What a Nightmare **May Trigger**

I had to go for a mandatory test yesterday with a doctor that I did not know. The test was administered in an area where I grew up. Everything came flooding back to me as I sat in the damp waiting room with a tiny air conditioner which had seen better days.

I remembered my mother leaving me in the car as she would go shopping in businesses that were gone long ago or going to the dentist in the same buildings. Just down the street was the church where I had made all of my sacraments and was glad to get away from as soon as I could.

This was an area that I choose not to go into because it was a dark hole in my past. This was an area of living nightmares and haunting experiences. I intentionally avoid the area when at all possible. Yesterday, I did not have a choice. I was mandated to go into a little building with a dark staircase and a mildewy smell.

This caused all of my symptoms to become active. I was having flashbacks, I was hyper vigilant, I began to shake, and I had impulses to self harm to feel better. The examiner asked if I was like this all the time and I replied that I was uncomfortable and the shaking was not unusual.

The examiner actually followed me out to my car after the test to make sure I was ok. The first thing that I did was to email my therapist and then call my psychiatrist. The next thing that I remember was that I called my husband to tell him that I was not safe to drive home. My hands and feet were going numb and I was in and out of the present.

I felt violated. Someone who did not know me or my condition was asking me questions that I had a hard time answering. I did not want to discuss my abuse in detail and only gave who and the years that it occurred. She wanted to know details about my illness that I have not shared with those who have been treating me for years.

She seemed to believe I was ok because I white knuckled it to stay out of the hospital to see my children. Even though I told her I was needing to call my treatment team more than once a week to check in with my safety.

Yesterday night was hard. I have flashes of my husband asking me about my PRN’s and what I needed. I do not know what I would do without him. Today, I just want to isolate. I do not want to see or speak to anyone. I am questioning if this brought up to much and if I should go into the hospital and am trying weigh the pros and cons of inpatient vs outpatient treatment. Inpatient would at least make me feel safe and allow me to have staff there, yet I need to work on things in outpatient treatment in order to function outside of the hospital’s protective walls.

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Failing

As hard as I am trying to move forward the PTSD and the past keep pulling me back. It is like I cannot get away at all anymore. My physical symptoms have become worse. It is almost impossible to go to class with all of the anxiety.

I feel like shutting myself up in the house and locking the door. Even going to the doctor feels like it is too much. All of my energy is drained. I cannot seem to focus, as much as I may try.

Trauma is its own form of hell. Reliving anniversaries or all of sudden smelling something that brings back a horrible time or memory. 

It is not a good time right now. I am hoping to be able to keep going, yet I am just not sure that it is possible.

They do Not Make a Medication

I wish that they made a medication or a treatment that would make all of the memories go away. They are always there, always a part of my past. There are the days that I can use my coping skills and diminish the effects of a memory or flashback. There are other days when even the best coping skills do not work. 

Sometimes I wish that I knew more about my family history. That people were more honest about what they went through and if it still bothered them. Maybe it would help me to understand why I have PTSD and others do not. 

I was once told by a treatment provider that everyone does does not get PTSD. There could be 40 people in a space when a traumatic event happens and only a small percentage would have the symptoms associated with PTSD.

I think of it like a switch. The switch can be turned off for years. Then, something happens, and that switch gets turned on. Why can’t the doctors figure out what that is and make a medication or therapy that treats that switch. 

Instead, those memories take the form of flashbacks and nightmares. They are a part of me. A part that some people cannot accept and others think that they will catch. 

One day, with advocacy and education, more people will understand mental illness and be open to accepting those who have it. Those in medical school will be interested in researching trauma and there will be more students who choose to go into the field. That is my hope!