Recently I found a Functional Neurologist who has helped me tremendously with many of my symptoms, including my PTSD and anxiety. One of the techniques he used was to put me on a tilt table, and move me into almost the exact position of where I was when my feet first went out from under me. I started crying the first time he positioned me there. He would then put me into this position again, and draw letters on the bottom of my feet and ask me to name the letter, while at the same time using an electric stimulator on my ankle. It was amazing how the anxiety melted away.
I have been fortunate to find professionals who truly understand PTSD, anxiety, and brain injury. Many survivors struggle to find anyone who will actually listen, and who do not rule them out as faking or malingering.
PTSD was originally classified as a mental disorder, but has recently been reclassified as a “trauma- and stressor-related disorder.” The characteristic symptoms were not present before exposure to the traumatic event, and while it is common to have symptoms after any traumatic event, these must persist to a certain degree for longer than one month after the trauma to be classified as PTSD. Causes of the symptoms of PTSD are the experiencing or witnessing of a stressor event involving death, serious injury or such threat to the self or others in a situation in which the individual felt intense fear, horror, or powerlessness.
Sad but true, friends and family don’t understand brain injury, and then if you combine that with PTSD and anxiety, it’s a recipe for extreme stress. I get it, if you have never experienced anxiety or trauma to your body, it is hard to understand. But … it is NOT hard to offer compassion and a shoulder to cry on for support. The last thing we need is someone judging us for something that is very real and terrifying. We are doing the best we can to survive day-to-day tasks, and could really use all the support we can get.
While I am not a therapist, I have found five common symptoms that I—and my fellow TBI survivors— have experienced.