Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.
First, let me say I can imagine how distressing and overwhelming this situation must be for you. That you have sought help and are working with a social worker is a very good thing. I would like you to make sure that the social worker is experienced with working with women recovering from abusive relationships so that he/she is able to help with your anxiety and depressive symptoms from the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) you are suffering.
I mentioned PTSD but I don't want you to be worried or surprised. Most people think of PTSD as being what soldiers come back from wars with. Well, in a sense, if you think about it, being in an abusive relationship is a little like that: you have periods of calm and then there are the explosions. It's very disorienting and it takes a toll on you. So don't be concerned that there is indeed an element of PTSD we now know that exists when women emerge from an abusive relationship. Feel good about yourself that you've exited the relationship and are making a new start. And know that there is a post traumatic stress that is going to need work now that you're free and away from the relationship.
But it is important for you to recognize that your symptoms and those of so many women who emerge from abusive relationships are indeed very consistent with PTSD. And untreated PTSD can lead to further and further social irritability and isolation and further exacerbation of your other symptoms.
I'm going to give you here the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders criteria for PTSD. Note the various criteria and which ones are relevant to your situation. Not all will be. But you will see how coming out of an abusive relationship is very much like coming out of a traumatic experience.
When the symptoms will end is an answer that we can't give in general. Every woman is unique. You had a unique relationship and you came into it as a unique person with your own history and your own personality and skills and strengths and needs. And so you have emerged with all of these factors needing to be brought back to being a healthy you. How long that will take is thus not possible to pinpoint. There are exposure therapies that sometimes can help in making the therapy process more quick. They can be intense, however. So you need to think about whether you want to take it a little slower with regular therapy like it sounds you're doing (as long as it's with an experienced person). Or if you want to look into exposure therapies.
I have found EMDR can be very useful. It is a type of therapy specifically for PTSD originally. Here is the International Society's website:
On the web you will find many opinions on EMDR both for and against. I am trained in it and have found it useful. Exposure therapy is also very helpful. However,I have found that you need to combine these types of therapy with a more introspective, humanistic approach. If we actually look inside, we can find great relief and meaning. And we can feel whole in ourselves in ways that we haven't for decades. So ask your social worker if he/she works with EMDR or if they can refer you to someone.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
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Here's the DSM-IV criteria:
Criterion A: stressor
The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following have been present:
Criterion B: intrusive recollection
The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in at least one of the following ways:
Criterion C: avoidant/numbing
Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by at least three of the following:
Criterion D: hyper-arousal
Persistent symptoms of increasing arousal (not present before the trauma), indicated by at least two of the following:
Criterion E: duration
Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in B, C, and D) is more than one month.
Criterion F: functional significance
The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
So, take care of yourself, and give yourself time to get over the trauma. I wish you the very best!
Thank you for your help. I have never felt like this before and I'm worried I will never be the way I was before I met my fiance.
My days are up and down. I almost dont know how I'm feeling just numb.