One of the ongoing challenges I face every day is lumping a whole bunch of stuff together and labeling it PTSD. Sometimes some of the symptoms are something else. Sometimes I need to tackle one problem at a time. A kitten plays with a yarn ball and turns it into a knotted mess. If I try to untangle it all at once it is frustrating beyond words. Start with one end and unravel that much then move to the next part. My counselor helped me sort out my problems on a regular basis teaching me to recognize every day easily fixed problems from flashback take this in several counseling session problems. I better understood what he meant when I landed in the hospital with health problems. The attending doctor asked me if I knew my thyroid had quit functioning. I asked them how I would know. He explained that I would feel tired and depressed. My reply, “How would that be different than how I feel any way?” I assumed all my tiredness and depression was PTSD not realizing, I had a health problem that needed attention. It took over a year to get the right balance of medication for my thyroid problem. My chances went way up for good days once this was done. I am not saying every depressed person has a thyroid problem. I am suggesting that we need to follow the thread and recognize other factors may be adding to the problems that already exist.
Unraveling multiple issues can be frustrating. One problem bleeds over into another. I woke up with a headache this morning and was totally unsurprised when clouds had moved in. I am sensitive to changes in barometric pressure. I am fortunate to live in a place that the weather doesn’t change often. I also felt off today. Hard to explain this. It is like from the time I wake up, nothing seems right. I start blaming the present moment then remember I felt this way before something else occurred. My counselor taught me to follow the symptoms. If I am angry what emotion was I feeling before that? Hurt, fear or frustration all lead to anger. Once I track which one of the 3 came before anger, what led to that feeling? I slowly and meticulously work backwards through my emotional time line. This took many counseling sessions to learn to do. I needed outside assistance to help me recognize all the pieces and parts that I lumped together. I could leap from trigger to dissociation* in a single bound. Unraveling the different problems like physical, relationships, reactions, and all the other myrid of daily experiences are start to be able to approach one problem at a time instead of being overwhelmed by a whole mass of stuff lumped together.
Dissociation: In psychology and psychiatry, a perceived detachment of the mind from the emotional state or even from the body. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=38857