PTSD and me

In retrospect I now know I have had PTSD for a long time. I was diagnosed officially about three years ago after years of abuse. 

I have since had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for trauma and it helped so much. So much so that I felt the urge to pay it foward. Watch this page of my blog in may for my "effort" and some party pictures!

This section of my blog will be dedicated to PTSD education. Myth busting. And some random interesting stuff. Watch out for guest posts!

PTSD video

So..as you can see I have made a video with solent NHS trust and Southampton University about...PTSD! I will be posting a link to the short documentary after its offcial first screening.

I hope it helps some of my readers, hi guys! There are about to be more of you, it was going to be for a certain reason but ah well...things change, and the change of plans if that I have secured funding to REALLY advertise this blog! To the whole of my area and beyond! This is so exciting as it means I can reach an even bigger audience with more freedom to talk!

This category will be dedicated to a bit more of my recovery story. Plus in the furture..some more videos! They are about to start popping up all over my blog!! 

This blog itself is part of my recovery, I came by PTSD via abuse and telling my story, taking the narrative and control back, is also testament to how far I have come. 

This is all for you guys and I hope it assists some of you, because talking about this stuff isn't easy for me, but part of recovery is finding meaning and purpose and for me turning my traumatizing experinces into something good and useful for others is part of that, as is the other advocacy I am getting involved with.

Panic!

Video News!

Things I do have this tendancy to get out of hand..I don't know how this happens but it always does...

So.

mental health week is the 13th 19th may.

My PTSD video will be screening on the big screen in 

Guildhall Square

Portsmouth

UK

PO1 2AB

 

for the whole of mental health week.

cue every other person squinting and saying "do I know you?" Whenever I go out in my city! But I really hope it gets more people into treatment. 

This year mental health week focuses on body image.

please find an interactive pack by copying and pasting the link below into your browser.

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/MHF_MHAW19_BodyImage_SupporterPack_INTERACTIVE_LO.pdf

Common symptoms of PTSD

 

Common symptoms include

hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)

upsetting memories of the event

reckless behavior

feeling like the event is happening again

self-destructive behavior

feeling jumpy

frequent nightmares

feelings of distress when reminded of the event

angry outbursts

intense physical reactions to reminders of the trauma

avoiding activities which remind you of the trauma

insomnia (sleep problems)

a sense of a limited future

feeling detached from others

a loss of interest in life in general

inability to remember important aspects of the event.

 

If you believe you have a number of these symptoms you may have a trauma related disorder such as C-ptsd or Ptsd.

your doctor can help you access the correct support and services.

Smear tests and PTSD

For women without trauma in their backgrounds smear tests feel invasive and embarassing for most. But for those with a background of trauma they can be retraumtising and violating.

Some of the things people say to "encourage" people to go aren't helpful to trauma sufferers at all. Like "you would get it out for a man" and "women get waxed all the time,its no different". But for trauma sufferers many DON'T at any rate "get it out" for men they don't know well, and being in a vulnerable, exposed circumstance is terrifying even if they do. Terrifying enough not to go at all, which places a woman under mental duress also in the reach of real physical harm.

However all is not lost! I have found ways to cope with mine,  I go on schedule now, and don't think its not hard for me. Smears are very difficult for me and even if I do allll of the things Im about to list I still feel icky afterward. BUT I go.

smear test coping strategies

Ask for a double appointment (this way things don't have to be rushed. If you need to wait a few minutes here and there because you feel extremely triggered you have that extra breathing room)

wear headphones and play comforting music

ask your doctor for a single diazepam for the procedure if you are having panic attacks at the mere thought of it. This is safe for most people, much safer than not having a smear.

tell your care provider that you have a history of trauma

remember, you are the one in control. If anything feels too uncomfortable or you feel like you are about to cry or panic you can ask the nurse or doctor to stop

If you have any surgery due ask them to perform the smear while you are under. Ive had this done. The hospital were very understanding when I explained my problem and agreed right away!

practice some mindfulness breathing techniques to help keep you calm and give you a focus. In the days leading up try the coping skill listed under the section of this blog by that name.

Bathe and (if you do so) shave beforehand. You will likely feel more confident about getting it all out if you are happy the "gardening" is up to scratch

given the above.... remember...they have seen it all before. I know this is not at helpful when it comes to dealing with the fear but if you have any confidence issues it helps to remember that the smear provider has done this hundreds of times. Its a traumatic experience for you but its another day at the office for them. They might remember your smear if you dye your pubic hair bright pink...but otherwise..they will have forgotten all about it by the end of the day.

Wear a long skirt or dress. This enables you to maintain maxiumum dignity. It really does help me and is probably actually the only time I wear one.

Remember, you have a legal right to have your smear performed by a nurse or doctor of the gender of your choosing. I have NEVER heard of a UK surgery being difficult about this, but if they for some bizarre reason try to be awkward you do NOT have to go along with anything you are uncomfortable with.

 

For more information about coping with smears I recommmend googling Jo's Trust, or hopping on over to twitter on the hashtags #AtYourCervix_x or #Jo'sTrust.

Looking up NHS guidance on smears will help prepare you too.

Come on over to the Facebook group Ptsd, Bipolar and ouchies, oh my! For more discussion (and a vent if you need it) on this topic. I am there if you feel like messaging me. 

good luck! Remember, you are an important person and your health matters just as much as someone who hasn't experienced abuse or trauma.