Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Recovery - Day 1

As you might expect, the first day wasn't too eventful. Because I've been here before I found myself looking for all my old friends from the last treatment program, and of course, they weren't here, sadly.

So, check-in 9AM, go to my room, unpack, spend an hour answering questions for the nurse, unpack some more, go to lunch, fill out more paper work about my family's history of mental illness, and there is a lot, state how I cope or react in certain situations, and if I could improve anything here at the hospital what would it be? FOCUS!!! If I could only focus long enough, I might not forget my keys every time I lay them down, or I might actually complete one of the three tasks I had on my list of "things to do today", and I might actually feel good about myself for having accomplished something! Filling out those papers took another hour and a half.

Now I'm waiting for my doctor to come and "assess" my situation and needs. In the meantime, I lie on my bed and begin to read through the 58 page booklet they gave me. Some interesting stuff in it, some of which I mentioned in my last post, but with much more explanation. "Dissociation" catches my eye, it's a classic symptom of PTSD, but one I never really understood. Basically, it's a coping mechanism used, especially in repeated trauma such as child abuse, and " simply described, dissociation is an experience of going away in one's mind". It's a way of coping where the brain automatically goes to because of the repetetive nature of the trauma. Unfortunately, it becomes a habit and never stops in many cases, even after the trauma has stopped.

My doctor arrives, and again, lots more questions. I asked her "how long you can someone dissociate for? What length of time? " She said anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.... what?!! So I describe to her what I think might be my personal experience of dissociation. I'm leaving the grocery store, as I pull out of the parking lot, I remind myself to pick my daughter up before I go home. Next thing I know, I'm pulling into my driveway WITHOUT my daughter, and I don't remember a thing after pulling out of the parking lot, I don't remember any of the drive!! She said that's a classic example. Then other examples begin to come to mind.... walking somewhere in my house, on a sidewalk, and stopping dead in my tracks for a minute or two for no apparent reason, then continuing to walk now trying to remember where I was going. Pulling up to a stop light and when the light turns green, I don't know which way to turn because I dissociated while waiting for the light to change and now I don't know where I'm going! Sitting staring at the wall for thirty minutes or so thinking it was only a couple of minutes! Listening to someone talk for five minutes and not remembering a word he or she said! " This method of coping becomes automatic and often uncontrollable and has severe consequences for managing the demands of everyday relationships, work and self-care."No kidding!! Then she asked me how often I dissociate? Everyday. Several times a day. No wonder the to do list keeps getting so long!

Everyone dissociates a little, daydreaming, watching tv to unwind, crashing on the couch after a hard day, but when it is unintentional and frequent, well you can see the problem.

So uneventful, yes, but I did learn something. Now I just need to learn how to stop doing it!!

These sites have more info and are the sources for the direct quotations in this post.