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  1. #1
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    PTSD sufferers - please post here

    Several posters have indicated in various threads that they have suffered from PTSD or are closed to someone who does. I also suffered from it at one point in my life. Would like to gather in one thread the experiences of others.

    My own: After a traumatic event - automobile accident. Symptoms were anxiety attacks, insomnia, generalized nervousness, tearfulness, horrible nightmares when I did sleep. I did not, repeat NOT have memory loss for the traumatic event. If anything, I remembered what had happened all too well.
    It kept "replaying" in my head.

    I was also in pain from physcial injuries sustained during accident for almost 3months. Was treated by family doctor for about 3 weeks after I was discharged from the hospital, then referred to a psychiatrist who specialized in PTSD treatment. Saw him for almost a year. Medication was Xanax, with doses decreased over time. And thanks to good treatment, I did get over it.

    Years later I was in a relationship with a man who had PTSD as a result of combat in Vietnam. He had never been treated. He also did not have loss of memory for event(s) that caused it.

    I am curious if others who have suffered PTSD have suffered loss of memory for the actual event that caused it?

  2. #2
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    Just now saw your thread, AlwaysShocked...I'll share a bit....

    My "traumatic event" happened at age 17 when I was severely burned in an explosion. I was in the hospital over 3 months and while the first couple of weeks there were a bit "foggy" it was because of the morphine and not PTSD. Like you, I had no memory loss and even though it's been over 30 years ago, I can still hear it, see it, smell it, and feel it at times but it no longer consumes me as it once did.

    My first PTSD "symptom" was a panic attack in the hospital while still in that foggy first few weeks when I thought I smelled gas and although I was still too weak to lift my head off the pillow, I was ready to bolt out of there and demand the evacuation of the entire hospital! There was no gas and a nurse was finally able to calm me down. For years that same panic came again and again from various triggers...a bright light like the flash from a camera or fireworks, sudden sounds like a car back firing or even a classmate dropping a textbook on the floor, and the slightest smells of gas or smoke. Even now I can sometimes feel that panic try to rise up in me from time to time but I guess I have learned to control it over the years.

    The nightmares were the worst...for the first few years they came every night. And, yes, I still have them from time to time. But early on they were so bad that I rarely slept so I could avoid them.

    Also in the first few years, I had flashbacks and re-lived the explosion over and over. Those around me said I just appeared to "zone out" for a while but for me I had gone through that explosion all over again. These flashbacks could be triggered by a sight, sound, smell, conversation, or even an emotion.

    It was a motorhome that exploded and it was many years before I could step inside one again. It was a butane heater that caused the explosion and it was all I could do to keep myself calm when I returned home from the hospital because we used butane to heat our home. When I moved out on my own, I refused to rent anything that wasn't all electric for the first decade.

    I suppose if the experts say that disassociative amnesia can be a symptom of PTSD then it can be, but it certainly wasn't for me. I remember every detail of the event and everything that happened before it and after it. I am not naive enough to think that everyone's experience with PTSD has to be like mine but have shared what it was like for me.
    I know that you think you understand what you thought you heard me say, but, I'm not sure that you realize that what you heard me say is not really what I meant to convey.

  3. #3
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    PTSD and Dis-associative Amnesia, as far as I understand them, are 2 different things. The Amnesia can happen at the time of the trauma - and PTSD is always Post Trauma.

    I had an event happen where I have amnesia for part of it.

    I'm from Jerusalem (currently living in Canada). During 2000 - 2001 there were hundreds of terror attacks on buses, restaurants, shopping malls, and other public places.

    One day I was walking to the bus stop on my way to work. When I got to @ 15 metres from the stop, there was this tremendous explosion. An entire busload of people blew up - and the bus stop it was departing from.

    It seemed to me like the whole world slowed down - went in slow motion. All sounds were really distorted and distant. Right after the explosion, it felt like the world just stopped. Nothing moved - no sound - no life - nothing.

    I remember immediately calling my boss at work and telling her that I couldn't come to work cause my bus stop was gone and I didn't know where the next bus stop was. But that's the only clear memory I have.

    I remember that later that day I was at work already - but I don't know how I got there. I have absolutely zero recollection.

    Also - when I later talked about the explosion (the next day) - turned out that I was remembering it all wrong - all out of sequence - and really, honestly have no recollection of the post explosion. It's almost like my memory "came to" later that day in the office.

    When I heard JA's testimony of the "fog" - I knew that I know that I know that she's either telling the honest truth or she learned about what happens and is repeating it. Cause the fog thing is exactly the way I would describe that lost time.

    Also - people who survived the explosions were always at very high risk of PTSD - so they were counselled right away. Some developed it anyway to a degree.

    I wasn't close enough to be considered a survivor and I didn't develop PTSD, I wasn't hurt and life was relatively normal afterwards.

  4. #4
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    Me too!
    I'm so sorry to know how you all got PTSD, it's a horrible thing to have especially when you have survived the devastation. It's not easy to explain to people exactly how it feels other than a painful, depressing, tiring, totally self absorbing, roller coaster ride, and that's the good part hehe.

    I have a slightly different story. I have worked for years in the child protection field, then one day I just couldn't do it any more. I was arriving at work having no memory of how I got there, my legs would shake, and then at one point I just collapsed.
    Suffice it to say I have experienced and witnessed all the horrific stuff done to children, as well as surviving guns and violence etc. from clients.

    Fast forward to now, 8 years down the track spent the whole time in therapy, because it uncovered a very strange childhood that I had repressed whole chunks of. I knew some of it but have finally started to pull the pieces together. My mother was a narcissist, and my father a survivor of 4 years in a prison camp. He probably had PTSD too.
    I still suffer from some dissociation, (the thousand yard stare) and loads of other symptoms like deliberate isolation, dodgy self care, lack of appetite, nightmares, panic, depression blah blah bla.

    So, I have Complex PTSD because of childhood trauma and work trauma.
    My triggers are sometimes a bit obscure, and are many and varied, because it is not linked to one incident, but repeated incidents throughout my life.
    I hope everyone is doing very well and staying healthy. It's a miserable (bleep)!

  5. #5
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    I was treated for PTSD after surviving an abduction in 1972. The memories are still crystal clear. The symptoms resurfaced about 15 years later, and I immediately sought professional help. I was able to put it behind me with the comforting reassurance that I SURVIVED!

    Describing it here is too distressing for me. But imagine ,if you will, that you are a college sophomore going on a date to a birthday party about 30 miles away. The young man you are riding with takes an exit off of the interstate and drives to a trailer in the middle of a beanfield with woods in the distance. There are no vehicles in the yard and the trailer is dark. You are still clueless and joke, "Is this supposed to be a surprise party?"

    And as the young man opens the back door of the trailer and you enter, he says:

    "I lied about the party. I've been planning this for sometime."

    I SURVIVED!
    Spool

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spool View Post
    I was treated for PTSD after surviving an abduction in 1972. The memories are still crystal clear. The symptoms resurfaced about 15 years later, and I immediately sought professional help. I was able to put it behind me with the comforting reassurance that I SURVIVED!

    Describing it here is too distressing for me. But imagine ,if you will, that you are a college sophomore going on a date to a birthday party about 30 miles away. The young man you are riding with takes an exit off of the interstate and drives to a trailer in the middle of a beanfield with woods in the distance. There are no vehicles in the yard and the trailer is dark. You are still clueless and joke, "Is this supposed to be a surprise party?"

    And as the young man opens the back door of the trailer and you enter, he says:

    "I lied about the party. I've been planning this for sometime."

    I SURVIVED!
    this sounds very close to what I have , I am so sorry you went thru this

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlwaysShocked View Post
    Several posters have indicated in various threads that they have suffered from PTSD or are closed to someone who does. I also suffered from it at one point in my life. Would like to gather in one thread the experiences of others.

    My own: After a traumatic event - automobile accident. Symptoms were anxiety attacks, insomnia, generalized nervousness, tearfulness, horrible nightmares when I did sleep. I did not, repeat NOT have memory loss for the traumatic event. If anything, I remembered what had happened all too well.
    It kept "replaying" in my head.

    I was also in pain from physcial injuries sustained during accident for almost 3months. Was treated by family doctor for about 3 weeks after I was discharged from the hospital, then referred to a psychiatrist who specialized in PTSD treatment. Saw him for almost a year. Medication was Xanax, with doses decreased over time. And thanks to good treatment, I did get over it.

    Years later I was in a relationship with a man who had PTSD as a result of combat in Vietnam. He had never been treated. He also did not have loss of memory for event(s) that caused it.

    I am curious if others who have suffered PTSD have suffered loss of memory for the actual event that caused it?
    I have PTSD and don't think I have memory loss, other than my old age. However, my husband, a Vietnam Vet who was in combat for 9 months before being shot through the chest, is a different story.

    Over the 20 plus years we dealt with his PTSD, lots of things emerged. In the beginning he drank his memories under the table. Still, when some trigger happened that put him over the edge, after the rage subsided, and he would be crying and I would be crying, we would talk for hours. In this vulnerable state he would tell me some ofhis stories.

    After many, many years we thought we were getting a good handle on what happened to him over there, and what phenomena over here had the power to set off flashbacks. His sleeplessness, depression, hyper-vigilance, avoidance tactics, and emotional numbing were ongoing and never changed. He stopped drinking after 1980 and didn't use drugs other than nicotine. He was hospitalized for 30 days at the VA twice, and he was seen by a psychiatrist once a month from 1989 to 1998.

    But then one day in a magazine the Vietnam Veterans of America sent out, he read the name of someone who was looking for members of his platoon to help with a VA claim. He called the number only to hear from the man's mother that her son had committed suicide the month before.

    BIG STRESSOR. And even though it was now somewhere in the 1990s, he had a major (I don't know what to call it) "setback." For days and nights he did not sleep. He either paced the house like a caged tiger, or he lay on a "bed roll" he made for himself in our living room and just stared blankly at the ceiling. In desperation I got my minister to come talk with us.

    So we started reviewing the day he was shot. Like always the story began with his squad landing in a hot LZ. He jumped from the helicopter pontoon at about 20 feet above the rice paddy and landed in the muck face down. He stood up and was clearing his gun while his troops were running for cover. Usually the story continues on as they all get up the bank under fire and he eventually shoots at same man who shot him and they are hit simultaneously. But this time, as he is describing getting to his feet in the paddy and clearing his weapon, another soldier is standing about an arm's length away. Just before he can move, the man is bisected by a blast of gunfire. The top half of the man falls over, but the bottom half has his feet rooted in the mud of the paddy and stays standing, if you will.

    Just one of many stories, but when this "new" component was added, the soldier suddenly appears in nearly all the stories, even though he wasn't even so much as a ghost in them before. My husband was amazed and so was I. Nothing all that extraordinary had seemed to unlock this little detail. The only thing must have been whatever happened in his brain when he heard the distraught voice of a fellow soldier's mom say that he had killed himself.
    What you don't know is how much you know without knowing you know it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gecko100 View Post
    Me too!
    I'm so sorry to know how you all got PTSD, it's a horrible thing to have especially when you have survived the devastation. It's not easy to explain to people exactly how it feels other than a painful, depressing, tiring, totally self absorbing, roller coaster ride, and that's the good part hehe.

    I have a slightly different story. I have worked for years in the child protection field, then one day I just couldn't do it any more. I was arriving at work having no memory of how I got there, my legs would shake, and then at one point I just collapsed.
    Suffice it to say I have experienced and witnessed all the horrific stuff done to children, as well as surviving guns and violence etc. from clients.

    Fast forward to now, 8 years down the track spent the whole time in therapy, because it uncovered a very strange childhood that I had repressed whole chunks of. I knew some of it but have finally started to pull the pieces together. My mother was a narcissist, and my father a survivor of 4 years in a prison camp. He probably had PTSD too.
    I still suffer from some dissociation, (the thousand yard stare) and loads of other symptoms like deliberate isolation, dodgy self care, lack of appetite, nightmares, panic, depression blah blah bla.

    So, I have Complex PTSD because of childhood trauma and work trauma.
    My triggers are sometimes a bit obscure, and are many and varied, because it is not linked to one incident, but repeated incidents throughout my life.
    I hope everyone is doing very well and staying healthy. It's a miserable (bleep)!
    I am truly sorry you have to go through this. I resonate very much with your story (long-time victims' advocate, shot at by father and husband both, molested by my brother at age 4, survivor of 23 year marriage to Vietnam Vet, and 2nd child died at 6 month due to complications from Agent Orange). I know PTSD inside and out. I may not remember some things, but I doubt it. Even the molestation is recallable because my parents had him sent to live with his mother and that sudden loss stuck with me and I spent a good part of my childhood going over the events that caused it.

    I too finally just shut down. Started sleeping 18 hours a day. Sought medical and psychiatric help, the works. But even though I try every day to work my pieces and take my medicine, I know I have a foreshortened future if from nothing other than my self-imposed exile. It's this lack of connection that's killing me.

    But, as I write this, I know I want to say more, but I can't remember what. So for ALL of you (who's posts I will read but probably not comment on), I just want to say,
    YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are people who will not judge you for all the things you may do and say stemming from this pain. And I am so sorry whenever some faker like Jodi pretends to even understand this level of suffering.

    Bless you all.
    Last edited by Donnareit; 03-27-2013 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Typo and additional thought
    What you don't know is how much you know without knowing you know it.

  9. #9
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    3 Months ago I was diagnosed with PTSD and let me tell you, I was shocked out of my gourd! I always envisioned it applying to rape victims and war vets - people I perceived to be real victims.

    I had been seeing a couples counselor to help resolve some large disputes with a long term boyfriend. Well the bf dropped out of counseling and I resumed because the guy was very good. (which is why the bf dropped out because he couldn't BS his way past the counselor). After witnessing some very disrespectful and emotionally abusive behavior by the bf during a session, the counselor started to zoom in on my very detached unhealthy reaction to the abuse. I was very upset by it but downplayed the overall impact it had and maintained that I still wanted to repair the relationship. The counselor was like "are you hearing yourself??" obviously I was not.

    And that is what PTSD does.

    He asked me to fill out a questionnaire of 150-200 items. It was unlabeled but after the first page or two seeing the word "trauma" or syllables of the word repeated often, I generally got the gist of the test. But I did not fib. I was sure that *some* of the areas applied given my traumatic experience from my parents' very turbulent divorce, so I answered honestly and candidly - but WOW! I never expected all my scores to add up so high! I was like wth??! Me??! Aside from my disrespectful boyfriend, I thought of myself as a high functioning bright woman. To learn I have a disorder???

    But as it has started to sink in and as I am reading the treatment books, things are making more sense - my unexplainable attraction to men who don't treat me the way everyone tells me I deserve. My detachment from crisis situations. I always thought I was a cool collected calm crisis manager and I thought it was to my credit. Now I am learning it is a flaw - a defensive coping mechanism. By detaching, I am not grieving the situation properly so I never get proper transition to emotional closure, and the underlying trauma created by each new crisis situations ends up burrowing into my psyche. Huh...who'd a thunk.

    But I agree with many other posters here that my memories are crystal clear. In fact my memories of the childhood trauma are heightened and engrained in my memory banks. Not forgotten, and not in a fog.

    In fact, the PTSD questionnaire often focused on how often I re-created the details of the trauma in my mind or in dreams, and far more often it focused on the fixation of details as opposed to the omission of memories.

    Counseling has worke wonders in re-training my brain. It is hard work to un-do all that damage but it is exciting to see a change in me as well. The disrespectful BF is no longer living with me and I am going through exercises to stop isolating and learning how to live life WITHOUT feeling like the quality of my life is defined solely by the man I have in my life. I'm not saying I'll always be alone- but up until now, I never have been and as I result I jumped from one poor choice to another. So I am backing it up a few steps and getting very comfortable with doing things as a Single person - so that when I am healthier I will be more apt to be attracted to a healthier more respectful man - one without all the baggage I tend to crave (because mt PTSD compels me to be drawn to my comfort zone of trauma).

    Any of these symptoms sound familiar?
    Some good books to read from the shrink (yes, I've read them all):

    Women Who Love Too Much - When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He'll Change (this is a life-altering book!!!)

    Flight From Intimacy - Healing Your Relationship of Counter-dependence

    Heartwounds - The Impact of Unresolved Trauma in Relationships

    The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work

  10. #10
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    I was diagnosed with PTSD due to a very traumatic childhood and an abduction in 1983.

    My father used to beat my little brother by holding him up off the ground by one arm, dangling him there & just beating him with a belt for what seemed like hours at a time. I am getting stressed even writing about it! I used to be in my room feeling helpless, sick and full of rage listening to it.

    Let's just say that that was just one horrible aspect of my childhood--it was pretty abusive. Bottom line was that my brother and I were treated as mini-adults, left alone for extended periods of time, physically and emotionally destroyed by abuse...

    The symptoms of my PTSD are a hugely exaggerated startle response--and I hate it!! I physically jump. I have no control over it.

    An interesting thing happened when I had my children. I was trying to grab a nap when I had my first baby & my husband was in the living room with her. I heard him (I thought) raise his voice and she was crying--I physically reacted and ran out to see what was happening. It was nothing! I had a "flashback" to my childhood triggered by a male raised voice and a child crying. That was an eye opener, since I had no idea it was still haunting me.

    I also have huge chunks of no memory of my childhood. I do have crystal-clear memory of being abducted and attacked when I was 13. Time was in slow motion, I could see everything so clearly--my mind seemed to just become silent except for the thoughts about how I was going to get out of the situation alive.

    One thing I'm sure of: I have never abused anyone in my life--and I don't abuse my 3 children. I have NO PATIENCE for women who allow their husbands to hurt their children. Children do not have a choice--women DO. I have issues with my mother due to her total inaction and refusal to intervene for my brother and myself.


  11. #11
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    I've never been diagnosed with PTSD but I went through a traumatic event for which I went to therapy.

    I had many of the symptoms you all describe. Vivid flashbacks of the trauma, living it over and over again in my head which would cause me to jump/jerk the thoughts out of my head. Quick movements or loud voices would startle me. Bad dreams about the event and being very very jumpy. Hard time concentrating because I could only think about what had happened. In fact, right after the event when I was being questioned by police, I could not remember much of what happened because I was still in shock. My memories all came back to me slowly afterwards and I now remember pretty much everything, or so I believe.

  12. #12
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    I wanted to stop in here to say that I sincerely wish you all well in addressing PTSD. I also wanted to take the opportunity to say that any remark I have made about PTSD is related specifically to Doc Samuels, who I believe did a lot of damage to the issue overall. I just believe these people who twist or stretch the truth to make a murderer look somewhat sympathetic are a complete insult to those people who suffer with such an issue. I will say my view is the same regarding defendents and defense experts who choose to claim domestic abuse when there is no such evidence.

    I do not suffer from PTSD, I do know a few people who do. I can sympathize as I see what they deal with. However, it is not sympathy I wish to offer to you but rather a wish for strength and peace in your efforts to overcome what you face.
    Racing Doesn't Lie

  13. #13
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    First, a heartfelt <3 to fellow sufferers. I am sorry you have been through these horrible things, and wish you all the best.

    I have PTSD caused by childhood sexual abuse. I don't remember it in detail (which I am thankful for) but that is because the abuse started when I was an infant and ended when I was 5. I have panic attacks, have self-harmed, have unwanted flashbacks to the trauma.

    But for most of my life (I'm in my 20s now) I struggled not to think of the incident and had some degree of amnesia. I didn't want to think or hear about the person who abused me and if I did, I had panic as a result. In no way would I have been able to write about him. The anxiety/panic I've been left with is severe. It's taken me nearly 2 decades to be able to face thinking about it at all, let alone speaking about it.

    In my opinion, if Jodi Arias were an abuse victim and a PTSD sufferer she would not have been able to calmly discuss Travis or the crime with the detective. She wouldn't have been able to talk about it easily and she definitely would not have wanted to see those pictures. In court, she'd be visibly traumatized by having to relive over and over the moments of her 'trauma'.

    Instead, she seems to enjoy talking about Travis, is unflinching in general when it comes to talking about the details of his death or their sex life. To me, there is no indication that she is a trauma survivor. Nothing appears to phase her. IMO, for PTSD to be a correct diagnosis she would have to have episodes activated by triggers related to the traumatic experience. When I am reminded of my abuse, I go into a state of anxiety. She appears to be incredibly relaxed throughout the case, and, tellingly, in the interrogation room she seems to express anger, not fear (whipping her hair, acting incredulous). This indicates something more like psychopathy than PTSD (again, IMO).

    Also, I would very much like to point out that the incident with the razor is very telling. When people self-harm, they are in a state of mind where they are numb to the pain and injury of what they are doing. It is why they often do a lot of damage to themselves without even realizing it. The fact that she only nicked herself with it and stopped from the pain of it suggests to me that she was doing it for the attention.

    It's striking how someone who feels so much pain from a mere razor blade nick has zero sympathy for someone that she stabbed deeply 29 times.

    I hope my 2c help in some way <3
    Last edited by commspecialist; 03-27-2013 at 12:53 PM. Reason: my brain is on holiday, i have a sinus infection

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by commspecialist View Post
    First, a heartfelt <3 to fellow sufferers. I am sorry you have been through these horrible things, and wish you all the best.

    I have PTSD caused by childhood sexual abuse. I don't remember it in detail (which I am thankful for) but that is because the abuse started when I was an infant and ended when I was 5. I have panic attacks, have self-harmed, have unwanted flashbacks to the trauma.

    But for most of my life (I'm in my 20s now) I struggled not to think of the incident and had some degree of amnesia. I didn't want to think or hear about the person who abused me and if I did, I had panic as a result. In no way would I have been able to write about him. The anxiety/panic I've been left with is severe. It's taken me nearly 2 decades to be able to face thinking about it at all, let alone speaking about it.

    In my opinion, if Jodi Arias were an abuse victim and a PTSD sufferer she would not have been able to calmly discuss Travis or the crime with the detective. She wouldn't have been able to talk about it easily and she definitely would not have wanted to see those pictures. In court, she'd be visibly traumatized by having to relive over and over the moments of her 'trauma'.

    Instead, she seems to enjoy talking about Travis, is unflinching in general when it comes to talking about the details of his death or their sex life. To me, there is no indication that she is a trauma survivor. Nothing appears to phase her. IMO, for PTSD to be a correct diagnosis she would have to have episodes activated by triggers related to the traumatic experience. When I am reminded of my abuse, I go into a state of anxiety. She appears to be incredibly relaxed throughout the case, and, tellingly, in the interrogation room she seems to express anger, not fear (whipping her hair, acting incredulous). This indicates something more like psychopathy than PTSD (again, IMO).

    Also, I would very much like to point out that the incident with the razor is very telling. When people self-harm, they are in a state of mind where they are numb to the pain and injury of what they are doing. It is why they often do a lot of damage to themselves without even realizing it. The fact that she only nicked herself with it and stopped from the pain of it suggests to me that she was doing it for the attention.

    It's striking how someone who feels so much pain from a mere razor blade nick has zero sympathy for someone that she stabbed deeply 29 times.

    I hope my 2c help in some way <3
    First let me say I am so sorry for your pain.

    While I agree with your assessment that Jodi is faking it- I disagree with you as to why you think that is.

    First of all, that detachment you describe - her inability to appear affected by the alleged abuse - that is *exactly* what I demonstrated to my shrink and that is exactly why he decided to test me for PTSD. He said I had a very abnormal reaction to the abuse I was sustaining - and he said that was a key symptom to support the hypothesis of PTSD - lack of affect to hostile or emotional situations. It is a coping mechanism.

    I would describe my abuse to him and try to downplay it. I could talk about it openly and easily- so easily that he felt I was almost dismissing the severity of it - which I was.

    So I don't think the behaviors you describe in Jodi are reasons not to suspect that someone was not abused. However, because I think she is faking it - I think her detachment is real - she really has no vested emotions in her atrocious crime.

  15. #15
    Hi. I don't suffer from PTSD, but I thought you guys might want to see this:
    PTSD and the Legal System
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...e-legal-system
    I hope it's OK to post this here. If not, I'll remove.
    Last edited by lil_buddy; 03-27-2013 at 06:55 PM.

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