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I'm trying to recover from divorce after a 20 year marriage,

I'm trying to recover from...

I'm trying to recover from divorce after a 20 year marriage, repeated sexual assaults from him, lack of support from family and friends.... How can I best recover and keep my sanity?

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Answered in 26 minutes by:
9/22/2013
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7,664
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
Verified
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that I can help with this situation.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Your recovery has a lot to do with the symptoms that you are feeling.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

A prolonged period of abuse can cause traumatic emotional damage which can be healed.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Can you enumerate some of the "symptoms" that you feel?

Customer: depressed, lonely, scared, panicky, stressed
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Are you easily startled?

Customer: Probably. I'm very tense.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you become even more so when you are around anything, any place, or any person that reminds you of your husband?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

And, do you feel more isolated from other people?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I am sorry for so many questions but am trying to understand you state of mind. I think that I understand but I need to confirm some thing.

Customer: It's okay. Yeah. I am definitely more so regarding anything that reminds me of my ex-husband. Am even more wary of overweight men, for example.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

And isolated?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you have poor concentration?

Customer: Yes. Definitely isolated. Sometimes even when I'm around other people.
Customer: Was especially lonely after visiting a nice friend I hadn't seen in 20 years.
Customer: No. I wouldn't say poor concentration.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you get irritable??

Customer: Yes at times.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Are you less interested in activities that formerly interested you more?

Customer: Probably
Customer: Very lethargic
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

When you say "panicky", does that include rapid heartbeat, difficulty catching your breath, tightness in your chest, fear of heart attack or death, sweating?

Customer: Rapid heartbeat, difficulty catching my breath, intense fear (can't escape on top of ferris wheel, for example)
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Those are panic attacks.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Cumulatively you have a complex anxiety disorder that often comes with the kind of longterm and harsh abuse that you have suffered.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It is called Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and can be treated with therapy; rather than with drugs.

Customer: Oh, good. Does the ptsd cause the panic attacks?
Customer: Good regarding therapy and no drugs
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If the panic attacks are serious (and they usually are - frightening or terrifying but not physically dangerous) then your physician can give an antianxiety medication that works to stop them in minutes - but the drug - alprazolam (Xanax) must be used sparingly for miraculous results without addiction.. Panic attacks are part of PTSD.

Customer: Really?
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Let me give you the diagnostic criteria for PTSD so you can see for yourself.

Customer: I didn't realize panic attacks are part of ptsd.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

PTSD DSM-IV

309.81 DSM-IV Criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following have been present:

(1) the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others (2) the person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Note: In children, this may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior.

B. The traumatic event is persistently reexperienced in one (or more) of the following ways:

(1) recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. Note: In young children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed.

(2) recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Note: In children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content.

(3) acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur upon awakening or when intoxicated). Note: In young children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur.

(4) intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.

(5) physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.

C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

(1) efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma

(2) efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma

(3) inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma

(4) markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities

(5) feeling of detachment or estrangement from others

(6) restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)

(7) sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)

D. Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma), as indicated by two (or more) of the following:

(1) difficulty falling or staying asleep
(2) irritability or outbursts of anger
(3) difficulty concentrating
(4) hypervigilance
(5) exaggerated startle response

E. Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in Criteria B, C, and D) is more than one month.

F. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Specify if:
Acute: if duration of symptoms is less than 3 months
Chronic: if duration of symptoms is 3 months or more

Specify if:
With Delayed Onset: if onset of symptoms is at least 6 months after the stressor


Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

That is covered in item 5.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I have worked with many PTSD clients and panic attacks are very normal.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

May I recommend a workbook for you to familiarize yourself with the process and help you choose a therapist?

Customer: I see. Yeah. That would be great.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I do not recommend a psychiatrist because they usually use too many medications.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I shall recommend two different ones for two different approaches:

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Overcoming Trauma and PTSD: A Workbook Integrating Skills from ACT, DBT, and CBT by Raja, Sheela and Orsillo, Susan M.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :


and

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Poijula, Soili and *****, ***** Beth

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :


You can overcome this but it needs work and professional help, but both of these books can start you off.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I shall keep you in my prayers for recovery, and you will, with guidance, fine you way back.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Warm regars,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Warm regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC

Customer: Thank you. Yeah. I agree.
Customer: What's the name of the workbook?
Customer: what therapist would you recommend?
Ask Your Own Mental Health Question
Dear *****,

Thank you for that affirmation. You will move past this.

Here is more info on PTSD and panic attacks:

http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/tc/ptsd-and-panic-attacks-overview

God bless,

Elliott
Ask Your Own Mental Health Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Wow! Those books sound excellent. I appreciate all your help and prayers. Thank you, ***** ***** thank you. God bless you, too. :)
Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Your responses were hidden from me for a bit, but now I see everything.
How could I choose a good therapist?
The names of both workbooks are listed above. Just click on them and you will go directly to the books on amazon.com and you can read about them and order them, or get them somehwere else if you don't like amazon.

You need to find a therapist that works with PTSD or emotional trauma.

You can find therapists at www.psychologytoday.com and search for PTSD and trauma. Read carefully because some therapists are more experienced than others in trauma, or call your local veteran's group and ask them.

I hope that I have been helpful to you. You have never said,

I shall continue to keep you in my prayers.

Warm regards,

Elliott
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7,664
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
Verified
Elliott, LPCC, NCC and 87 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7,664
7,664 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.

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