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I suffer from PTSD. Am I damaged goods forever?

I have been in therapy for six months and a diagnosis of PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder] and anxiety has been established. I am 49. Talking about the initial event of abuse brought on severe physical pain reactions. I'd like to get your opinion on the chances of recovering from PTSD. Am I damaged goods forever?

I was subjected to sexual abuse in perverse form by being inescapably presented with that situation while in a foreign country (in New York) at age 25. The situation was not of long duration and I had no previous history of such experiences. My childhood was sheltered. The abuse was set up by relatives and was not anticipated by me. Further experiences included (while lacking any support network) rape, physical abuse, assault, living in a domestic violence shelter at age 31, living in a highly criminalized neighborhood in New York, abusive employers, job after job much below my professional level, being treated like an object for prolonged periods of time, and finally fleeing from country to country three times trying to amend the situation, and then (recently) living in a homeless shelter again.

A reminder of the abuse in the form of seeing the relative on TV (he is a journalist) made me flee New York to my home country, leaving behind an almost established life. I still cannot stand smells, music, and anniversaries reminding me of the initial event. If talking about the abuse has reflected in the physical pain, does that mean that I am in the recovery phase?

Thank you.

Irina

This question was submitted by 'Irina'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hello Irina,

Thank you so much for writing in.

First off, no therapist should be making you talk about your traumas until after they have been processed to the point that they are no longer troublesome for you. I explain why in this blog post, which (while I wrote it for the benefit of other therapists) I think you'll find a useful read: '3 reasons I never have my clients relive their traumatic experiences'.

Your therapist may believe that in order to overcome PTSD you have to go through a lot of pain or that it has to be long and drawn out (and expensive) treatment. This is not true. You are not damaged goods. You can be calm, strong, and happy.

I suggest you find a therapist skilled in the Rewind Technique. Contact the office to let us know where you are and we'll see if we can find you a well-trained therapist.

All best wishes,

Mark

watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - August 27th, 2014 in

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