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I am back in therapy

heartbroken_kk posted 6/27/2020 22:43 PM

So much has happened in the last few years as I've tried to rebuild my life and plan for my retirement. After the A I stayed in IC for 5 years, paying out of pocket $100 a week. I invested over $20k in my mental health, much of the time I was unemployed or very underemployed, barely able to get by, and at one point I was completely out of money, living in an RV on the streets. I really struggled with PTSD, and being triggered, depressed, and stuck. But I started getting better as I continued my self-improvement project.

I started a part time job at a nonprofit organization in 2014, worked my way up the ranks to full time program management, and eventually got promoted to Executive Director in 2017. I built and grew the organization with a warm partnership with the president of the board. Then he moved away and resigned, and the new president turned out to be a nasty mean-girl bitch and I started having a LOT of trouble with anxiety and depression again.

I really hated working for her, but I was able to launch a major initiative that had a huge impact, and after 2 years of battling with her and having terrible anxiety (which was really different from my prior struggles with depression where anxiety was more in the background). I started looking for other work. I applied to two different nonprofits in the same sector, one in the next county over and one at the statewide level. I ended up getting a job offer to be the Executive Director of the statewide org and started working there in February this year.

And I have a new mean-girl bitch for a president of the board. I swear my picker is broken. And I'm back to being chronically triggered, my heart is racing and pounding in my chest, I feel super insecure and inadequate even though I know I'm on the right track. I feel like I'm at risk of losing my job all the time and it feels like the days when my XH was dismantling my life, emotionally abusing me and pushing me out of my job, home, and community.

I restarted therapy in April. My therapist has been helping me cope but it's not really enough and I'm thinking I need to go see my psychiatrist again after 5 years and get back on meds.

I thought I had my depression under control, but I don't. I have gained a bunch of weight and the feeling of my heart pounding in my chest is slightly terrifying.

I find myself afraid of being fired (there's really no grounds for it, I'm just catastrophizing in my head) and wondering if I should quit so I can stop feeling the constant dread. The work we do is really important and I'm proud of where I've taken my career, but the anxiety is awful.

PTSD from the trauma of infidelity and emotional abuse is real. It's hard to feel like life is good when you are constantly feeling under attack. I'm not really under attack, but my body doesn't believe that and the adrenaline flooding is a real bummer.

Has anybody else who got a PTSD diagnosis ever felt like they got over it?

Thanks for reading. I have mostly been posting in the JFO forum the last couple of years, trying to pay back the care and concern and good advice this community gave to me a decade ago. Most of my cohort is gone from the forums but I see a few old timers here now and again. Cheers to all you survivors!

[This message edited by heartbroken_kk at 2:29 AM, July 26th (Sunday)]

leafields posted 6/28/2020 00:22 AM

(hug)

You've been heard. What would help to make you feel safe?

SallyShrink81 posted 6/28/2020 14:50 PM

Hey there KK,

I'm so sorry to hear that you've been struggling. I think that for those who struggle with PTSD it can pop up again over the years maybe more so than a person who hasn't had any significant trauma. That being said. What you're going through sounds awful on top of this pandemic/stay at home stuff being a world wide trauma! This is tough for everyone! *hugs*

heartbroken_kk posted 6/29/2020 00:21 AM

leafields, I'm not sure what would make me feel safe, I am just taking things really personally and feeling shut down and unproductive. Not working diligently when I'm at my desk becomes a form of self-sabotage that is likely to harm me more than anything external to me.

SallyShrink, thanks for that, I'm just really feeling triggered all the time and I wish my stress hormones would chill out. I'm hoping meds will help me but it may be a while before I can see the doctor.

LosferWords posted 6/29/2020 10:44 AM

Hi hearbroken_kk,

You helped me out an awful lot when I was more active here. I'm not sure if you know that or not! smile

I want to hand-pick some positives out of your initial post. These are your words, not mine:

I started getting better as I continued my self-improvement project.

I started a part time job at a nonprofit organization in 2014, worked my way up the ranks to full time program management, and eventually got promoted to Executive Director in 2017. I built and grew the organization with a warm partnership with the president of the board.

I was able to launch a major initiative that had a huge impact

I ended up getting a job offer to be the Executive Director of the statewide org and started working there in February this year.

The work we do is really important and I'm proud of where I've taken my career

Look at all those HUGE positives that you've worked extremely hard for! That is a lot to be proud of. You've come a long way, and I feel it is important that you do not forget that.

PTSD from the trauma of infidelity and emotional abuse is real. It's hard to feel like life is good when you are constantly feeling under attack. I'm not really under attack, but my body doesn't believe that and the adrenaline flooding is a real bummer.

Yes, it is very real. I think it is very healthy that you have a conscious awareness that you really aren't under attack, but your subconscious is dishing you out the actual attack. I tend to believe this is out of protection, and can put some of us into "fight or flight" mode, which can be painful and physically impacting.

Has anybody else who got a PTSD diagnosis ever felt like they got over it?

I've never had a formal diagnosis, but my therapist has strongly alluded to the symptoms being in line with PTSD. In my case, I don't know if there will be getting over it, it's more like managing it, along with my depression, and depression's close pal, anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety gets to be more than the depression. Depends on what's going on in my life at the moment.

You've been under a tremendous amount of stress. You're currently in a stressful job situation. I think it is important to remember to do things like standing up to stretch, and breathing deeply. Sometimes anxiety can make a person forget to do those very important simple things.

I've had similar issues, where I am sitting at my desk, trying to find a reason to work. That's when the negative self-talk starts creeping in... "what's the point?", etc. If you can just get started and try to focus a little bit, that helps prime the pump. Don't do it for the mean-girl president, do it for yourself, and for the people that your non-profit benefit from.

I think it's great that you are getting back into therapy, and it is good to see you posting here. Wanted to throw some support and encouragement your way. smile

thebighurt posted 6/30/2020 21:31 PM

Heartbroken_kk, you are a survivor, and a Wonder Woman! Reading your post, I had a number of thoughts and LossferWords said them before I got here, particularly:

The work we do is really important and I'm proud of where I've taken my career
Look at all those HUGE positives that you've worked extremely hard for! That is a lot to be proud of. You've come a long way, and I feel it is important that you do not forget that.
Lossfer got it right! What you did to get here was amazing! Especially where you were when you set out to get to this point. Shows great determination.

I'm not sure what you need at this point, but I'm sure you have in you to do whatever it is. You have so much confidence in your psychiatrist, maybe a short course of meds and talking to get your self-confidence back? I took meds for about 6 or 7 months by the time I tapered off. Longer than I intended, but my doctor insisted we be sure. No shame in that.

I'm sorry you are dealing with this mean-girl bitch board president that set you back into this, kk. ((((Hugs)))) and good thoughts to you get past this. Great to see you again, though.

(And what Lossfer said!)

heartbroken_kk posted 7/26/2020 02:28 AM

I thought I'd check back in. I got in touch with my primary care MD and psychiatrist, I got myself back on AD meds, and I got a stress test and 24 hour Holter monitor EKG. My heart is not beating normally. I've had PVCs, a type of electrical arrhythmia that is normally not harmful, since my teens. Now it is affecting about every 4th or 5th beat, causing a skipped beat and thumping feeling in my chest. Sometimes there are runs where it can impact several beats in a row, every other beat, etc. I'm worried about my heart muscle. Sometimes when I lie in bed I can hear the sound of a valve flapping shut.

My IC and psy MD conferred and I've been put on disability to take a month off work to try to get my stress handled, as stress can make these PVCs worse. My primary MD, who referred me for the stress test, hasn't followed up with getting me an in-person appointment with a cardiologist. I'm kinda pissed, but COVID is taking over everyone's schedule and I'm not critically ill.

I left work somewhat abruptly, telling my bosses (co-chairs of the BOD) that I was very sick and needed to rest and get some treatment. I gave my admin access to my files and email, had a short convo with my program managers and went dark. My bosses are reportedly trying to handle much of my responsibilities. I'm supposed to be out for a month. I hope they can handle the load. I hope I don't need more than a month but the delays in treatment are worrisome.

IC has been having me work on some thought experiments related to what if I don't go back to this job, what would I do? I've got some hobbies that could become income producing, but nothing at the rate I'm making now. I think my plan is to go back to work and try to tough it out for another 6 months, get to the 1 year mark and then if I need to bail I can bail with my honor intact.

I may also work on a certification that I can use if I bail to work as a consultant and make some good money in the same line of work but from the for-profit side rather than non-profit. I've done well in the past being self employed and this may be a better path for me.

LosferWords posted 7/29/2020 13:39 PM

Thanks for checking back in, kk. Very sorry to hear about your heart condition, but I'm glad you're keeping an eye on it, and also glad you're back on meds. Gotta do what you gotta do! Take as much time as YOU need to take care of yourself.

Would love to hear back from you with updates as to how you are doing. Sending many thoughts of peace and strength!

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