Long-Term Effects of PTSD

We think of PTSD as only a problem that we suffer from mentally. We feel fear, anxiety, and hopelessness. It affects our memory and our ways of thinking. It’s a lot to deal with, but it’s only mental, right?

 

Wrong.

 

Many studies are now showing that PTSD can have some seriously dangerous physical effects if you suffer long-term. Problems such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and obesity can begin to occur as a result of long-term PTSD.

 

Hypertension can easily be a result of stress, and when you have PTSD, you know that you are put under stress constantly. Even daily tasks can become too much to handle at times, but the result, if you don’t try to seek the help you need, could be hypertension.

 

Hyperlipidemia is when you have unusually high amounts of fats and lipids in your bloodstream. This can cause all kinds of scary problems such as blood clots and even heart attacks and strokes. A number of things could cause this to happen when you have PTSD for an extended period of time. It could simply be that your stress has caused you to start making less healthy food choices and stop going to the gym, or it could be something else.

 

Obesity is yet another common effect of long-term PTSD. It could be caused by making unhealthy choices in the moment of feeling stressed and overwhelmed, or it could also be that your body is trying to store up the energy for when it needs it. Your physical body panics too.

 

The reasons why long-term PTSD causing these issues might not be completely known. But we do know that suffering for a long time can lead to hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and obesity. The best thing to do is to seek out the help you need and try to continue making healthy choices. Talk with your therapist and your doctor to figure out the best solution that will work for you.

Are Narcissists Incurable?

Are narcissists incurable? It’s a question that man of us must ask ourselves when faced with the dilemma of having a loved one in our lives who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It’s a question that we may not actually want the answer to, because it’s more complicated than it seems. So what is it that makes a narcissist seem so incurable? Lack of reasoning and feeling, plus the distortion of memories are all factors.

 

Lack of Reasoning – In order for someone to receive help and benefit from it, the person must first realize that there is a problem to be dealt with. If you think you have everything under control, you don’t need help. This is the mindset of the narcissist. They always believe that they are superior and better than everyone else, therefore, it must be everyone else who has a problem. When finally confronted with the issue at hand, they will still most likely refuse that anything is wrong, and this is because they lack reasoning. They are unable to see past their own ego and look at the logic of everything before them.

 

Lack of Feeling – Secondly, narcissists lack a lot of feelings. Even if they are able to realize that they are the problem, they probably won’t feel any guilt or remorse for it. They don’t care that they are causing problems for other people because the narcissist isn’t the one getting hurt. They don’t feel empathy for others, and this issue alone can stop them from ever being cured.

 

Distorted Memories – Thirdly, narcissists can have distorted memories. This means that their memory can be changed in their mind so that it was them that was victimized. The narcissist always thinks of themselves, so much so that they begin to distort the memory in their mind to make it seem as though it was actually the other person who was attacking them instead. This is also due, in part, to their lack of the ability to properly reason. This is a serious thing because it can, in the narcissist’s mind, reinforce the idea that the narcissist did nothing wrong. They truly believe they are innocent in all matters because that is what their memory tells them. How can a narcissist begin to get help for what they have done if they don’t even remember what happened? The narcissist will think “What? I didn’t really say that. I would have remembered it if I had.” But their memory has blocked out the bad parts about themselves so that they can continue on living in a distorted bliss and hurting everyone in their path.

 

These are the qualities of the narcissist that make them seem completely incurable. In order for them to make the much needed changes, they will have to face these facts and come to terms with them. In order to do that, they will need to have a deep trust in the people that are willing to help them, if the narcissist can ever accept that they need help.

PTSD In Partnerships

Dealing with PTSD can be really difficult, but not just for the one with the diagnosis. If one person has it, it can cause friends and family to struggle too – just in a different way. If you are dating someone who has PTSD, you know that it can cause some tension in the relationship. This is especially true for people who suffer from Complex PTSD.

 

Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)  is very similar to normal PTSD, except the victim is unable to escape the stressful environment that is causing it. With time, people that suffer from normal PTSD can learn to cope with the event in the past and overcome the fears that arose from it. But with C-PTSD, there is no break from the event to give the sufferer any relief or time to heal.

 

Your partner having PTSD could be something you’re just now finding out about as you go further into the relationship. This can be upsetting and hard to deal with, especially if you feel that it is something that they have tried to keep from you. But remember that them admitting their weaknesses to you is a big sign of trust from them, regardless of how long it took them to come to you about it. For those that suffer from PTSD, problems like trust issues, anxiety, and paranoia are all part of the disorder, so the thing that they need most from you is your loving support and understanding.

 

The PTSD diagnosis could have also been given to your significant other during your relationship. If this is the case, remember that this is all scary, if not scarier, news for the sufferer than it is for you. Go to them with open arms, but also remember to give them the space they need too.

 

PTSD can be the root cause of many relationship problems, as it can make the sufferer feel less understood, which can fuel unnecessary arguments. Many PTSD sufferers also experience emotional outbursts, as they are unable to keep their emotions in check. Sometimes, these bursts are taken out on the person nearest to them. That person tends to be their significant other, which can cause even more fights. More fights can mean more time apart and even isolation from each other, causing a downfall in the relationship.

 

At least with normal PTSD, there is some hope that by getting proper treatment, the relationship can be restored and the two of you can go back to being normal and happy again. But when your partner suffers from C-PTSD, it can feel as though there isn’t an end in sight. Your partner likely feels hopeless and worthless, and understanding this can go a long way in keeping a relationship alive. Try to practice open communication, and always be there to offer support and motivation. Encourage them to seek help, and maybe even try couple’s therapy if you feel that things are just getting to be too much. Remind them that the pain is only temporary, and whatever is causing their C-PTSD is bound to be put to an end eventually.

Christmas – A First for Refugees

Christmas is that wonderful time of the year when families gather together to celebrate and have fun. It’s a time to be thankful for all that you have and to delight in all the new things that are to come. Sometimes we forget how lucky we truly are to have a hot meal on the table every night, and to live each day without being in constant fear of violence and war. Something like that is really worth celebrating, and no one knows this better than Cecil Furaha, her husband Saidi Roger, and their 7 children.

 

Furaha was born and grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she faced danger and violence. She watched people’s heads being smashed in, including children’s heads, and she lost both of her parents in the wars. They finally made the decision to run away in the middle of the night when Roger’s father was murdered with a machete to the neck.

 

After running for 2 miles, they made it to a refugee camp run by the United Nations. They spent many years there, going through the application process and waiting to be granted asylum in America. When they were finally granted asylum, they had given birth to 4 children, and had adopted 3.

 

Moving to America was a huge change for the entire family, and they are still slowly adjusting. The children are getting help in school, learning English, and finally getting the educations they deserve to have.

 

This year was the first year that they celebrated Christmas in America, and there’s no better Christmas gift than freedom. After years and years of waiting, they can now live in an environment where they feel completely safe.

 

The family says that Christmas is a much more exciting time of the year in America than it is in Africa. There, Christmas is just another day of the year where you might get together with family, have a soda, and say “thank you, Jesus,” but here, it’s a much bigger deal. All the kids were very excited and had a blast with setting up a fake tree and decorating it – it was definitely something new to them.

 

Christmas is the perfect time of the year to help someone -or even an entire family- out. And Sharon Fine couldn’t have been happier to have her synagogue sponsor refugee families. She has become personally invested to help this family in particular, and her family visits them at least once a week. Her teenage children spend time with and help Furaha’s kids learn to speak English, and Fine’s husband is always just a call away if they ever need any help. The families are so close that they consider everyone to be part of one big family now.

 

Stories like this are heartwarming, especially during this time of the year. But less and less families are being helped now since Trump’s travel ban. In just this past year, there were 31,225 fewer families that were able to seek asylum and get the help they needed. Christmas and the New Year is supposed to be a time for giving to others and great new beginnings, but it seems that we are lacking in that. Maybe the new year will bring some much needed positive changes so that we can continue to grow and help others.

Do You Qualify for Disability?

Battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious matter.  PTSD is a medical condition that can affect every aspect of your life, making it difficult to function in a normal and productive way.  Sometimes the symptoms become severe enough that you struggle to get out of bed, take care of yourself, or hold a job. When your PTSD is this bad you may become eligible for Social Security disability.  

 

Social Security disability is designed as a safety net for those who, through no fault of their own, are not able to work due to some sort of medical condition.  While it may be easy to see someone with a physical condition and understand why they struggle to find work, there are many people who struggle to make ends meet while they fight against real and severe mental and emotional disorders.  But, while PTSD can cause a real need for disability benefits, it can often be difficult to prove.

 

If you feel you may need the help of Social Security disability, it is important that you file as soon as possible. You can find information on the Social Security Administration website (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/apply.html) as well as an online application. But before you file, you should make sure you have all of your documentation in order.  Make sure you have spoken to your therapist and can document your severe PTSD symptoms. For most people, PTSD will fall under the Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders section of the Social Security Administration guidelines.  In order to qualify for disability in this section you will need to document the following:

 

12.06 Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders (see 12.00B5), satisfied by A and B, or A and C:

Medical documentation of the requirements of paragraph 1, 2, or 3:
Anxiety disorder, characterized by three or more of the following;
Restlessness;
Easily fatigued;
Difficulty concentrating;
Irritability;
Muscle tension; or
Sleep disturbance.
Panic disorder or agoraphobia, characterized by one or both:
Panic attacks followed by a persistent concern or worry about additional panic attacks or their consequences; or
Disproportionate fear or anxiety about at least two different situations (for example, using public transportation, being in a crowd, being in a line, being outside of your home, being in open spaces).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, characterized by one or both:
Involuntary, time-consuming preoccupation with intrusive, unwanted thoughts; or
Repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety.
AND

Extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning (see 12.00F):
Understand, remember, or apply information (see 12.00E1).
Interact with others (see 12.00E2).
Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace (see 12.00E3).
Adapt or manage oneself (see 12.00E4).
OR

Your mental disorder in this listing category is “serious and persistent;” that is, you have a medically documented history of the existence of the disorder over a period of at least 2 years, and there is evidence of both:
Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured setting(s) that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder (see 12.00G2b); and
Marginal adjustment, that is, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life (see 12.00G2c).

 

Once you have your documentation in order, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Disability is there for you as a way to live and survive with this debilitating disorder.

Struggling with Suicidal Thoughts During the Holidays

The holidays are here! Thanksgiving is behind us and now we get to spend the next month or more listening to Christmas carols and hearing about how great humanity is and how happy everyone should be.

 

Unfortunately, not everyone can feel so bright and bubbly. For many of us, this marks another special day alone. Another memory missed with our children or loved ones. The days are getting shorter, the nights longer, and we sit here thinking about all that we’ve lost – all that’s been taken from us. The happy music and promises of peace feel like a slap in the face when you’re dealing with abuse and alienation.  

 

For some of us, this will mean more days of sadness, depression, and anxiety. But for some, it can mean something even darker. It can be difficult to find a reason to go on. Suicide can sound like an easy way to end the pain.  

 

Crisis workers report that they see a dramatic increase in depression rates and people reaching out for help during the holidays, because of all the stress and loneliness. Those who are already prone to depression and suicidal thoughts – people like those who suffer from PTSD – are at an even higher risk.

 

No matter how bad things seem, suicide is not the answer. If you are having suicidal thoughts or feelings, STOP.  Remember, feelings – even these horrible feelings you have now – are temporary. They will go away and it will get better.  

 

Here are some action steps if you have any suicidal thoughts or feelings.

 

  • Promise not to do anything right now. As bad as it is, realize that suicide is permanent. Give yourself time to let the feelings pass.  Even if you just promise yourself a day or a week – don’t act in the moment.
  • Remember that suicide doesn’t stop the pain – it just transfers it to someone else. You may feel like you’re alone and there’s no one who cares, but they do. If you kill yourself, the pain and anguish you feel are just put onto them. Don’t put your loved ones through that.
  • Give yourself a safe space. If you feel like you’re starting to struggle, get rid of anything that could make it easier to commit suicide. Remove medicines, knives, guns, and anything else that could be harmful. Or go somewhere else where you feel safer. Sometimes a change of scenery can help anyway.
  • Most importantly, talk to someone. If you have a therapist, call them. If not, turn to your friends or family, let them help you. You can also call or text with a crisis hotline where they will talk you through what to do and how to face those feelings. But whatever you do, don’t try to handle it by yourself.  

Suicidal thoughts and feelings are very serious. Don’t wait until you start to act before you take steps to deal with them.  For more help, go to http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to a crisis counselor today.