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