Thursday, April 14, 2016

I'm Damaged But I'm Not Stupid.

This blog is becoming a live feed of a nervous breakdown.

Group therapy is ahead with other PTSD survivors. I had not heard myself or thought of myself as having had a nervous exhaustion—you rarely hear those terms any more. But a social worker called and used them in our conversation.

"Nervous breakdown" is, I guess, the easiest way to describe what has happened to me. Apparently my  meltdown was a civil and quiet one compared to many. My group will be with other PTSD people who  self-presented at hospital and not with the more sever cases.

Plus, in the nest two weeks, I have two medical appointments with my asthma doctors to review my meds and have a chat. These appointments are at their request—proactive, and I cannot say enough about this incredible care.

Today, my friend Bruce called and I was talking very well. Then he said a word and I "locked up.' This is my new term for what happens when I am triggered. My chest, neck, chest, larynx and shoulder muscles lock up. I cannot speak and I get wracked with spasms if I try to speak.

Right after I talked to Bruce, I called another close friend, Beth, and felt another trigger and so I knew I had to stick to myself until I am stronger—for their sake as we'll as mine.

Then I got on the bus and went to Gourmet Warehouse. Then the sun came out. I hugged my cat and practiced talking;  cried, so frustrated at being unable to say the word, "Saturday." It is one of my harder words. Then I started baking and it good to be home in sunshine doing something I love.

A provincial social worker and I had a chat. Following my one-on-one counseling with Dr. Shoja, I have an option of moving into a group therapy program. The social worker considers my situation “nervous exhaustion.” And yes, it used to be called, in lay language, a nervous breakdown. She considers me a person right for group therapy with other persons dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Last Friday night, I was at a lovely party. Saturday I woke up broken and now these words are attached to me; Psychiatrist, Speech Therapist, PTSD, nervous exhaustion. Anxiety sweeps into me like water into sand in a heartbeat: a word, a sight, a sound. I go softly into the world, but I do go. I went to Gourmet Warehouse today. Imagine being proud of taking a bus ride and shopping in a store and dealing with strangers.

My friend Beth had therapy for years and feels saved by her therapist. Now I get it. When I went to see Dr. Shoja, I admit it: I felt slightly ashamed I was going to a psychiatrist. NOT ANY MORE. I'm damaged but I'm not stupid.

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