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Archive for May, 2008

I Will Possess Your Heart – Death Cab For Cutie

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is simply this: in 2004, I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Of course, this diagnosis came late in life, as all of my therapists believe that I started showing symptoms of PTSD at eight years old. The reason for the diagnosis, some (or none!) may ask? A long list of childhood abuse that started at eight years old, though I recall very little before this time.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to one or more terrifying events in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. It is a severe and ongoing emotional reaction to an extreme psychological trauma. This stressor may involve someone’s actual death or a threat to the patient’s or someone else’s life, serious physical injury, or threat to physical and/or psychological integrity, to a degree that usual psychological defenses are incapable of coping. In some cases it can also be from profound psychological and emotional trauma, apart from any actual physical harm. Often times, however, the two are combined.

PTSD is a condition distinct from Traumatic stress, which is of less intensity and duration, and combat stress reaction, which is transitory. PTSD has also been recognized in the past as shell shock, traumatic war neurosis, or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS).

Currently, PTSD is incurable. Individuals seek therapy in order to learn how to “manage” their symptoms (a long list that includes: depression, hyperarousal, intrusive thoughts, nightmares/flashbacks, panic attacks, shut-outs..etc, etc..).

Right now I’m seeing a therapist who specializes in trauma and who is using an innovative technique in dealing with PTSD symptoms, called EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. In simpler terms, my doctor uses a specific outside stimulus to activate the left and right hemispheres of my brain, so that they can work in conjunction with each other. As it stands, PTSD can cause the two hemispheres to “disconnect” in a way – especially during certain emotional triggers.

During the last 2 years, I have shut myself off from my friends and society and even so far as the small cyber-community I used to be a part of. Hopefully, with the therapy I’m receiving, I’ll feel more comfortable interacting.

And, of course, there would be no mental disorder without medication! It’s been taxing, to say the least.

So, there’s that.

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