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Question
Posted by: Taya | 2012-10-31

Coping with trauma

I have had depression and other mental health issues for over 20 years (I''m 33 now). I am a professional person and hold down a job successfully and generally cope well. But it feels like my life is just one bad even after another and I find it so hard not to think it has something to do with me (hopefully not in a histrionic way). And with each new thing that happens, I have less faith of things ever looking okay. I have had traumas in my childhood, but as an adult had my car stolen and been held up at gunpoint. Recently i was broken into and cleared out and then hijacked a month later. I know this is unfortunately common at the moment and i wish i could just get on with things and forget it all. I am in therapy, but I live in constant fear. My mind is always going to thoughts of bad things that are going to happen at the next traffic lights, or when I get home. I am scared to leave things at home, but also don''t want them in the car. I am beginning to fall behind with things at work now too. I have been on mirteron and cypralex for a few years now (and limictin for controlled epilepsy), but I feel constantly anxious. I am scared I am going to get fired (I asked to meet with my boss and she mentioned nothing), I get terrified that a letter I need to collect is something with bad news like a letter from insurance saying they won''t pay (even though they already have, the letter was a reminder for a service). I''m not sure where to go from here. I don''t like talking about what''s happened in detail and so I haven''t. Someone recommended EMDR, but I just don''t have the energy or resources to put effort into something that might not be beneficial at all. Any advice would be really helpful!

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Our expert says:
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We try to cope wwith whatever life flings at us, but sometimes, the challenges accumulate and mount up, and even the most capable of us have limits as to how much we can cope with at once or within a short period of time.
Nice and responsible people like you, tend to take responsibility even for the evil acts of other people, and to find ways to blame ourselves for the actions of others.
Any one of the several ugly events you describe could have the potential to cause PTSD or similar post-traumatic problems, which include an excessive sense of vigilance, and and expectation of doom and gloom. Such conditions tend to respond well to a combination of mediation ( such as many drugs also used to treat Depression ) combined with specific forms of psychotherapy / counselling, such as CBT.
YOu say you're "in therapy" but you don't mention which form of "therapy" this is. Personally, based on decades of experience, I NEVER ever recommend psychoanalytic style therapy, as there is still, after all these years, no good and convincing proper scientific evidence that it works or is worth the enormouns cost in cash and time, but only an accumulation of excuses trying to explain why proper scientific research and evidence isn't an appropriate way to assess it.
EMDR is rubbish. It makes sense, and sounds like a good idea, but not only is there no good evidence to show it is useful ( let alone anything like as useful as those who sell it claim ) but there's a surprising amount of really good evidence that it can even be damaging. I never ever recommend it.
CBT has probably acumulated to most current good evidence of usefulness in a range of conditions. AAnd its especially focussed on helping you to learn to assess and change such unhelpful habits of thought as you describe. And generally its effective without dragging out for years, as does analytic therapies.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: I Sympathise | 2012-11-01

Hi there
I was held up and robbed an knifepoint 2 weeks ago. I am also scared to be at home alone so I put the alarm on, close curtains and blinds and walk around with my panic button around my neck. I won''t go outside alone unless I HAVE to.
It is good you are going for therapy - don''t stop, it takes time and its perfectly normal to think about the " what ifs"  and your body reacts in a way to prepare and protect itself. My councellor gave me a sheet of symptoms (which I gave to my boss) that could occur as a result of trauma. I told them its just that in case they see I am spaced out or dont seem to be as focussed, I am trying but its difficult.
The main thing I have found that has helped me to try carry on as normally as possible (I still have anxiety attacks) is my faith in God - when I feel panicky or negative then I consciously make an effort to look for positive and christian reinforcement to encourage myself and others and share it on facebook. It does help.
Please don''t stop the therapy or your normal meds (I am also on mirteron) Alzam is great to curb the onset of an anxiety attack and comes in low doses from 0.25mg to 1.0mg. Usually I find taking 1 x 0.25mg twice per day (ONLY WHEN I FEEL ANXIETY CREAPING IN) is sufficient. Like other mood controlling substances it can be addictive so you need to only use it when you have to and not as a daily part of your medicine routine.

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