For those of us living with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), setting boundaries is crucial. Crucial, but also difficult. Trauma survivors with PTSD are commonly plagued by feelings of guilt, shame, or worthlessness, which can make the idea of standing up and setting boundaries feel futile or terrifying. It gets especially difficult when people don't respect those PTSD-related boundaries, which is a pretty common experience. Boundaries are broken, forgotten, or ignored all the time. Having to set--and then later repeat--your personal boundaries is exhausting. Living with PTSD makes setting boundaries imperative.
Trauma! A PTSD Blog
Do you know how to explain posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experiences to your doctor? If you have difficulty speaking with your primary care provider about your PTSD, here are some ideas to help you explain how PTSD impacts you. Many people assume that primary care providers have experience working with individuals with PTSD, but often, primary care providers have a general knowledge of PTSD without any concrete understanding of how it impacts the daily life and health of their patients. This lack of knowledge is especially problematic when someone with PTSD avoids discussing his or her mental health with his or her medical provider. It is important to learn how to explain PTSD and its impact on your life to your doctor.
There are some false assumptions about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that people continue to make, and they make me want to hand out informational brochures on PTSD myths. Especially bothersome are the misconceptions rooted in PTSD stigma. Let's take a look at some of the more common examples of false assumptions about PTSD.
As an individual with complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and resulting low self-esteem, I can spend an exhaustive amount of time worrying about how others perceive me. Even though these worries are not the most rational when held up for inspection, they are so automatic that sometimes they slip right out before I have time to think about them. Here are some examples of how my low-self esteem manifests itself and what helps me fight the negativity, warped self-confidence and low self-esteem caused by my PTSD.
Many abuse survivors grapple with feelings of shame after abuse. When someone develops posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of her abuse, that shame can become a long-term problem. Shame after abuse doesn't have a rational basis, but even people who know it's irrational to feel shame over being abused can still experience it. Unfortunately, emotions don't always follow logic.
One of the things I find most frustrating about living with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the impact PTSD has on my sex drive. I am a private person, and sex is a decidedly personal issue for many people, so I've put this topic off many times. However, the problems that PTSD can bring to partners don't go away on their own, so let's explore the potential difficulties that PTSD symptoms can bring to a sexual relationship.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stigma is alive and well. If you have PTSD, you've probably heard someone tell you to "just get over" your trauma. Maybe it was a well-meaning friend or family member, like my father who was frightened by my suicidal ideations. Or maybe it was a less well-meaning stranger, like the rude New Yorker who recently commented on my blog telling me to, "Grow up and take responsibility for [my] life." Whether the statement comes from a place of love or PTSD stigma, it doesn't make sense. Here's why.
Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) and perfectionism often occur together. What drives someone with C-PTSD towards clinically significant perfectionism? Generally speaking, perfectionism becomes clinically significant when it results in an excessive or unrealistic need to perform to exceedingly high, self-imposed standards. The drive for perfection is so strong that it can interfere with work, education or relationships. For individuals with C-PTSD, the need for absolute excellence can become a means of dealing with fear and anxiety created by ongoing trauma. Let's examine how trauma drives these unrealistic expectations, and how to set more realistic goals.
Feeling helpless helps my trauma recovery? Yes--you read the title correctly. The subject of this article is helplessness as a form of healing. If that sounds completely counterintuitive to you, you're not alone. I'm sure that if I had come across an article making this same claim in the past, I would have labeled it as completely ludicrous. But hear me out. If you totally disagree, you can write out your counter-argument in the comments.
Do you ever feel like you're in a mental fog, you can't think straight, or as though you have to labor to access even the simplest thoughts? I feel this way often, and it used to make me panic, like I was losing my mental faculties. Then I realized that "mental fog," aka "brain fog," (not clinical terms) or confusion can actually result from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Triggers, stress, and anxiety can heighten feelings of mental fog--leaving those of us with PTSD feeling even more vulnerable and confused during the very moments when we most need to feel safe and in control.