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Need help for a close friend...PTSD

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posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 01:47 PM
My best friend/roommate is suffering from what I believe is PTSD. Her doctor and counselor have only diagnosed her with depression but I believe this is a side effect. The short and skinny of it is she found her aunt hanging from the bedroom ceiling fan from which hung herself. This was after a huge fallout with her brother/sister-in-law (SIL) because her went nutso for some reason (They have made amends, however). A week after she found her aunt, she found out she had diabetes.

She wrote me a very long email today expressing to me how much of a hard time she is having and said she has not been the same since finding her aunt and has "visions", which I can only infer as being flashes of the gruesome scene she stumbled onto.

I believe the depression is only a symptom of the PTSD and will fade only if the PTSD is dealt with but no professional has seemed to recognize this as a possibility. I mean, she obviously experienced a traumatic event which she relives time and again, triggering her depression.

Has anyone had similar experiences personally or through someone they know. How do you/did they deal with it, if at all? Some advice would be appreciated. And please refrain from suggesting drugs as they only treat they symptoms not the cause.

Thanks in advance.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 01:53 PM
I'm studying to be a psychologist and if they say its not PTSD then its probably not. Also did she tell her therapist shes having flashbacks to the scene? if she hasn't she should. That is a symptom of PTSD. But Depression and PTSD do go hand in hand and both are treated with therapy and sometimes medication. Tell your friend to maybe see a different therapist. All I can say is never make judgments unless your a registered practitioner. And Never analyze your friends your bias a professional isn't. Your friend needs to keep seeing their therapist, because they can help.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 02:17 PM
I had some experiences with some things I saw as a child which a psychiatrist once called PTSD.

When I first saw the psychiatrist I didn't mention these things very often. I was seeing him for insomnia, and things I guess unrelated but related at the same time. It took many visits with my psychiatrist for me to not only discuss the contents of my dreams, but also for him to even ask me about certain events in my life - and for me to tell him.

Psychiatry/psychology aren't simple things, and labels aren't good. To be honest I wasn't ready to be labeled anything. My psychiatrist did eventually say I had PTSD to me one day, but I imagine it took sometime for him to discover it, more time to confirm it, and really having the break down Oprah moment immediately probably wasn't the best solution.

I got 'through it' via meditation, concentrating on music at night to try and sleep, and having some more good memories. I say 'through' like this with apostrophes because no one should think of themselves as a label or as a victim ...

We are all empowered to help ourselves in most cases. My advice would be - be there for the person, understand their behavior may be erratic in this difficult time, and don't try to force any 'moment' that might 'fix' them.

Some of the best advice comes from friends, the rest comes from Taxi drivers, hookers, and passers by. Random things picked up here and there mend a person's mind.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 02:23 PM
get to root of trauma
heal trauma

its the "getting to the root of trauma" thats the b^^ch, humans have a tendency to cope without knowing the "truth" hence the difficulty of finding the true trauma and healing it.

it can take everything from 1 hour to years depending on the grade of "injury" and who open one is.

heal trauma and dream

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 02:23 PM
I don't know how it works for seeing that kind of suicide but when I got back from my first deployment to Iraq my head was really f..cked up and to a certain it still it. I was really reluctant when the had me do group sessions. I would skip all my appointments but when I was really about to hit rock bottom (contemplating suicide again) my wife talked some sense into me and reminding me of my kids.

I ended up going to group therapy. At first I thought it was all BS but after like the third meeting I started started feeling better and not as lonely as before. I stared seeing that I wasn't the only one with this feeling. Slowly I srarted to participate amore and more.

Like I said, It didnt fix me completely but Im doing a lot better. there are groups for everything. just do some research on it and try to support her through the steps. For me it was really hard at first b/c every story would start flashbacks and I would get really anxious, nervous, and aggravated.

It would be really nice to have some one attend the meeting with her. BUt only if she wants the company. Don't try to force anything on her. Just kind of show her the research that you have done. Maybe that will motivate her to seek help.

Good Luck!!!!!!

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 02:32 PM
reply to post by Pinke

Thanks for your input. Do you think it was better that the underlying cause of your troubles, i.e. PTSD, wasn't discovered right away. I suppose this is my main concern because I cannot help but think there has been nothing but wasted time if this diagnosis has been missed. It is possible that she does not have it but she has classic symptoms of it.

Just to be clear, I am not trying to fix her or diagnose her. I am interested in getting some tools that might help her other than drugs.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 02:37 PM
reply to post by Tnewguy

Thank you VERY much. I think that group therapy might be a great idea. I think the hardest part for her, going off the email she wrote me, is that she feels alone. She said:

Not many people are going to understand what im going through not even you or [my boyfriend's name]. Just know im doing all I can to be a happier and better person to be around.

This is what concerns me the most. The fact that this is a situation not many, if anyone, can even remotely relate to. I know it always helps me to get advice from someone who has been in a similar circumstance. Maybe this is what she needs in addition to the help she is already getting.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 02:39 PM
Sorry, posted the same thing twice.

Group helps out for that exact same reason. You start realizing that you're not alone.

[edit on 5-8-2010 by Tnewguy]

Edit to add:

Some psychiatrist are quick to jump to diagnose depression without looking at the other symptoms. I ran into that at first. They gave me everything from zoloft to Xanax. I went through like six or seven different meds.

[edit on 5-8-2010 by Tnewguy]

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 02:48 PM
Eh ... things for me were maybe discovered at the right time or maybe not. Who knows.

I was blaise about the incident in question. I didn't really understand or give it much interests. Yet sometimes there were moments looking back on it where I would have odd reactions such as being irrationally angry, not sleeping and constantly looking around and such.

To be honest the people around me couldn't bring it up with me or talk with me about it at the time cos mostly my reaction was to say it didn't bother me, and talk about something else. I'd talk about anything else really and not the issue.

I still only half agree with the psychiatrist's thoughts and diagnoses but apparently that's pretty normal, too. I think it's better to assume the psychiatrist may be wrong than buy everything they say.

Really I just needed friends and sometimes a person to be very honest with me and stop me doing dumb things. Eventually a good friend shared some experiences with me and I realized we were quite similar. It was noticing his attitude/events in his life that half made me look at my own and begin helping myself.

I mostly just started by trying to work ways to calm my mind. I don't see psychiatrists much at any more. Perhaps once or twice a year, and I'm not on any pills or anything any more. I still sometimes have weird moments, and I still can't talk about my feelings properly much or so I'm told.

But then I'm pretty happy, and I enjoy life.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 02:53 PM
What happened is indeed a traumatic event, and she might very well be symptomatic of PTSD, even though she might not meet the full criteria for diagnosis.

Some of the symptoms may be:

Intrusive thoughts/or flashbacks.
Nightmares or night terrors.
Hypervigilance (jumpiness/exaggerated startle response)
Anxiety or Panic Attacks
Change in appetite
Insomnia or hypersomnia
Self isolation or social withdrawal
Feelings of detachment from others
Difficulty talking about the "event", or talking about it all the time.
Restricted range of affect
Angry Outbursts

Seeing someone killed or injured would be an event "outside the range of
normal human experience", so yes, she could have post traumatic stress.

Go over these symptoms with her, and ask her if she is experiencing any of them.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 03:22 PM
reply to post by ladyinwaiting

She definitely has quite a few of these going from the talks I have had with her.

Thanks to another poster's suggestion, we are going to a survivors of suicide support group next week. She loved the idea and wanted me to go with her. It is frustrating not being able to give sound advice on how to deal with this since I have never been in any kind of similar situation. I think hearing others talk about it will help her realize that what she is experiencing is, in fact, perfectly normal.

I think that is a problem many people have with their reactions to certain events. They don't realize that there is nothing wrong with what they are feeling and might actually be odd if they DIDN'T have some sort of negative reaction of emotions as a result.

This is evident in what she said in the email:

I shouldnt be ashamed of how I feel but I really am.

I don't think she will be so ashamed after a meeting or two and people close to her helping her realize they expect nothing less from her.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 03:23 PM
I had PTSD for 10 years after I came back from being in the field in South Africa (borders of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Botswana and more military bases than I like to think about), I worked for the military. When you see too much death and torture, or you are involved in it, it eats into you, plus it didn't help having four attempts on my life (along with my family in some cases). I remember trying to go to sleep at night and seeing all the eyes of the dead (one of our guys kept pictures).

Stress in general can cause a whole series of emotional (and physical) disorders, there were things I couldn't even talk about without getting seriously upset. So I wrote a book, I trapped most of my demons in paper and let them go to some extent. Writing can be very cathartic, it's an excellent part of a healing process as it forces you to write down, examine and analyze what happened and why it bothers you emotionally. Write it down as a story and share it, it tends to diffuse the pain. Hope that helps.

Cheers - Dave

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 07:41 PM
I think I have to agree with you about PTSD.

I had an experience in the Army where I very nearly died, though I dont recall half of the event. As the Army wanted to know the cause of the incident, the following day I was forced to re-enact the incident over & over again, despite my complaining.

About 4 years later I was medically discharged for something completely different. Some years after that I was diagnosed with major depression.

I had & still have serious doubts about that diagnosis. Personally I dont think Im depressed, Im not happy about losing the career I loved nor the selfish attitude of the civilian population I was put into, but I dont think its depression.

Ive thought about it a lot, & my attitude, & therefore career & social interactions began to change after my incident. I have not been diagnosed with PTSD however I am certain that is the problem, or at least the root of my problems.

Shrinks love to live by their freudian rules & its maybe time they re-think, just as an Army officer quickly learns what he learnt in the text books is good in theory but is often useless in a real world situation. What you learn at uni is far from being relevant in real world situations.

I think this website may help you decide if the shrink or you are correct,

Good luck

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 07:53 PM
reply to post by SNAFU38

There is no question that Combat PTSD, is the big, fat mean granddaddy of all PTSD's.

It can take a long time to manage it and get over it, but it can be done.
Well.....the episode's diminish. Instead of having one-- three times a day, you might have one....once a year.

So it can get better. Hang in there with it.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 08:17 PM
Psychiatry hasn't been Freudian in many years. I spend my life working in medicine, and am here to tell you that it is at least as much art as science. This might be even more true in Psychiatry. The human brain may be the most complex piece of protoplasm, and that's without even taking the mind into consideration. Oh, and I want to sincerely thank those of you who have served in the Military. Freedom is not free.

Most of these disorders are not simple one size fits all overlays. I certainly agree with the benefits of group therapy. I've been hospitalized twice over the last eight years for major depression. My thinking about therapy initially was that nobody knew what I was like but me, and there was no way anyone could advise me about myself. Boy was I wrong. After the first group session it felt like someone had taken my brain out of high revving neutral and put it back into gear again. There are relaxation techniques that help PTSD, and anti-anxiety meds that you can take when you feel a flood coming on. It can be reduced over time.

posted on Aug, 6 2010 @ 07:44 AM
if trauma is so sever that you cant cope with everyday things such as personal hygien or basic things as to engage in an argument without getting to pissed about it then i suggest you buy a plane ticket to south america and start a three week ayahuasca session with a shaman , might be un orthodox to suggest this but if everything else seams to fail the traditional trauma medicine wont.

trust me , mood stabilizers and psycology meetings might help if they know how to help but in all sincieriity if no progress has been made in a year i see it as a failed subject/patient

if ayahuasca seams like something a bit to taboo at first then just seek out your native americans and their hotboxes, ask for a drummer and venture forth.

diagnosing someone with"ptsd" is easy, in a sence every one sufferes from it , its the luggage of real reality,

the term pstd only describes that something has occured not whats occuring ,

besides its bad doctorine and bad medicine to lump : neurosis,apathy,depresion,hysteria,bipolar etc etc etc in to one term.
and assume the same is the same for everyone when the same is not one but many.

ptsd and add or adhd goes hand in hand , its bad terms for bad medicine for lazy doctors and mind healers.

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