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.
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.
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.
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.
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.