3+ years ago myself and someone I love were victims of a violent crime. I posted it here in detail once and don't really want to repeat it. Over time I developed an emotional condition called PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and have been in treatment for it. Recently I changed therapist because I moved and felt I needed fresh blood in helping me, I was stalled out. I sought someone who specializes in PTSD and for me only I stress, I'm finding that my PTSD overlaps with the trauma I had 3 years ago plus my emotional reaction to being diagnosed with refractory epilepsy and all those ramifications, changes in my life from epilepsy diagnosed about 8 years ago. I don't want to go thru my own personal fine points but I find this very interesting because there are definite signs and symptoms of PTSD and often I see threads of people complaining of these very symptoms.
So I've done some research and found there has been extensive studies on cancer patients, the largest study I found have developed PTSD due to diagnosis of cancer. They have psychological shock reactions from their diagnosis of Cancaer. This is important for all of us to know in a way because the article also said that in the US 25% of the population will develop cancer in their lifetimes, which doesn't mean all those people will die, or develop PTSD due to cancer diagnosis. Other diseases were also listed in other articles and I noticed many (most?) of them were syndromes or diseases that either dramatically change our lives or are terminal or the person had a significant emotional reaction to a physical change of their perception of their physical image (such as scars, unwanted tatoos, baldness, short men,tall women, amputations, the list was endless) or any severe life change. One article discussed PTSD in couple's who have multiples (twins, triplets etc) particularly for the men. That would seem a happy event but think of the stress of suddenly having 3 or more babies, usuallyl mulutiples are premature so first all the health/mortality issues, changes in marital relationship, supporting them, thinking about how their expenses will rise in the future and maybe the husband/father makes $25,000/year? To me that'd be a little stressing long term. Such as, one article stated if you want to dig that far back some men have a mild to severe shock trauma reaction to baldness. I don't know if one of my brother in laws has PTSD over baldness but I do wonder. His ticker is shot, and I mean shot. He walks across the room and he's breathless and pale. Never mentions it. He is obsessed, apologizes, talks endlessly with obvious embarrassment about his "thinning hair". Thinning? He probably has 5 strands of hair but I don't care which isn't germaine, obviously it bothers him more to be bald then to be half dead from heart disease. I'll even ask him about his heart and he'll throw it off and say he feels fine. He won't spend the money on a cardiologist co-pay but he's spent thousands on hair implants that infected and had to be removed, the worst rug I've ever seen and many hats. He's not avoiding the topic of his heart he'll discuss it if asked, briefly, he's not in denial, he's learned to live with his bad heart but he can't get passed his "thinning hair". I won't go into specifics why I think that, but I'm sure he is at the least excessive about his bald worries versus his dying heart. I get so sick of 1/2 of our conversations he's talking about his "thinning hair" while my husband still has a very full mane of hair which also always creeps into conversation between two men who obviously love each other unless - the hair topic comes up. My toes curl. Obviously it is a huge issue to his brother. I've never understood it, maybe I do now. This has been a 21 year ongoing conversation too. If that seems funny or unbelievable how many advertisements do you see on TV for male pattern baldness? At times it feels like every 4th commercial. Someone is making a buck on others that are at the least very concerned about baldness. Trauma due to self image change? It's possible because a woman who has a hysterectomy, which doesn't show but also can mean to many women maybe deep down their worth dropped, self image changed, they can no longer produce no matter what their age they feel a lot less a woman, or important. Any body part removal seen or not has long been known to carry the potential of creating severe depression in men or women of any body part loss, the potential exists. I learned that in nursing school 30 years ago. One article even mentioned PTSD with enhancement plastic surgeries where people looked different after surgery which was their goal but then found they had deep grief, psychological trauma, from the loss of their former, familiar selves from breast enlargements, pectoral implants, cheek and chin implants, eye lifts, even liposuction.
Our significant others the articles I read can also develop mild to severe PTSD due to our diagnosis which it went on to say without tx, can fracture relationships and that again, is something I read frequently in threads and was one of our problems until we got some help.
Sigmund Freud, 100 years ago was the first person who put a name on PTSD. He called it Trauma Shock. In WWII it was called Shell Shock. Viet Nam war vets had Viet Nam Psychosis and many other names through the years. But all these names have the same symptoms. I won't list them all, plus the articles I read states PTSD can occur at any time after a diagnosis of a disease that significantly changes your life or threatens mortality. Onset with disease can be at any time after diagnosis, often occurs at the onset of treatment. Symptoms wax and wane which I've noticed in myself.
Predominant symptoms culled from 4 articles:
Insomnia - inability to fall asleep
Inability to stay asleep
Panic (or anxiety) attacks
Free floating anxiety
Agoraphobia (fear of leaving the house - I think)
Lack of appetite
Over reaction to events
Misinterpretation of social situations
Brief periods of mania
Periodic and brief paranoia
Feelings of Grief
Depression - a biggy
Inability to process diagnosis/tx plan
I've read so many threads with many of these symptoms on them, plus I've experienced many myself and too in me as these articles mention these symptoms wax and wane. I've read many reasons for many of these symptoms by posters, plus I've asked doctors I've seen, I've read what other's have been told. I've also seen many of us have been treated for some of these symptoms with different modalities and varied results. The American Cancer Society's site states that they are now considering every cancer victim could develop PTSD and that's to be part of the physician assessment every time that patient is assessed since it can occur at any time after diagnosis. I know for myself I have read so many times how depressed people are after their diagnosis of epilepsy. I probably was too but the predominant feeling I had I think was puredy shock, for 3 years.
PTSD is not considered a mental illness, well I should say depending upon who you're reading, although it's DSM code would indicate it is but "mental illness" carries such ominous and frightening thoughts to those who are not familiar with all the facets of what is considered a mental illness, things like PTSD gets a dirty rap. Tourettes is in my family, two incidences. I can't believe how many people think by it's bizarre symptoms indicate mental illness but it's not. It's a neurological problem. OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has symptoms that to some may seem like mental illness but it's not either. It's treated by a neurologist with neurological medication. There are 3 incidences of that in my family too and my family gets a bad rap from these things through prejudice, assumptions, misinformation. One of children who has Tourettes spent 1/2 of his school years in the Vice Principal's office or out in the hallways no matter how often his doctor visited and explained - Tourettes is a neuro disease and he can not help what he does. SLAM. Too bad for my son. At times I wondered if he really needed an education. I was never so glad for any event as I was when he graduated out of public school. He was HIT three times by the same teacher, hard, leaving bruises and broken skin because of his Tourettes symptoms. He is, BTW, a school phobic to the nth degree and he did earn it. He also has epilepsy.
Then I ask this? How many of you have had someone misdiagnose you as having NES sz's that aren't, reacting hysterically in their opinion to something as frightening as a sz in your child, or having a neuropsych eval that was hop scotched thru and stamped - NUTS! I called my first dork neuro one night sure I was having a stroke and he said he'd see me in his office in the morning? Obviously, he was busy, didn't want to bother (which is probably the answer), or didn't think I was wound too tight and I'd seen him TWICE at that time, neither time was I conscious. OR, how many of you have wondered before you were diagnosed if you were nuts. I certainly did. I'm smelling things that aren't there, feeling water running down my leg - that isn't, Alice in Wonderland will sure make anyone question your sanity and if that doesn't do it try a trip through pre-ictal fear or a Jamais Vu and those last two are "only" simple partials. I HAD to be nuts no one else had those things.
One of my children has technically "mental illness", more than one DSM code too. She functions at a higher level professionally and personally than most people I know plus she has epilepsy, asthma and ADD (one of her "mental illness" DSM codes). We've probably all had anxiousness or depression, certainly sleepless nights from stress and those things have DSM codes too. Guess where? Honestly I feel I've handled my travails with epilepsy pretty well but when I'm chronically ambushed, injured, have lost a major portion of my income, my career, I'm isolated, not only not allowed to work but not allowed to volunteer due to liability, loss of my LIFE as I knew it in a day? Then I'm told this IS for life? I find that at times traumatizing. I don't go screaming into the streets but I sure might have some anxiousness, depression or sleep problems - or worse.
As the therapist and I have worked together I can see I probably do have PTSD not just from the trauma I went through, but the trauma plus the epilepsy I was diagnosed with and still trying to deal with at the time all hit together with a big clang. It was overwhelming. I think too without the trauma I had, epilepsy has angered, frustrated me, so many things, I believe it'd be very abnormal if I didn't have some of the symptoms listed and there are a lot more.
I posted this because I found it interesting. I also believe it's an answer or partial answer when many of us ask - what's wrong with me and mention the above, or other symptoms I didn't list. I hear so many different reasons for instance why people have sleep disorder, which I have. We're all treated differently and so far I haven't heard the same reason given to any of us for why we have sleep problems, getting to sleep namely or staying asleep. If we're not diagnosed correctly, how can we get treated correctly. As one person said - PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal event. I've had that on my office walls since I got it.
I hope I didn't offend anyone. I wonder if others have thoughts pro or con. I have no idea what response this will get if any. I know I m ight be hitting some sensitive buttons and if so, please try to see I'm not saying we're all victims of PTSD. I'm only saying other diseases and syndromes, etc having documented PTSD is a potential component of that disease/syndrome process. Why wouldn't epilepsy then. It's not a crime or a failure if you grieve over big losses in your life due to E. No one is a "bad epileptic". I'm very curious to see what, if any, thoughts people have on this. My suspicion is? This thread will be such a hot potato because of the "mental illness" stigma, which should to me never be in existence, I mean come on we're epileptics why discriminate about another syndrome, but still.....those are two dirty words to too many, scarey words for many.