Monday, March 10, 2014

p t s d

A while back, it was gently suggested to me that I may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  When I first heard this, I thought "well yeah, duh, of course I do.  But what is there to do about it?  Is there a point in labeling it?"  I had previously allowed myself to believe that the symptoms that I suffer from each day are just part of my grief…they come hand in hand.  Even though Mark does not struggle with any symptoms, I just chalked it up to the fact that we all grieve differently.  This friend who suggested this to me (who is a very valid source on grief) responded by telling me that my grief can be separated from those PTSD symptoms - that they do not have to be my way of grieving…that I can still grieve without suffering so much in other ways.

This was a revelation to me.

Maybe it was a no-brainer, but this has been my only way of grieving and it is all that I know.  Now, I have not been "officially" diagnosed with PTSD yet.  My personal doctor has no doubt that I suffer from it, though.  What exactly are the symptoms?  I had to look them up.  I suffer from every one listed, in one way or another.  The symptoms are listed as such:

1. Re-experiencing symptoms: 
  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts.
2. Avoidance symptoms: 
  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
  • Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
3. Hyperarousal symptoms: 
  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.

If you have regularly read this blog, then you know that I have described most of these things, from time to time, in one way or another.  I just never thought that they were something "to get fixed".  

So, what do I do about this?  I have (with my Mom's help) been researching therapists who specialize in the treatment of PTSD.  We have narrowed it down to one…and I just have to make the call.

But I struggle to do so.  I sit and stare at the phone number with my phone shaking in my hand and then I give up and move onto something else.

Why?  Why am I hesitating so?  I am fearful.  These miserable things that I suffer with are the only way I know how to grieve…and grieving is what keeps me connected to Vienne.  My head knows that I can be taught to grieve in a different way…without suffering such physical and psychological effects…but my heart does not.  My heart is clinging to the misery.  It is all I know.