I was just wondering if PTSD can be brought on by traumatic (or very stressful) life events other than the usual ones (ie; war, abuse, rape, torture, the death of a loved one, natural disaster, etc). For example, can PTSD be brought on by an event such as the loss of a beloved pet?. How about multiple traumatic events all occurring within the same year like the loss of a pet, a relative becoming ill and you becoming homeless?. Can multiple traumatic/stressful events accumulate to the point where they become overwhelming and finally trigger PTSD?. Also, is it possible that one person might develop PTSD as a result of fighting in a war while another, more susceptible person might develop PTSD over something as seemingly benign as performing badly on stage and suffering a huge embarrassment?. Does the traumatic event have to be *major* before it can cause PTSD?. Are our PTSD triggers and thresholds for what brings it on different for all of us or does it have to be something like war, rape, torture, etc before PTSD is triggered?.
Now a little about me and my story.
I am a middle-aged male who had a very rough childhood (ie; constant strict "discipline", developmental/behavioural problems, etc). I was diagnosed with ADHD at some point as a child and put on ritalin. Anyway, I ended up in various orphanages, foster homes, Psych hospitals, out on the streets for years at a time, etc. Eventually I got myself together (somewhat) and have been fairly stable ever since. I have a history of alcohol abuse but have been completely clean for about 3 years. I also have little in the way of an outside support system since I suffer from social anxiety and rarely leave the house.
All went well for a long time but as I grew older I was diagnosed with GAD, OCD, Panic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Tourettes, etc. Then, over a year ago I had about 4-5 very traumatic experiences almost back-to-back. The loss of a pet, a life-long friend began having serious health issues, a close relative was seriously injured and several more which I'd rather not talk about at the moment because they are very triggering.
As a result of these traumatic events (and others which I have chosen not to discuss) I began to feel less secure, less safe, less trusting, more paranoid, more fearful, more anxious, always on alert and planning/preparing in advance for the next threat that might pop up, horrendous nightmares almost every night that completely drained me during the day, a "survivalist" mentality, very vigilant, a feeling of hopelessness and loss of control, small stressors get blown out of proportion, lots of worrying about every little thing - even things I never used to worry about, etc.
The nightmares are the absolute worst part of all this. They are so intense, detailed and vivid and often they very loosely reflect the things that are going on in my real life but with a cruel twist. Just as a purely fictitious example, if I had an appointment with the dentist for a tooth extraction, instead of having a normal reaction, I might have nightmares with an evil twist where as the dentist is pulling my tooth, he might suddenly slip and stab me in the eye with the pliers (or whatever they are called). A few nights later, I might have the same dream but the dentist has me on the floor choking me. This might go on for weeks leading up to the appointment and even after the appointment I might still have the nightmares - even though the appointment went just fine.
These nightmares seem to come in waves and always seem to revolve around hiding, escaping, sorting, complex and unsolvable tasks, impossible problem solving, repetitive searching/seeking, catch-22 events, losing things, etc. Then, I wake up the next morning completely exhausted and usually feel really run-down, anxious, lousy and dazed (out of it) for the rest of the day. Sometimes I lose track of time and it becomes difficult just to function. Sometimes I wake up in a full-blown panic attack and can feel the adrenalin rushing through me.
Can anyone relate to any (or all) of this?. To all of you who suffer from PTSD - does this sound like what you experience?. Does it sound familiar?. I seem to have many of the risk factors, triggers and co-morbid conditions but I wanted to get opinions directly from those of you who already suffer from PTSD.
PS: I have seen many specialists over the years and plan to see a Pdoc soon. I'm here now because I'm trying to find out if anyone can relate and because I very much need support from people who are going through the things that I am going through and from all I've read, it sound a lot like I'm going through PTSD just like the people here.
Thanks so much for your time and input. I really appreciate it a LOT!.
I totally relate to the loss of loved ones, many in my life since childhood into adulthood. The unstable home life the undiagnosed ADD until adult, the anxiety, depression my whole live but major and put on antidepressants first time at 33, on anti anxiety meds off n on since 16!
I to feel I suffer from PTSD, just don't know what to do to get help!
You are not alone!
yes you are not alone some of what you described sounds like PTSD when i hit my triggers i have extreme anxiety to the point when i i want to hurt those responsible for causing trauma to me in other words i want to kill them and when i feel like that i have to recite the last 10 superbowl winners and i get rigid and tense. i was traumatized in the military and it changed my life in a negative way see if you can see a psychiatrist ok :)
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