Sunday 6 November 2016

"What you need to do to fix it is..." says my husband, helpfully...

"What you need," he said (having just returned from 10 days on the Goan coast), "is a holiday. We'll fly to Goa and you can spend a couple of weeks relaxing on the beach, maybe have a massage or do some yoga... That should fix the PTSD." "No, it doesn't work like that!" I explained for the Nth time running. But at least his 'helpful advice' for curing PTSD is better than: "Snap out of it / wake up and smell the coffee / get a life / there are people far worse off than you." At least he doesn't say that kind of thing.

So this morning I attempted to explain at length what PTSD is and what it can feel like. Or what it feels like to me. And why, if things like lying on a sandy, sun-kissed beach could fix it then I'd be doing that, believe me!

The problem, as I explained, is that at the moment I couldn't even get as far as that beach.

The very thought of planning a foreign holiday would be 'too big' and I would panic.

Even the thought of planning a romantic weekend away here in the UK.

But I suggested that going out for a romantic meal would be do-able - and enjoyable.

Only with him, not with company, though.

Well, not at the moment. Maybe in the near future or however long it takes to fix this thing.

If the cash-strapped NHS doesn't kick me out before then; I am only permitted a finite number of therapy sessions...

Just like an eating disorder, the sooner PTSD is treated, the sooner the patient can recover. The longer it's left, the more entrenched it becomes, which is why it's proving difficult to shift my particular strain of PTSD which has been going on for at least a couple of years now.

And, like an eating disorder, the patient can 'want to recover'. The problem is that - also like an eating disorder - they're unable to do much about it without expert professional assistance (although I am trying damn hard by reading self help books and getting my head around the science behind the effects of trauma on the brain).

If you do get a chance, and you think it would be of use, get hold of a copy of Professor Gordon Turnbull's incredibly illuminating and readable book Trauma - quite a weighty volume, but really excellent in helping the reader to get their head round the causes of, effects and treatment of PTSD. (He was and is one of the UK's leading pioneers of PTSD understanding and treatment.)

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