PTSD – A Debilitating Mental Condition

Lewis Scott

April 4, 2011 /

PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) is a debilitating mental condition. PTSD sufferers may feel like they can never return to their normal self because of an inability to move past the distressing incident that triggered the trauma. Traumatized people whether affected by PTSD or not, have a higher tendency towards using alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and towards developing Eating Disorders, OCD, and Dissociative Disorders.

In earlier times, beginning with the Civil War, PTSD was known as “Da Costa’s syndrome.” The anxiety disorder has also been known by alternate terms such as “battle fatigue” or “shell shock” owing to its link with military service. Now, it is understood that PTSD is not just a wartime disorder but can develop in anyone who has experienced or witnessed a very traumatic event. Events of this nature include kidnapping, rape or sexual abuse, plane/car crash, medical procedures, or neglect in childhood.

C-PTSD (Complex post-traumatic disorder) arises from continued exposure to a traumatic happening or sequence of traumatic events.

In this case, the patient experiences long-lasting issues in social and emotional functioning.

Symptoms of PTSD

Provided below are some of the symptoms of PTSD that help in diagnosing the disorder. From the symptoms, it is easy to understand how much the disorder can affect a person’s health and happiness.

• Avoiding places, feelings, thoughts or activities that remind the person of the traumatic event
• Frightening thoughts
• Nightmares
• Outbursts of anger/irritability
• Hopelesness and/or severe depression
• Difficulty concentrating
• Emotional numbness
• Substance abuse
• Stomach problems, headaches, chest pain, dizziness
• Reduction in interest in life and usual activities
• Finding it difficult to fall asleep or to get back to sleep after waking up in between
• Hypervigilance
• Detachment from people

Effective Treatment- Comprehensive and Individualized

Different kinds of treatment are available for post-traumatic stress disorder namely Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), trauma focused CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy), family therapy, group therapy, attachment therapy, exposure therapy, Internal Family Systems Therapy and medication management.

Treatment for PTSD which can be quite a debilitating condition should be comprehensive- involving the client’s support system, body, mind, and spirit and should be highly individualized.


Symptoms to a MUCH bigger problem

For most, it's assumed the adopted child is the child who was abandoned, neglected, or abused by first-parents... not necessarily "orphaned", or kidnapped/abducted.

It's also assumed, once the adopted child is placed in the "safe" adoptive home, that child will adapt to kindness and care, and begin to thrive.

I love assumptions, because most are very wrong.

I was in the fourth grade (9-10 years old) when I started to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.

I was also 9 when the first of many sexual molestations/rapes began.  Out of all my horrible post adoption experiences, I would have to say, hands down, the worst was the way I was treated after I experienced sex.

I was 9 years old.

Part of the burden placed on me was having this Amother who simply could not cope with stress. 

She was the most fragile human being I had ever known, so it was my job, my duty to protect her -- a job my Adad was more than relieved that I would assume.

Like everything that was bad and upsetting, I could not tell my Amother what family members were doing to me.  I knew it would destroy her;  I knew the news would do something catastrophic to HER, so I had to remain silent.  I had to keep secrets.

One of those secrets was the company I would keep.

I wasn't allowed to have friends over.... noise would upset my Amom... so I would sneak out to a house where I knew a girl, a year or so older than me.  This girl was an outcast; she was 10 with the body of a 17 year old.  We were a VERY UNLIKELY pair, and yet, with her, I felt like I was among my own ilk.

At her house, we'd smoke and drink, and do the things "bad girls" did.

It was all a subconscious sort of thing... in fact, I don't ever remember thinking, "I'm going to be-friend _____ for X,Y,Z reasons".  It was not at all deliberate or thought-out like that.  It was a more simple identity/associate sort of thing -- she has no mom or dad around, I have no mom or dad around; she fools around with boys, I am now doing things I guess she does.  (I sure as hell could not see any of my "good" friends doing any of the things I was now doing.)

Meanwhile, Parental Rule said I was not allowed to associate with this girl.

One particular day, my brother announced to me he knew what I was doing.... and he was going to tell.

I believe that's when the detachment really began.

I stopped the drinking and the smoking (because I stopped the friendship), and I think a part of me went dead.  It was all so futile... I was going to be accused of things that were not entirely true.

Yes I WAS a "bad girl", but not because my bio-mom was a drunk, or because I was an illegitimate bastard with whore genes.

I did bad things;I agreed to do bad things; I let bad things happen, without saying a word.... and it was impossible to cope without wanting to hurt myself.

I don't remember much in terms of daily-life after that.

In college the nightmares began (that was the first time I was not living in the family house), and I started the smoking and the drinking and the experimenting again...all so I could deaden the pain... the ability to feel or think. 

I found sex did the trick -- that was a sure-fire way to go back into that black....only afterwords, the mind came back, and I HATED how the mind, and the thoughts, and the disgust, and the need for a scalding bath or shower would return.  [I could never get clean... or feel the burn.. never] 

My self-disgust got so bad, the only way I could be "social" around others was if I was drunk/sedated somehow.

I'll never forget the time I heard my Amother explain to a boyfriend of mine why I had a problem with alcohol.

"Her mother had a problem with alcohol, too".

The poetic justice?

My AMother was the victim of an alcoholic father's abuse.  There's no reason for me to believe my birth-mother was an alcoholic; my birth was healthy, and had no signs of AFS and the few health records I have indicate alcohol use during pregnancy was not an issue.

My problem was, I had a victim for an Amother... a woman who was incapable of caring for any one or anything, but herself.

After the 9/11 WTC event, I started having rape flash-backs again.  The violence.  The way people would speak, and threaten and warn, and laugh... like evil MFB's.  I was relieved to be told what I had was PTSD.

I'm now at the point in my own recovery where I don't unleash and attack when I'm feeling the need to rip into a person's chest cavity, pull out the lungs and shove them up the ass, well into the intestines, just so I can get the person to shut the F up for a single minute.  I know when I get emotional or feel the need to disclose a secret, (a story/confession, in private confidence), I'm still awkward and spastic, and not all that able to take emotion out and insert clear non-emotive clarifier's.  I still need to take the old wounded me out of certain equations, so the person being told a story, in confidence, understands I'm not attacking or presuming, I'm sharing and I'm warning.

I find those who are not victims (not in victim-mode) are much better message receivers.  Because of this, I agree, PTSD can be reduced, and modified, maybe even be eliminated, provided the victim is not triggered into victim-mode.

Its very interesting stuff, especially when one considers how many children are kidnapped/abducted, and put in orphanages, so they may be exported for ICA.  If that doesn't gift a child with PTSD, I don't know what will.

One final note... if my previous owners EVER tried to do Attachment Therapy, like it's seen here:  Saving Dane, Saving Families.... I would most likely feel the longing desire and need to kill at least one person in my Afamily.  I thank God AT was not out when I was a teen.  If it were, I'd most likely be in prison right now. 

ALWAYS a trigger...

I find the triggers are less active than 7 1/2 years ago and up until now... am I grateful?  no... because I KNOW they are out there, waiting to be thrust through the years of time and will hit me square in my soul; never missing.

For you to be able to put your emotions into words, so eloquently, is a gift, Kerry.  I heard and understood every word.  It IS comforting to know "what IT is."  To put a name to the turmoil that erupts whenever something (ANYTHING) triggers that old mistrust and fear, is a blessing.
I have been misdiagnosed by several "therapists" who had an agenda and wanted me to be a part of it.

Mark the therapist DID whatever his older mentor told him to do:  LABEL THEM ALL MARKIE!  And their label was Dissociative Identity Disorder.  And but for the grace of God, that LABEL would have taken my children from me.  Instead, I got off the damn Effexor (WELL over maximum dosage) and started being ME again.  What it really was, was PTSD and Depression.
Not being adopted, I can not imagine the horror of you life; but I can empathize with some parts of it...  A mother who could only think of herself and how she could use me to fill the void in her life.  NOT by loving me, but by using me.  HOW can a child rectify the wrongs that happened in the mother's life years before she was born?  HOW can a child be the talk-therapist for the mother when she can not understand the problem?  She listens... she takes in all the horrible things the mother is trying to talk through; and takes on the responsibility (she thinks) of "making things right for the mother."  But it never ends.

At almost 5 I told my mother some things about my father that I probably shouldn't have; but how does a 5 year old know what is right?  Tell, and you've ruined the marriage, which is ALL your fault (so says the mother; NOT in words, but in her hatred of you for the rest of her life).  Don't tell... AH, yes... I've wondered for many years what my life would have been like if I had not told.  She died.  I walked out of the hospital room.  I'll never know.

And then, years later, you finally tell some family members; hoping that SOMEONE will put the pieces together and SEE the horror that was my childhood, and care.  But I forgot; they are THEIR relatives, and THEY reacted the same way:  it was all my fault.  Just like when I was 16 and FINALLY told my mother what her brother had done all those years.  I wanted it TO STOP!  But again, it was my fault.  And this time it was my mother telling me what my father said, "he says YOU probably "egged him on..." 

The child finds herself always crawling back inside her shell and waiting until she can get out of there.  BUT the mother has plans to do that very thing; marry that child off VERY young so she can tell the relatives it was the only thing to do since she can't "make me mind."  RIGHT!  Marry a child to another child so the mother and father can prove a point.  So the mother and father can hide the truth.
My mother was also a victim.  She loved her brother... not like a brother, but from their childhood involvement with each other.  And this was part of the talk-therapy that I listened to; and wanted to TELL her how it had affected me.  I waited to tell; but no matter WHEN I told, the outcome would have always been the same:  it was all my fault.

For a while after my mother died in that hospital room, I felt as if I HAD killed her.  I sat with the button in my hand and pushed it every 12 minutes for days... if she woke up she would start to cry out in pain; so I was doing her a favor by making the pain stop.  I was STILL taking care of my mother.  And when I left that room for the last time, I said, "good by, mother;"  something she never let me say when she was alive.  You NEVER said good bye to her...  it wasn't allowed.  And to this day, I find it VERY hard to tell someone good bye (in those words).  Her control over my life was so complete that she had to DIE for me to be free.  But am I free?  Are we ever FREE from such demanding control?

PTSD never goes away; it just hides for awhile.


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