Monday 20 November 2017

Just when I thought the PTSD had almost been fixed...

If you've been following this blog you'll know that I've had problems with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which began a few years ago. Last year I had 30+ sessions of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing) therapy which helped a lot in that it 'processed' many of the memories of Ben's eating disorder years. That's not to say that I 'forgot' these memories, I could never do that, but what the EMDR did do was to let my brain realise that these events / memories are in the PAST and not in the PRESENT, making them a little less traumatic to deal with.

The trouble with C-PTSD, however, as my EMDR therapist explained to me, is that it can be compounded by earlier trauma. He warned that stuff that had been locked away in my head for years or even decades might come to the surface. Layer upon layer of trauma may have been one of the reasons why my brain went "Boom!" in the first place following my son's eating disorder nightmare. Layer after layer of stuff had been crammed into my head until the fuse short-circuited as Ben moved along the road to recovery from anorexia.

There are at least a couple of earlier traumatic events that took place in my life and one of these reared its ugly head last night as a text-book PTSD nightmare of the screaming variety.

The trigger was a photo I saw yesterday evening of a family member who'd just given birth. It reminded me of a photo my husband took of Ben and me, 24 years ago this Christmas, an hour or so after Ben's birth.

The photo was enough to trigger a horrendous nightmare. I was screaming and shouting, and thrashing (juding from my aching limbs). This morning I woke up with a brain that felt as if it had been stuck in a blender and then splattered all over the wall.

Giving birth to Ben 24 years ago was a horrendous experience that should never have happened in the way it did. These days I would have been given a Cesarean as a matter of course; back then I wasn't.

I won't go into detail because that wouldn't be helpful to me. Suffice to say that in my nightmare I was tied down with my legs up while medical staff mutilated me with knives. No anaesthetic, no humanity, I was simply a piece of meat to be cut up to get the baby out.

In my nightmare I could see the medical teams heading for me with scalpels and knives. I was powerless to stop them cutting me over and over again - great big gashes and gouges without anaesthetic. It was a 20th century torture chamber. I screamed and screamed.

Which is pretty much how it was at the time - and that was just the tip of the iceberg...

The Registrar who was responsible for this was known by hospital midwives as "the butcher" and they were always putting in complaints about him. But at least he wasn't the doctor who gave me the epidural that didn't work - the bloke who stank of fags and booze, who'd been hauled out of a Christmas party.

I have always felt extreme anger towards those medical staff who I believe were negligent and inhumane. My anger at medical teams during my son's diagnosis and treatment for his eating disorder compounded this anger. So much so that I find it very difficult to trust doctors,etc to know what they are doing and to care... I mean really care in an old-fashioned humane family doctor kind of way... about their patients.

And meanwhile there was all this trauma which has been there, inside my head, for 24 years and which came out so violently during my sleep last night.

I may need some more EMDR sessions...

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