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How To Deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Part 2 - The Week After

Updated on January 17, 2012

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

Dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder | Source

The second night I stayed in the hospital was also the first night my brother was with me. He was the only family who was able to come because my mom was in the midst of an off-site training program and will be attending our younger brother's graduation in college. Talk about chances, a supposed to be merry occasion for our younger brother was overshadowed by an experience of tragedy our family faced. The good thing about it was that they were spared from seeing me go through the arduous symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. The bad thing about it was that I was having a hard time having them picture out the life-and-death experience I went through.

Our family was not familiar dealing with situations like this. I am the first victim of criminality in our family. Needless to say, trauma was a word never spoken or heard of.

My brother dutifully fulfilled his obligations as my hospital companion. His main task was to make sure I took my medication on time.

The First Night With Medication

The psychiatrist prescribed two medications for my immediate recovery and one reserved in case of some serious attack. He gave me an anti-depressant and a sleeping pill which I had to take every night before going to sleep. The other one, I later found out, was for treatment of acute seizure and induce sedation. I never got to the point of taking this reserved pill.

The first night I took the medication (the anti-depressant and sleeping pill) was utterly different than the first night after the incident. A few minutes after I took them, it was able to help me sleep. I just dozed off. I never went through the same episode of a panic attacks as the time draws near to the same time the incident happened. The night was exceptionally calm except for the occasional bathroom trips and asking my brother for fluids.

A Weird Dream - The Morning After

It was an amazing improvement because the sleep I had was seamless. I slept soundly all throughout the night. I felt good when I woke up in the morning. I felt better about myself. It was like having been well-rested and pampered.

The weird thing about it was that while I knew myself being asleep, I could vividly see my dreams. Literally, it was like a film strip moving backwards.

Film Strip
Film Strip | Source

And, I could see folders. Digital folders. It was like the memory folders in my brain were being rearranged and reorganized. Yes, I could see the film strips being rearranged and reorganized into folders. Yes, film strips and folders. How weird was that? Was that how the medication supposed to work? Was that a good indication? (This part I kept forgetting to ask the psychiatrist during my follow-up visits. If any of you could confirm this, please do send me a message.)

The scenes and the people in the film strips were unrecognizable but the situations were familiar. The sequence was incoherent but the time lapse was moving backwards. It felt like a damaged portion of my memory was being erased, repaired or replaced.

That dream only happened once. When I took my medication the following night and thereafter, no more vivid dreams like film strips and digital folders.

A Fresh Start

Out of the four symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (to know about this, read How To Deal With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Part 1 - The Night After The Incident), I was able to overcome two major pestering symptoms with medication. No more trouble sleeping and no more bad flashback episodes. I was still jumpy for slight noises but not as intense a before. I still don't want to see things I associated with the incident.

I know I am strong person. I try to be. Human as we are, we have this determination to be strong and willful if need be. Even with this, no amount of willpower could cure this condition if there were already some chemical imbalance in the brain. Only experts in this field could help me deal with it. Trusting my doctors was the only way.


Home Recovery

Before the week ended, I was already out of the hospital. There was no use staying any longer. I could continue my medication while I was at home.

I had no problem walking comfortably. A hand protection was built around my left hand to protect the wound. While on recovery, me and my brother managed to make small trips around the metro to pass idle time. It was a crucial step to gradually restoring my connection with the community. Despite what I had to go through, I needed to continue living my life normally.

A lot of follow up consultations with the doctors were already lined up the week after. If you are the one being diagnosed, you would know your progress fully well. I was confident I was getting better. Or so I thought.

Follow-up visits with your doctors are supposed to be a reassuring experience. Most of time you feel better after your consultation. Of all the consultations I have ever done in my entire life, the one with my psychiatrist would leave me feeling worse thereafter. Details will be posted in How To Deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Part 3 - Follow-up Visits with Psychiatrist.


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    • anjperez profile image

      anjperez 5 years ago

      marcoujor, you are right. exactly the right description of my reaction to medication. it helped me a great deal sorting out the trauma. i could imagine, based on my reaction the first night without medication, if i had not gone to treatment, i would have been very miserable. now, it is like i could no longer remember about the incident. as if nothing happened. thank you for painstakingly reading my ptsd experience.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear anjperez,

      You are telling a brave and solid account of your survival progress. Your brother sounds wonderfully supportive.

      Although everyone's reaction to medication is so individualized, it certainly seems as though it helped you to sort your traumatic memories in a manner that helped you move on in a really healthy manner. I will be moving onto your next installment as I have a bit more time.

      Voted UP & UABI... hope you are having a peaceful weekend. Hugs, Maria.

    • anjperez profile image

      anjperez 6 years ago

      @thelyricriter, glad that that episode of my life was over too. it's different when you only observe someone going through this then when you experience it yourself. looking back, it was a weird experience.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Votes all again Anj. You are a brave one. People don't understand until they experience the same situation. I can't fully understand. I am atleast on point. Like you said, you could have easily been killed. To get out of this spot in the time you have is really remarkable.

    • anjperez profile image

      anjperez 6 years ago

      @nenytridiana, you have to read part 1 and part 3 of the article. i have not reached the point of going insane. i was traumarized because i was an assault victim. this is the case that i want to dispel among people who do not understand PTSD. a trauma victim underwent a life and death situation. lucky if he was able to survive, he will go scarred thorugh life. it will be very hard for him to recover, that is why it needs proper guidance... read part 1 and 3...

    • nenytridiana profile image

      nenytridiana 6 years ago from Probolinggo - Jawa Timur - Indonesia

      I don't know what happened if I was you. psychiatrist are unfamouse here. We go to psychiatrist when we are already crazy. Thank you for sharing. Very Useful hub. I will read more.

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      anjperez, you've got a very sharp memory. You were able to remember a great deal of minute things! Thanks for writing down about this experience. I'm sure many people would find inspiration in what you wrote here. Looking forward to Part 3.

    • anjperez profile image

      anjperez 6 years ago

      @gaurimayur, it was really amazing. even i myself could not believe it. although i still get nervous now and then, but i could already say that my life was back to normal. the psychiatrist told me that i would only be well if i could say that no more disturbing reactions related the incident. well, 3 months from the incident i was already feeling "normal". i had to make some sacrifices, though. but my well being was my first priority. and i think i made the right decision.

    • gaurimayur profile image

      gaurimayur 6 years ago from Melbourne

      I have no words to write here. You are a brave girl. The way you are dealing with this is amazing. You are focussing on YOUR recovery, instead of the incident, and its great, really.The first stage is accepting what has happened, only then we can deal with it.