Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
I just returned from vacation with my daughter. It was wonderful because I was able to temporarily put out of my mind all my troubles. The day after I returned I add an appointment scheduled with my therapist and then another one 2 days later. However, when I returned home I received a message from her that she would be out of town and we would reschedule next week.
But now that I am home, everything bad is flooding back. I am having a very tough time holding everything together. All I want to do is stay in bed or lie on the couch watching movies. It seems silly to me that I am relying on her this much. Is this healthy. I can`t seem to stay focused or in the now. My thoughts just keep going back to all the bad stuff. I am dealing with PTSD, OCD and Depression.
Is there anything I can do that may help me until I can see her.
Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.
Yes, you can help yourself. There are many resources that can help you deal with how you feel.
Probably what happened was once you were away all of the reminders of your problems were left behind and you did not have to face them. So you felt better. Once you came back, all of the reminders were there. It is especially hard when you have PTSD because your symptoms are triggered by reminders of your trauma.
Learning about your symptoms and diagnosis can help you know how to respond when you feel overwhelmed and frightened. The more you know, the less impact your feelings can have on you.
Here are some resources you can use to help yourself:
The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula
The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Bruce M. Hyman and Cherry Pedrick
Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You by Richard O'Connor
You can find the books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.
You can also talk to experts here on JA. Some people develop therapeutic relationships with an expert and work with them exclusively. It helps because you have someone you can talk to on a more frequent basis than regular therapy. Experts can provide support and encouragement. If you prefer to work with someone exclusively, you can place their name in front of your question so when you post it, the other experts know you are working with someone in particular. And as you receive your replies, you can reimburse the expert as you work together. You can continue a thread you start, or start new threads as you wish to.
I hope this has helped,
Thanks for your response.
I understand my OCD pretty well. Unfortunately, the symptoms are always worse when I am back home.
I was assaulted three times by the same person over a 10 year period. The most recent attack was about 2 years ago. It was someone I had dated but broke it off with after the first time I was treated poorly. The relationship lasted about 2 years. It may help you to know that the assaults were all sexual which somehow makes it worse. I wish I was just punched around instead.
I feel so sad about it at times and keep going because of my daughter. But some days I just feel like I am going to lose it. I get impatient, frustrated and feel very angry inside.
These are not feelings I am used to feeling. I kept all the assaults to myself until about 18 months ago. I never told anyone and besides my therapist, no one really knows all that was done and happened to me. It was pretty bad.
I feel ashamed and I know this is a normal response but I can`t even look people in the eye when I talk to them. I think about self-harm all the time because it is something I feel I am in control of. Plus it gives a release that nothing else that I have found does. But I am very ashamed and embarrassed about it.
I try to redirect myself by going for walks, journaling (which sometimes makes me feel worse but other times gives me an outlet for my bad feelings), reading, etc.
I do take medication for Night Terrors that I get but I still have bad dreams and sometimes cannot sleep until 2 or 3 in the morning. I hate night times. Too much time to think.
Do you think that my attachment to my therapist is too clingy since I can`t seem to handle it too well when she is away even for a short time. Am I normal that it upsets me like this. I worry about becoming too attached to her or anybody really. I think it is best to rely on yourself and then you won`t become disappointed.
I know I`ve written a lot. But I am having a particularily tough time keeping my sad thoughts away today.
I understand. Thank you for the additional information.
The more you describe about your situation, the more it does sound like PTSD. Being attacked three times is a lot. Once is very traumatizing, let alone three times.
Your symptoms sound correct for what you have been through. I know that is no comfort, but it may help you to know you are reacting in a normal way.
Being very close with your therapist, or dependent, can be an issue. Given what you have been through, though, it is not an unexpected response. But that is something you can work on in therapy. Your insight is good and you are very aware of the issue, which is half the battle.
Talk with your therapist about your concerns. Your therapist should be able to help you learn what is causing your feelings and help you learn how to cope. It is normal that you feel upset about this. It is because you are aware of it and it is causing you distress. If you were not aware and continued the behavior without insight, that might be an issue.
Trusting yourself is good, but no one can get through life by themselves. Learning to trust others is important. It may take time because of what you have been through, but you can trust again.
I understand. Thank you for the additional information.
What you describe as your symptoms is very normal. You have gone through a lot of trauma. Being attacked once is a lot, but three times is overwhelming.
Understanding that you are reacting very normally is important. No one can go through such trauma and not experience problems. Actually, it would be worrisome if you did not show symptoms. Showing symptoms says that you are healthy and that you will be ok.
Being attached to your therapist is most likely a reaction to what you have gone through. You need understanding, and your therapist most likely provides what you need. You probably trust her more than anyone else (except your daughter) at this point in your life. So needing to be near her and being anxious about contact is a normal reaction.
You can talk to her during therapy about how you feel. This is a good thing to work on to help you realize your needs and how to get them met.
Relying on yourself is good, but you still need others to function. But you have had your ability to trust and rely on others taken away. Learning to trust again is important. It may take time, but you can do it with help.
Just a note: JA seems to be having a lot of problems with posting. You may get two answers from me. It seems to have lost the first one, so I retyped the best I could. Sorry about that.
Thanks for your kind and understanding words. I always feel that nobody understands how I feel. So terribly sad inside. These days, my only source of joy is my daughter and I am not even sure I am that great a mother. However, I do try and we do have a very close relationship. This is good. It seems the only good.
I may write you again later. Thanks again.
You are very welcome. I am happy to help, anytime.
I am sure you are a great mother. You and your daughter sound like you have a wonderful relationship. Most parents (who are good parents) feel like they aren't doing a good job. But I believe it is a sign that you are doing very well if you worry about it.
It is hard when you feel alone. Most people who suffer trauma feel that way. But the more you express how you feel and re learn to trust, the less alone you will feel and things will improve.
Take care. I will be here anytime you need to talk.
I went to see my therapist today and it went okay. I have developed an extremely embarrassing and what I think is a horrible horrible habit. I can`t tell anyone about it because it is just too humiliating. Not even her and I know I should. But how can as I know I will feel judged.
I know what I am doing is wrong but cannot seem to stop. I`m not even sure I want to stop because of the positive feelings I get from it. I know how selfish I am being but It gives me temporary relief from all the anxiety and sadness I feel. For a little bit, the bad feelings go away. It also gives me a feeling of control and I feel less needy. The problem is the good feeling only lasts for a short time......but it`s better than nothing But it also means that I have to do it again.
But I feel so remorseful and bad about what I`m doing. It is so frustrating because then I feel I need to be punished for my behavior. It seems like I am stuck in a vicious cycle that I can`t get out of and don`t even know if I want to.One thing I know for certain is that I know it is wrong, I feel badly and so very ashamed.
I don`t know what to do. I don`t want to self-harm but what I am doing needs to be punished. I don`t even understand why I do it in the first place.
Can you help...
Hello, it's good to hear from you!
Any type of repeating behavior that someone has usually indicates that a feeling or problem that needs addressed. In your case, you are coping with trauma, depression, OCD and PTSD. You have coping mechanisms but because of the overwhelming stress of your issues, the ways you are coping is not enough. So you develop behaviors that temporarily relieve the stress and the unresolved feelings around your trauma.
The best way to help yourself is to reach out. I know you mentioned feeling embarrassed and that is normal. But therapists are used to hearing about all kinds of behaviors. Therapists learn about every kind of behavior in school and in practice. In order to help people, therapists must understand all of the possibilities that can occur. So your behavior is not going to be a surprise to your therapist (or to me).
If you can reach out to others, it allows you to express the feeling and that will help you find some relief. It will also allow your therapist to address the reasons behind the behavior and help you find ways to cope with it.
Punishing yourself is a way of judging yourself and controlling your hurt. It says that you are unworthy and that punishment is an acceptable way of hurting yourself. It also gives you control over your pain. This is somehow a way you learned to address your problems. It is also a stress reliever and a way to berate yourself. Your therapist should be able to help you find how you learned this behavior and help you work on better ways of viewing your problems and coping with them.
Here is a resource that may help you:
Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin Neff