The Assessment was carried out in the same centre as previously. A polite young Dr. She talked me through her role, and how as my medical notes were all linked electronically, she was up to date on everything.
I showed the Dr the letter the Neurologist gave me for my GP. I was informed that was the outcome of the initial Mental Health Check, and an action plan was put in place immediately for PTSD, this was the confirmation they needed. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy being the main focus.
The Dr went in to detail on what happens when a person suffers from trauma and how it manifests into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was explained on how a person copes: permanent “fight or flight” and how trying to restrain them was causing the tremors.
Having heightened awareness and avoidance were the ones that struck with me: that’s how I had been acting – constantly scanning an area with both my eyes and my ears.
My affected speech was a different matter. Stuttering was either because my brain struggled with connecting speech to what I was also thinking at the same time. Or, more importantly, it could be an effect of the head trauma itself.
There was a brief explanation as what the brain does to prevent from being reminded of the trauma constantly but instead how it creates “flashbacks”. “It’s not always ‘text book’ with everyone, but it is the most common way. The brain throws up information from it’s storage box when it thinks the mind is ready to process it.” It all started to make sense to me.
The rest of the session revolved around the actual CBT side of things: training me to cope better with the Panic Attacks, the Anxiety, and the Hyper Vigilance. The Avoidance issue will come when I start to react better to both the therapy and the medication. It was also discussed that as treatment progressed, I may develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to some level as means to coping in stressful situations. Also, as therapy will not eliminate all the symptoms it may possibly develop in to Social Anxiety, but again, with therapy it can be lessened.
It was a lot of information to take it, but I was given a booklet that had all the information in. I was advised to read it as and when I felt ready. The session ended there with an appointment for same time next week. “try reading the book I’ve given you feel free to make notes where ever.”
We parted with a cheery goodbye. In the lift I felt less anxious already. Back home, I phoned my mom as soon as I got the doors secured and my jacket off. The Big Black Dog didn’t jump up at me as normal, but merely wagged his tale. “Hey Mom!”
“You sound a little cheerier than earlier! It went well?”
“It got explained so nicely, I don’t feel like I’m going mad!” The Big Black Dog looked at me quizzically.. I heard tears
“I’m SO pleased for you, we’ll beat this”.
There was less need for Absolution.