Maybe I Have PTSD

Maybe I Have PTSD

I think I might have PTSD. I had several people on here tell me that it sounds like it, including one person diagnosed with it who didn't just say he thinks I had it, but that I definitely have it based on the symptoms which he recognized. Yet even though I keeping suggesting that I might have it, I keep wanting to then deny it when people wholeheartedly agree since I haven't had such a bad episode except for a bit of drunken belligerence here and there in over the past decade.

What started it was one time almost a decade and a half ago where I got beaten half to death by a gang. I think something knocked some screws loose in my head at that point for various reasons. For a start I never experienced such cruelty first hand before; I had been in fights but not ones from people genuinely seeking to maim and kill. To get an idea of how brutal it was, it fractured all my hands just blocking their kicks. Where I failed to block their kicks, my body fractured.

A Hated of Fear

Yet I think also what bothered me is something I'm a bit ashamed to admit, but I started feeling fear halfway through the beating -- like an overwhelming, crippling fear because I wasn't ready to die yet. And I'm kind of a stranger to fear or at least the kind towards danger and pain. So I tried to hold my hands out in the air as though I surrender, and they completely ignored it, and so I had to face the prospect of embracing that fate... as a coward wanting to surrender. And I think that's the ego part that was bruised. I'm not sure how much of that factors in but coming face-to-face with the idea that I'm a coward really bothered me since I spent all my life as a thrill-seeker and adrenaline junkie and thought if there's one thing that people can't call me, it's coward. Something about not putting up more of a fight always bothered me there. So it's like I've had a bruised ego ever since, and maybe some subconscious part of me wants to atone for it but in the wrong ways, deliberately seeking out more fights.

The other part that has always troubled me about that incident was the onlookers and those passing by. The way I got into that gang beating was finding the gang beating up a couple: a man with a head bleeding profusely and a woman hugging him from behind while they kicked the two of them. And not really thinking, I ran up to them and told them to stop -- not intending to get into a fight but just trying to talk them out of it saying they've proven whatever they want to prove, they've won, the people are down, and there's no point to continue. The leader ignored me and delivered another kick to the couple and then I lost my temper and pushed him and then the whole gang turned on me at which point I was down and found myself in the same situation as the couple before I could barely put up a fight.

Yet it's like no one bothered to intervene at that point in the same way I did for the couple. I wanted to be rescued too, but people just watched or hurriedly walked on by. So maybe I'm disappointed in humanity -- in the fear of others and myself at that moment. I've come to despise fear -- it's like I sometimes think I find it a worse human quality than the malice and cruelty of that gang. Fortunately, some people at least called the police even though they didn't intervene directly and that's what ended up saving me in the end.

But even though I eventually recovered from my injuries, my brain never seemed to fully recover. Actually even though I didn't put up much of a fight, I took some vanity in that I at least intervened here and took some action at risk to myself, and paid for it dearly. So my ego wanted to think of myself as a hero, even though I also acted as a bit of a coward once I realized the full consequences of the beating I was to take. I even got called that by the witnesses and the couple, so there's like a conflict of reality where it's like I want to think of myself as heroic but I know that I'm not. I like to think I could be still but I need more practice learning how to take such a beating without wanting to surrender. So maybe even some crazy part of me wants to get in that same incident again and do a better job the next time.

I don't know. I can't figure it out. Maybe it's all of the above. But I haven't found a bad case where I went totally berserk and lunatic except in the past month. Yet I've had little "triggers" and hints of it here and there over the years, usually brought on by drinking. I've had people suggesting to seek help and totally agree but they don't really take psychology so seriously in Japan as they do in the West, so I found all I can do besides medication of a kind that makes me feel awful is to study psychology on my own try to best apply what I learned to myself as a patient. I found that the most useful thing I've done so far but still struggling here and there, especially when something extraordinary happens like the death of a loved one or killing of a friend.

Physical Injuries

One thing I have figured out though with my toe incident (see my previous take) is that physical injury seems to be one of the "triggers". I got a bit of a Eureka today in the hospital where things started to make sense.

For example, one time I went kind of looney on a vacation with my wife. We found there was a skate park there with a halfpipe and I had not skateboarded in years and maybe I tried too hard. So I hung up on a frontside air and landed on my arm and hurt it a bit and got bruised up there. Then later that night I started going insane pacing around the room in the middle of the night and complaining that the bed is so uncomfortable and I think there are bugs in it making my skin itchy, and it felt like my skin was so hot and itchy along with my scalp. I also had this cut on my lip and kept complaining that something is wrong with my lip and it's making it difficult to breathe. But I kept shouting and apologizing repeatedly to my wife like I don't know what's wrong with me.

So she suggested to go to the hospital and I told her I'll just take a shower and see if it helps my skin and try sleeping on the floor since I thought I was allergic to the bed or something. But the next day I barely got any sleep and it ended up becoming even worse the next night. So I told my wife I'd go to the hospital and she insisted to go with me.

Then the doctor looked at my lip and skin and took my temperature and said there was nothing wrong with me. So I was so confused. I was like, "I feel awful! Are you sure? Maybe I am having some sort of internal reaction? I could barely sleep a wink the past couple of nights." She looked again and said I was fine and it could be something going on in my mind. But my arm had turned a bit purple from the bruise and my wife insisted that the doctor looks at that.

So she looked at it and asked me to stretch my arm and move it around and asked if it hurt and I impatiently told her that I just bruised it, it's not the problem. The problem is my skin burning and crawling and my lip which I think is infected. Why isn't she fixing the problem and focusing on my arm? Then the doctor said it's very unlikely that my arm is broken but the swelling is pretty bad and she'd like to X-Ray it. To the doctor's shock and my own, my arm was apparently broken. So maybe that's what was making me crazy, but I didn't really realize it. My incident with the toe last night reminded me of that.

I used to use that as a joke about how my pain tolerance is wired in a funny way like I don't mind a broken arm but a busted lip makes me complain like a baby. But maybe I do mind a broken arm but it just kind of triggers this PTSD stuff out of me and my brain sort of blocks the pain but subconsciously has me feeling terrible and crazy all over.

Oh well, I got a lot I have to figure out about myself. I thought I did the bulk of the work already but I'm starting to think I need a whole lot more work.

Maybe I Have PTSD
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Most Helpful Guys

  • lightbulb27
    That's really awsome take, introspection... you are starting to see yourself and see the pieces.
    I got little lost in the "coward"part... like you jumped into a bloody fight to protect people and was overwhelemd. Thats not coward. Id have to understand more of... did you not fight back because you were overpowered, affraid, or something else. That sounds like the internal dialog. But still, you were levels braver than anyone else.

    Makes total sense your reactions... you are still reacting out of that trauma... sounds like rage. you know your body stores your memories right... not just your brain. It's all wired together, so healing from a trauma is both mental and phsyical and I'd say... spiritual as well... which to me is just talking about the "energy" of it all and perspective over it.

    Your arm situation... the physical injury must have trigged some association to the other situation. Our brains can only handle so much, then we start to snap and go nuts inside. Study up on hypothalamus and amydala.

    It's fascinating to read, makes lot of sense. I have book im editing now which goes over all this stuff and methods of healing from trauma.. but the solution is Christian based. Lot of good references in it though to other books on forgiveness, etc.. All of these concepts are... normal human... been going on forever, so the solutions are out there. Monks would meditate.

    I am Christian (by choice, wasn't raised that way) and I see things in that light, and I'd want to understand the gang, for I can have compassion for not only you but them. But, I can also see the other side and see them on the wrong side of a firing squad. I've felt those feelings before, it's normal human.
    The big value in healing I've found is finding the deeper meaning to things under what you learned about yourself which often ties back to childhood lies/beliefs about yourself... e. g. you aren't good enough, don't have right to fight back, are powerless to do so. I know in myself, I can shutdown under physical threat... there are sheep that do that. Could have been your reaction, rooted from childhood training... and now it haunts you. Those are the kinds of things to discover, find the root of, and heal from... so those emotional wounds no longer have power.

    The emotional situation in our world... IS the problem with the human world!!
    Is this still revelant?
    • Cheers! (BTW, is it okay to still keep saying cheers if we don't drink anymore?) I feel slightly embarrassed since I think I was still a bit delirious with this one over the severed toe and friend passing and all the lack of sleep. I ended up getting a lot of rest after I wrote this one and feel so much better. But my way of trying to self-diagnose is go through every single thought that pops up and verbalize -- and they include both egotistical and self-defeating thoughts.

      I'm one of those who figures out what I'm thinking by trying to say it out loud and try to put it into a human language. :-D It's kind of a brute force thing where some thoughts seem to stick and some don't seem quite right.

      On the coward thing, I have some sort of addiction to pain -- not masochist but I think that's why I'm into extreme sports in some way. It's not that I like pain, but rather I want to build a stronger and stronger tolerance for it. And usually, I could take a lot of bad injuries without wanting to submit or complain. But that one beating was so bad that I wanted to submit -- wanted it to stop, and something about that bothered me. It's like I gave up at some point. I don't mind losing a fight -- it's not the first time, but it's like I lost the internal battle at some point there and wanted to wave the white flag... and it's almost like I want to find myself in that situation again so that I can take it a bit better.

    • For sure you can say cheers... you don't need it, but the energy is good! Of the military veterans I've known and those on the streets, they got into alcohol... to mask their emotions.

      I think you are on the right path there, uncovering the drivers of what are under the behaviors that no longer serve you! That's life in a nutshell... everythings fine until you want or need to change.. then it's time to cleanup the old messes.

      Writing is huge in getting things out and discovery. It's all part of stress response... watch the TED talk on "stress" by a woman, mind blowing! e. g. stress is good.. when viewed as courage. I think also is establishing new patterns of thought, belief and putting right perspective on it. e. g. repeating something is what instill sit into sub conscious. The sub conscious is a total bitch...800lb gorilla that doesn't want to change. That's what you were dealing with in the fight... a bunch of a bused mind controlled thugs... wounded little children. Jesus, Buddah, and others had to deal with same in their realms. So have to re-work your own mind/body/soul/heart with new conditioning... and instill it physically and emotionally in your belief system. then becomes real. yea!! It's work, I've had ups and downs... it's human... but hot damn, your on the right path!!

      Under this are some powerful new drugs that blow away the old crutch... that is... you discover hidden strengths in yourself, things you can give back to others. Giving to others seems higher in power than other natural lifts. See the stories of women whove been abused, of people whove recovered from whatever oppression.

    • Pain... interesting... I wonder what went on in childhood. Tolerating pain is one thing, but why seek it? It sounds like when you were getting beaten... your response was that... it was pain and so you submitted rather than averting it. It was submission. Were you pounded into submission as a child by older brother and it started to feel good? There's a lesson in here somewhere. WAG (Wild ass guess) lesson might be that you are sensitive and empathic to others feelings? Within that, are powers... Bible talks about them as spiritual gifts... ability to read people, see future, etc.. I believe those are real human abilities, science supports from what I've seen, they just don't undersatnd it. It could also be a "boundaries" thing to learn... e. g. "this is me and I have self worth and value and I can care about you as a human, but I can also dish out the discipline so that you are BETTER after I beat you". e. g. you aren't the one with "killer" instinct, it's that you have compassion, empathy but you could learn the skills to re-direct another person into a better path.. which is what you were trying to do in that fight... it wasn't about beating them.. never your purpose... but savings them. You might find a new super hero in here somewhere... one of my favs...
      or channel that inner "bruce lee"...:)
      or this...

      might be time to learn Hap Ki Do or Kung fu..;) I think your inner rage is really strength in compassion... might be. Very powerful force.

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  • lucas262
    Had ptsd as a kid, nightmares every night, fear of belts, black men, being chased, always to this day back of my mind expect someone to attack me from anywhere anytime. Don't like yelling, or loud noise. Scared of the dark. Don't like being touched. Was out on ,, survival,, mode at like 3 years old, shut down when ever bad things happen, refused to cry for years.
    Gave me a super protective instinct.
    Is this still revelant?
    • I'm some oddball in that I love nightmares. They're some of my favorite dreams, and I often die in my dreams -- repeatedly. I might have something resembling masochism, except I take no sexual pleasure from it... but it's like I want to grow an immunity to pain by subjecting myself to it little by little.

    • lucas262

      That can be dangerous and emotionally numb you to a point of no return.

    • Starting to kind of realize that little by little. On the flip side, I'm kind of a humorous type -- I can be cheerful and find so many things funny, including the absurdities of myself. I never resisted positive feelings. But I think in trying so hard to build an immunity to the negative ones, the only kind of negative emotion I can feel is violent, destructive anger... so it's like I really have to watch out and make sure to keep my stress levels at a reasonable level or else find myself in the dumbest situations.

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Most Helpful Girls

  • noodles5
    From reading your story you experienced a traumatic event, and yes I easily do believe you have developed a form of PTSD. I’m sure anyone put in your situation would. I’m sure the couple developed PTSD from the incident as well. If you are open to it, Counseling can be a really great option to give you a opportunity to lead yourself on the path to healing. You mentioned Japan doesn’t take psychology so seriously, but there is a online counseling service called Betterhelp and you get your first week of counseling for free, maybe this will help you and be more accessible?
    But what pushed me to respond to your post is to express to you how truly amazing you are for getting involved. You seem disappointed that you see yourself as a “coward” for not being able to defend yourself when it was one again multiple other guys, clearly a unfair fight. But really you are the hero in the situation and please never dare think less than.

    I think the last thing you should call yourself is a coward, since you intervened and refused to just be a bystander, it’s a task many people are too fearful to complete. So you should really be applauding yourself for that alone, and if you’re not don’t worry I am.
    Is this still revelant?
    • Thanks very much! I feel way better already and gonna make a genuine effort to quit drinking now. I got a very permanent reminder on my body of why I shouldn't grab a beer at the end of the day. :-D I was just kind of going through all the crazy thoughts in my head trying to pinpoint what's been bothering me as of late. It's my attempt at a self-diagnostic and repair to blurt out every subconscious thought (I find that making an attempt to verbalize can bring some things to the surface that might be buried inside). I'm going to try to seek out some sort of counseling or group here, clean up my drinking completely, find some other way to celebrate the end of the day or relieve stress than alcohol. Hopefully, this kind of positive feeling I have now is enough to push me far enough to avoid faltering again.

      One of the things that horrified me after that gang event that was really what got me constantly trying to quit drinking (often successfully for months at a time only to relapse) was that I ended up undoing whatever attempt at a good deed that gang thing was. Something broke in my head, I suspect.

      I started turning angry and belligerent in an uncharacteristic way, including finding myself strangling some random guy at a bar who did absolutely nothing. Immediately upon seeing his surprised look on his face, I looked closely at his face and didn't recognize him and snapped out of it and stopped and apologized repeatedly saying he wasn't who I thought he was... there was some part of me that thought he did something to me, but it's also like I wasn't in control of my body and facilities... and the shocked look he gave, and others around him, was pretty much the worse and most alienating feeling I ever felt, and a genuine feeling that I've completely lost it... as well as completely distrusting my own ability to control my body and mind.

    • A similar event happened a month later where my friends were teasing me while I was taking a nap in a Karaoke box and I woke up in a blind rage swinging and connected, and the exact same thing and feeling of being so sorry and not knowing what has come over me... like a genuine feeling that someone else is controlling my body.

      I think it's one of my biggest fears now is seeing that guy control my body again.. and I thought I had warded that off for years, but I see glimpses of it... and this month, not a glimpse -- I saw it come back again completely this past month in a way that got me thrown in jail (fortunately just overnight to cool down -- Japanese police are so tolerant). It's always after a combination of drinking and some extraordinary circumstances. I really think the chances of that sort of thing happening to diminish substantially if I could just cut out the drinking.

    • noodles5

      Yeah it’s seems like the alcohol amplifies your emotions for sure, maybe you could find a AA meeting, a Alcohols Anonymous support group in your local area to get some more support and ideas to stop drinking. You mentioned you want to find another way to celebrate at the end of the day to relieve stress instead of alcohol. Perhaps you could go for a nice relaxing walk or pick up a new hobby such as yoga to unwind. But I wish you the ultimate best, best of luck on your healing and recovery, I know you’ll overcome this!

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  • nerms123
    Why are you so hard on yourself? You are human. Of course we all feel fear, pain, and stress and it’s completely natural. You could definitely have ptsd as well. It’s not a sign of any defect or weakness. Rather it’s an automatic mental response that no one can control. I’m curious if maybe your parents had some effect on you to be so harsh on yourself. Maybe they were very busy and you learned to be overly independent or something. Also I personally think you drink so much to numb some feelings. If you try to cut back drinking those feelings will surface.
    Is this still revelant?
    • The parents did divorce and actually I left the home as soon as I could since I wanted to sort of escape and made my life here back in Japan (where I started out as a child). I do have some kind of stubborn independence and a rebellious thing about me. :-D

      I'm hoping everything will be fixed enough (obviously not fixed completely) if I just do away with the drinking. I keep saying I'm gonna quit though and keep failing at it. :-D

      I actually don't think I even enjoy drinking. I'm not into partying or clubbing or anything like that anymore. I'm not sure why I get a craving for it here and there. One of the things I'm starting to suspect is that it acts like a pain killer for me -- not just emotional types of pains but physical ones -- not always as extreme as a broken bone or missing toe but just niggling, everyday kind of pains which I've accumulated from past injuries.

      I do notice every time I get a few drinks in that I feel good as new -- like a young teenager again. Until the next day, those kinds of joint pains come back worse than ever on top of a hangover. :-D But alcohol has always had a bizarre effect on me as like a stimulant -- like I can stay up 3 nights in a row without sleep as long as I continually drink a little bit every hour -- more powerful than any caffeine or energy drink, and that seems different from most people. And as I'm getting older, I'm starting to think the reason it has that kind of opposite on me is that it relieves all those little chronic joint pains and such.

    • Working out has the same effect on me but I started to develop a conjecture about working out that might only apply to me personally. I believed very much in training to failure every set, even though everyone advises against it since I found that the more I'd kind of push my body to its limits, the less pain I would have every day. And maybe it's because by subjecting my body to the shock of muscle failure over and over, it just redirects and diffuses the pain to the point where I'm not feeling much of it anymore, and so it has a similar effect of alcohol that way. I don't know. It might just be crazy talk.

    • nerms123

      That type of physical pain is also a symptom of withdrawal. The way you react to alcohol is not unusual for people with childhood trauma. It’s affecting your brain chemistry in a similar way to some antidepressants. You could try gradually increasing your dietary carbs but I think you need to slowly switch to include more things like massages and saunas rather than being so rough on your body. Everything needs balance. I think you’re beginning a journey of self realization and self care which is exciting.

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • BlackRoseFairy
    I am sorry to hear you had to go through all this!
    You sure did an heroic act out there protecting this couple, but next time maybe it would be better to call the police.

    As for the PTSD if you are bargaining whether you have it or not it would be better to visit a specialist for a proper diagnosis and not trying to find out yourself. PTSD needs to be treated and is not to be taken lightly. It may affect you more than you realise and it's easier for some one to help you than you trying to do it all by yourself.

    I wish for you to find a way to handle this!

    As for the injury... Pain threshold is different for each person and certain areas tend to be more sensitive than others. We don't have the save nerve endings at all areas of the body. If you have ever received a needle at the dentist and know the feeling of how you feel swelled up like a balloon but look in the mirror and you are normal, same thing happened with your lip. You felt it a lot worse than it was... With the arm you probably got lucky and the fractured pieces had a minimal movement, that's why it was less painful.
    • Cheers and thanks! I'm much better now. Actually I feel slightly embarrassed about these posts (but I want to build an immunity to embarrassment as well). :-D I'm going to seek out some help as New Year's resolution. Also using the missing toe as a reminder not to drink because I do the dumbest things while intoxicated.

  • devilish-cutie
    Okay so you have some wrong views you have to correct. Fear is not bad or if you feel it that it means you are a coward. Actually, the only time person is brave is when they do something they are afraid of! Without fear there is no courage! Fear is as any emotion useful and it helps you make your decisions.
    People that didn't step in as you did - why would you expect that? Do other people usuall do what you do? No, and you always seem to take pride in that. So why expect they would do what you did? Its more logical to think they would do the opposite. Is that bad of them? I wouldn't say. They saw your example, they dont wanna end up the same. Sometimes its not about fear but about being smart. Its great to be corageus but not stupid!
    I agree n recomend try psychotherqpy. Dont make excuses, im sure even in japan there should be good private clinics. You should talk to someone unbiased (n an educated expert) . Look at it as mental self work, thats all that psychotherapy is. When you break a leg you go to do cldoctor. If you have mind problems you go to shrink. Simple as that.
    I think every peraon when they r young experience bunch of shit as they form as a person and later on that determines a lot of things in ther life. Eg. If you haven't felt you got enough attwntion from your parents you may spend your whole life as adult trying to fill that. I recommend you think of ysf in the same way. A lot of your opinions and actions are influenced from your unfilled needs growing up.
  • derek2017
    You too?
    • I don't know exactly. :-D One of the symptoms that seem to differ in my case is that I want to seek out a similar event like some kamikaze masochist type. There's some kind of bizarre concoction of male ego/pride (and maybe a wounded one) along with PTSD-like symptoms that show up most at rare moments when drunk... along with some martyr kind of complex. I think everyone wants to be heroic, no? Except I'm not cut out to be like a badass fighter. So it's like I want to be heroic through sacrifice -- like I'm definitely going down and not going to be kicking much ass, but I want to do something good in the process.

    • derek2017

      I felt that too many times! But also I have a lot of stress and anxiety which sometimes turns into anger...

    • I'm hoping I stop doing such dumb stuff if I can successfully quit drinking (using missing toe as a reminder now). I used to be able to keep my nose out of trouble before I developed my wild partying side... not too much trouble to get into just skateboarding vert ramps and programming software. :-D But the drinking added a whole new element where I often ran into shady characters, got mixed up with trouble, and also it brings out the more extreme side of me when I get angry.

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  • KaraAyna
    Good take
  • Perhaps