Here’s the story of how I stumbled upon the diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I was moving into a new place that didn’t allow animals and I simply can’t be without my dog, Dusty. I’ve had him for 6 years and he is as much as my emotional support animal as I am his emotional support human. I was researching to see if I can get him to be officially my Emotional Support Animal (ESA). My therapist said she couldn’t do it for me but she referred me to a psychologist who could help.
The psychologist and her team conducted various psych evaluations. They were INTENSE. Question after question. No feedback is provided by the person asking them. I was second-guessing myself throughout the entire thing. I wasn’t sure if I was giving the right answers. Did I give them my correct birth date? When it got harder and I couldn’t answer I felt judged. It was great (sarcasm).
After I think 3 intense sessions and written evaluations from myself and my boyfriend for the psychologist to review she sat down with me to give me the verdict.
Will Dusty be able to live with me? Do I have to find a new place to live? She sits down and I’m ready for her to say, “Yep. You have Anxiety, OCD and, a sprinkle of Depression.”
Of course, that’s not what happens because that would be too easy.
She starts asking questions for me to clarify these “scenes” of memories I mentioned of my childhood. She asks about my sleep and if I have nightmares. Then she asks how did the OCD diagnosis come up and what are my compulsions. I’m thinking. “Okay, she wants to make sure OCD is the correct diagnosis.” Then she asked me even more questions about my childhood. Then she says she thinks I have PTSD...
What in the actual what. Are you kidding me? No, no way. Why don’t these psychologists pick one diagnosis and stop giving me so many! Why hasn’t PTSD come up before in my more than 7 years of therapy?
Long story short, I ended up getting a letter of approval for Dusty. She also provided me with so many resources. I went back to my regular therapist upset that she never mentioned PTSD before. She gently reminds me of a specific session and then all the memories of that session come rushing back. 🙄
Okay, so I have PTSD what does this mean?
Trauma happens in all forms and I’ve learned how it affects me.
I suffered from stomach issues for FOREVER. I would get headaches all the time. I would wake up every hour ON THE HOUR every single night. I would have nightmares all the time. I would have sleep paralysis weekly. I thought it was all normal.
Some trauma is obvious, others are not so obvious. Trauma happens at any point in life. My trauma started in my childhood. I don’t remember much of my childhood. I have bits and pieces of my childhood. My memories are all scattered and I’m never quite sure what age things happened to me.
I know there were happy moments in my childhood. I think our brain makes it so we remember something good, even if it’s something simple.