, that I think help significantly with managing PTSD -

    * you'll learn when you're triggered (i.e. what your triggers are). This helps to start - focus breathing, exercise, eating properly, getting sleep, letting know those close (e.g. partner) know you're triggered. Doesn't make it stop unfortunately, but it does make sure you're taking care of yourself and those who care for you know what's happening.

    * keep a journal of your feelings, emotions, thoughts, interactions with those who matter.

    * find someone you can talk to and trust. My psychologist/s know all the details of what happened. My husband knows a little less. Close friends and close work colleagues know I was raped as a child, but do not know the details. Mainly I'm protecting those close to me from all the horribleness. They don't need to know and I don't want to tell them.

    * if you trust your GP won't just prescribe anything and everything, take medication she/he prescribes. It helps with some of the symptoms. It took me ages to take medication. Had I done so, I might not have ended up having a mental breakdown.

    Mandy, I hope your visit to the doctor helps you to develop a mental health plan. It's a positive step! Good on you.

    4 people found this helpful
  16. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    12432 posts
    15 January 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    Pamela and everyone post

    I want to thank you for starting this thread and all the people who have posted for their bravery and honesty.

    I know people who have PTSD and looking back I think my dad who was a prisoner of war suffered some of the symptoms but back then there was no diagnosis or recognition and he was told to forget the horrors and get on with his life.

    I feel I could have been more understanding.

    One of the things I lie about the forum is that people come here seeking help and the find they can help others.

    I just want you know I appreciate what you are doing and how helpful it is to many people.

    Thanks

    Quirky

    3 people found this helpful
  17. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    16 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello quirkywords and everyone else

    Thank you for your kind comments. It's lovely to know our comments are appreciated. They do come from the heart.

    Not sure that it stems from bravery though. Being in BB and these forum discussions is a little anonymous, so I feel safe.

    I know what you mean about your dad and the war. I think my dad had PTSD too and I think he saw some horribly things during the war. One thing though my father was very good at was walking away (out the door for awhile) when he wasn't the best. His sense of humour and love of nature helped our family a lot (and me in particular). I think he over compensated for my mother's moroseness and her continuous nagging!

    I too appreciate the others contributions to this thread by others. Bindi, Emily, Mandy8 and yourself quirkywords.

    Thank you all!

    PR

    1 person found this helpful
  18. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    16 January 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    Hi Pam,

    So sorry for dropping the ball, Pam. I tried to write back earlier, but I am nursing some critically sick wildlife patients at the moment. They can't eat or drink on their own, and need a lot of my attention.

    I wanted to let you know how much liked that list of suggestions you wrote to Mandy. I found quite a lot of that genuinely helpful. Thanks so much:)

    Two things I used to do a lot , that seemed to help, were Journalling ,and being creative with various forms of Art and music.

    I think I've always been someone who tackles feelings both head on, as well as indirectly. Writing really gets me to heart of what I'm feeling, I really appreciate that, especially journalling.

    I also use musical creativity quite a bit, some Visual art well including photography, painting, drawing etc. My main work is creative, so its pretty much part of my life. I think is all fairly indirect, insofar as Art need not be a conscious recognition of thoughts, behind my feelings. Its just pure expression of feeling.

    Some of my trauma is pre-verbal, so there no real memories or thoughts attached to what I feel. Music and Art help me at least know what I felt, when memory cannot help. I also know when I'm overwhelmed by feeling, because I tend avoid being creative :) Something I love about Art created that way, and Artists who create it, is the strange way it communicates empathy. I like that is a different kind of language between people, different to writing and speaking. And yet full of meaning that is understood on an emotional level.

    What about you Pam, is photography your main creative outlet, have been others too? (and please join in anyone else who feels like talking about this too?)

    2 people found this helpful
  19. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    16 January 2018 in reply to bindi-QLD

    Hi Bindi

    I understand completely about the demands of wildlife. We've been bird carers in our life. Yes, they have special needs - feeding young regularly etc. This was okay while my partner worked at an animal refuge and he could take the birds with him. It became difficult to sustain when he took on caring for people. I worked in an office, which was not conducive to taking wildlife too. So we ceased our birding activities that we loved. So, yes, they are time consuming, but rewarding. It's sad when they don't make it though.

    You are also such a very creative being! How wonderful you've been able to find a way to express your unconscious feelings. Beautiful. Do you play an instrument or use the computer for your creativity?? Do you compose music or jam?

    Being personally creative has taken a back seat in my working life. Being creativity at work, LOL - suggestions were a little too out of the norm. Anyway, I did make significant changes while I was there.

    But personally, I played music in my early years. Learnt classical flute and played in the queensland youth orchestra for about 4 years. Later on folk music took hold and enjoyed it so much more I learnt to play the tin whistle and folk music on the flute. LOL it was so difficult playing folkie music when classically trained :) When I had my breakdown I took up the keyboard. Again, LOL. I realised that was never going to happen. My hands, feet and brain weren't coordinated enough. I persevered for a number of years and it helped to get out my emotions and feelings . Loved dancing and did demonstration folk dancing. My knees, hips and ankles are too loose now (no matter how much I do tendon strengthening) to continue dancing. Now I've reverted back to listening to classical music.

    In the past I did some mosaicing. Have a few lovely pieces around the house - bird bath, bird wall hanging, coffee table top with a chinese luck design. I have an urge to take it back up, but need to find some local classes. Will get there.

    My photography these days is my main creative outlet. Learning about my camera and it's capabilities, Lightroom and Photoshop keep be busy. I get anxious when I don't know how to do things.

    About memories not being there - I know what you mean. Memories about feelings are not always there. Music helps.

    Thank you so much for giving your precious time to respond. Very much appreciated Bindi.

    I to would like to also hear from others about their creative outlets, if you want to join in.

    2 people found this helpful
  20. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    17 January 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    Dear Pam,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful post, I've been trying to get back to you all day, sorry hon. Its been such a demanding day so far, and I wanted to write to you when I felt more present.

    I'm really amazed and inspired by the many different ways you've found healing in your life. I know we started off talking about avoiding feelings, but look at all the wonderful healing things you have sought out personally, through your healing instinct. I find that amazing.

    I personally value a lot of the major investments you've made during your life, such as caring for birds, learning an Instrument to a professional performance standard, being part of a good music community and teaching. I like the folk people too, I wish I was more a part of it sometimes. Woodford is not far from here, I really liked what they put on for new years eve.

    My creativity outside of my job has been slackening too. I'm not sure why. It could just be because I'm so fullfilled from other things. But there's some creative things I want to do, and I would feel better if I finished them. I have bird paintings I want to finish for a local show, I started last year. I like this show, the place where its held. The art show attracts a lot of Australian wildlife lovers I want to know those people.

    I'm more stumped with music. I can produce music on a computer and I keep keyboards . In my early 20's I arranged soundtracks for documentaries and short films, I won a couple of film festival awards that made me feel I should keep going. And then I wound up teaching film and TV production to students at a university. My sound track production knowledge was very valuable there. It was a great job for a while. So to answer your question, I guess I mainly jam, keep up my technical skills in computer music production, and worry about the time and money I put into it :)

    Anyway, thanks again Pam, I will try to write again soon. I have had wholly dependent birds for 5 days and nights straight, with terrible fungal infections as well bacterial infections, and they are still holding on. At this point, I have to support them in 30 minute increments, its so hard on them. I am amazed by how much they fight for life.

    Hope to talk soon :)

    2 people found this helpful
  21. eloop
    eloop avatar
    4 posts
    18 January 2018
    well good to read the posts seems they are all from females I am a male still trying to come to terms with this ptsd stuff seems like it is multi layered and isolating I live in a small country town I just want to hide away the fear some days is so bad. I have been of booze and drugs for 8 yrs and was only diagnosed with ptsd 18 months ago and I am nearly 60 its been a painful journey abandonment violence homelessness divorce on dissabilaty its a really uphill battle at times but reading posts gives me hope
    5 people found this helpful
  22. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    18 January 2018 in reply to eloop

    Hello eloop. Thank you for sharing. So glad to hear that you have 'hope'. Yes, I can have my down time, but I have far more happy times these days.

    Yes, you're right, we are all females. I think we do tend to talk about our feelings and thoughts more than males, possibly because you guys aren't encouraged to do so. But I think that is all changing now - for the better. Maybe there are men out there who are reading the thread......here is someone you might like to chat too.

    Talking for me is a great way to help reduce my symptoms. I'm in the process of finding a new psychologist to talk with, but I've really needed to yabber on. Beyond Blue has been so easy for me. I've been aware of the site for years, but never could bring myself to use it. I think it was my recent triggering and my desperation to settle my pounding heart that brought me here.

    1 person found this helpful
  23. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    18 January 2018 in reply to bindi-QLD

    Dear Bindi

    Wow, you never cease to amaze and impress me. The things you have done in your life are marvellous. The arrangement of sound tracks for documentaries and short films at such a young age is extraordinary, then to go on a teaching at uni. Not to mention your film festival awards - how good is that!

    You know what truly amazes me, that we obviously both have some heavy duty baggage we have carried throughout our lives, but look at the wondrous things we've both done. No matter what the rotters did to us, we've survived and come up trumps... Really you can't get better than that.

    About Woodford, yes I'd love to go, but ..... I couldn't take the crowd. I have gone to many smaller festivals around Australia. Big crowds trigger me.

    Folkies are like most - you get your really great people and you can get some really unpleasant people. Again, I'm a little like you I tend to keep people at a distance, other than my partner who I feel safe with and trust. He doesn't invade my space or mind. He's there when I need him to hold onto.

    1 person found this helpful
  24. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    18 January 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    I want to welcome you too, eloop. We understand here how difficult it is to live with intense stress caused by trauma; the way we cope by avoiding thinking about it, and numbing ourselves in other ways. It seems a quiet forum, perhaps it is a reflection of just how stressful it feels for traumatized people just to remember. I know sometimes I feel that way; can't write, feel stressed just thinking about it. Don't want stress.

    I thought it was brave of you to write down what happened to you. I understand how stressful doing that can feel. What I really like about creating this support group together, is we all understand. You can say a little, or say a lot. It all helps, and there's no pressure here.

    Like Pam, I'd really like to welcome anyone to this group, who feels the need for understanding and a little support with the tough times. You're not alone.

    1 person found this helpful
  25. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    18 January 2018 in reply to bindi-QLD

    Dear Pam,

    Meeting you has made me feel very happy, I was telling my partner Stu that yesterday:) He was very happy as well, he knows I get a little isolated. On purpose :)

    Thank you so much for your praise and encouragement, I really appreciate it:) I give a lot of credit to online support groups, and being steered in the right direction when I was still very young. I've had help from a lot of good people, from when I was 21, it made such a huge difference.

    1 person found this helpful
  26. Bethie
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Bethie avatar
    326 posts
    18 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Its taken me sometime to post here sorry. I suffer PTSD thanks to 2011 floods and its hard sometimes even on meds but i know my limits and what to avoid also have a emergency list i keep in my car of safe roads in flooded areas.

    My husband suffers chronic PTSD and tried everything. Its hard because his PTSD is from active clasified military service but with help from anti anxiety/anti depressants and natural help he now leads as close to a normal life as possible. He knows the importance of not getting over tired, over stressed or hungry. If he does i have to step in and help. Luckly these days its normally a case of stopping the stressful situation or making him a sandwich. Way better than a few months ago where the police and ambulance would regularly come to pur house to take him to phyc under the mental health act.

    3 people found this helpful
  27. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    19 January 2018

    Hi Pam, Bethie, and everyone:)

    This thread really makes me appreciate the different forms of PTSD, and how each type of trigger may need to be managed differently. Bethie your situation sounds very difficult, hugs to you hon. I'm glad you found some solutions that work well for both you and your husband. You have been through a very difficult time, I'm so sorry; that must have felt scary with people coming to your house and taking your husband away for a while. I'm glad you found a good solution.

    Thanks for joining in :)

  28. Guest8901
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Guest8901 avatar
    1634 posts
    19 January 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    Hi PamelaR, and thanks so much for your reply to me back on 14th Jan. I've seen my GP yesterday and have been put on a MHCP and been referred to a Clinical Psychologist (specialising in trauma) for assessment, diagnosis and treatment as appropriate.

    I was just wondering if anyone here has any tips or strategies for coping with the anniversary of traumatic experiences?

    In the leadup to the anniversary of my trauma, my anxiety always becomes considerably worse. Plus I've noticed that I have extremely life-like vivid dreams related to the event. Possibly the anxiety in general, causes this, but I dont really know. I do know it means I'm simply too afraid to sleep when this happens.

    So given that anniversaries of the event appear to be a trigger for me (and probably most people), what are some strategies in helping to lessen the impact during those times?

    Amanda

  29. bindi-QLD
    bindi-QLD avatar
    211 posts
    19 January 2018 in reply to Guest8901

    Hi Amanda,

    Thanks heaps for coming back and letting us know about seeing your GP and the mental health plan. That sounds very good Amanda! I like that your psychologist specializes in trauma, that should be very helpful.

    I'm sorry you're going through a bad trigger at the moment, just before you have the professional help you need. Please be careful with your sleep. Without sleep, anxiety can become panic, and then its even harder to sleep. I went through something like that leading to the mental breakdown I had once. I was in a state of panic for two weeks, and sleep became virtually impossible. If you feel anything like that, and you're not getting the sleep you need, I feel it is better to see your GP before it gets worse.

    When is your first appointment with the psychologist? Hopefully you can get to them soon, they will be sure to help.

    2 people found this helpful
  30. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    19 January 2018 in reply to Guest8901

    Hi Mandy

    So pleased to hear things are progressing for you. I agree with everything Bindi has posted.

    Just a couple of other things that might help. There are 2 triggers for me.

    One at Christmas time when I had a daughter on boxing day and she only lived 10 minutes. So Christmas has never been the same (35 years on) and I still go down. Now, not as bad as I did before I realised what was happening. My husband and I talk about her and raise a glass of wine and talk about how old she would have been.

    The other is no specific date, but it was 'red, blue and black checked' shirts. I see them in the stores every winter. From my husband's idea and my psych's agreement, I bought a shirt - from Lifeline and we ceremonially burnt it!! I cried and cried. It has helped, hasn't depleted the trigger completely, but now when I face the shops in winter, I think myself as a tiger walking through the centre - no one is going to mess with me. The panic still comes, but I'm aware of it and ready with my breathing. It seems to have reduced over time. Not sure it will ever completely disappear.

    Not sure if this helps any. I think part of the journey is knowing your triggers. You are obviously aware of this. One of the biggest things I've found is fearing fear is worse than the trigger. Not sure that makes sense, but happy to explore it further if you want to.

    4 people found this helpful

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up