Chapter Three: The Diagnosis of PTSD

Miserably, I was still a prisoner of my hospital bed within the four walls of the hospital room still staring aimlessly with nothing to look forward in future (if there is any). I wanted to perform hara-kiri to end my worthless life but I was too paralysed to take my life away.

 

Then physiotherapy sessions were started for me twice daily.

 

Well, then I did not understand why physiotherapy was necessary as I had already been confirmed total paralysis for my lower limbs and physiotherapy aim was to try to strengthen my legs so I could walk again.

 

Nonetheless, the physiotherapists were very friendly and nice and of course, beautiful so there was at least a thing for me to look forward being a prisoner-of-bed.

 

However, psychologically, it was another blow to me. I was then 26 years old and I was being taught on how to walk. It sounded like a joke but to me then, it was very very degrading. I mean, you see, can you recall anyone teaching you how to walk? It is such a basic fundamental necessity (of movement and function) that we all took for granted.

 

With this, it further depressed me.

 

Coupled with this depression, I was also very frightened, sad, guilt, etc. and very anxious from the traumatic experience when the bus hit me from the rear. I was totally disconnected from current reality and felt stuck with a constant sense of danger and also painful memories.

 

So much so that…

 

I kept on re-experiencing the accident (traumatic event) through 2 manners – (a) memories and flashbacks and (b) nightmares.

 

Memories and flashbacks – They were very real and logically speaking they were merely hallucinations. Even though I know it is hallucination but when flashback arises, I had no control over it but instead this flashback controls my thinking and my emotion. These flashbacks will just take me back to the accident site where the bus hit me and hit me and hit me and the loud bang, the loud bang and the loud bang and I became immovable as I collapsed with pain.

 

These flashbacks were so bad that imagine if you come to visit me and seated just in front of me, (Logically) I am facing you and I should be looking at your face. However, the gap between you and me lies this flashbacks so much so that I do not notice your face in front of me but instead, I was seeing the accident scene and reenactment in front of me. In other words, I was unable to see you given the fact that you are just in front of me. As such, many complained that I couldn’t make any eye contacts. Please do pardon me then. This was because I was unable to see you and what I saw was the accident scene and the bus and I did not notice that you were just sitting in front of me.

 

Nightmares were much more interesting. They come in many forms but always in a similar pattern whereby I was helpless and then a loud bang and then pain and I couldn’t move or being stuck. Most nightmares were related to the exact accident I been through but some might be of different scenarios for example, I dreamt of myself seated in a MRT train and then I was hit by another MRT train and loud bang and I was stuck.

 

Nightmares would always end with the feeling of being stuck where I was awake and in total darkness, paralysed. Sometimes I had to struggle a bit to wake up and sometimes the loud bang would just made me “jump” and wake up instantly. Normally, after these nightmares, I would be in tears and a shivering body.

 

My heart did not feel comfortable – it kept on pounding very fast and when I was awake, I was always preparing myself psychologically to anticipate the loud bang and the great impact even though I was lying on the bed.

 

I had trouble sleeping. During daytime when I was awake, I felt very irritated, difficulty concentrating like talking to you, feeling very jumpy as flashbacks with the impact and loud bang kept haunting me and I was on a super high alert preparing for the loud bang and the great impact.

 

Visitors who came to visit me would normally ask what happened during the accident. I tried to avoid their questions and at times I had outburst of anger.

 

This persistent fear, horror, high alert, shame and guilt made me depressed and behaved like one crazy man.

 

My doctor noticed my condition and advised me not to stay too long in the room within the four walls. He encouraged me to get an electronic wheelchair and wheel myself out of hospital room to breathe some fresh air.

 

Well, I had lost interest in everything and didn’t do so.

 

So he advised me that I needed a psychiatrist.

 

At the first instant, I was very offended. Hey, I was not mad and why did I need a psychiatrist? Only mad people see psychiatrist! And I am NOT mad.

 

So I was very mad at him for wanting me to seek professional help from a psychiatrist.

 

However, he calmly reassured me that my general conception of “only mad people seek medical attention from psychiatrist” was not true and that I wasn’t mad.

 

He explained to me that this accident had 2 kinds of wound. One is a visible one that was he (my doctor) was able to treat with surgical intervention. However, the other wound is a invisible one and it was beyond his medical knowledge to treat my invisible wound. He then advised me that psychiatrist was the one who was able to treat my invisible wound and to view this as a wound and not that I was mad or something.

 

I agreed to let the psychiatrist to attend to me.

 

After first assessment of my symptoms as written above, the psychiatrist diagnosed me as having Post Trauma Stress Disorder.

***********End of Chapter***********

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