I talk about PTSD on another page here titled ‘Dysfunction Junction’. On that page is where I explore the “HOW” it came about, but I’d like to talk about something else.
What it’s like living with it and how it likes to peek out and remind me that it’s still there like TODAY.
First things first… it doesn’t show up as often anymore. The writing that I do here helps; plus, through CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) with my excellent therapist, Mike Jones, I’ve gradually come to a few conclusions.
1. One day, (I don’t know when) I’ll free the tines that have sunk into me that led me down the PTSD road.
2. Hypervigilance doesn’t have to control me.
3. Avoidance is my no. 1 go-to defense mechanism when it comes to flare-ups or just flat out talking about it.
4. If I’m sick or having “Happy-Fun-Lady-Time-Of-The-Month” (or both), I may be more susceptible to PTSD symptoms – like TODAY.
So, I saw the surgeon who is going to remove the screw from my right foot and will subsequently repair the left foot, and, then, six months from the day the left foot has been repaired… he’ll remove that screw. Yeah, necessarily complicated.
The nurse shuffled me back to the ‘Imaging Waiting Area’ which is a room about 1.5 times the size of our walk-in Master Bedroom closet. Not very big… and there were four other people in there. All of them were men.
I have nothing against men in general. There are people with good intentions and people with bad intentions. That’s just the way of things. Here it comes…
If you put me in a small room with no windows and one exit point, hypervigilance has a tendency to show-up – uninvited.
The nurse shut the door. I put my back to the wall with a straight shot to the door. My heart was racing, and I could tell I was flooded with adrenaline. I shot out of the door back into the hallway where the exam rooms were. The nurse was upon me within 30 seconds trying to usher me back into the tiny room.
My surgeon who is familiar with my history must have heard the commotion and came out of the exam room he was in and told the nurse to give me some room.
This is basically how it goes… I get very jumpy but am never physical. I jump back about 10-20 ft away and flatten my back against the wall. I can answer questions and am not out of touch w/ reality.
Today was one of those days.
- I don’t want people to touch me.
- I don’t want people near me.
- I don’t want to be trapped.
My doctor explained that I could come back tomorrow to the actual Imaging Dept. which is large with a large waiting area with more than one exit point. I apologized to everyone profusely. My surgeon said, “You don’t need to apologize for anything. I’ve treated veterans, police officers, and firefighters. You do what you need to do.”
As I was leaving the building, I noticed that I was still in hypervigilance mode. My head was on a swivel as I limped out to my car. I was so jumped up that I threw up in the bushes. Thankfully, no one was watching… at least that I knew of.
Shame. Once it was all said and done, I felt ashamed and stupid. I have to go back there and might be treated as if I’m nuts. Most of the people I’ve met that deal with the same b.s. of PTSD don’t need their hands held or told it’s going to be O.K. in baby-talk.
A short departure, yet, related:
I was in the ER back in July, having major asthma issues of unknown origin, and largely sleep deprived. The nurse went to wheel me into a dark, semi-private room with people in it. Unknown people + dark room + blocked exit = Uh oh.
I was out of that chair faster than if I had been bitten by a snake. Panic. It sucked. After that, another nurse talked to me as if I could barely hear or understand English. She didn’t understand how PTSD works or that I’m not incapacitated. If anything, I’m too aware. I remained polite and gave mostly monosyllabic answers.
However, there was another nurse. He’d worked at the VA and had been through a tornado and dealt w/ PTSD himself. He knew. He got it.
In fact, I found this info-graphic. It really brought home what my surgeon was trying to say.
(I’m a part of two groups here)
So, tomorrow, I will go back there because giving into avoidance won’t do me any favors. If my surgeon gets the images he needs quickly, then, he can make a decision about which procedure will work best for getting rid of this limp sooner. 🙂
I’m all for biting the bullet or taking the hit if it means I can reasonably expect not to deal with it anymore.
Some may speak to me as if I’m moderately incapacitated. I’ll smile, be polite, and may attempt to demystify what they saw. Or, I may just opt to smile and nod and go about my business calmly and politely.
And some may treat me as they’ve always treated me. You never know… 🙂
One day… one day… it won’t matter. I’ll keep talking about it here and deflate the impact that events in ’99 have had.
Meditating sounds like a really good idea right now…