09-28-2010, 09:47 AM #1
Flares caused specifically by PTSD?
I'm not really sure where to post this question, but I'm gonna fire away anyway. I'm specifically hoping to hear from people with PTSD.
Has anyone experienced IC flare-ups that you know, or strongly suspect, were directly caused by encountering something that triggered your Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
If so, were those flares any different than flares you've had that were caused by, say, diet, or even normal stress? Were they worse? Longer? What kinds of treatment did your PTSD-related IC flare-ups respond to? And were those treatments different than treatments you've successfully used for IC flare-ups that weren't related to your PTSD?
It's probably obvious from my questions that I have PTSD, and that I'm dealing with an IC flare-up caused by encountering a trigger for my PTSD.
For me, so far this flare-up has been much worse, much harder to treat, and much more stubborn than flare-ups I've had that were caused by diet.
PTSD makes your mind feel like an enemy--it sucks even more profoundly when it makes your body feel like an enemy too!
I have PTSD partly as a result of being in a very, very abusive relationship in my early 20s. I actually developed interstitial cystitis during that relationship, and from research I've read, PTSD sufferers who were victims of abuse are especially prone to developing IC. Yay! Lucky us!
Unfortunately for me, two of my biggest PTSD triggers are my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, who live in the same area as my husband and I. They both have Borderline Personality Disorder, which means that they're both irredeemably toxic, abusive people. We try not to have contact with them, but since we live in the same area, there's only so much we can do to avoid them. Every time one of them pokes at us with their crazy-stick, I get triggered. And then suffer for months. Usually it's just mental torment. This time around, it's physical.
My sister-in-law threatened to come to our home against our will at the very beginning of August. (That might sound trivial, but as a former victim of stalking and abuse, having someone hostile toward me threaten to invade the sanctity of my home against my will is a really big and upsetting deal.) I've been in a horrific flare-up ever since that day. Needless to say, right now I wish the world's most excruciatingly awful bladder infection upon my sister-in-law.
Anywho, I'm hoping that other people with PTSD will chime in on this subject. Maybe I'll learn something that can help me!
09-28-2010, 10:16 AM #2
Hello, I to , also suffer from ptsd. I was also in a a very abusive relationship, with my now x-husband. He actually held me by gun point, and took me hostage. I often slept with a loaded 9mm gun held to my head. I have never been in remission from this disease. Me and my x, still have to deal with each other to this day.... We have children together....I'm currently, just now in the past year, getting help with the ptsd. I know I'm just rambling, maybe I just never realized, how much that period of time in my life, has caused so much emotional and physical trauma.Although I was not dx until 3 yrs after the end of the marriage. I started having symptons of pelvic pain after the birth of our daughter. and you know how that goes... yrs of treament for uti's that did not exist. I know that this is not helping you much, but you opened a door for me. Apparently the ptsd has affected my life, more than I ever knew...I apparently live life in a constant flare... Is it or could it be, that I haven't worked through the issues with the ptsd.???? Any way's sorry for just rambling.Tracey Babbitt DX 2005
09-29-2010, 05:28 AM #3
Don't apologize for rambling!
I'm so sorry to hear about what you've gone through. It sounds much worse than the situation I was in--and the situation I was in marked me for life.
I've done a lot of research about PTSD's impact on physical health, and it is enormous. People with PTSD are prone to developing several different autoimmune disorders (including IC & IBS), and a great number of other health issues. They tend to have heart problems as well. Bruxism (teeth grinding) is also very common.
If you aren't in therapy, I strongly urge you to start going. The mind and the body are so completely intertwined that you can't treat one without addressing the other.
To that end, if you haven't tried yoga before, please please please consider giving it a shot. I started doing yoga in July and its effects on my PTSD symptoms were miraculous. There is absolutely no other word for it. Miraculous.
I first developed PTSD when I was 17, when my father killed himself, and it was greatly worsened by the abusive relationship I mentioned in my previous post. I can remember not having PTSD only like a fact I read in a book once. I've had it for so long, and I've had it so badly, that I don't remember what it actually felt like to not have it. I've spent 13 years feeling completely victimized by this disorder. It felt like a demon within me intent upon tearing me apart from the inside, it felt like an enemy, a cage.
Yoga made that all stop. When I do yoga every day, my intrusive, uncontrollable thoughts go quiet. My high-strung tension eases. My free-floating anxiety disappears. On particularly bad days, or days when I've been triggered, yoga calms me down until I'm in a much safer space in my head. On more than one rough day, I've started a yoga session while sobbing, and by the time I'm done, I'm humming happily in the shower. I'm not saying yoga is a cure for PTSD, but it is the best treatment for it I've ever encountered (along with a foundation of good therapy).
I know I will have PTSD for the rest of my life. I will always be locked in a battle with it, but yoga makes me feel like I will always have the upper-hand in that battle at least.
I just use yoga DVDs in my home. A couple named Ana Brett and Ravi Singh make some absolutely wonderful yoga DVDs. I started out with their DVD Yoga for Beginners & Beyond. The first two times I did it, all I got out of it was sore muscles. And then from the third time onward, I began experiencing all of the physical and emotional benefits that yoga is famous for. I have a ton of Ana & Ravi's DVDs now, and love every single one.
If you're in a bad flare right now, though, it might be wiser to obtain the yoga DVD that's often mentioned here on this site--the one specifically for people with IC. Since my flare-up began, I've had to be a lot more careful about the yoga I do, meaning modifying or skipping many of the exercises on Ana and Ravi's DVDs. In fact, I had to stop doing it entirely for over two weeks. It's been so, so, so frustrating to have to cut back, because I can immediately see the effect on my mental state.
Lastly, a book called I Can't Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors might be something you should check out. It was recommended to me by my therapist, and it has a lot of really helpful information in it.
09-30-2010, 07:18 AM #4
Oh! One last thing I forgot to mention: a drug called Propanolol.
Several months ago, I told my psychologist that I was concerned about the possibility that my husband and I might start interacting with my in-laws again (who trigger my PTSD something terrible). I have a friend whose mother has the same personality disorder that makes my in-laws such abusive awful people, and one day I asked her how she coped with being around her mom, and her reply was, "Are you kidding? Xanax!"
I said to her, "Really? I've never taken it before, what does Xanax do for you?" and she laughed and said, "Makes me not give a sh*t."
I told my psychologist about this, and said I was hoping to get a prescription for some chemical not-give-a-sh*t of my very own, in case I needed to see my in-laws again for some reason. He said he didn't want to give me Xanax, since it's a drug that can be habit forming and can be abused. Instead, he said he wanted to give me a prescription for an old blood pressure medication called Propanolol that has been found to be effective for about 60% of people with PTSD. He said that for some PTSD sufferers, Propanolol can stop a trigger-reaction in its tracks. And that, in fact, you can even take Propanolol in advance, if you know you're going to encounter something that triggers your PTSD.
I took it and was absolutely amazed. All it does is force your heart rate to remain nice and slow. That's it. But the results are incredible!
Prior to taking Propanolol, any time we discussed my in-laws, any time my thoughts even momentarily brushed against the subject of my in-laws, and any time I went out shopping at local stores where I might run into my in-laws, I'd experience this weird icy explosion sensation in my chest. I later figured out that this was adrenaline surging through me, thanks to the fight-or-flight response that's so incredibly heightened and sensitive in people with PTSD. There were many days where I could feel that "icy explosion" of adrenaline happen in my chest over and over and over and over again within a matter of minutes! (Especially if I was out shopping. Every new aisle I walked down in a store would make my adrenaline surge at the thought that this might be the moment I'd see my wretched mother-in-law.) I knew that really, really couldn't be good for my heart at all.
When I take Propanolol, no more adrenaline surges, no more nothing. It forces my body to remain in a state of physical calmness... and I discovered that that forced my mind to remain calm as well! It was amazing! Stuff would happen that would normally have put me in a tail-spin for weeks or even months, and if I took my Propanolol right away, I was just fine. On numerous occasions, Propanolol has been my saving grace. It's spared me from a lot of unnecessary mental anguish and suffering.
The reason I'm telling you about Propanolol is that you mention having to still interact with your ex because of your children. As my psychologist told me, one of the nice things about Propanolol is that you can take it in advance if you know you're going to encounter something that aggravates your PTSD. Perhaps it's something you could take before having to see your ex.
You should talk to your doctor about giving it a try. It doesn't work for everyone with PTSD, but it worked for me quite well, and it might work for you too. It can't take away the unavoidable pains of life--nothing can--but it might be able to spare you from some unnecessary suffering. And after what you've gone through, and what you're dealing with, you deserve to be spared as much suffering as possible.
Incidentally, Propanolol is what made me give yoga a try. Propanolol made me realize how incredibly strong the connection is between my body and my mind, and how physically controlling my responses results in the ability to mentally control my responses as well. Once I started doing yoga, I didn't even need to take the Propanolol as much, but I still keep it with me at all times, and will always make sure to have a current prescription for it. Clearly it can't protect me from every trigger, since my current IC flare-up is a result of my sister-in-law harassing us, but it's still the bee's knees in my book, and I'm deeply grateful to my doctor for prescribing it to me.
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