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Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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Im wondering if its possible to have an atypical version

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I'm wondering if it's possible to have an atypical version of PTSD? I'm 28 now and had an abusive school life where I was bullied and sexually harassed by teachers as well as pupils. I had to leave when I was 15, and felt terrible for not getting many qualifications. Since then, I've had bouts of depression, anxiety, fatigue and chronic back pain. I've been trying to go back to university to get some qualifications, but every time I go, it's like I'm back at school and unable to complete.

A few years ago, I left two courses near the end, and am about to do the same with my masters degree, having felt unable to submit my dissertation. I'm the perfect attender and can commit to any deadline that isn't assessed. But when it is, I fall to pieces.I don't actively think about school. but I have nightmares about it, and the feelings are identical. I get paralysed emotionally, very stressed, and often have symptoms of fatigue or chronic pain. If something is due, I end up crying for days and feel unable to do the work. I've tried my best to manage these symptoms, stress in particular, but when I fix one symptom, something else takes its place. It's like my body is screaming at me to stop, yet intellectually I want to keep going.

Though I've had mental health problems for years, they are notable when I'm trying to study. In 2007 I was completely free of all of this, and I believe this is because it's the only year since leaving school in 1999 where I haven't been on a course. Obviously the answer is obvious -- stop studying. And I will, but I love it when I'm not having to hand work in. I'd also really like to get my masters, if the uni will give me a resubmission.

Is it possible this is a type of PTSD? Is there anything I can do about this?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I am not so sure this is atypical. It sure sounds like some type of PTSD. You relate the history to school times, and now the thing you avoid doing (unconsciously) is being a success at education. Makes perfect sense. There used to be a diagnosis of self-defeating personality (it has been removed for diagnosis, but is still descriptive). Because of a sever trauma in early education, you have PTSD symptoms and have developed a well defined pattern of "self-defeating" you educational goals. Yet you still want to achieve them, which would symbolically be a cure of sorts. I don't think quitting your education is the answer (a break maybe, while you work this out) as the symptoms associated with this typically find a way of showing up in a different aspect of life. LONG TERM counseling with someone who has seen this type of issue is needed. Not an easy thing to work thru. Medications may help, but won't be the answer.

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