I decided just after the Christmas holidays that it was time to seek some additional tools for dealing with my PTSD. I have made great progress in counselling: I am no longer so angry, no longer so afraid, and I really do feel at peace with most of what happened. Still, though, I am having trouble: I can’t concentrate, I can’t sleep, I forget simple things … I walk into a room and have no idea why I’m there, I am derailed from my train of thought by the smallest of things, I ask the same question twice in a row and have no recollection of asking the first time … these are all things that happen to everyone sometimes, but they happen to me far more often than they ever used to, and often enough to make it challenging to function normally in the world. The diagnostic phrase is that they “interfere with my activities of daily living”. Add in the fatigue, the irritability, and the chest pains and you have a problem.
Yes, I have a problem. I found someone who might be able to help. A Google search at random one night led me to the MacAnxiety Research pages: Canadian research into anxiety disorders, including PTSD. I found a link to a clinic nearby … I sent an email … and I got a reply. “Have your counsellor send a referral letter, and we can see you.” That was all I had to do!
My first appointment was today. The doctor was very nice, very kind, very approachable … a regular kind of guy in black jeans and a polar fleece sweater, he listened to my story, asked a lot of questions to find out where things are at right now, which kinds of things are bothering me and which are not giving me much trouble, and then he had some suggestions.
One of those suggestions is a new medication to try: actually it’s an old medication, it’s been used for high blood pressure for a long time. In PTSD, it is used to interfere with the adrenalin that I have in excess – take some of it out of circulation, essentially, and I should feel better. I am suffering from adrenalin overload, and if we can reduce that burden on the system, I should sleep … be more able to focus … be less irritable … be more balanced.
I’m very hopeful. The side effects of dizziness and so forth can be a bit rough at the start, but I have the smallest possible dose to begin with and we will increase it very slowly and see how it goes. I go back in a month to see him again and we’ll talk about things in more detail then – but this is not just a “here’s your prescription, go away and try it and come back and we’ll see how you are” kind of thing … this doctor listens, and works with your thoughts as well as your biochemistry.
I am very hopeful.