Anxiety and Panic

Surprise Diagnoses

When I was diagnosed with PTSD at the beginning of the year, it came as a surprise to me. I’d gone to this psychologist for a potential BPD diagnosis. I walked out with not only that, but four years' worth of PTSD as well.

It was surprising because in these four years I’d not once thought about this disorder; it never even occurred to me. But as I thought about it, letting it sink in, things started making sense. And since the diagnosis, I’ve had to think about what happened. Because I really didn’t deal with it; I'm still having trouble figuring out where to go from here.
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General

Childhood Trauma: Overcoming the Hurt of Invalidation

“When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”
-- Brene Brown
I talk about my childhood trauma because I lived in denial for most of my life. I write about it because I didn’t understand what happened, why it happened, what it meant. I couldn't explain all these feelings of shame, depression, and disgust. As I grow to understand it better, I hope my writing can help other victims who feel lost and scour the internet for answers -- for a childhood they can relate to.
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Addiction

Understanding PTSD and its Effects on Marriage

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that occurs following a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault. Approximately eight percent of all people will experience PTSD at some point in their life. That number rises to about 30 percent for combat veterans.

Those suffering with PTSD may experience several different types of symptoms:

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Bullying

Recovering from Childhood Abuse: The Past Keeps Getting Clearer

In trauma recovery it is said, “You’ve done the hardest part -- you survived the abuse.”

After a year of accepting that I was sexually abused as a child, I’m finally starting to understand that recovery isn’t the hardest part. The shame is less automatic now, and the past is getting clearer.

As a child suffering abuse we don’t understand exactly what’s happening to us. Sex and sexuality is a mystery, so it’s not easy to recognize sexual abuse. Physical abuse is also confusing. We are tricked into thinking we’ve done something to deserve maltreatment. And in the end, we give in to this naive hope: “Everything is normal. No one would let abuse happen to me. I’m not in an unsafe situation.”
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Brain and Behavior

Compassion Fatigue in the Animal Welfare Community

Before becoming a psychotherapist, I had a career in animal welfare. I’ve worn both the boots and the sandals -- that’s jargon for working on the law enforcement side and the shelter side -- and I’ve seen my fair share of trauma.

Whether you’re a humane officer or a shelter volunteer, a vet tech or an animal rights activist, you have likely seen, heard about, or experienced things that most people can’t even begin to understand. Long-term exposure to abuse and neglect, euthanasia, and grief-stricken clients not only can affect your work productivity and satisfaction, but it can also wear on you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you feel like you care so much that it hurts, you may be struggling with compassion fatigue.
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Anxiety and Panic

How Media Shapes Our View of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Most people would consider an abuse victim as a person who experienced “trauma.” However people often don’t view them as potentially experiencing “post-traumatic stress disorder.” PTSD is more commonly thought of as a condition affecting combat veterans, but the number of civilians suffering from PTSD is 13 times more than military personnel, according to a release from Drexel University. So what gives? According to researchers at Drexel, the media plays a large role in what the general population and lawmakers associate with PTSD.

The Drexel study reviewed 35 years worth of articles on PTSD published in the New York Times -- from 1980, the year PTSD was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to 2015. Of 871 articles a little over 50 percent focused on military cases of PTSD. The occurrence of PTSD in veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan is 20 percent. But research shows the condition is far more likely to affect civilians who suffer sexual assault (30-80 percent of survivors), nonsexual assault (23–39 percent), survivors of disasters (30–40 percent), and car crashes (25–33 percent).
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Children and Teens

Helping Adult Children of Mentally Ill Mothers

I’m not a psychotherapist. But I’ve sat in front of one. It took me decades to find the chair in front of the psychotherapist and maybe that’s got something to do with me being the adult child of a schizophrenic mother.

I think it took me a long time to sit facing a psychotherapist because adult children of seriously mentally ill mothers are trained since they were young to believe three things:

Chaos and crises are normal.
The focus is not on me. The focus of care is on my mother.
Don’t speak too much about what goes on at home -- people don’t like it, it’s too much for them.

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Bipolar

Dealing with the Pressure to Succeed When You Have a Mental Illness

I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but I feel a constant need to succeed, and there are definite moments when I feel desperately overwhelmed with the amount of pressure I’ve put on myself.

For years I’ve had the goal of living in a mountain house surrounded by a large grove of trees. I’ve worked hard to try to get to that point, but here I am, still on Section 8, still receiving money from the government for my disability.

I’m frustrated and, at times, angry with myself for not being able to mentally do what I have to do to get to the point where I’m satisfied.
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Family

Child Abuse Survivors, Victims Need You to Talk About It

How do you recover from childhood abuse? Is healing possible? Will the shame ever go away? Will I always struggle with depression or anxiety?

These are important questions as we enter April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month. While the answers to these questions are different for everyone, sharing our stories can inspire hope and help other survivors heal.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” - Nelson Mandela
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