These are the Diaries for a reason. They are about my, and those with whom I’ve come into contact, personal stories. Working with who had an array of types of trauma taught me more about myself than I learned in any book. That’s what happens when you’re working with people with addictions, mental illness, and mental health issues. I include “mental health issues” because some people come in, for example, after a divorce, require shorter-term therapy and be on about their way. Addiction and mental illness, however, are lifelong conditions.
As a therapist with PTSD, I’ve been on both sides of the glass. I didn’t truly know that I had PTSD until after my divorce was over for almost two years. I suspected it, I was even diagnosed with it, but they refused me treatment and referred me out. You see, everyone at that place did group therapy and refused to accommodate a therapist who didn’t want to be in a group with possible past or future clients, so they turned me away. I didn’t get help until I started having non-epileptic seizures (PNES). Basically, what I’m saying is that I might’ve waited too long to get help. Maybe I could have prevented the dissociative seizures, but maybe not. Why they started when they did, I don’t know. I had a great boyfriend and things were going well there, I loved my job, and, while I wasn’t over the moon happy constantly, I was pretty content with my life.
The advantage to being on both sides of the glass is that I know when I am being treated in an unprofessional manner. I had a therapist recently who basically re-victimized me. She was a horrible person and I basically told her so and she transferred me back to the therapist who had done my intake, who seems to have a real grasp on the concept of “trauma-centered” care. I also know what is being said in staff meetings about clients. It’s not always the most professional setting. It almost depends on the Psychiatrist and Office Manager who run the meeting.
I have absolutely no experience in treating Veterans with PTSD. Let me just get that out of the way. I have had personal experiences with them and, in my personal and professional opinion, their symptoms are just as similar to someone with PTSD fresh from Domestic Violence or other trauma victims. (I’m not pretending here that PTSD and C-PTSD cannot happen to anyone else either.)
The loud noises issues are probably more sensitive, but I spent a 4th of July weekend night (not actual 4th of July) at a Drive-In movie (surrounded by a residential area shooting fireworks most of the night) in a severe, body rocking, ear-covering, crying, panic attack for about two hours afraid of absolutely everything around me. I was so scared, I couldn’t get out of the back of the car to get back into the passenger seat. I couldn’t move. I wasn’t even present. I was somewhere else. I can only imagine that, for some Vets, that’s a reaction, but I’m guessing it could go any which way from Sunday.
**All pics including title pic are from FreePik and title was designed using Canva
I would love to hear some of the experiences that you have had and how you are able to manage them! Please comment below and follow on Twitter, FB, Instagram! I also encourage you to read both the professional AND client diaries’ to learn more about PTSD.