Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Sticky: Guide to the blog

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This is sort of the "best of" section where I'll link to the blog entries people seem to read the most. Perhaps I ought to have a page on "What is PTSD" but lots of others have already done that, so I'll just link to them here, here, here and my favorite, here (pdf) [links checked 9/19/12].

Two notes before we begin.  First, I am not a professional.  I have kept this blog to share my experience with PTSD, but I cannot help you directly if you are suffering from PTSD.  I only check in here intermittently and it breaks my heart to see someone plea for help and get no response.  Please, if you are in crisis, call 911.  If you are looking for treatment or direct help, please contact the Sidran Institute. They are an excellent resource and can help you find appropriate treatment.  If you are finding out about PTSD in yourself or another and want to know what my experience has been, read on.

Second, if you make comments that contain negative statements about people at various facilities by name, I will not publish them.  Stay general, and even say there are problematic people to avoid, but no names.  Probably best to leave out names of people you consider praiseworthy too.  Self-promoting comments or links to link farms or anything that is the least bit suspicious will be deleted.  I err on the side of caution.  That said, there is a wonderful compendium of knowledge and wisdom in the comments, so thank you to all who have shared there over the years, and please feel free to continue commenting as you see fit.  They are one of the great rewards of writing this blog!

People in crisis often want to know where they can get help. Grounding exercises for PTSD can help get us through the short term. Here is a comprehensive list of US treatment centers that specialize in PTSD. That is of course assuming you are privileged enough to have access to these resources. Not everyone is. And in case I forget next winter, here are some tips on PTSD and the holidays.  One of the most disturbing symptoms of PTSD is flashbacks, especially when they result in "non-epilectic seizures" or what a doctor might have called "pseudo-seizures," though there is nothing "pseudo" about them.

If you are looking to help a loved one diagnosed with PTSD, you might want to read my open letter to someone looking to help a loved one with PTSD. My partner, who is a key part of my loving and supportive network of friends, has been absolutely critical to my ongoing recovery, and I share some of the ways she has both helped me when I could not help myself and some of the unfortunate costs she has paid as a result of my PTSD.  It is a hard road, but we have come through stronger than ever, so there is hope.

Picking a therapist can be difficult for someone with PTSD, because often times the PTSD itself messes with our pickers. Through necessity and trial and error and generous borrowing of other people's wisdom, I've come up with a brief subjective guide on how to choose a therapist for ptsd. It contains links to some other, less subjective guides too.

Along with getting medical and psychological help, medication helped get me stabilized even though I was really resistant to it because of being a recovering addict. I wasn't resistant to trying Effexor, and kind of wish I had been (see Battle of the Effexor and Joy of Meds: Effexor withdrawal) I have quite a bit to say about PTSD and 12-step programs. While 12-step programs saved my life, I found that their one-size-fits-all model did more harm than good after the initial haze of the drugs and alcohol wore off. There is more than one type of addict (and some more on the subject here). And although it claims not to hew any one denominational line, it is based on Christianity in some ways that were harmful to my recovery. I finally decided to leave 12 step approaches, a difficult decision. In hindsight, however, some of the most exploitative folks I ever met were from the halls of twelve step rooms and the addictions recovery industry. Spiritual and psychological abuse are real and create huge barriers to recovery.

Betrayal bonds form a major part of PTSD as I have experienced it, so I've spent a lot of time writing about them. You might have heard of this as Stockholm syndrome. They take a number of different forms. Fully understanding the nature and effects of betrayal was key to beginning my recovery from PTSD. While the guy who wrote the book on betrayal bonds associates them with sexual addiction, I have found this ain't necessarily so.

 If you are interested, I can tell you more about my PTSD. Some days are still rough (skin-crawling, time-wasting, losing time, etc) but I have found a certain amount of recovery, and my life is once again bearable, even enjoyable on good days. And I'm still here, yes still here, and even now, still here.  Partly it depends on which dogs I feed. It also helps to have a loving and supportive network of friends. Oh, and to stay far away from toxic relationships.