Overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


PTSD and depressionI saw this poster on facebook that said “PTSD isn’t about what’s wrong with you; it’s about what happened to you.” I believe this is a true statement. I believe that we can achieve all positive results through facing what happened; facing the trauma and the damage that trauma caused.

I believe that this is true for all depressions too. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the best term I have seen to describe depression. The name itself indicates that there was a trauma. After the trauma there was damage. The damage caused stress. Stress manifests itself in many different ways; depressions, dissociative disorders, physical illness and sleep disorders just to name a few.

But something happens when people actually try to face what happened. Looking back I can see how hard I fought facing it and how much I wanted to stay in the dark about the bottom line truth of it all. It’s human nature to try to protect ourselves when the truth is too painful. When we are kids it is much easier to cope by not thinking about the trauma and just “blocking it out”.

Quite often there is a terribly negative response from other people in our lives, especially from family when a survivor of trauma wants to face the facts and the truth about that trauma. When we try talking to our parents or our siblings, these people who are close to us may try to convince us that it is better NOT dealt with.  We are encouraged by many to let it go, leave the past in the past, put it behind you and the list of these unhelpful trauma directives goes on and on.

Therapists will even jump on board and suggest that you have to “forgive your family” or that we should “try to understand them”, or that these parents “did they best they could” and the problem is that all this is said BEOFRE the trauma itself has been examined and validated.  

The only way to get over a post traumatic stress disorder is to face and validate the truth about the trauma and quite often that includes facing that our parents let us down and that our emotional needs were neglected or even ignored. Sometimes it is even worse than that and we have to face the possibility that according to their actions, they didn’t even love us. Sometimes facing this stuff is more painful than the trauma itself was.

My family was so impatient with me whenever I even hinted at the past. I still remember my mother with her exasperated “OH DARLENE” and her impatience with my difficulty at not being able to put the past behind me. But the truth is that it wasn’t OVER yet. I had not gotten over it yet and that was mostly due to the fact that the trauma itself was NEVER validated. 

I had been dismissed;

I had been shushed;

I had been ignored;

No one ever said to me “oh Darlene, I am so sorry that happened to you. It must have been frightening for you. It must have been a nightmare.  Is there anything I can do?” None of this was said when it trauma events happened and none of it was said when I was ready to talk when I was an adult.  The reactions that I did get communicated to me that I was a failure BECAUSE I needed to deal with it and that somehow I was the one that was disgusting and despicable.

No one held me while I cried. No one soothed me ~ no one validated that anything out of the ordinary happened, so there I was with this unresolved trauma (a post traumatic stress) and I was being told that I needed to let it go; just get over it. Leave it in the past without even a few instructions on how I might go about doing that. All of it was shoved under the carpet and ignored. But I had to cope with those traumas. I had to go on living with the trauma and the wound that had been inflicted on me. The damage was there and it wasn’t going away.

I was left trying to figure out a way to comprehend why no one seemed to think that I was important or valuable enough to give some validation or assistance to. I had to figure out why I wasn’t loved enough to be worth that safety. And that is post traumatic stress disorder.

My constant depressions were seen as a weakness.  When I finally had to take medication just to get through a day it was viewed as the proof of my insignificance as a person and proof that I was the problem after all.  No one wanted to consider that one invalidated difficulty after another from as young as I can remember, was at the root of my problems.  No one considered that my issues may have been due to a lot of post traumatic stress disorder.  No, they just saw me as weak. Too weak to cope with life on life’s terms.  And I was too weak to deal with all of it because I was still oppressed by these same people.

Even therapists told me that what happened to me was over now and that there was no point in re visiting it. It was over.  I told a therapist just one small thing about my mother and the left over pain from something that happened when I was 6. I told him that I had been trying to “get over it” for over 20 years. He gently told me that I would never get over it and that my goal was to “get through it”.  He gave me anti depressants and suggested making myself do one fun thing each day. That was the only answer he offered to help me “get through it”. I felt my world crumble that day.  And I write “emerging from broken” because he was wrong. I got over it. I found the way to completely get over it and not just “get through it” and I don’t need his anti depressants anymore either.

Twelve step programs told me to see what I could have done better and although I don’t think that the original writers meant to suggest that we as children could have done things better so that we were not abused, that is the way that I heard it because I had been raised with the belief that I could have done better and that if I was better or more worthy I would not have been ignored or dismissed or even abused in the first place.

It was when I faced the trauma that I got better. It was when I found out that it was what had happened to me that caused me to struggle with life on lifes terms that I found understanding and compassion for myself. It was when I began to comprehend the magnitude of what those traumas caused me to believe about myself and when I validated that those beliefs were lies about me, THEN I found hope for freedom from depressions and post traumatic stress disorders. It was when I validated my pain, my right to be angry and changed those lies to the truth that I began to live again.  It was when I saw where and how my worth and self esteem got so damaged that I was able to repair the damage and reclaim my worth and my value.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a great name and diagnosis for what was going on with me. After the trauma I was under a great deal of stress and I could not put that stress behind me until I dealt with the damage the trauma caused. Today I don’t suffer from PTSD or from the disorders I was diagnosed with either; Bi-Polar Depression and Dissociative Identity Disorder. 

But it is the treatment for it that I am passionate about…..

Please share your thoughts about diagnosis, post traumatic stress disorder or about facing the truth and don’t forget to sign up for updates about the no cost freedom ROCKS survivor community event and how you can be part of it! (see the about page here!) People all over the world are getting involved! Let’s get ready to throw a freedom rock! Check the emerging from broken facebook page for updates too.

There is freedom on the other side…..

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing


306 response to "Overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder"

  1. By: Jessi Posted: 27th October

    Hello everyone.
    Daily I read articles on this website, and each article i mean to write a reply. I was told about this website 2 weeks ago and each article I read, I suddenly feel more real. I have no diagnosis. I gave up looking for a therapist 10 years ago, after my last informed me my confession of plans of suicide were “a pity party and i needed to grow up” . But the last 10 years has been a near constant struggle to find out if i was crazy, to find a reason for me to live and to try to heal my family. And now I understand that is indicative of my programming.
    My mother has been the toxic centre of my universe forever and i have made excuses for her my whole life. And i accepted the blame for all the sorrows in my family’s lives, and for everything that ever happened to me.
    I have had a deep desire to tell people about what happened to me, and often found myself being very open with people in situations which were not appropriate. Because i needed validatio for the way i felt.
    In my journey to healing, it became apparent that in order to move forward, i had to dredge up all of the thjngs that happened between my mother and i and clear them. That process however never went well.
    I now can see that my mother is influenced by her own issues, and i see her patterns clearly when i look back. When confronted, she used to quickly deflect it back to being my fault, as everything was supposed to be my fault. When i reached a point that i chose to leave home and survive on my own, the behaviour changed. Now it is blatant denial. Nothing ever happened and i am the cruel daughter for “accusing her”.
    Lack of validation and lack of coping with my past lead me to severe panic attacks, depression and a heart attack at age 21.
    I felt entirely broken.
    I know i have much farther to go. I have a lot of work left but its ok. its finally ok to have a long road ahead, and its ok to be broken after my experiences. And the universe keeps hearing me and giving me hope. It led me to this amazing community, full of other people who are also on a journey. Thank you , Darlene, and everyone else here.

  2. By: Shweta Posted: 13th January

    I’m suffering with Complex Post Traumatic Stress disorder just like you were but when I was suffering I was used to knowing that no one could care lesser than they do and didn’t do anything about it because I thought it’s a new found character of mine. I didn’t know I had Complex PSTd until I visited a Psychiatrist when they diagnosed me it wasn’t really hard for me to believe, my parents put the terminology aside and tried advising me I couldn’t get touched by what my parents said to me like before, but I don’t try to be anyone else either I’m myself and mostly that’s the problem for others because I don’t realize how sadistic I sound until someone in my family picks a fight about what I said, I thought I could vent my emotions to my boyfriend but it also turned into an argument. He told me that he can’t live with a depressed person and he needed a strong women in his life, He told me that I was acting like I had a problem with myself. Well, I love my family and bf deep down. It was hard for me to connect with them, I never cried in front of them and they passed me of as shameless and even if I did complain they would think I’m weak and addicted to anti-depressants(or acting) it was after multiple attempts I realized that this job was my job and no one elses and I tried to understand myself and the reason for my behavior, it all pointed to what happened to me, I didn’t think that I didn’t deserve it. I still do. I understand that being with a depressed person is very stressful because I remember myself ‘advising’ an old friend of mine to snap out of it and I knew right away at that moment of recollecting my old memories what my friend was thinking. I’m digging my way out of this in such a way that it looks like a maze from above. Looking back I was put through a lot of pressure that I had forsaken my values and I had been demoralized, I couldn’t really understand what I want anymore. I lost a sense of self and I couldn’t pick up the pieces anymore. I started reading your article when I browsed on People who have overcome depression and PTSd in hopes that I can find a way out of this and some hope…and you are right I feel like I maybe on the right track now. I’m self-parenting, I go two days without thinking about it and my out of control moments have reduced. Thanks for uploading this article and sorry I didn’t thank you earlier.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th January

      Hi Shweta
      Welcome to EFB ~ You are very welcome here.
      I started this website to inspire hope for healing when I myself found healing through looking at “what happened to me” instead of “what’s wrong with me” and we have a really great community here.
      Hope you will share often.
      hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Gary Posted: 23rd November

    I understand what you are saying. I believe I have PTSD from my years of being shunned and ostracized in my adolescence (from 12-18).

    I also had some physical abuse from my peers. The physical abuse was much easier to get over. The ostracizing was much more difficult.

    I guess what it came down to — the physical abuse was against the law, so that was easy for me to resolve. When they beat me, they were committing a crime.

    To ignore someone, not engage them — ever. If you do it over the course of 5-6 years, and if it is consistent across a group of peers — that can really negatively affect someone. But technically, there is nothing criminally wrong with that. If you want to do that, I suppose you can. I kind of see the moral part of it, but not all people would even see that.

    That is what makes it so hard for me. There is nothing wrong with it — technically. Even in schools, I doubt they could resolve a systematic shunning of an individual by a group of peers.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd December

      Hi Gary
      Welcome to EFB! Thanks for sharing and I hope you will join the current conversations through the home page button.
      hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Tori Posted: 13th October

    I was married for 21 years to a military man. I sacrificed my career for his. I gave him child after child because he wanted “two boys to carry on the family name” and it had to be two in case something happened to one. And girls weren’t smart enough to carry on the family inheritance. I rarely made it home to see my family, and when we did go, he was the perfect husband/father/friend. No one was around when he would yell at me for “pawning the kid off on” him so I could make dinner for the family; would say I am lazy because I got up at 6 a.m. to make a turkey for the family and was still in my pjs at 7:45 and just getting the turkey and all the trimmings into the oven; would physically block me or hold me down in the bed so I could not go to my screaming, hungry/wet or soiled infant in the room next door, saying I would spoil the child if I went; was shoved out of the children’s bedroom after trying to stop him from smacking their feet with a belt if they dared move when he put them to bed; saw me standing outside my children’s closed bedroom door, ear pressed tight against the wood hoping for an echo of some movement or tiny voice, then saw me standing over the tiny body that was not moving from breath, then collapse to the floor when the child finally inhaled an eternity later–because he had ‘spanked’ her for waking at 3 am crying…his hand print on her back for 3 days. No one saw him shove our preteen into a corner of a desk for being disobedient; or slam our teen into a wall or drag the teen across the floor. No one heard him tell me for the entire 9 months of pregnancy that I would have to abort the child because he didn’t want a child with disabilities because WE don’t know how nor have the time to raise a child with special needs (though my career trained me well how to do just that). No one was around when his eyes filled with so much anger that he chased down our 8 year old, threw the slender child onto the bed, held the child down with his knee and ‘spanked’ so hard just above the belt that the child walked with a limp for several hours, or when he shoved that same child into the car’s door frame requiring an ice pack to relieve the pain. And those are just a few of my memories. I had gone to several people for help: friends, family, the domestic violence center, religious leaders, colleagues, therapists, and yes, even the police(!!) and social services. No one came to help me. I began to think I was wrong about how I felt. I had come between him and my kids for so long, the battle was wearing me down. Then I lost someone very close to me. I felt anger in me like never before. My older children begged me to protect the younger children better. I told them there was only 1 way to do that. They said they knew. And with a little help, I finally got the strength to leave. But I took so much with me…my memories of events that happened to me, plus the memories of everyone of my children. They moved on from their memories, forgave him and started rebuilding a relationship with him. They didn’t fully understand my ‘strong dislike’ for him until I explained it that way. And I try hard not to discuss the past or kept in anger I feel on a daily basis towards him.

    I am in a new relationship…and my biggest fear is that I have walked into something very much like the past relationship. Do I have the strength to stand up for myself? Will I forever be unhappy inside? Can I ever truly trust or believe another man in my life? Did I remarry too soon?

    I was diagnosed PTSD in 2013 after experiencing a seizure. It was stress induced, I was told. What does this mean now?

  5. By: Positive "loser" Posted: 14th August

    I have been seeing psychiatrists for over 17 years and only had pills shoved down my throat. So here I find myself over 30, divorced twice and living in my mothers home. I recently was diagnosed with PTSD and I began therapy so I started taking steps to get my life because I have been hiding for a very long time. I made many horrible decisions as everyone does but I need outside view on my steps because I cannot screw anything else up. I have had abuse both mental and physical from family. I stood on my own and had a job, car and home while covering for my first Exhusband beating me. I never spoke of it and he was seen doing it and arrested. This devastated me because I had a 1 year old and I kept her from seeing anything and I never left her alone with him at all. Him leaving in handcuffs made me realize I hurt my daughter by failing her. Then years of repeated process really feeling that certain things happen to everyone and the things that happened to me as a child and that continued on finally pushed me over the edge. I began having seizures.. I am wanting to address my issues and be capable of standing on my own but here is my problem/question. My family finds any mental illness to be fictional and I am daily feeling extremely overwhelmed because my mother decided that she is sick of my “issues”. My last divorce was about six months ago and my ex and his family are doing all they can to take full custody of my angel. The divorce and custody battle was a nightmare alone with so many allegations I proved wrong and the court disregarded that. However I need to keep going to therapy, figure out how to hold a job with everything scaring me, find a home and car along with heading back to court because my ex doesn’t consider our daughters feeling and he pushes her off on others as soon as he picks her up from me. My therapist says one thing at a time but I don’t have that luxury due to my mistakes. I didn’t even mention that I had everything from my identification, social security cards for myself and my daughter, our birth certificates and everything like all my clothing, the only photos I had left from the divorce of my daughter, all the court documents and all of the court records from the divorce and the amounts of evidence I had showing his disregard to her well being. My mom says get a job in one day, she did it and so many others have had it so much worse and they have jobs and homes and have their children without any trouble she went as far as to say “I see retards working so your just lazy and wanting a free ride and someone else to take care of your child”. Any suggestions I would greatly appreciate because trying to face the stuff I tucked away or made into jokes to try and deal with along with everything I should already have done and the constant “you only think about yourself and I don’t want you here” coming daily like clockwork I am just at a loss as to where to begin when the negativity from her is hurting me worse daily. Please I am begging for any guidance..

    • By: Jessi Posted: 27th October

      I wish i could give you explicit guidance. All i can say is your story is deeply moving. And you show insight into yourself, and a deep desire to better yourself and your life. i wish you hope and stability.

  6. By: Eva Posted: 30th May

    So many of the points are so familiar. Having the 12 Step seemingly to blame the person and even the therapists in their hurry to get you to a certain point have not been helpful. It only reinjures and intensifies the pain.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st May

      Hi Eva
      Welcome to EFB ~ Exactly. I am so glad you are here; learning to put the blame back where it belongs and giving permission to take all the time we need to heal is key!
      hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Rachel Posted: 30th May


    Thank you so much. Your words hit me straight in the heart and move me beyond tears.

    Recently, I went to talk with someone who claimed to “cure” PTSD. As we started the discussion, she asked me if I was ever diagnosed with PTSD. I said no. She immediately scoffed at me and then told me that I didn’t have PTSD.

    I was born and raised in a doomsday religious cult where everyday was filled with guilt, fear and anger. As a baby and then a child, I had no other reference point for life. So, as I got older, I became more angry and more depressed. There are parts of my childhood that I don’t remember. Still to this day, I have triggers that snap me back to fear and I end up with an anxiety attack.

    For her to dismiss my feelings of PTSD, was for me to encounter another person dismissing my life.

    Thank you for your words. Every time I come here, I feel validated. Much love.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st May

      Hi Rachel
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
      OH WOW ~ what she said to you so devaluing. Maybe she ‘cures’ it by invalidating that it was even there? That is so not funny! The consequences of a trauma like yours is most certainly PTSD. Thank you for sharing
      I am so glad that you are here!
      hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Kathy Posted: 30th May

    My sister has followed me to several cities in the US and caused trouble there and now she has followed me to Ecuador .She is manipulating people here. The thought of this monster trying to insinuate herself back into my life is causing unbelievable stress for me.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st May

      Hi Kathy
      Welcome to EFB ~ Always remember you have a choice. This site has tons of info about how to take your power and choice back.
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Nixon Posted: 4th May

    So, 4 months ago, I realised (with the help of a counsellor) that I was an abused child and that my dad is probably a psychopath. I have cried and cried. How, once you’ve recognised the lies and purged them do you unpick/ love yourself/cope with the side effects of trauma such as panic attacks and anxiety? I am not in touch with my dad and am earning to set boundaries and to talk about my feelings. What next?

  10. By: Kim oliver Posted: 3rd May

    My mom can barelystand me cuz her brother sexually abused me for sixteen years then one day beat me. She said she never cared about me since I was 2yrs old and she was a couselour of a school. I’m done.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th May

      Hi Kim
      Isn’t it awful that we get abused not just once but over and over again because people won’t face the truth and step up to their responsibilities as a parent or even just as a human being.
      Thank you for sharing.
      hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Tina Smith Posted: 3rd May

    Thank you….it was like I was reading my exact experience. Unfortunately, I am still suffering with it all. I figured out at some point on my own that what I had was PTSD. It is like doctors are afraid to diagnose that because it assigns blame for a serious and delibilitating health problem which was caused by someone else’s violence, abuse, neglect and therefor it would assign blame. I’m looking forward to the day when our society is no longer fraud to assign that blame and hold people accountable with how they damage others whether it is intentional or not. Only then, will we start making progress in dealing with mental health issues, prevention and treatment.

  12. By: Kay Trunk Posted: 31st October

    Hi to all, I am writing because I have trust problem with Dr.s I can not trust them I had a Dr tell me I had Cancer and if not removed I would die. The Dr. Put me though tests that made me feel dirty and very uncomfortable. When I told him how I felt he laughed at me he found things very funny. This added to my problem I had the cancer treated and removed then I had to go in for many tests that also made me feel uncomfortable, when I told him it could not do these test awake anymore he again laugh at me and did nothing, that was when I had my first attack I could not breath I cried uncontrollable they had to give me something so I would sleep. When I can home and told my husband of my cancer he said what am I going to do with 3 kids now his mother said about the same my sorry boy. This left me feel I didn’t have any meaning to anyone. I stopped going to this Dr. Feeling it was better to die quick than to go though all of these test I could not do. I shut down in many ways from my husband I keep to myself ion many ways. We don’t talk about the cancer at all or my feelings. About 15 years after my cancer I got told by another Dr. that what the 1 st Dr. Called a cancer then is not a cancer today. Cancer has not come back, and I have not had any treatment for it at all than it just being removed. Now I don’t trust anyone cannot sleep have nightmare have problems going to the Dr. For just about anything. I have read about PTSD and feel I have all the symptoms. I have another condition that has come up and this conditions has more of the same tests in it. If I have to go on for any of these test I can not do it. This is going on for 20 years I don’t know how to handle this anymore. I stay with my husband because I can not afford to leave the Dr. I have is good but I don’t think he always gets my problem. What can I do I need help.

  13. By: Emma Posted: 17th July

    Hi Everyone,

    I always read everyone’s comments on efb as it is such a valuable source of information regarding how to recognise and understand the damage that abusive behaviour causes and the experiences of everyone here also validate that the damage caused to me was real because the abuse was real. Thank you Darlene for this.

    I recently was betrayed by a “cousin” who lied about me behind my back and manipulated a situation to make her look really good at my expense. She told obvious lies which made me shocked and angry, and to those who didn’t know the facts I looked like I was angry for no reason as she was only trying to “help”. She deliberately went behind my back and foolishly I played into her hands when I showed my anger and walked out.

    I then received a text from my cousin the same day saying do you want to talk you really aren’t being yourself lately, are you ok? After realising I cannot trust this person and if I tell her what has upset me to expect her to lie and twist the truth around and try to get in my head and manipulate me, I decided to reply to her texts by saying please do not worry about me, I am ok. I’m just really busy and have a lot going on. I could feel her fuming, as she knew she had gone too far and wanted to be able to manipulate the situation back so I knew my place and fell back into line. For me, telling a controller and manipulator that they are being controlling and manipulating is to them a declaration of war and the smear campaign against me had already started.

    She then proceeded to send me 3 or 4 texts about general stuff (nothing to do with our conflict) and I calmly answered all bar one of the texts. I found out that she told someone that I was being funny with her as I’m not answering ANY of her texts and that she hadn’t done anything to me. (She doesn’t know that I found this out).

    For me, abusers will tell half truths to others, and when confronted will twist the truth around to gain control over my mind, my opinions, my perception and experience of events and in doing so take away my personal power, individuality and strength. I no longer give them the pleasure of being able to do that, as I believe they enjoy confusing me and taking my strength away. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck then to my mind, its a duck. Same with abusers and controllers, liars and manipulators. They all sound the same, all look the same and act the same.

    I am no longer prepared to keep having to justify my truth, or explain my truth. In my mind the truth is the truth and they are not going to define me or define my truth anymore. I was brainwashed all of my life by the “adults” who had power, control and even into my forties were not prepared to relinquish that control.

    I told my aunt that I wont be visiting her anymore as I have a great life but when I am involved with family it brings me nothing but stress and upset. I told her what my cousin did and she replied by saying your cousin loves you, she has a good heart. Funny that, my father said that his alcoholic/abusive wife who attacks people, loves you. I’m sick and tired of people telling me that their toxic partners, daughters, sons, wives, mothers, aunts “Love” me when their behaviour shows otherwise. Their behaviour shows rejection, punishment and a family system that wants to put me in the role of abused and humiliated doormat begging for scraps of love and acceptance and approval.

    The way the adults in my family appear to respond to any upsets that I have bought up over the years has shown loyalty and defence of the abusers every time. Continually hearing statements such as “only joking”, ” you always take it the wrong way” or “its your perception that is wrong” to “no that never happened (gaslighting)”, “I haven’t done anything wrong” to “you think too much”, to “they love you, think the world of you” to “she/he has a good heart” . Well its a response and its real and it hurts. so it’s a duck as far as I am concerned!

    I will communicate my truth with my partner who has said to me speak up, talk about how you feel, its ok. He encourages me and says in life, speak up, don’t just say nothing, which is healthy and good for my functional relationships.

    Peace and love to all here.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th July

      Hi Emma
      Yes, the twisting and manipulating the truth is such a big part of this problem. I too realized how much happier I was when not having to deal with all that b.s. (what’s to miss after all?)
      Thanks for the update.
      hugs, Darlene

  14. By: DXS Posted: 17th July

    It’s malice and hurt and “Disrespectful” when YOU say it, but not when THEY say it. Can dish

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