Not All Wounds Are Visible Part Two: How I Cope with Unworthiness and a Diagnosis

Now that I have shared that I have a diagnosis of PTSD from two traumatic events that you can read about here, I would like to share with you how I have learned to cope with not only the diagnosis and symptoms, but also the feelings of unworthiness.

According to the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) there are certain criterion or specifications that must be met in order to have a diagnosis.

“Diagnostic criteria for PTSD include a history of exposure to a traumatic event that meets specific stipulations and symptoms from each of four symptom clusters: intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity. The sixth criterion concerns duration of symptoms; the seventh assesses functioning; and, the eighth criterion clarifies symptoms as not attributable to a substance or co-occurring medical condition.”

Check. Check. and Double Check.

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I have worked with counselors writing out the experiences, pretending they were movies, and much more in-depth therapies. I find they help for a while, make me become comfortable until there is a trigger such as a sight, sound, smell, or even a flashback that can be paralyzing.  Here are a few ways I combat my symptoms.

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Not All Wounds Are Visible Part One: Unworthy of a Diagnosis

Have you ever been diagnosed with an illness? You wake up feeling puny, make an appointment to see your doctor and  $35 and a few prescriptions later, you know what you have and if you don’t feel better in 7-10 days, come back for a recheck.

Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness? You probably have many more hoops to jump through and a much higher deductible for your out of network psychiatrist (are there any in-network ones??). Medication may or may not be able to help you deal and it takes much longer than 7-10 days to see how your medication might help you or months of counseling before you even start to pick away at the issues your face daily.

I have a diagnosis I feel unworthy of, I do not even like to claim it for fear of the stigma attached.

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Pick your battles or choose your engagements

As the parent of a toddler, I find I am picking battles all day, every day.  Such as this one…

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Sure, you can wear a crown to school.  Maybe it will promote more narcissism like everyone is talking about.  Everyone loves a narcissistic threenager.  Oh yeah, ALL toddlers are narcissistic, but I digress.

We pick battles every single day: in traffic, at school or work, and in our own homes.  I recently went to an education conference in which the speaker was discussing ways to manage anxious students.  One of the of her suggestions was to

choose your engagements rather than pick you battles.  

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