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What happens after?


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Trial and sentencing are done.  I've been trying to get my life back for nearly six months.  I thought I would be done thinking about it, worrying, etc...  


But things are not what I expected.  I still don't want to leave home alone.  I freak out randomly over sudden noises.  I sometimes can't get to sleep, or I have nightmares.  I woke up last night with a scream, sweaty and shaking. I'm naturally clingy and needy, but more so now.


I dread the future, especially related to the political situation and how it threatens my family.  I'm not usually an angry person, but some things just really irritate me in a way I've never felt before.


I've looked for a therapist in the past, but can't find someone competent or trustworthy.  My husband has a psych degree and is good to talk with, so that's probably just as good, right?.  But talk doesn't change the past, undo my memories, or undo the loss of fine motor control I still experience due to TBI.  


Does it get better?  Is it normal for it to get worse in the months following a traumatic event?  How long does this take?  Am I stuck with the after effects of this forever?  

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  • 2 months later...

I’m sorry to read of what happened to you, and though it’s good to hear that the attacker was sentenced, indeed nothing undoes the physical and psychological effects from it. Though, from the experience of many I’ve known who have suffered a traumatic event like this, most say things did get better in time. The symptoms you are experiencing are not uncommon and some may never go away entirely.  The flashbacks, nightmares or panic attacks may come back from time to time and you may not know why then, or what triggered them. But time does seem to heal most wounds.

Most of the therapists I’ve worked with have had a specialty in PTSD but I’m not sure if that made them any more useful or helpful. Probably the most important thing is just having someone to talk to who won’t judge you, will help keep things in perspective and have enough detachment that they won’t be adversely affected by you talking about the event. Some therapists also don’t take into account effects from TBI that can cause psychological symptoms and sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s PTSD or TBI-related. The “easily irritated” symptom may be a result of head injury, maybe being emotionally overwhelmed and unable to process what’s going on the same way as before, because parts of your brain have been physically damaged. 

There is a grieving piece to this too, that you will never be the same. You may heal psychologically so you don’t have the PTSD symptoms anymore and even get most of your fine motor control back, but there can be relapses again later. It’s hard not to be angry or sad about it. 

I think the most important thing is be able to talk about the trauma and the symptoms with someone if and when you need to, not have to stuff your feelings and not have someone tell you to “get over it” or otherwise invalidate you. 

Best wishes to you in your recovery, fellow fox.

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@Desert Fox Thanks for your words of advice and encouragement.  I've been feeling kind of low about it this evening, so it's nice to feel like somebody understands me a bit.



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