PTSD Symptoms that Overlap with BPD (Week 8: Wrapping Up Trauma Recovery Group)

To read Week 1, click Here.
To read Week 2, click Here.
To read Week 3, click Here.
To read Week 4, click Here.
To read Week 5, click Here.
To read Week 6, click Here.
Week 7, no post
Week 8 – You are here. 🙂

Seven weeks ago I began attending a trauma recovery group to cope with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in connection with the symptoms of my former diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (I know longer meet the criteria for BPD and am in recovery).  I first of all want to mention that one of the biggest things I got out of this process was learning the incredible overlap between BPD and PTSD symptoms (at least in my case), and how much of what I experienced at the height of my suffering from BPD symptoms now makes sense in the light of the trauma I experienced in the past.

Here I sit, eight weeks later, reflecting.

So — am I all better?  Did I resolve and get over my trauma in two months?  No, but there is so much good that came out of my willingness to show up, participate, and commit to the process that I am so glad that I did.  I’ve also seen significant improvement in my ability to handle emotional triggers around the specific issue I worked on over the course of the class (you only pick one trauma incident per (normally) 8-week round.

In fact, I was issued a chart today that validated my perception that things had truly improved. It shows how my distress level plots out based on questionnaires we were asked to complete at the beginning of each group.  As predicted with trauma recovery work (by the doctors who facilitated the group), things got worse before they got better, and my distress level increased on the weeks that it was my turn to tell and record my trauma story. Then, there was a steady decline of distress to a very low, manageable level.

It was emotional tonight.  Saying goodbye to peers with whom I’ve shared such intimate details and held space for theirs, knowing I may never see them again….that wasn’t easy.  I also became emotional during the certificate ceremony at the end.  One of the doctors who ran the group and I discussed how I tried to do this very same group years ago, showed up for two sessions, then dropped out because it was too difficult. My emotional reactions were unmanageable for me at that time.

I actually had an episode of emotional detachment, but that was “normal” given the circumstances, I’m told.

Since learning and implementing DBT skills into my life (and now even teaching them), I was finally able to cope effectively enough to work on things I never wanted to face. What’s more is that I have hope of returning at a future date to conquer other trauma memories.

I had tried to complete this Trauma Recovery group years ago before DBT, and I just want’ able to cope with the intensity of the emotions that showed up.  I am finally able to start working on my past trauma experiences. This group was the first big step.

I mentioned some overlap with PTSD and BPD symptoms in myself and some other people as well.

Here are the ones I identified:

PTSD symptoms that Overlap(ped) with BPD for Me

  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Difficulty controlling your emotions
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships with family and friends
  • Irritability or anger
  • Overwhelming guilt, shame, despair, or hopelessness
  • Impulsive and/or self-destructive behavior
  • Changed beliefs or personality traits

(From Mayo Clinic‘s and Web MD‘s lists of PTSD symptoms.)

Have hope. You can get there, too!   You can overcome BPD and be strong enough to work on past trauma. It takes time. It takes effort, but you can do it.

Hope this helped you.
More soon.

In kindness,

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