I had the mothers (plural) of all nightmares (plural) last night. The theme was generally along the lines of being left in the lurch at the 11th hour without warning. Hmn, I wonder where that came from...
After the Christmas PTSD difficulties, I told my therapist how worried I was that I'd be discharged before I fully recovered; I was aware that NHS mental health treatment isn't infinite. She reassured me. She also reassured me that the EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy would fix the PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and that I would recover.
So yesterday when she dropped the bombshell about only being eligible three more sessions before being let loose into the 'big wide world' to fend for myself, I went into panic mode. No way was I going to recover in just three more sessions. So I fled the building; I just had to get out of there!
I also felt some unjustified 'guilt' at not having recovered 'in time'. Yet I've attended all the EMDR sessions, and all previous therapy sessions. I've done all the homework and read book after book to enable me to understand more about how PTSD and trauma affect the mind and body. In other words, I've been the model patient in every way except when it comes to recovering 'on time'.
I put this down to the fact that the PTSD is really Complex PTSD in that it has come as a result of sustained trauma over a long period of time - the months and years that I was battling to get my son through his anorexia while at the same time being on the front line of all the violence, outbursts and volatility that the malnourished brain can throw at a parent. On top of this I was battling with the NHS and CAMHS to (a) get my son into eating disorder treatment in the first place and (b) to attempt to get evidence-based treatment for him rather than haphazard fire-fighting which resulted in even more weight loss and mood volatility. And much of the time I was in the house alone with my son and his violent eating disorder; my husband was working away.
In addition there were earlier traumas which kept intruding into the EMDR therapy, compounding the problem.
As a result, my therapist and I, along with the EMDR, have only been able to focus on one or two isolated events within the eating disorder trajectory.
And so the C-PTSD has got worse rather than better, culminating in the three days over Christmas when it went berserk.
Plus, yesterday's experience just reinforced my on-going and as yet unresolved anger with NHS mental health services which came as a result of battling over Ben's eating disorder diagnosis and treatment. Driving down the motorway yesterday to nowhere in particular I was muttering "I effing hate the effing NHS" over and over again followed by "I effing hate the government", etc etc.
I know from reading books by experts that PTSD isn't really something you can fix yourself. Yes, you can do all the exercises set by the therapist (which I have done), but you can't cure yourself purely through self-help. Indeed my therapist warned me that there can be some dangers in attempting to 'process' trauma through self-administered EMDR.
This is unfortunate.
Anyway, today I feel zonked. As my anxiety reached high levels yesterday evening, I took a sleeping tablet and didn't wake up until 11am this morning.
No, I didn't have a blissful, deep and dreamless sleep; I had at least two epic nightmares which resulted in me shouting out in my sleep.
Like the other night when I suddenly woke to find myself reciting the Lord's Prayer aloud, Exorcist-style! In the nightmare I was about to be abducted or killed by some kind of evil demon... In other circumstances you might laugh at this, but it wasn't very funny I can assure you...
So what do I do now?
There is little point in having three more therapy sessions as we've really only scratched the surface - and my anger and anxiety are stronger than ever.
PTSD and C-PTSD is treatable, but - like anything - only if you see the treatment through to the end. If the NHS only offers a finite number of sessions (16 at present), then you need £60-£100 a week to fund private sessions which, sadly, I don't have.