There are a lot of changes going on in my life right now. People with PTSD don't always deal well with change. I've been experiencing panic attacks at a rate of every two hours, approximately. When they pass I feel weak and stupid. But while they're in force, I am at their mercy. You can't really say to a panic attack: "Go away. I don't have time and I don't want you." It doesn't listen.
So I have the option to go back on medication that causes me more side-effects than I want to think about (including insomnia, nausea, and weight loss), or trying to find help elsewhere. A few nights ago, unable to sleep, so tired I was crying, and feeling incredibly silly that I'm me, I went to a PTSD forum and signed up. Then I went to a PTSD chat room.
The forum has been a nice, slow-paced, constant reminder that I'm not alone. It's easy to feel very alone at 2 a.m. A few people have responded, letting me know that I'm okay. They don't understand my unique physiology and reactions to drugs, and have suggested several helpful ones. I've thanked them but I'm not ready to discuss why I don't take PTSD medication in that place yet. I've found that there is a great deal of judgment--people often believe I don't wish to be helped, that I'm choosing to stay in a state where I'm a victim of PTSD symptoms. Why they believe that of me, I don't understand, especially those who know me well. I sort of work like a crazy person to get better and if I could take a pill every day that would ease my stress without creating a dozen other symptoms, I would.
The chat room has been immediate balm to my soul. There are people from all over the world--so for some who are speaking, it's morning or afternoon while I talk in the middle of the night. One woman in her fifties, has been waiting for me, wanting to see how I'm doing, checking up on me...she calls me "sweetie." She's not living in the U.S. and she uses her iPhone to log into the chat room, so she's always talking about how small the print is, but the voice enable function sounds creepy to her. She's told me a great deal about herself. I haven't really said that much--just that I'm having panic attacks and can't sleep. Another man is often present. He's a vet with PTSD. He says I'll make it. He tells me at some point I'll sleep. They both tell me they love me.
I know. They can't love me. They don't even know me. But at 2 a.m., while you're breathing for a moment and waiting for the next panic attack to hit, love, concern, and reassurance from any source is welcome.
I think I'm going to stay in these places for awhile. I'm needing immediate and certain support at unpredictable times. The people there could be axe murderers. I don't care. They help me right now.
Don't judge me. :)