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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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For the past week I feel like Im on the verge of full blown

Customer Question

For the past week I feel like I'm on the verge of full blown panic. Twice I've had to cover my eyes and ears for complete darkness and silence. I have four young children (my oldest is 6) and every sound and touch makes me feel like I'm about to die. I don't want to hurt anyone or myself, I just feel like I'm moments away from caving into myself like a black hole and disappearing. I do ok during the day time when my two older children are in school but when they come home I start to panic again. I've always been stressed out by noise but it is getting out of control. I live in Tulsa, Ok and have had no health insurance since my husband was laid off two years ago (he got another job immediately but it does not include insurance and we can't afford coverage out of pocket for my husband and I so only the kids are insured).

A little background history I've experienced multiple traumas in my life. I don't like to go into detail because it makes me sound like I'm making stuff up because there is so much drama but here is a bit. I was abused by my father (who is paranoid schizophrenic) but my mom left him when I was about 3. During the divorce he tried to kidnap my brother and I (a memory I have relived a lot over the years). When I was five I was attacked by a doberman pinscher and had flashbacks and nightmares for several years. I was raped when I was 17 and I have been in 5 motor vehicle accidents two of which were very severe (only one was my fault). 18 months ago I decided to leave the super strict religion I was raised in and have been cut off from most of my friends.

What would your advice be? I've already taken 3 benadryl to at least make myself sleepy but I feel like I'm going crazy. I'd go to the ER but my children are asleep so my husband needs to stay here with them and I don't have any friends or family who live nearby that will drive me (I don't feel safe driving right now).
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear friend,

You are suffering from Postraumatic Stress Disorder, as a result of many episodes of abuse and multiple traumas. This is a disorder suffered by soldiers in war, rape victims, accident victims, and others who have experience or witnssed severe trauma. You have witnessed so much.

You may have flashbacks, hallucinations, feelings that the events were recurring, much mental distress, rapid heart beat, high blood pressure when you have these feelings, nightmares, intrusive recollections or thoughts, You will try to avoid anything to do with these events, may not remember parts of the events, may lose interest in other activities, may feel detached from other people, may reduce your feeling to be able to love or feel emotions, may feel unfulfilled in lie,. You may have insomnia, be angry or irritable, find it hard to concentrate, may always be vigilant and ready for something to happen, you may be easily startled.

Medications do not help much. You need psychotherapy. You will have to find a way to get help. If there is a military facility near you, or you know some soldiers you can perhaps find someone who treats PTSD and can help you on a sliding scale. Some communities have community mental health facilities with such sliding prices.

You need help, and you will have to find a way to get it. You cannot do without it. You must find someone who knows how to help with PTSD.

Try www.psychologytoday.com and click FIND A THERAPIST, then click in your state and city, then click PTSD and try to find a good person who specializes int PTSD.

You cannot do this without help, please. I urge you strongly to get some help as soon as possible, and not put this off any longer.

You can find your way back. My prayers are with you.

Warm regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Would you still think PTSD if I don't have trauma specific dreams anymore and if I don't have the standard flashbacks? Can PTSD type nightmares just present as a general threat to my safety instead of a replaying of a specific trauma? I can't remember the last time I had a pleasant dream. I'm always running for my life.

My husband has even said I wake him up once or twice a week screaming. I don't always have recollections of those experiences but I can normally tell because my throat will be raw in the morning. There have been a few times where I wake up and I see a shadow standing at the foot of my bed or I sense someone at the foot of my bed but it is not real. I always end up fighting in my sleep or after I wake up. I've had bruises on my wrist the shape of my husband's fingers because he has to try and hold me still while I try to defend myself.

There have also been times where I've said things like "don't touch me or I'll kill you" or when my husband has put an arm around me while I'm sleeping I will grab his wrist and twist it while screaming at him to leave me alone. I don't remember 99.9% of these experiences though.

As far as flashbacks go they do not resemble what I see on tv or in the movies. However, I do get really anxious anytime I drive past the locations of my car accidents and feel my heart start to race when I see my rapist's picture on Facebook (he is my best friend's older brother).

Also I've never experienced an episode like this. I've had two panic attacks in my entire life but I have never had this feeling last for several days. It starts to build once my children get home and when they all start talking. It almost seems like noise has been a trigger. Is this possible? I've always had a hard time with loud noises (even in childhood I hated Heman because he would yell Heman and I had to wear ear plugs to see fireworks) but I never really noticed noise from the kids until the past few months (but this has only been going on for about a week).

I've also read that anxiety can be a sign of adult ADHD (both my mother and aunt have been diagnosed with adult ADHD). I have major problems with hyperfocusing to the point of time speeding up (start reading a book in the early morning and before I know it, it is 2:30 in the afternoon and I have to leave to pickup my kids). And I talk a lot and I never seem to be able to finish a project though I start a new one almost daily. There are also days when I cry because I have a homework due for school or a test to study for, but I can't concentrate on it no matter how hard I try (I find myself re=reading the same thing multiple times in order to comprehend what is being said).

Anyway thanks in advance for any responses. I wanted to follow up some (especially since I have a credit in my account from a legal question I asked two years ago)


Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Dear friend,

You do not have adult ADHD. With PTSD you also lose concentration. You do feel a general threat to your safety. If you are waking up screaming at night then you are having terrible nightmares about some of the many traumas that you have suffered. This is a sign of PTSD.

If driving by the scenes of accidents where you were hurt cause you to experience anxiety, or when you see that picture on FaceBook it does the same, these are all indications of PTSD.

Being easitly startled, even in your sleep, is a strong sign of PTSD. The loud noises causing a strong reaction is a sign of PTSD.

Seeing hallucinations like a figure at the end of your bed is a sign of PTSD. Losing memories of some of your responses is also a sign of PTSD.

Your emotionality is a sign of PTSD.

After what you have told me, I have little doubt that this is your diagnosis and that you need help. You don't need drugs, you need psychotherapy that is specific to PTSD.

Although this place in Tulsa is for combat veterans with PTSD, someone there will talk to you and give you local help. You really could be helped and need it so much so that you don't have to suffer any more.

Check out this website:

http://local.psychcentral.com/A_Support_Group_for_Combat_PTSD_Tulsa_OK-r1372413-Tulsa_OK.html

I wish you the best and will be happy to help you anytime.

Warm regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just wanted to update you and everyone else. I started therapy and was officially diagnosed with PTSD -DESNOS (Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified). Things are going well so far and the more I learn, the more I realize how PTSD symptoms can mimic ADD/ADHD. Thanks again!
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Thank you so much for your affirmation.

Warm regards and great success in your treatment,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC

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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Mental Health Professional
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35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.