Drowning in PTSD
Drowning in Symptoms can take your Breath away
Full Spectrum Treatment Needed
With such a variation of causes to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it being a relatively new diagnosis, only receiving its rightful place in 1980 by the APA (the American Psychiatric Association) and even controversial in acceptance then, treatment styles for PTSD vary quite widely in effectiveness as well as concept.
The effects of PTSD are all consuming. Life screeches to a halt, and the victim finds themselves in a crushing, isolated darkness. Finding help is difficult when you don’t know what to look for, or even what might be the diagnosis on what you’re experiencing. The shock of the trauma takes such a toll on mind and soul, that usual cognitive functions and thought processes are most likely stunted, if not halted all together.
For myself, I had been suffering for six months prior to being diagnosed with PTSD. I truly didn’t know much past the need to breathe and somehow get myself through the day. I received very little support from family or friends, and found myself desperately grasping at straws to somehow implement a healing process and journey. I experienced several additional losses in that first year, and nearly died on an emergency surgery table as a result of a melon sized cyst that had grown in my stomach, engulfing my left ovary. With no real motivation to live any longer, I spent three hours in the ICU after a routine, normal 45 minutes surgery. It was then that the battle for my life was fought.
I was seeing a therapist during that time, and can tell you just driving through otherwise normal traffic exhausted me before I even arrived at my sessions. She was a behavioural psychologist. I recall her efforts well, but they were misplaced in my case.
She spent a number of sessions on my ‘backstory’—which means she grilled me about extended family members and their histories. I couldn’t remember their names! This caused me even more stress, because this didn’t matter to me at all, I was still trying to just breathe, and get through a coherent sentence without sobbing for most of it.
Looking back now, I see this is routine and provides therapists with information. But the first aid I needed never came. Perhaps if this had been combined with something more heart and wholeness based, I could have had a better cognitive recall? I was given books to read that also made my situation worse. I didn’t have the wherewithal to realize I needed to find a different source for real, effective help. The sessions became fruitless, until I finally gave up and stopped going.
It’s hard not to be angry at the lack of help I received during those pricey sessions with a well respected, highly recommended, trauma therapist. I convinced myself that the problem with my lack of recovery was just a matter of time, and if I continued to go, I would somehow find my way back to the light.
By now I was completely isolated, my embarrassment at random streams of tears flowing down my face at the grocery story or whenever I attempted to go for coffee, slowly and steadily had me hiding at home, desperate to find help but unable to locate it. The help I was paying for in either book or therapy format, did not feed my recovery to the extent it should—or could—have.
I’m not saying Behavioural Therapy won’t work for other PTSD patients. For me, though, I needed soul nurturing, I needed to have self worth and love taught to me, I needed to receive self talk coaching in order to combat the awful voices keeping me from sleep for two years.
It seems to me that PTSD presents itself differently for each person, with a few basic commonalities of course, but each personal history and emotional factor affects each person in unique manifestations.