Wednesday, November 16, 2005

ptsd and wasting time...

ok, so no rant today.

One of the difficult things about my ptsd is that I end up wasting vast amounts of time. I have a job where I can sort of get away with it, but there's lot's of stuff I'd like to be doing instead of what I do do. I have been spending whole days surfing internet porn sites. Actually writing this blog has improved that a little bit. Now I spend 7/8 of my time reading blogs and writing mine and 1/8 surfing porn and whacking off. It is kind of self destructive, which is something I have fought with for years, even after setting down what seems like they should be the most self destructive behaviors, the drugs and alcohol.

In treatment for the ptsd and in therapy, I was told that all this avoidance is avoidance of pain having to do with the various traumas. I always intend to spend the day productively but just seem to get sucked into diversions. Is it pain killing? Or lack of discipline and laziness?

It actually was a little better for a while when I was on heavier dosages of the Geodon, but when I reduced that, the bad depression and ptsd symptoms (like wanting to crawl out of my skin and feeling constantly nauseous and so forth) came back and so the time wasting and internet porn surfing came back to mask/numb/avoid feeling that. I re-upped the dose, but while I feel better, the old time wasting habits returned and are hard to kick again.

It is sort of a double bind. When I am medicated enough to not compulsively act out I am too fuzzy for much else, and when I reduce the meds, I think a lot clearer but the compulsive behavior returns. Go figure.

If you read this let me know, ok?

15 comments:

reallynotimportant said...

Avoidance is something I have to deal with quite frequently (I plan to write more on it elsewhere at some point).

I am very sorry to say that at some point you have to stop the avoidance activity and start and deal with whatever you are avoiding. It will be as unpleasant as hell and can take a long time. It must also be done gradually.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I struggle with the compulsive behaviors too. Mine is surfing the net, finding sites like this to help me make sense out of what happened. It has been more than a 30 hour a week job, on top of my regular job, where I'm now hopelessly behind. I find that panic about losing my job, or a vacation ( a new setting, lots of physical activity) helps me stop. Over the last eight months I've been able to limit it a bit more and I do think that little by little I'm breaking my betrayal bond.

erin said...

Only recently I realize how much avoidance has been a huge part of my life for coping for many years.

I started emdr and wanted to face the pain. Then got depressed to point back on meds so I've had to slow down process!!! It's really hard/scary to feel somethings. I think I have to practice being real and doing good things for self to balance pain but it's physically painful to do good things sometimes, and I can space out even over good things. Besides therapy, meds, I find helpful the DBT workbook for reminders, and 12 steps if need them....and a dog to get one out and active.

I'm open to people's ideas? Still it's ridiculously hard not to go into avoidance and face any feelings most of the time!....and now I don't have a job to focus around.

Anonymous said...

Hey PTSD Guy,

I've been reading your blog (albeit intermittently - a lot of times I avoid thinking about PTSD at all) for a few years now. The first time I found your site, I cried with relief. So much of what you say - is stuff that I identify with, but didn't really know how to articulate. - Not only does it make me feel less alone, but it is also a really, really good rescource. The first time I heard about grounding exercises was on this site, (not from my shink who is supposed to specialize in PTSD). I wanted you to know how much I appreciate this site. Keep up the good work!

GettingBetter said...

Thanks! I am glad to hear it and wish you well on the long journey to recovery.

Anonymous said...

WOW... I can so relate... in fact I am wasting time right now! "Have a job where I can sort of get away with it", and I absolutely know what you mean about substances... Too fuzzy when on them, to preoccupied when sober. I hate having to go to work (even though I am/should be thankful to have a job) and I think part of this is self destructive, like oops maybe I will get fired. For a while (about 2 years) working helped me, but I am just really losing it now. It's like the shock of what happened is finally wearing off and I have to deal with my intrusive thoughts and feelings no matter what I do to distract myself. Anyway thanks for sharing, I just found your blog (Not such a waste of time after all!) and I will be sure to read more... I will try to do so outside of work :) Hang in there everyone... easier said than done I know.

Redcat said...

I didn't even realize time-wasting was what I do. I can spend hours just looking out the window. I'm just learning how to manage my PTSD symptoms. Thankfully, the flashbacks have subsided for now.

I'm having a hard time keeping my job these days because depression is kicking me hard. I'm also having a really hard time getting anyone to understand that I'm at wit's end.

GettingBetter said...

Thanks for posting, Redcat, it led me to make my first post in a while. I hope you are able to find some help. I just updated the list of resources if you have not looked there in a while.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this site and insights! I also hadn't realized that the avoidance was something other PTSD survivors did -- just thought it was my way of coping. BUT, I also hadn't recognized before that my lack of motivation and seeming laziness even from my teens (which I always knew inside wasn't actually laziness) is from the PTSD!!! THANK YOU for that insight!

@Redcat - I can SO relate with where you are at . . . I utilized the resources here to find a place that I am going to go to confront this directly and safely. I also understand about almost NO ONE ELSE understanding!?! Most people don't even understand the devastating effects of depression, let alone PTSD. Now if I had cancer they would they wouldn't likely care about the particulars but they would likely be sympathetic, understanding and supportive. With PTSD there's always the "whys" and the sense of pity for my "weakness and inability to cope". If they could only understand that it was my ability to cope that has actually helped me to survive.

erin said...

Avoidance is a skill I made into an art. I like hearing that it has to be done gradually!! It's physically painful at times; part is the grief and need to accept how much I refused to let myself want or expect hardly anything. Not leaving up to my "potential" because so much went into survival and numbing my pain.

Now in EMDR and a woman's trauma group I get it -- my greatest block is my avoidance from a habit of fear. I have a choice to prosper; I have a choice to move beyond existential/spiritual survival mode. This is after years of therapy and being misdiagnosed.

It's amazing how much I really want to be fully engaged with the world and people when I allow myself to feel it.

josie said...

Can someone please explain to me what grounding is? I need to be using all the tools available. I am avoiding living my life this very moment.

josie said...

I'm interested in a weekend workshop/conference/retreat ??? on dealing with ptsd. the week long treatment centers sound wonderful but I can't afford going at this time. I live in richmond virginia. any suggestions?

GettingBetter said...

Josie, I write about grounding exercises here

erin said...

The art of avoidance is something I've joked about having mastered with a friend. But it is not really a funny joke; healthy distraction was a survival skill and today I still do it sometimes, and need to do it at times (even reminded by others that is a good skill). The unhealthy ways of distraction I can still fall into doing it are things I'm trying and praying to do less. For the first time in many yeas I'm getting professional help with the PTSD directly -- emdr; a trauma group (great validation re symptoms and skills); being part of a small AA mtg where I am safe; etc. and, thank God, I am taking less meds. and, honestly, more connected to myself and others and able to be more peacefully present. It's been work with joy and many miracles. I try not to beat myself up that at times I seem to be slow as a turtle in the last @ 3 years since I finally hit a bottom with long-term and misdiagnosed ptsd. I firmly believe that I need other aware people to help me -- reading about recovery or white knuckling no longer worked for me. I try to be okay when exhaustion or fear of pain gets me to go slower than I want or watch more netflix movies than doing other things -- those are examples; or hardest is falling back into isolation and not calling people who I know care about it. On a positive note I see and others see an inner change in me as I do more regular healthy things -- EMDR; and even little things like just go out with others on a occasion for social things......it is better. In contrast, I've known people where avoidance and ways of isolation via avoidance became a main way of living. So, to me right now I try to be grateful when I realize that I'm doing avoidance or unhealthy distractions by having self compassion and gratitude for the awareness and pray with help to minimize time in a full blown state of avoidance. It takes a long time but I also have seen how other people doing footwork and prayer can have inner changes where they find living is able to be a more beautiful and safe life. Learning to practice balance -- even with basic things, and give myself permission to create structure and assess the reality of my sense of safety and danger is important. I'm walking the path, slowly, but presently the above description is helping me tremendously change.

Lisa said...

Thank you for starting this blog. I just stumbled upon this looking for grounding exercises. I think its telling that I found this blog now, as I'm starting to begin the healing process from PTSD. I've only read a few of your entries, and its comforting to know that I am not alone. Although I used to live in isolation , I now actively seek to be in with healthy people. That is a good start. Thank you again:-)