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#184804 - 10/05/07 07:04 AM PTSD? Me?
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Well, my therapist gave a name to my "nerves of noodles" last Wednesday. It was kind of shocking when I told her about the way people sneak up behind me at work, sometimes unintentionally, and scare the living crap out of me. I didn't expect her to respond the way that she did when I shared with her how I tried to hurt a co-worker who put his hand on my shoulder from behind when I didn't know he was there.

She called it post-traumatic stress syndrome, and she said I need to take some actions to protect myself and others from it.

Wow. PTSD? Me?

Yeah, I guess she's got a point. Most people giggle in an embarassed way after they are startled. Me? I lash out. Somtimes it's physically, mostly it's verbally. Most inportantly, though, I tend to get these little blips of emotional flashbacks. I feel betrayal, anger, and shame as a result of being startled. It takes some time for me to recover and to get back to work when it happens, and now I'm being told I have to do something about it.

The guy I need to speak with is a supervisor. He's one of those touchy-feely kind of guys, and I trust him. He's one of two guys I know who I let touch me in any way besides the customary cordial handshake (the other is my dad). However, he knows nothing of my abuse. I need to let him know somehow that it's not okay to startle me.

Anyone have any thoughts?

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#184806 - 10/05/07 07:38 AM Re: PTSD? Me? [Re: BJK]
rcm Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/07
Posts: 156
Loc: Boston, MA
Can your therapist write a letter to the attention of Human Resources? YOu can also ask them to keep things confidential, if that helps you.
When you say that you "are being told" to do so mething about it, are you refering to your therapist or your supervisor or someeone at work?
I had a similar situation in which I lashed out at my supervisor and the situation was escalated to Human Resources.
I got called in and was admonished and given a warning as well as the "opportunity" to remedy the situation. I was then placed in some sort of program in which I was "invited" to take advantage of the mental health benefits and then evaluated for improvement.
In other words, shape up or ship out.
I went into therapy, and did as I was told. I only went to therapy because I wanted to protect myself legally. If this escalated, I could then demonstrate that I was working on my "problem" since I was seeing a therapist for this purpose.
I don't know if this is your case, but I wanted to tell you my experience because you might have to take some steps to protect yourself legally.
This was some time ago but now I have talked to my manager tell him I am dealing with PTSD. That's all I said, I didn't go into details. He has been very supportive. I have lashed out at him a couple of times and apologized. ALl in writing, so I can leave a "paper trail".
I don't know if this sounds over the top, but I am not taking any chances. It's work, and I need to be formal about it. I don't think off the record discussions, as helpful as they might be when you have a good relationship, are all. THere are legal matters to be considered. The fact that this was escalated to HR, that I was called in and that all was documented, told me that I had to respond in a similar manner.
I hope I hope I'm not rambling and that this helps.
~RCM

_________________________
______________________________________________
Prince Zuko: [looking at a map] How am I going to find the Avatar? He is clearly a master of evasive maneuvering.
Sokka: [cut to him, looking at the same map] You have no idea where you're going, do you?

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#184808 - 10/05/07 07:48 AM Re: PTSD? Me? [Re: BJK]
foundation Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 12
Loc: ohio
I know the feeling, people used to walk up behind me and I would be so startled. Slowly after many years, I no longer get so frightened. However, I do still get startled when I am working on a detailed project and someone interrupts me. I have become aware of my surroundings and that seems to help.

The flashbacks occur when I am down or when I am thinking about nothing. It even happens when I am having a good day and just being. Then it happens out of nowhere and I go back to that place where it hurts. I try to control "IT" but the harder I try the worse it gets inside. Sometimes I have to control the feelings because I am alone or in a public place. It doesn't normally happen in a safe supportive environment.

My new primary care doctor said that I have PTSD this week. I don't quite understand where I am at mentally. I get bits and pieces from all medical providers. I wish I could help you define or say where you are at. It is so confusing in having so many different treat me.

I can really relate to people scarring me and the anger. The anger just eats me up and provides no productive energy. The only solution for me is to channel it to getting better. I seethe with it inside and I hope you can channel these feelings appropriately.

My hope is that with time like you and I can break down the walls that separates us from others. It is like we have our own little world and we can understand each other but the outsiders don't get it. At times, I just don't where to turn for help and I think what heck am I to do. Supposedly I am getting healthy but I still have the flashbacks. The only outlet is to ask for help in a humble way. I don't if any of this helps.


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#184839 - 10/05/07 10:41 AM Re: PTSD? Me? [Re: BJK]
thecoopstah Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/04
Posts: 589
Loc: massachusetts
Rest assured i know precisely what it feels like and how startled you become as a result of someone coming up behind and touching you.

However NO ONE in any way has a right to "touch" you without your permission therefore i encourage you to tell your boss,co-workers,anyone you know or otherwise you're not comfortable with "touch" .....


I go through that ALL THE TIME and it's ok and understandable to re-act the way you do afterall PTSD is not a simple condition in that there are lots of symptoms ....up to and including being touched and startled as a result,always feelings as though someone will come up from behind and "put thier hand on your shoulder"....

I'm a (little) bit better however i use that term lightly because the reasoning(from my experiences) behind why you are startled when your touched is because as children our boundaries were violated in a major way therefore as survivors we're just not ok with any kind of touch.

Although i,too am "ok" with people i trust however if i do not know you i do not want to be touched at all.

This post is of course about you and how it feels when YOU feel violated and no one can take away how you feel.


Finally i went on a re-treat out to california held by male survivor back in march of this year and the i realized that "not all people and touch are negative" although that still does not take away how you feel.


God bless you and if you'd like to talk and send PM's through MS please feel free to contact me and i'd glady help you if i can.

Copstah

_________________________
" You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have "

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#184841 - 10/05/07 10:49 AM Re: PTSD? Me? [Re: BJK]
thecoopstah Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/04
Posts: 589
Loc: massachusetts
You will be ok regardless of whoever you decide tell tell you are uncomfortable with touch....validate the little boy in you who is afraid therefore the adult in you can re-assure bjk that life is safe again and far removed from that enviroment.


coopstah


PS: some people just don't get it....but you should not be subjected to that feeling of anger,fear,and being startled,make thnigs clear to others how you feel when you are startled by their actions.

_________________________
" You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have "

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#184989 - 10/05/07 06:58 PM Re: PTSD? Me? [Re: thecoopstah]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Thanks for all of the responses. Your guys' input helped me say something about it today to my department head (we don't really have a human resources department).

My therapist is the one who told me I needed to do something about this. This all just kind of struck me out of the blue. I'm still kind of shocked about it. PTSD? Me? My therapist is the one who mentioned it after I told her about these problems I was having at work. Half the time I don't even think she's listening, and then she pulls something like this out of her ass. She's right, too. I know she is. I used to get clobbered all of the time by my mother, oftentimes out of the blue when I wasn't expecting it. However, it was worse when she faked it. When she raised her hand like she was going to clobber me, and then she didn't, I'd cringe in fear with my eyes closed. After feeling nothing for a few moments, I'd slowly open my eyes to see if it was safe. Then, sometimes she'd clobber me anyway after I thought I was safe.

Awareness doesn't do much to help me, either. Even if I know someone is there, if he makes a sudden movement or noise, I will be startled. But I've found that the anticipation is actually worse then the event. One example is the 4th of July. I hate that time of year, but the absolute worst are the screamer bottle rockets that don't go off. To hear that agonizing screech without the bang at the end is absolutely agonizing to me. Also, balloons are a huge source of discomfort. I always assume they are going to pop. I simply can't stand to be around an inflated balloon...period.

My therapist said it might be getting worse lately because I am letting down a lot of the defenses that used to keep me "safe" in order to heal. I hope that it gets better in the future, because it really gets to be too much at times. Just today, I got up from my desk as I was shuffling papers, paused as I was turning around, and looked up to find myself about a step closer to the wall than I thought I was. I jumped out of my skin for no apparent reason except for the fact that the wall seemed like it was too close.

The feelings that I have to work through each and every time something like this happens are definitely a challenge. I feel like I'm going crazy when I get scared by a wall.

Bryan



Edited by BJK (10/05/07 07:01 PM)
_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#185269 - 10/06/07 05:20 PM Re: PTSD? Me? [Re: BJK]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
I've been kind of studying these startling occurrances since I first posted about this yesterday, and I've come to realize that what's happening here are mini-flashbacks. I have no idea what I'm flashing back to. All I know is that they are very brief hallucinations, and they take time to recover from.

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

Top
#185271 - 10/06/07 05:25 PM Re: PTSD? Me? [Re: BJK]
MarkK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denver, CO
can relate to the being startled and the outbursts.
someone just walking up to give me a hug will do the same thing. had a coworker that was leaving and was hugging people goodbye. I could have put her thru the nearest wall - I managed to maintain, though barely.

so maybe this is something i should bring up with my T ... if I ever find one again ...

Anyhoo - thanx Bryan - given me something to think about...


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#185325 - 10/06/07 07:53 PM Re: PTSD? Me? [Re: BJK]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Quote:
The guy I need to speak with is a supervisor. He's one of those touchy-feely kind of guys, and I trust him. He's one of two guys I know who I let touch me in any way besides the customary cordial handshake (the other is my dad). However, he knows nothing of my abuse. I need to let him know somehow that it's not okay to startle me.


Bryan,

I'd say that if you feel as comfortable with this supervisor as your post indicates, he would certainly understand if you told him first of all how much you appreciate his demeanor with you, and secondly that you have a request about being startled, that you really need him to always approach you from the front and never try to startle you. I suspect that will be enough for him, but if not you may want to have a backup plan in concert with your therapist before entering the discussion in the first place.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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