I have sat here for 20 minutes thinking of a way to start this post to engage with the readers but there really isn’t any good or appealing way to talk about this. This isn’t a sexy subject to talk about.
I had an appointment scheduled for this morning with my grief counselor. I have PTSD and what many people don’t know is that simple “talk” therapy will not help you cope with PTSD. I have experienced extensive trauma in my life at an early age.
I have been seeing my therapist for years but continued to struggle with issues that I felt like were just symptoms of depression and anxiety. During one of our sessions, I felt exhausted, I didn’t want to be in pain anymore, kept having these intense “anxiety attacks”, and night terrors. She started to cry which scared the shit out of me because we truly have a close bond. She said that she felt terrible because she cannot provide me with the type of care that I needed for what I was experiencing. She had suggested to me that what I have been experiencing for a while sounds like PTSD. Anyway, I still continue my sessions with my therapist for anxiety/depression purposes but have also been seeing a grief counselor specifically for PTSD.
Side note, I put anxiety attacks in quotes because I do get anxiety attacks but I was also experiencing flashbacks but did not know it.
I don’t know the specific name of the treatment plan I am doing, but what I do know is it is extremely difficult and emotionally exhausting.
The PTSD sessions are incredibly invasive but worthwhile. We can spend multiple sessions just talking about one specific day in my life that I experienced. I do this type of therapy to help me build a variety of healthy coping mechanisms so that I do not have to live in constant fear of PTSD. Another important facet that we need to explore during a session is what triggers me because truthfully when starting out this type of therapy I was completely unaware. It is difficult to force yourself to talk about something and not know if it will cause a disruption of your homeostasis.
For this therapy to be effective means that I need to be hyper-aware of what my body is experiencing during the session. Sometimes even if I feel the slightest bit of nervousness, I struggle to catch my breath or even have an uneasy sensation in my stomach or heart, I need to be able to identify it.
Something that we have worked on for me to be able to cope with PTSD is the use of sensation. For me, the use of sensation has been such a positive coping mechanism. I don’t know why, but when I start to feel my heart racing and I start to struggle to breathe, we have found it helpful if I touch something with texture or to walk on a studded car mat. The sensation allows me to focus on being in the present and being safe. It’s a crazy thing that I have no idea how to explain or understand why it is helpful for me, but it is. These Adidas slides have those pokey things that I’m referring to on the bottom of a car mat.
Another part of my PTSD is the coping mechanisms that I have used to literally help me survive my life, these are not necessarily the healthiest options so we consistently work on healthy options. Something that I am very familiar with and am trying to change is being numb. Did you know that a person can literally make themselves feel nothing at all for a period of time? This only works for so long until you crumble and all of your suppressed emotions come forth.
I currently am in a situation that is making my PTSD go crazy but instead of addressing my emotions I am doing what I can to survive and not allowing myself to succumb to my feelings, although I am plenty aware of what my body is experiencing (ex, waking up anxious every single day). I am in a situation right now that others would be extremely distressed in, but I do not feel a single thing. That’s the weird thing with PTSD (my personal experience), you can feel such intense emotions or feel no emotions at all.
It takes a very strong person to be able to get treatment for PTSD. I feel defeated today because I could not get myself to go to my session today. I know that I have suppressed a lot of pain from life events this past month but I know how emotionally exhausting it will be when we address this in session. I just couldn’t allow myself to feel that type of pain today. PTSD is a pain like no other. I know that I will need to allow myself at some point to address what is provoking my PTSD lately, but maybe not today, next week, or the week after.
Sorry if this was not the sort of upbeat post you were looking for but it felt good to write about this, especially today.
Thank you for keeping up with me!
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path” – Buddha