Ok, So I realize I am the worst blogger in the entire world. I haven’t updated since January when I had my discogram. Here is a quick and dirty summary of what’s gone on since then. My discogram was negative, leaving me once again with no answers to why I am in such constant pain. I was “cleared” to finally return to work (though I physically am unable to do the lifting, pulling, and pushing required to be a hospital nurse again) and I was lucky to have a management position fall into my lap. I am now a nurse manager at a nursing home and while it’s not the trauma drama I was used to, I do enjoy it. I feel like to some extent just getting back out into the world helped me learn to deal with my pain better. I still live my life at a 6 out of 10 on that wonderful pain scale you’ve all seen, but I have learned to adapt to it. Friday I have a CT Myelogram scheduled and I have to be at the hospital at 0730. I am once again praying for answers but completely pessimistic about the chances of actually getting any.
Emotionally I am still having a lot of difficulty coping. In April or so I took myself off the antidepressants (bad nurse.. I know!) and I thought I was finally doing better. I haven’t been having as much trouble with the insomnia or nightmares for past few months. I am, however, still having overwhelming periods of anxiety and depression. I realize now that I have been very dissociated, easily distractible, and overall unable to cope with stressful situations. I realize that I need more work. I owe it to myself, my son, and my family and friends to get better.
I had a severe PTSD episode a few nights ago and I am still struggling to get my mind to calm. I unfortunately was in the wrong place at the wrong time Saturday night and witnessed a huge fight involving a large crowd of people that ended in gunshots. No one was injured but I was instantly thrown into a severe panic attack. I couldn’t breathe, my heart was beating a millions beats per minute, I was unable to speak coherent sentences, and I felt like I was watching myself from afar. I have spent the past two days still feeling very emotionally dissociated and I am still struggling to feel “safe.” I realize in my head that I am safe and that this incident has nothing to do with the trauma which caused my PTSD but the overwhelming feeling of helplessness and fear sent me emotionally right back to that place.
Interestingly enough a similar situation happened back in April when a male friend of mine was horse-playing with me at a bar one night. He accidentally grabbed me with his arm a little too close to my throat and I kept trying to grab his arm to pull it off of me but he didn’t realize I wasn’t playing along. The same rush of panic and fear swept over me during that incident as I felt this past weekend. I have been reading a lot about trauma syndromes and PTSD lately and I have learned that any time a trauma survivor has his or her “fight or flight” response activated (caused by the sympathetic nervous system) it can “arouse” or “heighten” the person. I.E. Even though the situation is not necessarily related to the original cause of the trauma, it activates the person to feel like they did during the traumatic event/events simply because the same physical response is going on in their bodies (increased pulse, dilated pupils, fast breathing, racing thoughts, etc.)
I found a wonderful book on PTSD and trauma survivors and I am almost finished reading it. When I do I will give a nice little review for anyone interested. The book has helped me understand more about my condition and all the ways it has affected me. Knowledge is power and I am tired of feeling powerless. I am currently looking for a therapist in my area who SPECIALIZES in trauma syndromes. My last therapist was very kind but after several years I hadn’t really gotten anywhere with her. I am hoping to find someone with more insight into my condition who is able to help me find some somatic and homeopathic therapies in addition to traditional counseling.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ~Helen Keller