Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Timeline**

Trigger Scale: (2/5) **

I recently purchased the book Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook by Glenn Schiraldi because of my last couple therapy sessions (read about 05/26/09 and 05/21/09 here). So far I have read the first five chapters and am finding it a very valuable resource.

Inspired by this book I created the following timeline of how my post traumatic stress disorder developed. At least to the best of my recollection. The sections, “Associated Features” “Costs” and “Stages” bullet points are all copyright of the book. I have added some of my own notes to these to further describe my personal experience. This timeline demonstrates how my PTSD has developed over my lifetime, illustrating the associated features, personal costs, and stages at various ages.

I am going to bring this to my next therapy session to discuss it with my therapist.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Timeline

Ages 2 to 7

Victimized severely and repeatedly, including emotional, physical, sexual, animal and ritualized abuse.

Associated Features:

  • self-recrimination (couldn’t save others)
  • shattered assumptions (view of self, view of the world, view of people)
  • mood disturbances (anxiety and hostility)
  • over-compensations (tried to be a perfect child in all situations)

Stage: pre-PTSD

Ages 8 to 11

Have one memory of severe combined sexual, physical, emotional abuse and one physical by father during this time period. I have a suspicion that other memories will surface.

Associated Features:

  • shattered assumptions (view of self, view of the world, view of people)
  • mood disturbances (depression, anxiety and hostility)
  • addictions (weight)
  • impulsive behaviors (angry outbursts – seemed out of my control)
  • somatic complaints (sleep disturbances)
  • over-compensations (tried to do very well in school)
  • repetition compulsion (play)
  • changes in personality

Costs:

  • low self esteem
  • guilt (unknown cause)
  • dissociative disorder
  • re-victimization
  • family disruption
  • impaired relationships (in & out)
  • sexual acting out
  • difficulty handling stress
  • violence

Stage: outcry/intrusions

Ages 12 to 15

I have many holes in memory during this time period. It is disturbing to me that I remember time at school, with friends and at home when step-mom is home, but no other times at home. I cannot remember anything associated with my father during this period as well. I have a suspicion of being re-victimized. (I think so – it makes me think of choking).

Associated Features:

  • shattered assumptions (view of self, view of the world, view of people)
  • mood disturbances (depression, anxiety and hostility)
  • addictions (weight)
  • impulsive behaviors (destructive)
  • somatic complaints (sleep and stomach problems)
  • over-compensations (tried to do very well in school, many extracurricular activities)
  • repetition compulsion – ?
  • self mutilation – ?
  • changes in personality

Costs:

  • suicide attempt
  • low self esteem
  • guilt
  • dissociative disorder
  • cynicism
  • re-victimization
  • family disruption
  • impaired relationships
  • social isolation (in & out)
  • eating disorders (started unhealthy eating)
  • difficulty handling stress
  • violence

Stage: outcry (asked to see therapist)/avoidance and denial/intrusions

Ages 16 to 17

Started to act out severely to gain control and independence. Stopped listening to parents and got into trouble at school at times.

Associated Features:

  • shattered assumptions (view of self, view of the world, view of people)
  • mood disturbances (depression, anxiety and hostility)
  • addictions (sex, weight, alcohol)
  • impulsive behaviors
  • somatic complaints (continued)
  • over-compensations (continued)
  • repetition compulsion (through ‘romantic’ relationships)
  • alexithymia (beginning/in & out)
  • changes in personality

Costs:

  • suicidal thoughts
  • low self esteem
  • guilt
  • cynicism
  • re-victimization
  • family disruption
  • impaired relationships
  • social isolation (in & out)
  • sexual acting out
  • eating disorders (very unhealthy relationship with food/dieting/exercise)
  • difficulty handling stress
  • violence

Stage: outcry/avoidance and denial/intrusions

Ages 18 to 21

More acting out, had an abortion (slightly forced – for another day and post), heavy drug use and lots of parties. I also overworked and was involved in numerous abusive relationships.

Associated Features:

  • mood disturbances (depression, anxiety, hostility, grief for losses)
  • addictions (sex, weight, drugs, parties)
  • impulsive behaviors
  • somatic complaints
  • over-compensations (over-working, over-schooling)
  • repetition compulsion
  • self mutilation
  • alexithymia (continued)
  • changes in personality

Costs:

  • suicidal thoughts
  • low self esteem
  • guilt
  • cynicism
  • re-victimization
  • family disruption
  • impaired relationships
  • sexual dysfunction and sexual acting out
  • eating disorders
  • difficulty handling stress
  • violence

Stage: outcry/avoidance and denial/intrusions

Ages 22 to 25

Went through two back surgeries and many treatments, physical therapy and was prescribed piles of medications for: pain, anxiety, inflammation, stomach trouble, nausea, etc. Also had multiple bad therapists and tried many medications for mental issues that did not help (through Social Service care). Was on disability or unemployed, or trying to work but physically unable to.

Associated Features:

  • self-recrimination
  • shattered assumptions (view of self, view of the world, view of people)
  • mood disturbances (depression, anxiety, hostility, grief for losses)
  • addictions (drugs)
  • impulsive behaviors
  • somatic complaints (off the charts)
  • over-compensations (physical therapy at first)
  • repetition compulsion
  • self mutilation
  • alexithymia (complete)
  • changes in personality

Costs:

  • suicidal thoughts
  • low self esteem
  • guilt
  • dissociative disorder
  • cynicism
  • re-victimization
  • family disruption
  • impaired relationships
  • social isolation (heavy)
  • sexual dysfunction and sexual acting out
  • unemployment
  • eating disorders
  • medical illness
  • hopelessness
  • difficulty handling stress
  • violence

Stage: outcry/avoidance and denial (start of in & out)/intrusions/working through (beginning)

Ages 26 to 29

Finally have real therapy. I found two good therapists back to back that have helped me a lot. Dealt with the remnants of a failed relationship (on/off relationship) and I am learning how to build healthy relationships that respect my boundaries.

Associated Features:

  • self-recrimination
  • shattered assumptions (view of self, view of the world, view of people)
  • mood disturbances (depression, anxiety, hostility, grief for losses)
  • addictions (drug)
  • impulsive behaviors (shopping, relationships – now out)
  • somatic complaints
  • over-compensations – ?
  • self mutilation (picking)
  • alexithymia (going out)
  • changes in personality

Costs:

  • suicidal thoughts and plans
  • low self esteem
  • guilt
  • dissociative disorder
  • cynicism
  • family disruption
  • impaired relationships
  • social isolation
  • sexual dysfunction or sexual acting out
  • unemployment
  • eating disorders
  • loss of religious faith
  • difficulty handling stress

Stage: outcry/avoidance and denial (still in & out – almost out)/intrusions/working through (middle)

Related Resources

My Monster Has A Name… actually many. This blog is a safe place for me to share my healing journey from childhood abuse. The topics covered are at times controversial, offensive, horrific, and hopefully sometimes inspiring. Thank you for sharing in my journey.

1 Comment

  1. It seems like you worked really hard on this. So, that’s great. I think it’s good to have all this laid out.

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