PTSD - How Do You Know If You Have It - Or Not

I'm told PTSD is having traumatic events replay over and over - but what if it's not a single event - what if it's an entire lifetime's abuse and bullying that is constantly being triggered and replaying over and over - is that the same thing?    Is there a measure of intensity?     Do you just get used to it?      What is the qualifier?

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  • Before I realised I was on the spectrum I thought I 'only' had PTSD of some form. Perhaps 'complex PTSD'. I truly wouldn't know how to answer your questions - they are great questions, but probably best answered by a pro of some sort.

    I liked Mind's descriptions: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-and-complex-ptsd/about-ptsd/ 

    On the one hand, remembering negative experiences could be classed as 'learning' because it helps in a literal sense to avoid repeating something harmful (like burning your hand on a hot plate).

    On the other hand, if it's causing distress, this sounds like something more. When is it 'PTSD'? My guess is when it feels like it's a 'disorder', and not resolving or helping in some way. Whether PTSD is the 'right' label or not probably matters less than seeking support if you feel you need it / want it.

    Sometimes it helps to know what the opposite or alternate of something is to find out what defines it. PTGO is a term even most medical professionals don't know about: Sometimes a negative event can push us to do something constructive / good / beneficial etc... - this would be PTGO, post-traumatic GROWTH ORDER. This only happens when the person has overcome the trauma, and can be confused with trying to look like they have overcome it and try to force something good out of it too soon. Charities are sometimes founded after someone's PTGO.

    I do believe I had PTSD for a while, but don't know if I still do. I think I did because I had flashbacks that overlaid what I was seeing in front of me. It was a bit like when a photo is double exposed except in video form - I could see what was happening in the now, which was nothing even interesting, and then I could see traumatic events of the past. Both felt as real as each other. It certainly felt very distressing and confusing at the time. Working with a therapist helped me, but I couldn't say exactly what helped or when, I just know those flashbacks have stopped and many things feel easier and better now. I think the flashbacks were triggered by a significant change in my life.

    Good luck, hope this helps.

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  • Before I realised I was on the spectrum I thought I 'only' had PTSD of some form. Perhaps 'complex PTSD'. I truly wouldn't know how to answer your questions - they are great questions, but probably best answered by a pro of some sort.

    I liked Mind's descriptions: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-and-complex-ptsd/about-ptsd/ 

    On the one hand, remembering negative experiences could be classed as 'learning' because it helps in a literal sense to avoid repeating something harmful (like burning your hand on a hot plate).

    On the other hand, if it's causing distress, this sounds like something more. When is it 'PTSD'? My guess is when it feels like it's a 'disorder', and not resolving or helping in some way. Whether PTSD is the 'right' label or not probably matters less than seeking support if you feel you need it / want it.

    Sometimes it helps to know what the opposite or alternate of something is to find out what defines it. PTGO is a term even most medical professionals don't know about: Sometimes a negative event can push us to do something constructive / good / beneficial etc... - this would be PTGO, post-traumatic GROWTH ORDER. This only happens when the person has overcome the trauma, and can be confused with trying to look like they have overcome it and try to force something good out of it too soon. Charities are sometimes founded after someone's PTGO.

    I do believe I had PTSD for a while, but don't know if I still do. I think I did because I had flashbacks that overlaid what I was seeing in front of me. It was a bit like when a photo is double exposed except in video form - I could see what was happening in the now, which was nothing even interesting, and then I could see traumatic events of the past. Both felt as real as each other. It certainly felt very distressing and confusing at the time. Working with a therapist helped me, but I couldn't say exactly what helped or when, I just know those flashbacks have stopped and many things feel easier and better now. I think the flashbacks were triggered by a significant change in my life.

    Good luck, hope this helps.

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