How do you convince a GP that you have suffered trauma, when part of the issue is that you can't talk about it?
I am persistently disrupted and stopped by my fears, and I comfortably meet all the DSM-IV criteria for PTSD. I don't want to self-diagnose. I greatly respect doctors (which is probably half the problem) so I don't mind if an expert explains that my diagnosis is this or that. My big problem is that in my experience, doctors avoid diagnosis.
I have actually suffered this for years but whenever I have gone to authority figures I've felt they've patted me on the head and fobbed me off. I am generally only brave enough to see doctors when my symptoms are utterly debilitating. Once, my brain just stopped functioning. This screwed up my degree and if it happens again it will affect other people too. It was as though someone had pushed an "off" switch in my head. This continued for months on end but the doctor simply told me to take a holiday.
It is much easier talking about traumatic stuff online because I can conveniently hide any reaction without needing to run! In the end I know I have to talk to someone face-to-face which scares me a lot. I could really do with getting the confidence that I won't end up walking out of a doctor's surgery feeling that they think I am wasting their time.
How did everyone else get a diagnosis if you didn't want to talk about your trauma?
Firstly, I would suggest seeing a psychologist, psychiatrist, or some kind of mental health professional -- not a GP, and preferably someone with a Ph.D because in most states, MA's (many therapists hold just a masters) can't diagnose. Medical doctors are great, but they just don't have the specialized education in mental health that you need.
Another thing I would do is write down a list of all your symptoms, and make sure to explain that you think they are related to the trauma you experienced (even if you can't talk about it) and tell them why- tell them you feel you can't talk about it, and that's one of your symptoms. Tell them why you can't talk about it, what you feel on the inside if you try, or when you think about it.
And I think the most important thing for getting doctors to realize that you need help, not just a break, is to emphasize how your symptoms are affecting your life. That's usually the major requirement for a diagnosis, that the patient is feeling both distress on a regular basis and that the condition is impairing your life in some way. An example of impairment would be avoiding certain activities that you would normally do or that you desire to do, but you can't because of an anxiety reaction or something like that. Also, things like nightmares that keep you from having restful sleep on a regular basis would be considered impairment.
The way I see it, you just have to be able to communicate to the doctor that you are really experiencing distress and impairment in your everyday life. If it helps, write it down ahead of time so you don't forget to say anything you wanted to say.
Yes that helps a lot. Hopefully from what you say I can avoid talking about certain details. I am still scared of being turned away because I can't give enough detail, but I guess I have prepare, and face that fear...
However, I don't understand how I can see a Psychiatrist/Psychologist without being referred by a GP? Note that I am from the UK, which might make a difference I don't know.
*deep breath* not a easy subject. Making progress though - thanks.
Yeah, I'm not quite sure how it works in the UK. You might need a referral, but again, just emphasize how the condition is having a negative impact on your life. And be honest, just tell the GP you've experienced trauma and don't feel you can discuss it. And if the GP is telling you that it doesn't seem important, really push him/her. Tell them that you have tried just taking a break, stress relief, etc. and the symptoms aren't going away. Tell them that you think you need to see someone.
Like I said, writing things down helps, because often times the anxiety will get in the way of what you need to get across.
I hope it works out for you! Best of luck. I know it can be hard when facing problems that we've just been "dealing with" for a long time.
Have you ever tried writing it down?
Perhaps if you write it out while you are alone and comfortable you will be able to hand it to a DR to read and thus share without revealing it verbally in person.
It may help you feel less threatened.
If it is too difficult to reveal all at once, perhaps reveal small parts at a time so you feel you have a bit of controlover the process.
Traumatic events take away control.
Restoring control helps one heal.