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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

PTSD from an affair?

PTSD criteria, PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, trauma from an affair

Below is the criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, if you remove the so called need for the death or serious injury you would find that many people who have been through an affair in their marriage suffer most of the symptoms.

I have highlighted the ones that apply to me.  But this is not news to me that PTSD is something I might suffer from.  I had a counselor point it out to me before researching more about it. One thing that I hope others get from this post is that AN AFFAIR, whether sexual or emotional, or whether it lasted 1 month or 5 years, CAUSES TRAUMA.  It is real.  And I feel the pain as if it were yesterday, even though I am going on a year since finding out.  I feel broken and not sure that I'll ever be fully put back together again. I am sorry for anyone who has gone through an affair and I hope you know you are not alone and that maybe it will help you to know that if you are suffering any of the symptoms below, that it is a real disorder and not that you are going crazy. ;)

A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:
(1) the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.
(2) the person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

B. The traumatic event is persistently reexperienced in one (or more) of the following ways:
(1) recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions.
(2) recurrent distressing dreams of the event. .(occasional for me)
(3) acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated).
(4) intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
(5) physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.

C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
(1) efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
(2) efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
(3) inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
(4) markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
(5) feeling of detachment or estrangement from others
(6) restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
(7) sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)

D. Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma), as indicated by two (or more) of the following:
(1) difficulty falling or staying asleep
(2) irritability or outbursts of anger
(3) difficulty concentrating
(4) hypervigilance
(5) exaggerated startle response

E. Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in Criteria B, C, and D) is more than 1 month.

F. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Specify if:
Acute: if duration of symptoms is less than 3 months
Chronic: if duration of symptoms is 3 months or more

Specify if:
With Delayed Onset: if onset of symptoms is at least 6 months after the stressor.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have just started reading your blog. I also had such a great marriage. I felt special and we continually got comments from people about us as a couple. It radiated. My husband went into mania, started drinking all day every day, and smoking marijuana. He ran into an old girlfriend who is a pathetic drunk and cheated. He insists it was a five minute stupid decisionbut I ddon't believe it. Between the manua, shock, and what he said and did after, I was literally traumatized. I went from 140 lbs. to 127 lbs. I didn't sleep. The whole thing would make a shocking movie. Among the things he said was I don't love you anymore, you have an ugly heart, I can't be myself around you, I created our life and I can create that life with anyone. Its been 1 1/2 years and it feels like yesterday. Once he came out of mania he felt very remorseful. He has tried hard to save our marriage but I still have nightmares, break into rages, and replay to him every word he said to me. I know I have PTSD and started seeing a therapist. I no longer have hope but don't know what to do. How can we have a better marriage then what we already had. But it wasn't enough for him. I don't want to sleep or kiss a man who has been with someone else. I no longer have the joy I had in my life with him. He did so many things that everything is a trigger. Yet I know I will not find a man that I am so connected with and so many things in common. I will never trust a man again. My life has been shattered. Half the pieces missing. I am being labeled unforgiving. Now I am the bad abusive one because I can't forget.

Elizabeth T said...

@Anonymous : I'm so sorry for what you have been through! I am so glad to hear that you have been seeing someone. I hope that will help immensely. After being through a trauma like that, I look at it like almost being paralyzed and having to learn to walk again. Your legs have been broken. It's not going to take a day to be able to sprint around the block again. It may take years, but with the work and effort put in, YOU WILL WALK AGAIN. But ONLY if both parties are willing to work on it. It sounds like your husband is wanting to try. Hold to what you just said "I know I will not find a man that I am so connected with and so many things in common". You love this man. But that doesn't mean it won't be hard to get over it all. But it takes BABY STEPS. Let yourself cuddle with him while watching a movie. Let yourself hold hands while going on a walk. Let yourself hug him and FEEL your love. Those baby steps, mixed with counseling will really help. Try to find the things that used to give you joy when with him. You will never forget what happened, but the effect on you will minimize as you do these things and as more time passes.

Thank you for reading my blog....I started it in hopes of being able to help people like me....email me anytime if you need someone to talk to. I feel for you and truly wish you the best.

David sam said...
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David sam said...
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andrew robert said...
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