How To Deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Part 3 - Follow-up Visits with Psychiatrist


This is Part 3 of the series How To Deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To read Part 1 and Part 2, see the link below.

Consultation with the Psychiatrist (From the play "Beyond Therapy")
Consultation with the Psychiatrist (From the play "Beyond Therapy") | Source

Imagine the stigma I had to go through when my friends would know I was exhibiting the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), consulting with a psychiatrist and is under medication. More likely, they would only remember that I went to the psychiatrist. Not that I have an experience with PTSD.

Since I was already signed up to diligently follow on my consultation with the psychiatrist for PTSD, you would agree with me that the sooner I get off this hook, the better. The less of me you think that I had gone over the edge.

Follow-up visits with doctors are supposed to be a reassuring experience. Most of the time you feel better after consultation. Of all the consultations I have ever done in my entire life, the one with my psychiatrist would leave me feeling worse thereafter. I am not kidding. Never in my life had I encountered anxiety for numerous times than when I left their clinics.

Here's why...

Source

Extended Medication and More Consultation

To begin with, being subjected to a psychiatrist and diagnosed with PTSD was already causing me anxiety. Since his first visit in my hospital room, I became conscious of my myself with the symptoms he told me I was exhibiting (to know about this, read Part 1 of this series). I began assessing myself against those signs and symptoms if they were lessened over the course of the week.

At first the medication was good only for a week. I woke up everyday with it with a great deal of improvement in my condition. So no worry. But I had to continue my medication for a month taking it every single night. There began my anxiety.

It got worse when I needed to continue for two more months with the dosage for sleeping pill gradually diminishing. On my final visit, he may even extend me to a year with follow-up check up on my progress every three months.

Now I understand the reluctance and frustration of crazy people when checked into an institution. They think they have progressed well yet someone has the opinion that they are not.

Let me get this straight. First of all I am not crazy. Second, PTSD requires psychological healing. It is not like physical healing that can be timed. On my final visit, before the he decided a year long medication, he told me that I was the only one who could tell that things are back to normal. (I thought, really?.I was rolling my eyes and wondering why I was wasting my time.)

I asked him what would be my indication. He told me that if I could operate and think as if the incident never happened, that would be the indication.

At about three months into my medication, I was about to feel that way.

Hypervigilant
Hypervigilant | Source

Hypervigilance

It is not surprising that in any tragic experience, you could not help but recount the event that could have prevented it from happening. We knew that we were once careful but now that we realized the unpleasant result of mindlessly overlooking them, we now have become extra careful.

In my case I would always have the rooms checked for people before entering, checking the windows if they were compromised and closing or locking the door after I enter. Sometimes I would hear a faint noise and let someone check up on the source.

All the while I thought I was just being cautious. Since that event, safety had been my first priority.

What I thought was a normal reaction towards the incident, was now being considered as "hypervigilance" by the psychiatrist. Again, I had him explain it to my dumb founded brain. He only told me about this on my second follow-up visit. With some of the symptoms for PTSD gradually improving, all along I had been overly responsive to sensory stimulation.

For persons with PTSD, establishing safety within his environment was the first and foremost stage towards recovery. He has difficulty gaining the confidence with his surrounding because his stress is coming from being threatened once, was rendered helpless and was not able to resist or escape from it. This overly cautious and always on guard behavior is becoming unhealthy because he always feels a threat within his immediate environment.

Having realized this, despite my reluctance to an extended medication, my only hope to full recovery was to diligently follow my doctor's advise.

Avoiding Denial

All this experience taught me that no matter how confident we are that we know ourselves better, it is to no avail if we only try to convince ourselves that thinking. The harder we try the more we gear towards denial. At first, I thought that the psychiatrist would not know if I cheated on my medication. I have to admit that continuously taking it was a drain in the pocket. But having accepted my condition, that amount I could save would not amount to the psychological damage. Despite feeling worse after every consultation I had to accept that I am really going through this. It was not a dream nor a nightmare.

Now that I am into it. Who's up for it? Remember I mentioned that I owe my recovery to medication, my family support and time away from the stress of life? That is because the people around me was willing to put up with me. When dealing with persons with PTSD, there are things that you should know. Details will be posted in How To Deal With Persons with PTSD.

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12 comments

Ania L profile image

Ania L 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Very interesting to read, it's allows a reader to see through the eyes of a person with PTSD without experiencing it.

Although I was never a fan of any medication except of quick short term solutions, however I've never been in a situation I couldn't handle in the end so I guess it makes me a lucky one.


anjperez profile image

anjperez 5 years ago Author

@Ania, thanks for visiting my site. yes you are very lucky and should be thankful for that. my medication lasted three months. i, too, was very apprehensive when I was subjected to medication. but i had no other choice, i had a terrible reaction esp the night after the incident. and i thought too it was going to be a short term thing. a week's treatment turned into three months. it could have been extended to a year long medication, but on my final visit, i told him the i already stopped taking medication. it was also at that time i was already feeling the indication. with his approval, i stopped. and until now, i never took medication again.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

Votes again:) If your friends are like that Anj, then there ain't real friends anyway. A real friend would be there and be behind you, no matter if they understood or not. It is like explaining Spanish to an American dog, ya just can't. I have never had it, not to my knowledge. I was homeless at a time and it messed with me, but nothing to this degree. I try to understand the best way I can. You are right about everything and I praise you for having the courage to write this. It just may save a life Anj. Always here if you need to talk:)


anjperez profile image

anjperez 5 years ago Author

@thelyricwriter, i agree with you. most people in someway experience this but not to this degree. it is different when one's life and safety has been threatened or compromised. to have somewhat a comparison, it is like when someone is cheating on you. that you have difficulty trusting them again. sort of like that. but only at a greater degree. medical practice nowadays have greatly improved, whatever the patient needs, they would professionally provide. that is why in the hospitals all related specialists are enlisted. thanks for the offer. glad that at some level we understand each other.


JenJen0703 profile image

JenJen0703 5 years ago from Cereal City U.S.A.

Have you considered YouTube videos for your articles? I bet you can find multiple videos regarding this subject matter, like another woman's testimony to her experience, for part one? Or a comical doctor/patient video for part 3? Just a thought...you have inspired me to write about my experiences, thank you for your stories. All stories voted up, shared on FB, Twitter, and with my fellow hubbers.


anjperez profile image

anjperez 5 years ago Author

JenJen0703, i am already very grateful for you having visited and read my article. sharing it? i could not thank you enough. you are so good and a very nice person. i pray you be blessed a hundredfold. making a video never entered into my mind. in fact, i was hesitant writing this article at first. i was afraid of what people would think of me. esp that they would know i had gone through it and that i was seeing a therapist. i was afraid of the stigma. but i look at it as helping other people get through with this successfully. it gave me the courage to have this published. in fact, i was inspired also to write about my experience because i also read a personal article of someone i met at hubpages. and maybe the cycle goes on as you will share your experience too. we are in this loop. looking forward to reading them. i saw a very good movie about PTSD and just plainly surviving the loss of a loved one. it was starring Adam Sandler. the movie is "Reign Over Me". it just emphasizes some of the things i wrote in what things people should know when dealing with a person with PTSD. and usually those people who could be detrimental to his recovery are those people closest to him. people should watch that movie for more understanding.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear anjperez,

I am slowly reading your series, only due to my schedule. You continue to amaze me with your candor, inner strength and determination.

As both a nurse and someone who experienced a horrific trauma in 1999, I take grave exception to the psychiatrist's feedback to you. "If you can operate and think as if the incident never happened", ....mmm, no one that I have met has that special power, it sounds like 'blink and it will disappear'. Our minds, excellent therapists, support via family - friends - spiritual- many factors help us to heal and move on with our full and beautiful lives. You are a most inspirational example of this.

Voted UP & UABI-- have a peaceful weekend, mar.


anjperez profile image

anjperez 4 years ago Author

Dear Marcoujor,

I really appreciate you taking time to read my PTSD hubs. The worst thing we trauma victims ever undergo is reliving the incident. and it happens everyday because, our body has this bio clock. it remembers to wake up in the morning, it feels the need to sleep at night. and with the trauma that we went through, it remembers the incident at the same time it happened. that's what was killing me esp the succeeding nights after. even with the medication in effect, i dread being awake at the same time it happened. even if i know consciously i am already within secure premises, i am still reminded of the incident. with the medication, with the support of my family that gradually lessened. but it was not a blink of an eye. it took time. even after the 3 months that I asked for the clearance from my therapist i am still reminded of the incident yet i can attest that I have handled it well. i didn't panic anymore. there really came a point that i no longer remember even if i stay up late and realize it was the same time as the incident. at first, i was not convince that it is possible. but i guess, it was not up to me. it is only because i gave myself time. i did not rush things. i continued living my life without the unnecessary stress. i could not imagine if had not taken this into consideration. i may still have been a total wreck by now.

You have already known a better part of my trauma, i would like to know also about your experience and how you have coped with it. Since it was already a long time for you, i am concerned of it recurring so i can be better prepared. hope you can share your experience, too.

Blessed day to you and your family.

Anj


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Anj,

I wanted to say, once again, how remarkable I find your healing and recovery to be. I find that everyone is so different in response, in the timing of their recovery, for example.

I feel as though I took much longer to get back into the swing of my life than you. I was 37yo, when held hostage for 46-hours on the worksite by a terminated, drug-impaired RN who ultimately shot me (6) times and shot my co-worker/ friend once (fatally) before my eyes.

This occurred in 1999.

Some of my earliest hubs and my blog (musings, from my profile) tell of how I have coped/ actually altered my life's perspective in many ways. This 'traumatic event' has taken its place in my life tapestry. I did not ask for it. I cannot ignore that it happened. However, it does not have the power to defeat me and I have chosen to become stronger because of it. So, my dear, have you.

I am here. I will continue to read your series. Please ask (even e-mail me) should you have any specific questions or if I can ever offer you support of any kind.

Many hugs, mar.


anjperez profile image

anjperez 4 years ago Author

Dear Marcoujor,

I am so sorry for letting you recall that incident. Compared to what you have gone through, mine was only a small fraction. In terms of duration and gravity. Mine happened in less than two hours. Nobody was fatally wounded. But I have a scar in my left hand. It was the hand that I tried to protect my neck from being slashed. The intent of the incident was to rape me. But I got the upper hand of the situation. I turned the tables by negotiating with money instead. Which he bought. He took the money and fled. As for me, i worked out my escape plan. Imagine me walking on a ledge desperately grasping anything concrete on the wall to hold my dear life in the terrace just to get to the next door neighbor's two storey townhouse. Just like in the movies, i thought. Never in my life had I imagined it would happen to me. But the good thing about it was that, i came out alive.

Going back to duration and gravity, maybe that was one major factor in our recovery. Mine never took more than a day which would majorly affect or alter my bio clock. As for you, with the 46 hours and a horrible incident before your eyes, definitely it would shake up your entire life. I would understand why you would have a long time recovering. what's worse is, you get to be reminded everyday because where the incident happened was where you usually practice your profession. but somehow the beauty of life lies on how we get up from being in such a horrible situation. we chose to overpower them. as for me, we are unique. we got some special "powers" that others do not have.

i will take time to read your blog. it will definitely help me further cope. glad that we have hubpages to share our life stories and somehow connect.

keep in touch.

Anj


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Anj,

I very much appreciate your sensitivity to my trauma. I was actually on a TV series called 'I Survived' where 'my trauma paled in comparison' to others in circumstances, duration, severity of injury. I learned that trauma is universal and it is horrific for all of us who experience it, for all of our loved ones who stand by helplessly (vicarious trauma) no matter what the details... it is plain wrong, whether it is natural or man-made... And, my dear, I could NEVER have done what you did to survive. Wow!

There is something else universal that you picked up on, Anj. Some of us are able to peservere and thrive after these horrific instances of trauma... why is this? I read the best explanation in a wonderful book written by Paul Pearsall: "The Beethoven Factor".

It talks about Postive Psychology and a focus on hardiness, happiness, healing and hope... for example, who can fathom that the gorgeous music of Beethoven was only created after he was striken with deafness? It's hard to believe but we can do our best work AFTER trauma, girlfriend... this is why I believe you will be writing poetry before long!!!

OK, I will leave your hub alone now and please have a lovely day, mar.


anjperez profile image

anjperez 4 years ago Author

Dear Marcoujor,

You are exactly right! I have started journal-ling shortly after the incident. I wrote these hubs (these were the very first hubs i wrote). Things are way better now. I cannot ask for more. I prayed for good health, long life and peace of mind. All of them were answered.

I have decided to live a simple life. I would like to share with you that "gardening" actually also helped me take my mind off whatever happened to me.

I feel so blessed having been connected to you because of our common experience. I will share bit by bit what's going on with me right now. I am so happy. Things are falling into places.

Till next time! Blessed day!

Anj

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