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by P.K. Philips

It is a continuous challenge living with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I've suffered from it for most of my life. I can look back now and gently laugh at all the people who thought I had the perfect life. I was young, beautiful, and talented, but unbeknownst to them, I was terrorized by an undiagnosed debilitating mental illness.

Having been properly diagnosed with PTSD at age 35, I know that there is not one aspect of my life that has gone untouched by this mental illness. My PTSD was triggered by several traumas, including a childhood laced with physical, mental, and sexual abuse, as well as an attack at knifepoint that left me thinking I would die. I would never be the same after that attack. For me there was no safe place in the world, not even my home. I went to the police and filed a report. Rape counselors came to see me while I was in the hospital, but I declined their help, convinced that I didn't need it. This would be the most damaging decision of my life.

For months after the attack, I couldn't close my eyes without envisioning the face of my attacker. I suffered horrific flashbacks and nightmares. For four years after the attack I was unable to sleep alone in my house. I obsessively checked windows, doors, and locks. By age 17, I'd suffered my first panic attack. Soon I became unable to leave my apartment for weeks at a time, ending my modeling career abruptly. This just became a way of life. Years passed when I had few or no symptoms at all, and I led what I thought was a fairly normal life, just thinking I had a "panic problem."

Then another traumatic event re-triggered the PTSD. It was as if the past had evaporated, and I was back in the place of my attack, only now I had uncontrollable thoughts of someone entering my house and harming my daughter. I saw violent images every time I closed my eyes. I lost all ability to concentrate or even complete simple tasks. Normally social, I stopped trying to make friends or get involved in my community. I often felt disoriented, forgetting where, or who, I was. I would panic on the freeway and became unable to drive, again ending a career. I felt as if I had completely lost my mind. For a time, I managed to keep it together on the outside, but then I became unable to leave my house again.

Around this time I was diagnosed with PTSD. I cannot express to you the enormous relief I felt when I discovered my condition was real and treatable. I felt safe for the first time in 32 years. Taking medication and undergoing behavioral therapy marked the turning point in my regaining control of my lifeI'm rebuilding a satisfying career as an artist, and  I am enjoying my life. The world is new to me and not limited by the restrictive vision of anxiety. It amazes me to think back to what my life was like only a year ago, and just how far I've come.

For me there is no cure, no final healing. But there are things I can do to ensure that I never have to suffer as I did before being diagnosed with PTSD. I'm no longer at the mercy of my disorder and I would not be here today had I not had the proper diagnosis and treatment. The most important thing to know is that it's never too late to seek help.

Read PK's Story in a MyAJC article

"I'm no longer at the mercy of my PTSD, and I would not be here today had I not had the proper diagnosis and treatment. It's never too late to seek help."

Comments

I suffer from a complex version of PTSD and as of late my symptoms have been getting worse and more extreme than ever. I have been to my doctors and the only solution they can offer me is an increase in benzos and sleeping pills. In my opinion both are not something that l want since l already have a drinking problem and an addiction to benzo.

I was hoping to get some feedback, knowledge, information or insight into anyone that suffers from PTSD and if the use of cannabis https://www.bonzaseeds.com/blog/flo/ has been theraputic on helping lesson the symptoms?

I have attempted to find articles on the subject but the studies that l seem to have found are inconclusive to if cannabis is helpful to those that suffer from symptoms. I am at my wits end trying to find an option that will help me be able to cope day-to-day with my symptoms as they are impacting my life in a very negative way.

So please any knowledge or personal experience anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully someone will be able to steer me in the right direction so that l can better manage my health and hopefully start to live my life.

Cameron,
I found your comment while looking for ways to manage my depression, anxiety, and ptsd. I too drink too much. I went to therapy for 7 mo. To a great therapist, and that's when I learned I had ptsd. The therapy was great because I understand what's happening better. I smoked weed for 25 yrs, I'm 42 now. And for a long time I think it helped. But I have a sensitive mind and body, and it eventually turned on me. Basically it increased my anxiety suddenly. After yrs of anti depressants and off and on benzos.. I have come to the conclusion that there is no cure, only management. I believe that if I didn't drink, things could be better, but I'm sure you know how that goes. I've resigned to the idea of maintaining my dose of Effexor while using benzos when I have the most difficult times. If you've ever gotten off of them..you know they are horrible to withdrawal from. I guess what I'm saying, is that you are not alone. And it makes me feel better to know the same. I wish you the best, only you can know what is best for you. Take care, and keep fighting the good fight!

LARRY DAWSON

August 26, 2019

In reply to by Kellyann Taylor

Eye Movement Desensitizion Reprocessing. I had tried this method when i was Medboarding out of the Army due to PTSD(Combat experiences).

Emily

September 24, 2019

In reply to by LARRY DAWSON

I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD approx a year ago as a result of trauma from events that took place over a couple of years. This was when I was 18 - 20, I am now 38. Its a relief to have a diagnosis and although I have received therapy on and off for years, most recently I begun EMDR, and found it incredibly helpful. I am still on medication however and wonder how I am going to go coming off it, as Ive been on it for over 15 years. In my opinion marijuana may only help temporarily (whilst high) you need to look after your mind, its already damaged enough.

Hi Emily,

So glad EMDR has been helping you!
EMDR has been a life saver for me. I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD in the beginning of this year. The cause being childhood sexual abuse as well as other traumas. I am 39 now and since EMDR I have had tremendous clarity. I had about 20 sessions over a span of 6 months earlier this year and plan on continuing once a month at least for the next year. It is no quick fix but does help you process your emotions from your trauma. Of course, you are not cured but it does help a lot.
I then came across Dr. Lipov's Stellate Ganglion block injection. I got the injections yesterday and have noticed less fear and dread. I am transitioning between tasks without freezing which is very unusual for me. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my body and am not feeling guilt like I usually do.
This move to Chicago has been a blessing since I have been treated from a trauma perspective since I have been here. I am excited to see what else I notice since I have gotten these shots. It will be great if it helps people heal quicker from their trauma. Just thought to drop a note since I haven't found too much around this treatment online. All the best!

Hi there, what are the injections you refer to as a new treatment method? I have complex PTSD from multiple childhood traumas. I had a complex work situation which caused a significant psychological injury (aggravated my ptsd as well as brought out disassociation and general anxiety). I feel like I went from
On top of the world and into a dark pit all in one swoop. Anyhow, I find edmr does help lots. BUT it is risky in a sense because it can trigger a new memory thru processing. Sort of like peeling an onion. I’m waiting for a psychological assessment on Oct 19 through workers compensation. I freeze completely between tasks still after two years. I can’t multi task and if I get any pressure applied to me I lose all coping. The other day my kids aged 8 and 10 were bugging me to take them
Fishing. I couldn’t handle the pressure and nearly burst into tears. I can’t deal with any work situation related to violence or that has parallels to my childhood or I will spend endless nights with nightmares. I have slept minimally in 2 years. I’m always looking over my shoulder to see if I’m actually going to be killed. I have horrific nightmares from violent incidents to my children being decapitated to other graphic images. I have tried sleeping pills, ativan - and even antipsychotics to try and alleviate these nightmares. I’ll wake up drenched with sweat and panicking. Then can’t sleep again. It is the most isolating thing I’ve done in my whole life. Family members say I’m on “stress leave” or “burned out.” My personal favourite is that I was told I had a demon attached to me and I should be prayed for.

Sorry to ramble - but if there is some
New treatment out there please let me know. I need to continue to the next chapter
In my life and this one just keeps going and going. It is affecting my whole family and the thing is - you’d never know it to see us. Invisible illness - it’s tough!

Thank you 😊

Hi there, I also have lived experience of complex PTSD and have been in therapy now for about 18 months. The therapy I am doing that works is called " parts therapy" and I am making progress which surprised me. If you can find a therapist that does this I really recommend it. I have a dissociative disorder as a result of PTSD. The healing takes time in my experience. The main thing too is to not judge yourself or your inner parts that are all working hard to try to keep some sort of equilibrium going no matter how stressful it might seem. There's a really good app called" headspace" you could use as a gentle support while you find a solution. Also talk directly to the intrusive thoughts. I was tought to do this. Address them with facts. Have a script where you call them out.. " this is an emotional response that is the result of an overload of chemicals and hormones that makes people feel what we call anxiety ..it can make the body ( describe what you notice in your body) and make the mind increase is vigilance." At this point you are stepping outside of your anxiety and starting to look at it rather than be " in it" I hope you are able to research and find some good tools and support for yourself out there. Go well

Thanks Georgia for your description of how you are living with PTSD.
I very recently broke thru some barrier I've been up against for years. A combination of a supportive men's therapy group, a EMDR/trauma therapist- where I learned some skills to box in a specific time and memory- like a tv screen with a picture in a picture where you have control of the remote to make the 'memory picture" larger, smaller or turn it off. And Music, Exercise when I feel capable, less judgement around that now.
[ I have adjusted my work to be flexible so I can take the day off when I have a treatment and some time after to recover. describing it now it seems very similar to using radiation or chemotherapy, schedule a treatment when you are healthy enough, expect to be feeling rough for a couple days, then see how you are for the next treatment.
The difference being, often set up your own support system, keep it secret from certain people, generally not recognized as a treatment lay people acknowledge as they are afraid of the unknown- though there are many signs of progress there. And someone observed recently that there was terrible stigma, fear, secrecy and avoidance of someone with cancer, the Big C, which has changed over the last 20-30 years.
Been told often to take it Slowly, which varies with extent and intensity of the trauma history. And many things I have used and experienced to deal with life and coping with trauma, have quickly become clear as I begin believing what I am experiencing through my body, mind and heart.
To reinforce this, three days ago, someone explained that:
Hope = Motivation and Power.
That reinforced the feeling and belief that I know how to heal, and am capable of getting out of my own way, and throwing out some ways of coping that were used to keep me silent and depressed, in order to now move more easily through the world. Ted

Have you tried medication for the sleep issues, particularly PTSD related nightmares? I have had similar issues since childhood, particularly anxiety/depression/dissociation/sleep disorder and had accepted it as 'normal' for me, at least since primary school. (Complex PTSD from childhood trauma, and after a few severely traumatic incidents/situations in my 20's I completely broke down, and I'm still trying to feel 'functional')
Prazosin has been a lifesaver. After battling with insomnia, chronic fatigue, nightmares (an undiagnosed/difficult to diagnose severe sleep disorder) my GP started me on a low dose of prazosin, said it's had good results in treating PTSD-related sleep disturbances. (It's a beta-blocker, I tried propanolol to help with the physical manifestations of anxiety a few years ago, which was OK but not that 'noticeable', and caused some metabolism issues) I was a little skeptical of how much treating nightmares could do for the rest of my sleep issues, but I've been desperate to find anything to help with my multitude of mental and physical issues. And OMG, I can finally sleep peacefully... I noticed a huge immediate change in my sleep - and I'm realising just how dysfunctional it has been my entire life. Even when I didn't remember nightmares I wouldn't sleep well, or couldn't fall asleep until 4-5am (or at all) and have lived in chronic fatigue. I'd wake up drenched in sweat and freezing cold, multiple times a night. I've only been on prazosin for a couple months, the difference still astounds me. I occasionally forget to take it, only remembering when I wake up, and there is a noticeable difference (though my sleep is still better overall, possibly because I'm less sleep deprived the longer I'm on it) I haven't noticed any side effects either, this medication is a godsend to me. Sleep is now restful.
Please talk to your doc and try it, and I hope it works as well for you. Knowing what a constant battle living with C-PTSD is, I really hope I can alleviate a tiny bit of your suffering. I've never met anyone with comparable sleep issues or complex PTSD, reading articles and comments by people who deal with the same issues has been such a big help. Look at the C-PTSD board on reddit too, if you haven't already.

Tracy Fletcher

November 29, 2019

In reply to by Kellyann Taylor

I had ptsd for years and suffered really bad night mares and was wakening up and wanting to self harm since starting to smoke cannibise iv never had a night mare and have never self harmed and this is because the cannibise stops you from going in to rem sleep state were ptsd night mares happen so find cannabise had saved my life I was also told by phiciatrist because iv had ptsd for so long emdr won't work on long term patients with ptsd and personality disorders

I am so happy I found this page. I am in an abusive relationship, was raised with abuse, and have had terrible things happen. (1 of a handful was my own parents silently took away my horse, that I had trained, shown, and loved with all my heart. He was the only thing I COULD Love, and be loved back too. It kept me alive as a teenager. I healed HIM when he got sick. Looking back that was a very special moment. Back then at the time, I was just super relieved, as my parents would not pay for any vet treatment he needed. Now I realize it was the beginning of something special we all have inside! I actually have a gift, but it is in all of us. I didn't realize until in my 50's, because of my abusive life and not being to process things normally, that that healing of my horse was not normal. He had actually healed that day. I told my parents about it and what I did to do it. I had a blanket on him to keep him warm, he was standing, I jumped on, and sat there, just loving him so much, and not knowing what to do. As a kid, we just do, not really rationalizing, but I was such a pure heart, such a sweet kid, I just started talking to him and petting his neck. I said please don't get sick, the other horses aren't ok again, please heal, please don't get sick. I started crying, and laid my head on his neck. He was very still as he had a fever. I said over and over, I love you, and asked god to heal him. I was raised without god, punishments for my accomplishments instead (the only reason they got the horse was because all of my 3 best friends got one, so they had to for me, so I could be gone from the house every moment out of school, lol), but I asked god, and just sobbed and kept repeating I love you, and please heal. It was a complete letting go in the heart, and I started to see him all better, and was imaging him and I riding, jumping jumps, and running up a 300' long hill as fast as I was brave enough, bareback, lol. I fell asleep. Woke up cause he started to walk around while I was on his back on his neck.

He drank water, and my ride came to get me, so i left and didn't see him till the next day. Meanwhile I told the ranch owner to help him please. They could do nothing except call the vet (which my parents would not allow). The next day when I came up to the ranch after school, he was perfect! The first one who survived! And so fast! I caught it though before he got really sick. He had a fever and was lethargic, but nothing else.

I explain all of this because as an abused kid, it was so exciting to see something that was going down hill, finally work out! I never put it all together until many years later. However, more here. My parents sold him and made lots of extra money because I had trained him to do more, and didn't tell me they sold him. They let my carpool pick me up, take me to the ranch, knowing we are there for 3-4 hours every day. My horse had gotten out of his stall, and I went looking for him. I then asked the trainer there, and she looked at me shocked and said, "you don't know?" I said no, and was afraid I was going to get in trouble for asking her, so I was really visibly afraid too that something terrible happened to him. I was 13. She blew up, and then said, I am not mad at you I am furious with your parents, they sold him, and they picked him up today! I was so shocked, saddened, hurt, lost, I can't even explain it. I just said, crying, can I say good bye? He won't know why I didin't come to see him today. (young girl, I really felt this way and still do) She choked back a sob and said NO, they flew him across country to his new home. I almost fell over. I am crying writing this and I am 59 and 3/4. Terrible sissy I am I know.

Well that trainer laid into my parents apparantely, and they asked what I said to her, and I thought OMG I am dead now, they see me hurt, and I Said something to the trainer, here it comes, the punishment of the lifetime. I told them exactly, and I can't remember what they said. It's all a blur. You see 1 week later I was supposed to show him in their little horseshow, and had enetered him in jumping classes. We were the most prepared ever. I had practiced riding him bareback, no saddle and bridle, and trained him to do jumps by my leg pressure to steer him, and words to trot, canter, gallop, back up, stop, stand. We were having the time of our lives. He would do all kinds of pranks on me, like pull a hankerchief out of my pocket and throw his head around playing with it, but he would sneak up behind me when I was talking to someone, and gently sneak it out of my pocket. Before this he would buck me off hundreds of times while training to jump bareback with no bridle. He just couldn't help it, he was having so much fun, the bucking was just fun for him. We finally got through that and were ready to show. (I just finally learned how to stay on and he finally quit)

So long story needs to end. There is so much more about the horribleness of my parents and what they did to me and him. Looking back I see they really hated my having that horse, but why, they made money on him when they sold him. Oh God. The trainer told me, not my parents, that my parents are bringing him back so I can show him after all. That he hadn't left for cross country yet, and the trainer talked to the new owners and they agreed to let me show him.

I won all my jump classes, 1st place, and got a 2nd in another pleasure class.

My parents did not attend. My friends parents were asking where my parents were. They said I looked like I was floating when I was jumping and couldn't believe what they were seeing. I felt it! So they took a few pics for me thank god. My parents never said a word and it was clear I was not allowed to say a word. I never saw him again. Looking back, I see how this was extremely bad for me, along with the constant trickery and abuse, and then telling me I was no good for every accomplishment I did, and I got punished by whipping on the bare butt. And it hurt. I got punished for things I didn't know I did, and I would beg to know what I did so I could fix it. I always thought I was doing something they would finally like, something sweet wonderful or accomplishing. I was not mean, fortunately. But always punished.

I moved out, got married to a man I love and trusted. He turned out to be sleeping with men and women in different countries when he traveled, and cheating with women when home. I tried so hard to make it work with counseling and clergy people. I finally realized he didn't love me that much, so i left.

I am now in an abusive relationship. He tricked and conned me into me thinking he was a sweetheart. Moved into my house, in my name. He has destroyed the house, me, and my 2 horses. I am living the nightmare of childhood again. I am too old for this. I lost hope. I became accepting that I will have to kill myself as I can't make ends meet anymore with him here. He quit working, and makes me work more. My money is gone, I am trapped. I was so stupid, but fell right into the snare. I am not complaining. I am responsible as I was naive, and believed when I shouldn't have. I have no one to turn to . I have tried to make enough money to get him out. I can't. Taxes are due. I am in serious crap.

I fell, and fell and fell, mentally and emotionally. However, I stayed really good inside and really pure at heart. That is exactly, now I realize, why I fell and fell. I think the really ultra pureness of me, is what made me a victim while being a naive person. I though I would die and gave up to it. I just kept on as long as possible, because why not? I have two horses to love at someone elses house now. I go on for them.

I finally popped out of it some. No drugs, no alchol. Just some choclate as a bad habit, and guess what, remembering what I did for the horse as a kid.!!!

I started doing what I did for him, for me! I want you all to try this, and let me know if it helps.......

Sit in a chair, a comfy recliner type or as comfy as you can with blankets.
place feet under you a foot apart give or take a little to you comfort zone.
Straighten sping and head as comfortable to allow comfort and straightness.
Wiggle a little to get real comfy.
Be awake and alert.
Turn off all distractions.
This is spiritual, just like I did as a kid. If you don't have a Higher Power belief ,
just imagine the power of that Power, inside you already.
Think of yourself as protected by light.
Expand your inner power/light from your core center, your heard, and mind seing it.
Ask the Divine power of Love to stream love to you.
Do for at least 15 mins. Say thank you, ask the light to be with you, close your centers. Rest, breathe a little deeper, not a lot, for 5 mins.
Say ty, and go!

I actually do this on the side, it has worked for others, and It has helped my poor mind so much, you would think I fllipped. That is why I want you all to try it. Share what else works! I am sharing it because I know it works.

I don't know if I will make it or not, I am so far gone finacially I don't have a chance really. So I was nudged by God to share this for all of you to try.

Please really, do share what else worked for you. Imaging light is the key, while filling your heart and mind with it, while allowing your core sole to activate you.

Maybe seeing results with you all, will help me as well. I was a born healer/giver. I should have been in healthcare. Parents would not allow it, and told me they would make sure I fail at everything. This one thing would be wonderful to see work for everyone out there.

Be Awesome, you all deserve it, and remember, that light within is more powerful than we accept to think!

Skye

Skye
There is hope & I am so sorry for the things you had to go through & sorry that you are in situation you are in...It is hard & I can totally relate to a number of your past experiences and current struggles as I have gone through abuse as a young child & was in a domestic violent abusive relationship off & on for 9 years...Know that there is always a way out of abusive relationships...But I really encourage you to find your local women's shelter & call them...I called my womens shelter finally because I couldn't take it anymore & they took me in & gave me the support & care I needed I got to stay there in a safe place where no one could find me...They have trained staff & the people & resources you need that will help get you on a path that you get to choose...You can get the freedom you deserve a life worth living & I got therapy, support groups, and the last missing piece for me was the spiritual part of it which was picking up a bible & reading it & that opened my eyes to truth & purpose & meaning in life & I found local church who I trusted & they helped me along the way in my recovery from abuse & my heart opened up to Jesus & I now have a life worth living because I follow Him...All of those things are what got me out of relationship & my life has been changed & I no longer have to let someone elses hurts hurt me because you don't ever deserve that. I will pray for you & my hope is that you can find out a way to get into a womens shelter. Take care of yourself

I too am diagnosed with PTSD and have had great success with cannabis as a medication. It helped me do the things I lost interest in. It helped me not be depressed. It helped me recall repressed memories. It really helped my recovery.

But absolutely at some point you have to stop. It does turn on you.

I pray that you get the help you so desperately need.

If you get a chance, please check out my new blog, www.refugeformisfits.com.

Hi Cameron,

Have you tried EMI (eye movement integration). I have CPTSD and it really worked for me!

Look I have PTSD to I know it’s hard marijuana help me with my PTSD so if you think that marijuana helps you with your PTSD. Then I suggest you do it if marijuana helps and calms you down and if marijuana helps decrease like helps you have less flash backs and helps your Ptsd then do it., try to stay positive tho if you start to get really negative thoughts change the negative thoughts to positive thought,. And pray for them to go away amen.!.

I have found Ketamine infusions to be the most beneficial for treatment of my PTSD and depression. I do not care for cannabis, so I don’t have anything to offer in that regard.

is beginning to strongly suggest that a lot of illegal drugs (LSD, mushrooms, ketamine) are incredibly effective and safe medicines for a variety of mental ailments, with a single treatment having effects that last as long as 6 months.

These are clinical treatments however.

I have also found Cannabis to be both beneficial for recalling memories & great to help lift my mood (depending on mood of room). It has also contributed to my anxiety....so I use sparingly. Very interested in hearing more about Ketamine Infusions? Do you have Therapist with you to help bring out memories?

I have a friend who says ketamine infusions do help with his PTSD (he was kidnapped and held at gunpoint hostage -- before eventually being shot in the back, fwiw). I have found they are very effective for treating depression but they are generally only a quick 2-3 week lift, not a permanent solution and are very expensive ($350 x 6 treatments for the full suite is not something many can afford on a totally ongoing basis.) It would probably be worth investigating though if you are curious although my guess is more effective for depression than PTSD. Best wishes to you and much love and light on your journey!

I am a sufferer for years since my daughter died 26 yrs ago. I suggest you also find a good therapist as well. Trying this new legal stuff without someone to guide you isn't a good idea, it's super potent. it does help me quite a bit and I have to be careful of "over-use". The weed is only one means for relief, your mind needs all the help it can get...like therapy!

@marijuana

Smoking weed is sometimes helpful as it helps to gain a different perspective from time to time. But that new point can sometimes be both helpful or worsening. It never seems to help in the healing and just ends up being an escape tool. For me it helps me sometimes face my true emotions as they are usually trapped.

I go to AA. Substances arnt good. You don't want to take pharmacy drugs but you'd take your own. Addiction is a coping mechanism of cptsd. I also go to ACAC meetings. I find these very helpful. I'm completely abstinent from all mind altering drugs.

To reply to Cameron Page,
I realise it was a year ago you wrote.
I hope you have found some relief with PTSD, it is quite an awakening when first diagnosed and realising that the visions or movies that the brain transports to aren't a normal occurrence in most people.
To realise that was quite a jolt for me.
Then begins a whole lot of lifetime junk surfacing.
Marijuana was one of the first things I attached to from 15-25 years of age, always alcohol as well.
The MJ is in my experience over a long term extremely debilitating.
It really took away what little confidence and drive I had.
Gave that up and lived free of illegal drugs for a good three years.
Then I found effedrine, pills, then powders, to crystal meth.
That made me feel levelled, I wasn't as highly strung and it helped bad dreams it gave me motivation and enough confidence to live the next 20 years fairly well.
That to came to an end to a means.
I needed help as I couldn't work out what was going on with me.
That's when I found out that the life I was dealt wasn't one you particularly choose.
All this time I wasn't really comfortable in the world except when I was out in the parks and gardens or with the fur babies or numb with the effects of alcohol and drugs or all.
People were ok in short bursts and I have great friendships luckily with the few that somehow understood me and were ok with it.
Now I know I have a disorder I am not sure whether knowing it has been something i am fighting with or for?
Am I trying to prove that it's not a possibility? Or trying to prove that I accept it but wont let it beat me although it is at the moment.
I find by getting support from my fantastic GP an great AOD Councillor, psychologist and various support groups helps identify many issues and lots of good suggestions from different people on how to think about this or how to get past certain things etc.
In this long answer to your question, medicating drugs don't help.
Work the toxic stuff through and yes it's exhausting and confronting but finally peace will come on each trauma once processed properly and understood.
Finally sleep will come without hot sweats and violent dreams and the dissociative episodes are less frequent.
Do the hard work find the right support and the shackles of trauma drugs and alcohol will slowly but surely be removed.
I am still ongoing treatment and will forever if needed, it is better than the darkness inside and the uncontrolled mental transport visions taking hold and gripping on to your freedom.
Sincerely,

J.
You're not alone.

I find canabis does work for me but i wouldnt suggest it to anyone unless they can afford 120 dollars per week for canabis. I got off benzos with the help of canabis and I feel much better now than when I was on benzos. Life on those pills changes you in a terrible way and drs shouldnt prescribe then when Bubba Kush does the same thing with out the terrible withdrawls and uneasy feeling.

My therapist wants me to spread the word on this subject. I’ve been in therapy for four years and it wasn’t until I began smoking that I was able to get to the root of the problem in my life. My emotional connections with people and myself were null and void. I still struggle some days. I don’t want to leave the house and when I do I’m usually on edge. I went through I time period where I couldn’t accept this was my life. I longed for the days I’d feel the way I used to. Trying to escape the never ending thoughts of terror or always being on alert. I try and stick with hybrid blends. They work best for me. Just like anything else you can use in excess so I try to take small doses when I have to go out and about, larger doses before bed time. I still have bad dreams but when I wake up I smoke and am able to process things easier as well as move on from instead of dwelling on it all day. Between this and therapy I’ve really been able to make a lot of progress from where I was. Is it still a struggle everyday. Yes. Does it make it easier? For me it does.

Hi my name is J'lynn.
I know that this post is over a yr old but I just came across it and have had the very same question. I am 11 months free from Klonipin. I was on this poison for 20 yrs and am glad I didn't loose my complete mind forever. This drug nearly destroyed my life in many ways. Once a Dr told me that it was a leading contributor to dementia a lot made sense. I went thru yrs of seizure like episodes trying to get off and finally was able to do so. I am however a big supporter of Medical Marijuana. Using this plant medicinally has biggest the biggest life game changer. I have Zero neg side effects (for me). There's never a hangover. It does not interfere with my other medications. The best side effect of any thing in the world is laughter. So if something can hit on all of those other points and can cause me to laugh and be creative then Hell to the Yeah. You asked for personal opinions and this is mine.

I went ghrough hell as a teenager, im in my 30s now and have watched almost ten years of my life go by without me living them. Alcohol is my vice also. I would love to talk to you.

I hear you, brother. I have found, but still early into it, that CBD oil has helped. It is non-addictive and very healthy for your body and could well lessen your reliance on benzos and alcohol. Research it and you'll see what I mean.

My husband suffers from PTSD and is currently being treated with EMDR therapy. He gas had two sessions so far and finds his therapist approachable (very important). I can already see very small improvements. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing) is a relatively short therapy and effective. There is plenty of information about it. Search for EMDR - Dr Shapiro. Hope this helps

I was in the same shoes as you.
I drank excessively and took Benzo’s along with SSRI’s for 8 yrs. I have been diagnosed with Depression, Panic Disorder, Bipolar and DDD.

If you don’t take more than prescribed and your Doctor knows you drink you will be fine. As for Marijuana replacing chemicals, I would say always switch to natural if it works. If you tried it and liked it, that’s good news. I was to nervous to try it. but I have heard nothing but tremendous things in regard to Marijuana.

I went to a doctor and legally obtained Medical Marijuana.

It did NOT help at all.

Actually made my anxiety worse.

Everybody's chemistry is different. Hope you find something that will help.

Unfortunately, though cannabis helps, it is not allowed on college campuses, and as a result, when someone tries to transition from PTSD and SSI checks to a somehow brighter future, symptoms only intensify and we are left on our own. Worse yet, even if someone is willing to stay on SSI and accept their unfortunate fate, no matter what the marijuana will run out eventually and then what?! I have never been successful and something always comes up, no matter how hard i try. Right now I am praying I won't wake up tomorrow because it hurts so bad to struggle so hard for so long. But all anybody does is say the same tired script: "it will get better someday just wait". Some day doesn't always arrive for everyone so I guess it is best if I just give up; like quicksand the more i struggle, the further i sink. I don't want to feel anymore. I can't stand the pain. And i am so confused but nobody is able or willing to actually help aside from the singular script of "just wait it will get better". Nobody cares about anyone anymore and this aint the world i thought i would live in anyway. I am more alone than anyone could imagine yet people are all the same and i cznt stand them. My memory is horrible and im just tired of this world with all these fake people in it

I was diagnosed with chronic complex ptsd 20 years ago the original trauma began 20 years before that as a 11 year old child with one horrific event with a equally horrific event immediately following and the next 10 years of more of the same. I was noticing some of the earlier post many seem to be woman in their 30s which I find both interesting and common. Over the years I had tried every anti depressant anti psychotic mood stabilizers benzos alcohol but I have had very rare illnesses that are worsened by many medications. Of course those physical and visible reactions prompted a nurse practitioner to ask me if I had ever been diagnosed bipolar i was offended because he was basing his observation on my well documented diagnosed and treated reactions. This person didnt ever see me before and just assumed this. In a open area where everyone could hear with no regard for my privacy. Anyway I had gone to a psychiatrist and a therapist that I didnt really like or believed they could ever understand me. I has never suffered from a single day of depression in my life and my understanding of bipolar disorder at the time were high highs and low lows. I was always a glass half full kind of person. That was until at 35 I began having flash backs that seemed to be in a jumbled slide show format in my brain. They were of a event I had blocked for over 20 years it scared me I thought I had lost my mind but after going to therapy with a regression therapy I recovered those memories but I did stop going because I hated talking about it when I felt okay and understood what was happening. The drugs they gave me didnt help n only made me worse except the benzos stopped the panic attacks and let me sleep more than 3-5 hours a night. But what did help years later was adderall the biggest help was with more clear memory and it helped me stay on task and seemed to help me stay motivated! Idk if it can help in every situation but it has helped me. For me the catalyst for these memories coming forward was my 20 year marriage suddenly failing and somehow my subconscious for what ever reason was suddenly able to pull repressed memories and seemed that a safer route then to face choosing to end my marriage? I think being in our 30s as women for me unfulfilled and wondering what the next 20 would be and I could not fathom facing that, I had to change it but how could I do something so devastating to my family. So I remembered hidden events from my childhood. My point in telling you all of these things is I believe sometimes we get so knocked down it's not always easy to bounce back. Maybe those would be the times to try a different type of medicine than can help lift you until you can maybe begin living in a more fulfilling way. Thank you for sharing.

That sounds terrible, you can message me on Facebook Kassandra Dosal, the profile says Miami southridge high.

Hi Brenton,
I've had complex PTSD for over 20 years now stemming from abuse and attempted murder. I can tell you that first, you are absolutely not alone. There are many safe people who would love and care about you and want to walk alongside you through this. Most people don't know how. Second, There is help and hope. You don't have to wait for it to get better. You probably have to take some action, though. Seeking safe people (there's actually a book called Safe People (Cloud and Townsend-highly recommend), talk to your doctor, do research. There is much more info out there than there was just a few years ago. Here is one resource (below). There are many, you just have to look. When you can make yourself do it- exercise. The endorphins help as much as antidepressants, without the side effects. I was against meds for years, but recently tried Zoloft. It totally pulled me out of that dark place. I still work through things relentlessly, but it was like night and day, giving me the resources I needed to do it. Find a good therapist (I know this is hard....) Try newlife.com, they can steer you in the right direction. Come back and post here, I'll check to see if you've posted.
You are not alone. You matter. Your pain matters. It will be okay.
Gina

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hijacked-your-brain/201306/ptsd…

I actually just found out that I too suffer from PTSD and found out recently that Marijuana actually contributed to my PTSD and made it worse. Because what happens is it works at first to re leave the symptoms but because your brain builds a tolerance to the affects of Marijuana after a while it tends to work against you. Also you have a greater chance of becoming addicted to the substance. I recently have started treatment for my addiction and found this article that came out in August 2019 describing who gets addicted and why and people with PTSD are more likely to become addicts. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/marijuana-addiction-rare-but-rea…. Also through my research I have found this article on a MA websites that describe the withdrawal symptoms for Marijuana. which I have experienced every single one. https://www.marijuana-anonymous.org/pamphlets/detoxing-from-marijuana/

PTSD is a real syndrome that needs to have additional research and options. I am very sick. I have been diagnosed by a PhD psychotherapist and and MD psychiatrist. I currently take no medications, though I do attend talk therapy twice weekly. PTSD has destroyed my interpersonal life and family relationships. I am looking for support from this community or anyone. I was previously athletic, fit, and I am a young-ish female combat veteran. I want to regain my life.

PTSD is a monster that lives in the shadows of my life. Every time I think I have defeated the monster it returns at my most vulnerable moments.

I am untreatable.I have tried everything,and just diazepam,and abilify helps me to just do my housework.I am suspicious of anyone who reminds me of my past.Thinking outside of the box,leaving my comfort zone etc,does not work.Forgiveness does not work.SELFCARE WORKS,no matter who likes it.I sleep with my Bible under my pillow and it stops the nightmares.I can do one small thing per day,then rest.No movies,screaming,yelling,abusers or excuses.My boundaries are stone.The first word of abuse is the last.No councelors,just a shrink several times per year.To get medicine.We are all different.My ptsd came from the sins of others and being treated like a piece of property.I can go to ladies groups only.Church groups.Even there I get judged.It can be a sudden movement, a smell,movie,etc.and I am triggered for months.I am a victor,not a victim.No volunteering,just a small,simple life.

That is the nature of this animal it rears its head in unexpected places. Over years I find my triggers changed? The part that is most bothersome for me is I felt like my brain learned how to erase even the smallest unpleasant things and people dont understand when you may not remember much of anything it causes many relationship problems. But in my opinion to be here openly speaking about your experience makes you a survivor! Thanks for sharing

Your post made me want to reach out. One of the hardest parts for me living with PTSD is the feeling that no one cares. Being left to your/our own devices as the world moves forward. Putting yourself out there, opening up, and feeling disappointed and alone but the silence. You are seen. I can feel the pain in your words. Your struggle is known.

It's a constant battle for me too. Feeling isolated and alone in the world is tough, but being in the world at all is a success. Remembering that being alive is a miracle for many of us ( I'm a single mom who was shot in the chest and in the knee while in my home fighting off an intruder, which saved my life and the life of another). The goal that keeps me going as I pick up my life is to be in the land of the living. Moving from just being alive to fully living is my goal. Otherwise, for me, hiding in the safety of solitude erases my existence in the world. If I cease to live, cease to be alive, then the person who tried to kill me wins. He's successfully ruined me, ruined any life I had before the attack. I'm still fighting every day. To stay in the darkness is safe and easy. Learning to move into the light takes work and trust. I fail a lot, but that is okay. I keep trying and moving. I'm going to climb to the top. I don't know what the view will be when I get there, but it will be better then the one I have today. Sending you love an support.

...years of therapy and medication trials, hospitalization...not much worked and I stayed to myself.. .I needed validation and DBT to start healing...I also understand the reason I feel so isolated is that I understand through experience that really really bad things can happen at any time and sometimes there is absolutely nothing we can do about it....that the feeling of being safe is an illusion....a way we trick ourselves into thinking everything will be OK....almost everyone does this to feel safe in this world, until something happens and that illusion is shattered...then we no longer feel safe in this world (and that leads to thinking of ourselves as unlovable, unwanted, unliked, different than others, etc..) and the only thing that takes that horrible feeling is to numb it with medication or some other temporary fix....what has helped me the most is agreeing to trust that there is a Savior, a God, who has been below all of this and does know exactly how to support me through the horror of my trials...and this unsafe world...I have had to accept and agree to allow Him to lead me through my life....this has taken a great deal of learning....I still have to be very careful of life's stressors....I now trust myself ....I know I can get through the terrible things that happen in this life....life is temporary as is all pain and set backs, and mental illness, brain illness, physical illness, other's behavior and other's challenges...for example I have had to learn to not allow anyone to make me do something I dont want to do that is hurtful to me or someone else...It's really hard sometimes seeing those who appear successful in life and then knowing that I am like a pencil, which someone has taken from a pocket and thrown on the floor and that I have had to start from there....Im always trying to catch up and then I realize that I need to spend a lot of time just taking it easy on myself and learning to live on an unlivable wage and being content with little financially and materially....in the mean time...you like me, probably have developed a deep understanding and empathy for others going through hard things and that is worth a great deal.....I hope all of you suffering can find the same inner peace I feel.....

For the past five years I’ve been stuck in home trying to scrape by and struggle through my anxiety and ptsd.(with no prescriptions or therapy) It is aurguably one of the worst things to deal with since you are your own worst enemy, as opposed to cancer or lost limbs, or stacks of bills, or career issues. Your very ability to change perspectives and find strength in perspective-change is shattered if the anxiety and ptsd issues are frequent enough. I guess I am just trying to say it’s tougher every day as I start to see why suicide can occur as a result because the hope of a brighter day becomes dimmer with each trip you miss out on or social gathering or loss of normal function such as driving. We all know where we should be and who we’d like to be (what we and the world around us expects) and anxiety and ptsd issues can rob us of believing we are right where we need to be, and rob us of confidence we once took for granted. But there isn’t just hope, I disagree with some people whom say there is no cure just coping. And I can prove it. There’s always something, no matter how hard it is to find, that triggers desire. And there is no denying the power of desire. I’ve experienced this first hand, and suddenly when I want something terribly bad anxiety or ptsd doesn’t get in the way and is forgotten and not with me. But that’s easier said than done. Regardless it’s worth a try with even the smallest pleasures like setting up a relaxing evening for yourself in front of the television and your favorite snack. Or perhaps what worked for me is cooking. It’s very meditative with some smooth music and make some good food from scratch. Aside from this, when it comes to the chemical side of things, cbd oil has been of tremendous help for me, but only in consistent dosages once before bed under tongue around 5mg. Of course some do more but everyone reacts differently. But regardless best to start at lower dosages. Aside from all of the above, this may sound very generic or “korny”, but avoid at all costs negative people in your life whom put you down or place excessive pressures on you. After all it’s the general negativite events that got us where we are. Negative got us there, positive will get us out. Even if it’s accomplished one agonizing positive thought at a time.

I couldn't have said all this better myself.. I feel like ppl just don't understand what its like for us day to day especially my husband, that its a struggle.. you just don't know if your going to have the energy to do what you need to do that day or is it going to be your down day..your mind is always ready to go but your body does different.. Its just calming to read other ppl going through the same, because you all understand..

You are so right about people not understanding or knowing the struggles we face every day. I have many opinionated family members and friends that say its mind over matter. I would like for them to walk 1 day in my shoes, I am always waiting for the next rude comment to come out of their mouth. I am 42 and have been battling this illness as well as anxiety, depression for the better part of 30 years. It was just about 5 years ago I learned I had this illness. So for so many years I really thought I would never be "normal" what ever that may be really. I missed a lot of special things in my kids lives due to turning to alcohol to try and medicate myself into thinking I was just like everyone else. My struggles have been flared back up by several things that have happened over the last year. I am in the darkest of places right now and attempted suicide. I have never gotten to this point in my life where I felt this bad. I am going into get a new medication that will hopefully help and new coping skills. My story really could go on for days but for today I am glad I have your stories to read and comments because knowing your not alone does help.

I read your battle and just wanted to say Keep Fighting. You mentioned a suicide attempt and I pray you never get that feeling again. Please keep trying. PTSD is hard on all of us and we have to keep fighting. I lost my Dad to suicide and it’s by far the worse thing I’ve ever experienced and I can’t imagine what he was going through. I fight ever day to get through and be there for my kids and wife. Trying to do the same for myself. We all need to love ourselves and when I figure it out, I’ll share as I’m not stopping.

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