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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Complex PTSD

Topic: Complex PTSD

  1. Mara56
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    13 April 2020
    Hi, I'm new to this. I have complex PTSD as a result of multiple traumas including childhood sexual abuse, physical, mental & emotional abuse. My father was a violent alcoholic, mother psychologically disturbed, I was raped at 19, my first husband narcissistic, highly manipulative, controlling, possessive, emotionally, mentally abusive, controlled finances, also an alcoholic and eventually threatened violence. Second husband had depression and I believe PTSD. I carried the relationship emotionally and financially until it took a toll on my mental health. I've seen many counsellors over the years, some caused more damage because despite me telling them about my history they never connected that I had PTSD. Finally found a psychologist I could work with and after several years I got to an ok place, where I could coexist with the flashbacks without them overwhelming me. Then my son died, I worked so hard to give my children a happy, healthy childhood, losing my precious boy has devastated me in ways I can never adequately express. 6 years later I met another man, for most part a good man and things were ok until I started having problems with my health. I've had multiple surgeries, too many to count. The last surgery, was horrific. The treatment I received in hospital triggered so much stuff from my past. When I've dealt with trauma in the past, I have had the benefit of compartmentalisation, as a result of what happened to me in hospital, I seem to have lost the ability to compartmentalise. The past 16 months have been a nightmare. My anxiety is through the roof, and the lows have been frightening at times. I have gone back to regular sessions. But as I've dealt with most of my past, except for my father, I have blocked out a lot of my memories around him. I am starting to wonder whether I need to just accept that this is me, I have complex PTSD and that anxiety, flashbacks, depression, insomnia are all part of it. But when I think that there is nothing I can do to change it.......... I go to a very dark place. I have told very few people in my life that I have PTSD and only a handful of people know about my past. I am conscious it's a lot for people to get their heads around. I'm hoping to connect with other people with PTSD, I feel very alone in it sometimes and I'm interested to hear how other people manage their PTSD. Many thanks
    3 people found this helpful
  2. Croix
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    14 April 2020 in reply to Mara56

    Dear Mara56~

    I'd like to welcome you here, my heart goes out to you when I read how hard a life you have had, getting the most horrible of situations, abuse as a child, lack of support from an alcoholic mother at the time, rape, and a highly abusive first husband. Then supporting a second, followed by the death of your boy. To cap it off physical problems and hospitalization.

    I'm not sure from your post if the last man, the mostly good one, stayed around.

    OK, it is small wonder you have gotten worse and all your symptoms ramped up to a peak.

    I can only give you a few words about my own story, which has a mostly happy ending. Yes you are in a bind BUT the real you is still inside, and as you proved before, you are capable of very great improvement, plus there are medical professionals who "get it" and genuinely help.

    Lastly there are good loving steadfast partners.

    MY PTSD, depression and anxiety did not come from the same sources a yours, but the symptoms sound much the same, plus, like you I lost someone closest to my heart.

    I guess I was luckier and after being suicidal for some time told my partner, and then had a series of medical professionals until I got a psychiatrist who understood, and when he moved I got another.

    Being overwhelmed by past events, sleeplessness and nightmares, thinking that is too heavily influenced by the past are all still there, but their force has been much muted, I avoid obvious triggers and live a pretty good life. When my first partner died I married again -to a widow, and was blessed with another strong understanding partner. I rely upon here for perspective, she relies on me for other things.

    So no I honestly don't think you have to accept the real you is locked away forever, masked by the injuries life has given you. In time, with support you can heal. That does not mean the grief over your son will leave, he will always be part of your life, but in time only part, like my first wife.

    You have love inside you -for your kids -you do not tread them badly as you were treated badly yourself, you rose above that. You avoided the drink, you expect marriage to be good, you have the fortitude to take what life had handed you and simply need to believe there is hope, which I'm trying to give you.

    Although we are not identical I understand a lot of what you feel, you are welcome to talk here anytime.

    Croix

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  3. Mara56
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    14 April 2020 in reply to Croix
    Thank you Croix, I really appreciate you replying to my post. I feel so alone in it sometimes. In reply to your query, yes the good guy stuck around. He knows about my past but I honestly don't believe he fully understands, how can he? I think what has been so hard for me in the past 16 months is the fact that I had reached a place very similar to where you're at. I was at peace, the flashbacks where there but not controlling my life. When it all got triggered again...... I'll be honest I was suicidal. And because I have been so good for so long, it took several months before my psychologist realised how bad I was. It doesn't help that as a result of the PTSD, I can't always adequately express what it is I'm feeling. It came to a head late Feb and I had to let my husband know that I wasn't safe. It was then that the psychologist realised where I was at. I saw 2 different psychiatrists years ago but they didn't work for me. My metabolism is such that anti-depressants and anxiety medications cause me horrendous migraines. I have an excellent psychologist, as I say it's just taken him a while this time to join the dots. I am so grateful you replied to my post. I was worried I had put it in the wrong section. I know your PTSD is from other causes, but it really helps to talk to someone else who understands what it's like. It's so hard sometimes when I'm out socially with friends and they're talking about their childhoods and how happy they were, and I feel like I can't say what my experience was like. In recent months I have told a couple of very close friends I have PTSD, which is huge for me. Well I'll think I'll leave it there because I'm going to run out of characters. Thank you once again for taking the time to reply. Kind regards
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  4. Croix
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    16 April 2020 in reply to Mara56

    Dear Mara~

    When my first wife died my conditon became much worse, and I was suicidal again, however that is no longer the case, I had inside me a person who is able to cope - not beat - but cope and give to others as well as take. You have a similar person inside you.

    Of course it is discouraging to seem to be back at square one -but that simply is not the case. You have the memories of great improvement and the methods you used to get there. Traveling the same road again is going to be a lot quicker and you will go further, and be more capable. I am more capable now after my fall-backs.

    I'd delighted you told your husband, firstly to ask for help (even if not in those words) is the most important step. I was like you and could not talk of suicidality, but eventually did -desperation I guess. I'm also delighted it was your husband you told, I would think there is some trust there -am I right?

    The vast majority of the people in the world will not understand, even if they happen to be kindly and well meaning. So I guess you swap trivia with them and talk of experiences with those that have been there too.

    I do not beleive complete understanding is necessary, just love and commitment. My wife did not know what was in my head, but though trial and error found out what helped me -a difficult task as I was inconsistent in my responses. I am very blessed. I'll mention that to start off with she felt to blame, but after having my symptoms explained by my psych had the confidence to realise it was not her.

    Please let me now how you are getting on

    Croix

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  5. Mara56
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    16 April 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    Appreciate you staying in touch. I honestly don’t have anyone in my life apart from my psych who understands what it’s like to have PTSD, so it is good to be able to talk to someone who does.

    I have to say reading your last message you reminded me of my psychologist. He keeps trying to remind me that I’ve got through this before. Earlier this week I started to believe him. Then yesterday my anxiety went through the roof. We’ve had our house on the market but with the whole Covid 19 we decided earlier this week to take it off the market. The last 6 months have been dreadful for me anxiety wise, I just don’t seem to be able to cope with stress or chaos. Whilst the anxiety has still been there especially at night, it seemed to be slowly improving. Then late yesterday the real estate agent messaged to say he had someone who wants to view the property. My anxiety went through the roof. The lack of sleep is killing me at the moment. And my startle reflex is so sharp, sometimes it feels like I’m going to have a heart attack. Every time I jump it scares my husband but I can’t stop it. I was wondering if you had any advice around easing the startle reflex.

    I do trust my husband. Mind when I was suicidal 6 weeks ago it was so hard to tell, but he mentioned being worried about me. He’s a good man and I’m fortunate to have found him.

    It sounds like you have found a really good woman. You give me hope Coix that I’ll level out again.

    Thank you once again for replying to me. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to talk to someone who understands.

    Take care and stay safe.

    Mara

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  6. Croix
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    17 April 2020 in reply to Mara56

    Dear Mara~

    I wish had all the answers, in fact I sometime am not entirely sure why I go up or down, I guess it just happens. Still as I said there is no comparison now.

    I did not reply straight away because I wanted to think about your startle reflex. Mine quietened down and I think the reason for that was, at least in part because if my partner realized she or something else had triggered me then she would spend a little while trying to make the next few minutes as pleasant as possible. Over time I think this sunk in my brain - to some extent anyway.

    You are right, I did find a realy good woman, or she found me. I owed her a lot. Later on I was able to look after her, something I'll always be grateful to have had the opportunity to do.

    Sleep, well have you discussed this with your doctor? There are sometime meds the might help (particularly with the nightmares) however everyone is different.

    If I sound like your psych that is because even to a layman it is obvious that you have overcome once, and are still the same person, though more experienced and thus stronger.

    Yes I'm taking care, sitting in front of my wood fire listening to the wind outside, with Sumo Cat supervising. I hope to hear from you when you can

    Croix

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  7. Mara56
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    19 April 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    I replied to your last post but not sure why my reply hasn’t been posted yet. I’ll give it till tomorrow and if it hasn’t appeared by then I’ll redo it.

    In the meantime stay safe.

    Regards

    Mara

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  8. Mara56
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    19 April 2020 in reply to Mara56

    Hi Croix,

    Not sure what is happening, it appears my internet is struggling with Beyond Blues website. Anyway it appears my reply to your post yesterday went missing so I'll try and redo now.

    I'm pleased to hear that you have an understanding partner. It certainly sounds like between you, you have come up with a strategy to manage your startle reflex. Mine has also been sharp but recently even more so. I have to admit it has scared my husband at times. I have promised him that I will discuss my "jumpiness" as he calls it, with my psychologist, this week.

    I know what you mean about not knowing what causes you to go up and down. I know for myself, it is not always easy to identify one single thing, it seems to me to be a slow decline, then before I know it the flashbacks are back. The nightmares never go away. I'm trying really hard at the moment to just accept that these are the scars of my past trauma. I think sometimes my increased anxiety is due to me fighting internally against them.

    In relation to medication, I wish I could take meds. Unfortunately, I have terrible reactions to a lot of medications. I get horrendous migraines from them. I have tried so many over the years and it is always the same reaction. I can't take painkillers either. One of the many reasons surgery is incredibly traumatic for me is because I can't take painkillers. I will talk to my psych about my insomnia but from experience, eventually I will settle again. It's just rough when I'm in one of these periods.

    Your wife sounds like a gem! So glad you have a supportive partner, it makes all the difference I reckon.

    Loved your comment about Sumo cat supervising you. I use to have a big fat Garfield type cat. Sadly, he died 18 months ago. I plan to get a dog when we eventually shift. I miss having a pet. They give you so much comfort I reckon.

    I don't know if I have covered everything I said in my missing post but I feel I've got the gist of it. I do want to say once again that I really appreciate you taking the time to reply to my previous post. It helps a lot being able to talk to someone who understands what I'm experiencing.

    Take care and stay safe

    Mara

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  9. Croix
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    19 April 2020 in reply to Mara56

    Dear Mara~

    Sometimes the internet does swallow a post and one has to re-do it

    Not being able to take meds is horrible, I rely on mine for pain control as well as the MH issues. You must be very tough to deal with that. I'm not sure I could day in day out

    Perhaps you can intend for your startle reflex always be followed by a more pleasant moment, if your husband is too shocked maybe you can plan on always doing something minor but comforting for him yourself - does not have to be a big deal, just practice

    Getting anxious about your capacity to improve is understandable, though I believe misplaced, and does make things worse. It diminishes the hope to which you are entitled. I've worried along the same lines in the past, particularly if I felt there was no improvement or was going backwards. Happily it does improve, even if in fits and starts. Please do not be discouraged

    Thinking back on my wife's first reactions, she blamed herself for how I was, believing she had been in some way responsible. This of course meant whenever my symptoms ramped up she would be more upset and guilty. However after things were explained in detail to her by my psychiatrist she was able to accept they were symptoms of the illness and not feel guilty or that they were aimed at her in particular

    In fact that knowledge gave her the self-confidence to really help (as much as one can).

    I've no remedy for nightmares, with the exception I tend to wake with then very fresh and if I just lie there they linger and almost take on a life of their own, so I get up straight away. I may go back to bed shortly after, the chain of thoughts broken.

    I have found between time and experience becoming locked in the past is so much less compelling or frequent. It can get worse either from a specific trigger ( a particular smell for instance) or just becuse my general stress level is higher. Even so not the monster it might have been once.

    Pets make a house into a home, and I'm pleased you are thinking of another, they give love and demand responsibility and routine. If you would like to know how Sumo Cat got his name have a read here:

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/permalink/qltLoXHzvGGEbv8AAOnT_A

    It's part of my Happy Memories thread where anyone can read the fragments of happy memories of others as well as any they have written down themselves. It's open to everyone, the only rule being not writing of dark matters, there's enough of those in Real Life™ already

    Croix

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  10. Mara56
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    19 April 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    I think my technology problem has to do with my ipad. I don't seem to have a problem posting from the pc.

    I'm not going to lie it is incredibly tough not being able to take meds. This is part of the reason why surgery has been so traumatic for me. I do have a high pain tolerance because I basically have to white knuckle my way through pain, but given I have an auto-immune disorder that loves attacking my joints........ it sucks sometimes only being able to take, not sure if I can mention the name, but you can buy it from the supermarket, and people give the liquid form to their children when their sick, pretty sure you'll be able to join the dots.

    Will definitely try your suggestion of following the startle reflex with something pleasurable. I will give that one some thought.

    You are so right about the anxiety. I have hated being back here again. My therapist said something at my last session in relation to confronting people he said "you have done this before, you doubt your ability sometimes but you have done this before" Those words have stayed with me. My mood has been up, down and all over the place since my last session but I keep coming back to his words. I have done this before and I will get through it.

    That's sad that your wife blamed herself for your symptoms. So glad your psychiatrist was able to explain things to her. I plan on having some sessions with my husband, once all this Covid 19 isolation ends. Hopefully my therapist will be able to explain things to my husband so he doesn't panic when I jump at the slightest sound.

    I'm like you, I tend to get up as soon as I wake up. I find writing my nightmares down helps. I've got quite good at analysing them. And I know they are definitely worse when I'm stressed as are all my symptoms.

    I tried to look up your Happy Memories thread but it bought up thousands of links and I couldn't see your post. I will try to look through it once more and see if I can find the story of Sumo Cat. He sounds like a super hero.

    Well Croix I"ll leave it there, it's 12.20pm here and I'm going to go and try and get some sleep.

    Take care

    Mara

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  11. Croix
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    21 April 2020 in reply to Mara56

    Dear Mara

    That link should have brought up my 31January 2017 Post from near the start of the thread

    Staying well / Store Your Happy Memories Here:

    which you can navigate to by hand, I think you will enjoy it.

    I did try writing down my nightmares, however seemed to get stuck after the first few words, and reverted to thinking about the dream, I guess I could not concentrate enough. As for analyzing, I don't really know, most seem to be tied in some way to past experiences, unfortunately not the nice ones, and I've not tried to analyze them so much as drive them away.

    Now that tele-health is bulk-billed perhaps your psych might have a talk to your husband abut symptoms with a minimum of fuss, probably can't hurt if you were OK with that.

    I think the most comforting and strengthening thing of the lot is "been thought this before, still here"

    Croix

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  12. Mara56
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    21 April 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    I will definitely look up your post on Sumo Cat 🐱

    I know what you mean about the nightmares being tied to past experiences. I can certainly relate to that. My girlfriend told me the other night that she dreamt we were making gingerbread. All I could think of was how nice it would be to dream of something pleasant like that. Needless to say I didn’t tell her what I dreamt about that night, I only inflict those on my psych.

    Re: the telehealth sessions. I am not covered. I used all 10 sessions on my MHP before the Coronavirus hit. My psych thought they were going to extend the amount of sessions due to the virus but so far they haven’t. My psych has reduced his fee for me but because of our current financial situation I’ve had to spin out my sessions. Not ideal at the moment but nothing I can do about it. I thought offering the 10 telehealth sessions during this period was a great initiative of the Govt. I know a lot of people’s mental health is suffering. What I don’t get, is that they are ignoring people who already have a mental health issue. To me logically, if the current situation is affecting people who previously didn’t have a mental health issue then it stands to reason that those that were suffering beforehand and going to be impacted further during this period. Sorry for the rant. It’s just something I feel passionately about.

    My mantra this week has been “I’ve been here before and I got through it, I’ll get through this”

    Thank you once again Croix, your communications have helped me heaps this week.

    I’m going hunting now to find out the origins of Sumo Cat 😁

    Cheers

    Mara

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  13. Croix
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    15 May 2020 in reply to Mara56

    Dear Mara~

    It's been a little while since we last spoke and I was wondering how you are getting on. I am disappointment telehealth does not cover you, I've no idea why, but looking for logic and commonsense from the government is probably being a little hopeful.

    Trying to deal with someone who has nightmares, flashbacks and a startle reflex is a state that may require it's own support. Maybe your husband might benefit from a chat with a GP or therapist too.

    I do know when waking from a nightmare and getting up there is comfort in someone else also getting up and heating the milk for a soothing drink. (Hard on the partner of course)

    Giving a partners a hard time in that manner can seem to leave you with a big dept. That should not really be a bar. I found firstly there have been ways during the day to repay the care and effort, even if it is only bringing a cuppa when they are busy. When they are ill too is another time when the roles are reversed -as I found.

    I'm sorry you lost your Garfield type puss. Is there any hope of getting a dog sooner?

    https://assistancedogsinternational.org/

    has information on therapy dogs in Australia, which are -as far as I know -free in some states like NSW. They may however have a waiting list. One advantage is in some states they exempt a landlord's no pets rule.

    I hope you find that post on Sumo Cat (he might be offended otherwise as he is the star:). As usual he is 'busy' beside me, enjoying the warmth of the fire on top of his special furry blanket. Actually his fur is plain nuisance, get on clothes all the time.

    With dreams, I may in fact have good ones, gingerbread and all, who knows? However for some unfair reason it is only the bad ones I remember.

    While not allowed to talk abut specific meds here I wonder if you have explored all avenues of the less conservative prescriptions? That is how my psych found mine.

    Croix

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  14. Mara56
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    15 May 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    Lovely to hear from you. You must be psychic, I'm not having a particularly good day today. That said, up till today, I have been travelling better that I have for a while. I had a break thorough with my psychologist at our last session, a bit over a week ago. After a lifetime of trying to deal with all the trauma I've experienced, I've finally reached anger which my therapist assures me is a good thing. What I've noticed is that in acknowledging the justifiable rage, my anxiety has reduced, which is a real bonus.

    Isolation has in many ways been good for my husband and I. Your suggestion of taking him to one of my sessions is a good one. I've already discussed it with my psychologist, I'm just waiting for him to return to doing sessions in his office. I would feel better having a joint session there, rather than using telehealth.

    I used all my sessions on my mental health plan by early March. It is testament to how tough this last 12 months has been for me that I've used them up already. I was hoping and praying that when they announced the increased funding for Mental Health today that they would increase the number of sessions available to 20. I know the Psychology associations have been lobbying for it, but it appears that won't be happening, unless I heard incorrectly and I'm pretty sure I didn't. It just makes me angry that they don't consider that people with a mental health problem might need extra sessions as a result of Covid 19.

    I'm just so frustrated at the minute. It has taken me years to get to this place in therapy and I'm worried I won't be able to continue much longer. My psychologist has reduced his fee but it's still a struggle, and once the my health fund coverage runs out........

    I read your Sumo cat story and he sounds a real character. Thank for the information about assistance dogs. I don't live in NSW and I'm not sure if they are in my state but I will do some investigation. Mind, it would be unfair to have a dog in this house as we don't really have a backyard. One of the many reasons, I wish this house would sell. I just want to get settled and I really want a dog.

    Re: the drugs, I honestly have tried pretty much everything. I currently take one tablet of a very old brand of anti-depressant. It doesn't do much but it's the only one I seem to be able to tolerate. I was taking a larger dose and another medication but they caused a heart problem which took 2 years to sort.

    I do appreciate your post Croix.

    Thanking you

    Mara

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  15. Croix
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    16 May 2020 in reply to Mara56

    Der Mara

    It is good to talk wiht you again, and by and large I think you have made a very significant step, even inf your psych visits go right down, I'm also glad you said hello to Ecomama

    I doubt you are gong to slip back, just the usual ups and downs, you are a different person now.

    That step is the anger of course. It was so easy to blame myself for all that went wrong, despite logical assurances to the contrary. I'm normally both before my illness and now, a reasonably mild mannered person (though isolation is taking its toll:) I rarely had an outburst, and that quickly went away.

    Still I did become angry, at a management that used people up in what appeared to me a cynical manner, with tricks to reduce income whilst wanting more work, more shifts. If there were facilities to assist mental heath I never heard of them, and after I was invalided out I never remember receiving any visits or other contact.

    And that made me angry, a long sustained anger that has only gone after years. This helped keep me alive, digging my heels in as suicide and trying harder at study -a great factor in my improvement,

    So can I suggest you foster that anger, it places the responsibility for your condition on others, not yourself.

    As for drugs, I take one A/D so old it's not listed in the drug book in the ED when I've had to go in, and the other so off-beat as to cause them to argue -go figure.. It is a combo that works better than anything else I've tried (which has been lots).

    Croix

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  16. Mara56
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    16 May 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    Lovely to hear from you again.

    Croix, you are absolutely right about anger being a good thing in relation to putting the responsibility on to the perpetrators of the abuse. Since I’ve started accessing it, I feel so much lighter and any suicidal thoughts I had, have gone which is a relief.

    I totally understand what you’re saying in relation to blaming yourself. My whole life, I have done just that. I’ve have said to my psychologist many times that intellectually I know that none of what happened was my fault. But knowing and feeling are two different things. It’s good to put the blame where it belongs.

    It sounds like your previous work environment was very toxic. It can be soul destroying working in that kind of atmosphere.

    It takes a lot of courage to reach out for help, it is testament to your strength that you sought help for yourself. And now as a result of the work you have done, you are such a support to so many others including myself and Ecomama, and I’m sure many others on this forum.

    For myself, I was happy to offer support to Ecomama. If I can help anyone on this journey, I’m happy to do so.

    The A/D you’re on sounds like similar to one I’m on, very few Drs I’ve seen have heard of the one I’m on. I’m glad the combination you’re on works for you.

    Thank you once again for all your support.

    Take care

    Mara

    I have never felt anger in my life till recently. I’ve experienced frustration but not anger. I’m sorry I didn’t mention what it is I feel rage about, it has only been in the last few months that I’ve told some close friends about the abuse, I hadn’t even told my GP till this year. My husband, psychologist, and previous counsellors I’ve seen are the only ones who know.


    Like Croix I blamed myself for everything that happened to me.

    Take care
    Mara

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  17. Mara56
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    16 May 2020 in reply to Mara56

    Sorry Croix, the couple of paragraphs after the ending of my message to you were meant to go on my message to Ecomama. I copied some of the info I messaged to Ecomama to put in your message and planned to delete what didn’t relate specifically to you. Unfortunately I must have missed those couple of paragraphs. Oh well, I guess that’s what happens when you don’t sleep for months 😂

    Take care

    Mara

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  18. Croix
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    Croix avatar
    10950 posts
    17 May 2020 in reply to Mara56

    Dear Mara~

    That fact you have left behind something you intended for Ecomama is not a worry. As I have just said to both of you in her thread I'm most pleased you are in contact. Complete understanding, and validation of what you have felt and done is only realy provided by someone with very similar experience. The building that is going on is a tribute to you both.

    I guess it also gives you both more perspective -and hopefully encouragement, even if you only know each other for a brief while.

    I've never managed the forgiveness bit, I guess both of you may be closer to it than me. The environment was toxic, and not just 'customers' and senor management. I guess at least it is all well in the past now.

    As for the courage to reach out, it is easier if you reach toward a safe haven, and that is what my wife struggled to provide despite my words and actions.

    I know you may be worried about accessing therapy, while I'm not denying it is needed, I do think you need it less now than before -at least for a while - and will sort thought it.

    Croix

    .

    1 person found this helpful
  19. Guest_1643
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    17 May 2020

    Hi mara, croix, and ecomama and to any people reading :)

    Just wanted to chime in about the anger, if that's okay.
    I feel the same Mara, i had anger at myself and suicidal feelings, but as I am leting myself be angry at my abusers, the self-hatred is moving a little.
    I am angry at them, and not seeing myself at blame.

    It's very frustrating to feel limited by the ten sessions, and even wit reduced fees I can understand you that it is a financial stress. I hope you find a way to get support, and that the tools you gained in the time you had are still useful. Just like you, I have just finished my 10 sessions.... and making the next move

    Hope you are well and had a good weekend

    2 people found this helpful
  20. Mara56
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    17 May 2020 in reply to Croix

    Dear Croix,

    You’re positive support and affirming responses are appreciated more than you can know.

    I agree with you in relation to Ecomama and my journey being similar. It certainly does help being able to chat to someone who understands what you’re going through. That said, I cannot stress how important your responses have been to me. Your positivity has helped keep me afloat during a very stressful time.

    I’m with you on forgiveness. I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive the people that abused me. I’ve been told that forgiveness is more about you than them but even so...... I can’t see me forgiving anyone any time soon.

    Re: the therapy, I feel like the last fortnight is the most stable I’ve been in a while. I really don’t want to drop the frequency of my sessions for a while. I just keep hoping that financially things will start to improve soon.

    Take care Croix

    Cheers

    Mara

    1 person found this helpful
  21. Mara56
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    17 May 2020 in reply to Guest_1643

    Hi Sleepy 21,

    Thank you for your post.

    I am so pleased to hear that you are putting the anger where it belongs. My psychologist has been telling me for years that anger is healthy but I was frightened of it and also struggled to access it. Turning it on myself was so destructive. It feels so much better focusing it out where it belongs. It takes courage to that and good for you for finding that courage.

    Thank for your kind words re: the sessions. I agree with you, 10 sessions isn’t enough. It has taken me years to get to this point and just when I get there my financial circumstances go downhill. I was really hoping that when they announced the increase in funding for mental health last week, that they would increase the number of sessions. I don’t begrudge the programs that have received funding but I was really angry that they had hadn’t increased the number of sessions on the MHP. Dealing with past traumas is hard enough but trying to deal with them during a pandemic is incredibly difficult.

    Good luck with making your next move. I hope you find a way to keep going with your therapy.

    Take care

    Mara

    2 people found this helpful
  22. ecomama
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    ecomama avatar
    4567 posts
    17 May 2020 in reply to Mara56

    Hi Mara and everyone

    So has the govt made their decision, for now, not to increase MHCP beyond 10?
    I thought that some GPs could add another 5 after the initial 10. The reason I'm saying this, is because that's what my GPs receptionist told me a few days ago.

    I'm just letting things roll atm because I haven't begun my first session, so trying to stay calm over this.

    It is disappointing if they can't be extended. If the govt truly understood that ongoing support makes an individual 'better' but in turn it contributes to the entire community 'feeling better'.

    So many of us have families that depend upon us and work too, where people may depend upon us.

    Also those of us who have taken ourselves out of most of society and possibly feel 'marginalised'. Ongoing support could help us re-engage in society.

    Basically all contribute to a happier and healthier society. Being 'commercially productive' is a by product but it's an end product too for some. I don't like to think of us being a 'commodity'. I'm grateful for the support regardless atm because I'm at the start of a new 'leg' of my MH journey if you will. Dealing with the future too much creates anxiety which I'm trying to avoid.

    I wish you all well.
    EM

    1 person found this helpful
  23. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    17 May 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Your GP has the ability to give someone an extra five visits on their MHCP. I think some GP may not realise this and it may be they need to justify the additional visits in some way. Not sure about this. The bottom line is that you can have up to 15 psychology visits per year on the MHCP.

    If anyone feels they need these visits then ask your GP who can facilitate this. If they do not know these are available then ask the GP to clarify with Medicare.

    Mary

  24. Mara56
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    18 May 2020 in reply to White Rose

    Hi White Rose (Mary),

    I spoke to the GP and also my psychologist and they both indicated that you could only have 10 sessions.

    I also read an article recently in relation to the various psychologist associations lobbying Govt to increase the number of sessions to 20. In that article the associations stated that they were only 10 currently available. I spent ages searching Medicare for information weeks ago and the only information I could find indicated that you could only have 10 sessions.

    If it's possible to get 15 sessions that would be amazing. Appreciate it if you could let me know where on the Medicare website I can get information in relation to this.

    Many thanks

    Mara

  25. Guest_1643
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    18 May 2020

    hi mara,

    it would be really good if they increased the sessions to 20, agreed

    It doesn't seem to be happening or clear?
    I didn't connect so much with the psychologist anyway so I am okay to move on but I do feel I kind of wasted my ten sessions with him.
    Thanks again mara , i really appreciated your comments on properly directing anger.
    I've never even be able to see that this could be helpful, and I always felt guilty for having anger towards my abusers.
    I tried to suppress it.
    Now I'm very much okay with anger (of that kind) and I really appreciate your insight and understanding about this.
    We are always taught to forgive and forget, I think we need to be taught that anger can be self-protecting and appropriate and normal

    2 people found this helpful
  26. Mara56
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    18 May 2020 in reply to Guest_1643

    Hi Sleepy 21,

    I totally agree with you in relation to the importance of being taught that anger can be self-protecting and appropriate. My psychologist has been trying to tell me that for years. Anger always terrified me. I grew up with very angry parents, I won't go into it but suffice to say, it was not safe as a child to express anger. My Complex PTSD often prevents me from even knowing what it is I'm feeling. I have to say though to finally reach a place where I can direct the anger where it belongs, well it is a relief.

    I was really hoping and praying that they would increase the sessions to 20. Financially I'm in a really tight place at the minute, the frustrating bit for me is that I have taken years to get to this point and I'm finally here and I can't afford to continue seeing my therapist on a regular basis. My psychologist has been awesome, he reduced his fee by a $100 but even then it's still more than I can afford.

    Don't be disheartened if you didn't connect with the psychologist you were seeing. I actually have seen 14 assorted psychologists and counsellors in my journey. It took years for me to find the right one. The one I'm seeing trains counsellors for various counselling services. I knew the first time I saw him that he was the one that could help me.

    I'm glad you could connect to my post. I appreciated your reply.

    Take care

    Mara

    3 people found this helpful
  27. Guest_7403
    Guest_7403 avatar
    411 posts
    18 May 2020 in reply to Mara56
    Hi Mara,

    Apologies i haven't read your entire thread, but I noticed the part where you said you've tried pretty much every medication to not see any positive effects.

    I too have cptsd and have trialled every med under the sun, but I recently had two weeks in a mental hospital to trial a drug under supervision and it has certainly improved my quality of life and cleared my head.

    Obviously we can't name prescription meds on here, but may I suggest the next time you are with your psychiatrist discussing the options for stimulant medication as opposed to anti depressents and sedatives
    2 people found this helpful
  28. ecomama
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    ecomama avatar
    4567 posts
    18 May 2020 in reply to Mara56

    OH here you are Mara! So nice to have found you (lol).

    How are you today dear lady?

    I've just read through your entire thread & feel IDK ...… A-MAZED. Do you remember that child's card game 'snap'? Well SNAP.

    As I suspected in your posts on my thread, reading here now, confirms that you & I have far more in common than C-PTSD. I'm typing so fast that I keep making typos. I'm actually excited (and that's rare these days!). I hope anything I post can give you hope.

    We've already connected on childhood. Plus Counselling denied as a child. snap.

    Marriages. snap.
    No meds because of physiology. snap.
    Physical pain. snap. A wheelchair had been mentioned more than once.
    Surgeries & less than kind surgeons. snap.
    Nightmares of past events. snap. (add children's nightmares)
    Startle reflex. snap.
    The dominoes seem to be falling in a line.

    I've managed a lot of the issues you've mentioned, not perfectly lol just 'well', as observed BUT I truly want to be free from the emotional reactions I have with some flashbacks now. Adding new memories recently & a situation you described with your parents looming .... I'm sure one such thing was not feeling so alone in C-PTSD as I have, which lead us to connect.

    Over the decades I've had support from registered Health professionals, such as; chiropractor, counsellors, psychologists, hypnotherapist, acupuncturist, herbalists, more. Some quite 'alternative' therapies in addition.

    I found a Course available for victims of DV and FV called 'Breaking Free' worth so much but free. Groups are facilitated by qualified counsellors with training in DV. The course was brilliant. The counsellors know that participants can trigger and they, in person, coach you through that. You may want to look into these in your area? I wasn't alone in DV, but moving through the next few years I was extended beyond myself with reporting & Courts.

    From this Course I was linked in with other supports.... one was Uniting Care. I'm mentioning this because they do counselling on a 'sliding scale' for payments. The Counsellor can apply for free sessions for you. I've had the same counsellor for years & she totally "gets' everything. She's given me awesome strategies. I'm keeping her sessions going as I go into Specialist Trauma Psychological therapy. She has agreed to be something like a professional sounding board for me between the psych visits.

    Probably TMI, can you relate to anything that might help?

    Love EM

  29. Mara56
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    223 posts
    18 May 2020 in reply to Guest_7403

    Hi Borderline,

    Thank you for the information in relation to the new med you’re on. I don’t currently see a psychiatrist. I had such a terrible time with medication, and the psychiatrist really respects the psychologist I see, so we mutually decided to discontinue my appointments with her.

    Mind I will definitely keep in mind the information you’ve just given to and I’ll run it past my GP to see if she thinks it’s worth me seeing the psychiatrist again.

  30. Mara56
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    223 posts
    18 May 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Hi Ecomama,

    Lovely to hear from you.

    We certainly sound like peas in a pod. Lol.

    I have literally seen the same types of allied professionals as you have. It sounds like you’re as driven as I am to reclaim your life. My mantra has always been “they stole my childhood and large chunk of my adult life. I’ll be damn if I let them have my whole life!”

    I know what you mean about the emotional reactions to the flashbacks. They are horrible. The EMDR should help with that. It is definitely helping me.

    I’ve done a search for Breaking Free in my area but I couldn’t find them. I will do a more thorough search tomorrow.

    Thank you for the information in relation to Uniting Care. The psychologist I see trains their counsellors. I honestly don’t think I could see another therapist. I have seen 14 therapists over the years. The first place I went to was similar to Uniting Care in so much as they charged very little. Unfortunately, they didn’t realise I had PTSD. How they missed it is beyond me and a question I put to two of the therapist I saw there, when I caught up with them a few years back. Because they didn’t pick it up they put me in a large group of women who had experienced different traumas. Only problem was every time someone talked about their trauma I was triggered. I was in the group for 3 years. It was trauma in itself and it complicated my process. Destroyed what little trust I had and made the whole process so much harder. As much as I’m able to trust, I trust my psychologist. He really knows what he’s doing and I feel safe with him.

    I am so glad we connected. It helps heaps knowing I’m not alone in this, that you understand what I’m going through.

    Thank you for the information in relation to Breaking Free.

    Take care

    Mara

    2 people found this helpful

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