Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Symptoms Lead to the Diagnosis

His Symptoms
he truth. It was good to hear. It all started to make sense. I was putting it together as he let more and more of what he was going through come out.

The nightmares. he had trouble sleeping because as soon as he closed his eyes he saw his friend plummeting head first into the cement floor. And once he did fall asleep, he would wake from the nightmares, his heart pounding.

The flashbacks. At any given moment images flashed inside his head and that sinking feeling of his friend falling to his death, reliving it over and over.

The fear. He lived in fear. Someone is going to get hurt today. Someone might even die. He couldn't watch our granddaughters when they were learning to walk. He'd scream, "Look, look, I told you!" as he stormed out of the room. Unfortunately he has missed quite a bit with his granddaughters because he can't watch. 

I told him reeelllaaax. Kids are kids. They will get cuts and bruises. It's a part of life. We can't stop them from exploring the world and we don't want to stifle them in a padded room. He still can't watch.

The anxiety. His heart races and pounds in his chest. He feels like he is going insane. The anxiety makes him irritable. He gets angry.

The outbursts. Because he is irritable and anxious, he gets so angry and can't control it.

Avoidance. He avoids his triggers. He can't talk to his co-worker anymore without breaking down. He couldn't go to work because it was a trigger.

The guilt. He was torturing himself because he felt so guilty. He was the supervisor. He should have protected his friend. It should have been him instead.

I said, "okay, okay! I think you have post traumatic disorder and you need to see the doctor." 

It took a few weeks but eventually he did. This was three years after the accident.

Prelude to a Diagnosis
y husband was finally able to share with me the secrets he had been living with all these years. It took a lot of convincing but he eventually realized the road to recovery starts with our family doctor.

My husband didn't have to wait long for an appointment. He was already seeing the doctor regularly because of his injured arm (work accident were his arm was caught in the press). Our doctor's unofficial diagnosis was PTSD He referred my husband to a psychologist for an assessment who confirmed the diagnosis. 

So it is official. My husband was not going crazy. He has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from witnessing the accident at work.

The Diagnosis
omething good came out of the visit with our family doctor. My husband was prescribed a happy pill. Or two. 

One pill helps him go to sleep and sleep soundly. Plus it is a mood stabiliser. That pill squashes the nightmares. No more restless nights. He just zonks right out. Bang!

The other pill is the happy pill. Hallelujah, it was a miracle! 

Actually it didn't happen overnight or with the first dose, but he did become less aggressive, angry, anxious. Like all the "a" words? 

Yes my family continued to be cautious. We didn't want to set him off. But that's okay because that tense, twisted expression on his face relaxed like a long deep sigh of relief. For us all. Don't get me wrong, he still rages like a lunatic but not as easily or as often. I have to say it is easier to ignore when it isn't a constant in our lives.

I know he still suffers.
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