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Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar 2. Why am I experiencing anxiety?

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Posted on Wed, 20 Feb 2013
Question: Hi, I suffer from ptsd and bipolar 2 and have, at 41 years old, managed to achieve 17 years of solo parenting, 5 years of 1 hr a week voluntary work and 2 years of part time study. The place where I have been studying has, through staff changes, become a place of anxiety and minor panic attacks for me. I have spoken a tutor but am sure I am having a ptsd reaction to a new staff member and the stress they are all under. My question is what effect could it have if i continue studying there with the anxiety for about 6 more months compared to giving up hope of working again?
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Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan (3 hours later)
Hello and welcome to XXXXXXX

I understand you have been experiencing symptoms of anxiety as a result of the new staff member. Post-traumatic stress disorder is experienced after events like assault, abuse, rape, etc. These are all very serious offences and need to be reported to higher authorities at the earliest.

Do not feel helpless or in anyway less important in comparison to this new staff member. You are an important part of that educational institute. What you need to understand is that if this new staff member has been harassing you now, he could continue to do this to another student either now or after you leave.

Discontinuing your education is not the solution, do not feel so just because you are a single parent, but because what is happening is wrong, and needs to be stopped.

The next thing you need to do is to consult a psychologist, who would personally guide you through this ordeal, and it is best to keep someone informed. The doctor could also help treat your anxiety and counsel you through this.

Please feel free to write back to me any time with as many clarifications as possible. I am always here to help.

Best wishes.
Dr. Shoaib Khan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Shoaib Khan (8 hours later)
Hi, I'm sorry I didn't make my question clear enough. The new staff member has not been harassing me. I believe there is just something about him that has triggered feelings of fear, intimidation, hopelessness and panic from abuse I have suffered in the past. What I am concerned about is that the effect this is having on me could trigger another major depressive episode & prevent me from attempting to improve my situation again.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan (5 hours later)
Hi XXXXXXX
I understand this individual is eliciting feelings from your past. It is normal to experience this.

Before reaching out for therapy, you could do the following things:
1. You could try to distance yourself from this person. Take different classes, request the administration to help you find other tutors to replace this individual, etc.
2. You could learn more about this individual, and try to note characteristics about him/her that are good and kind. Once you have established the possibility of this person being a good human being, there could be a chance of your fear subsiding.

Have you tried talking to this new staff member? Do you feel threatened by him/her in particular or just things about him that bring back bad memories? If it is more about what he does (eg. mannerisms, facial expressions, body language, etc.) then may be if you learn more about him, you might be able to overlook the other characteristics.

You could also discuss your fear with a doctor, who will help you see beyond that. I am always here to support you and guide you through this. But, in my opinion, you should not discontinue your education. Being a single parent is not easy, but you have achieved that for 17 long years. I am sure you can get through this for another 6 months.

Feel free to write back to me anytime to discuss anything that is troubling you. I am always available.

Best regards,
Dr. Shoaib Khan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Aparna Kohli
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Dr. Shoaib Khan

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

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Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar 2. Why am I experiencing anxiety?

Hello and welcome to XXXXXXX

I understand you have been experiencing symptoms of anxiety as a result of the new staff member. Post-traumatic stress disorder is experienced after events like assault, abuse, rape, etc. These are all very serious offences and need to be reported to higher authorities at the earliest.

Do not feel helpless or in anyway less important in comparison to this new staff member. You are an important part of that educational institute. What you need to understand is that if this new staff member has been harassing you now, he could continue to do this to another student either now or after you leave.

Discontinuing your education is not the solution, do not feel so just because you are a single parent, but because what is happening is wrong, and needs to be stopped.

The next thing you need to do is to consult a psychologist, who would personally guide you through this ordeal, and it is best to keep someone informed. The doctor could also help treat your anxiety and counsel you through this.

Please feel free to write back to me any time with as many clarifications as possible. I am always here to help.

Best wishes.
Dr. Shoaib Khan