This chapter of encounter is solely based on my personal bias and recount on what I had been through some 7 to 8 years back. Furthermore, this chapter is written without prejudice. Every case or PTSD is unique and Usefulness of medical help varies in each individual case. I am narrating my experience and at that material point in time when I was not so mentally stable, below narrated might not be factual facts as I might have misunderstood and misinterpreted on the treatment by the team of psychiatrists and also my response to their treatment.
Below is my encounter:
I was not living with life but instead I was living in the mind. Hallucinations, Nightmares and Flashbacks became my reality.
Finally, I was able to speak to someone (the psychiatrist) whom I first deemed that she would understand my situation through her profession. Trust was there and I followed what she recommended.
That means another set of medications for me. I had forgotten what kind of medications she prescribed to me which I took but I vividly remember those medications were prescribed to help adjust my mood and the main purpose was to assit me to have a good night sleep without nightmares.
Sounded good and promising – so I took those medications that then I termed them as happy pills and sleeping pills.
Probably, it was me who didn’t respond quite well with the medications. For those pills I took, I found myself to be more stoned than ever before and I was like a zombie or in other words a breathing corpse. I felt sleepy and fatigue day and night and there was this extreme sensation of numbness all over my body. I lost interest and mood in practically everything.
The ‘sleeping pill’ did assist me in falling asleep. But I had this side effect of ?sleep paralysis. Nightmares still surface but with the medications I took, I was like paralysed in my dream and it seemed to me that I was awake from the dream but I felt the bus or some kind of force that was pressing me down on my bed and I couldn’t move, shout for help, etc. What made it worse was during my struggle in this sleep paralysis, the loud bang became louder and just kept banging. It was extremely deadful frightening.
I narrated this to the psychiatrist and she adjusted the medications.
No matter how she adjust the medications, I still kept having the similar ‘attacks’ of nightmares, flashbacks and hallucinations and now I had extra symptoms that include sleep paralysis, zombie and sensation of numbness that caused me to lose interest in everything so much so that my memories might also had been compromised.
At this point in time, I felt that medications were not helping me but instead making me worse off. Thus, I rejected medications and just wanted some kind of talking it out and then I presumed that psychiatrist was an expert and could understand my condition, I tried talking to her.
A medical doctor is still a medical doctor and still insisted that I take my medications. My feelings then were that she might not have the patience to “talk” and she kept highlighting to me that there are victims and patients worse than me and asked me to stop thinking about the accidents.
At this junction, I would like to highlight that these 2 advices were NOT good advices and of course they are the most convenient things to say to a PTSD sufferer like myself.
The convenient advice of “many others are worse than me” – This was very degrading and insulting to my ego; it was as if I could not handle a simple situation and I should be happy and celebrate that I only suffered lots of 2 lower limbs instead of all my limbs.
The convenient advice of “stop thinking about the accidents” meant to me that I was deliberating thinking about the accident and the problem lies in me. I also wanted to stop thinking about it and to be frank, these flashbacks were beyond control and it lasted till today and that’s why I am writing and documenting this encounter of mine to reframe my mind and memories of the accident so I am more ready to face the fear.
Then, I proceeded on to approach another psychiatrist from the restructured hospital and to see if I was able to find an expert to talk to.
Another reality came in then was – For this accident, it also meant that I would have to take up a legal action against the person/company that caused the pain and suffering to me.
And below is my encounter with the second psychiatrist.
My impressions, feelings and thoughts from the psychiatrist then were as if I was going to bring her to court to assist me in fighting a case. Same advice like the first psychiatrist – take medications.
Well, I did not want medications, (then) I just want someone to understand my problem and I could just tell her or him my problem and the never before experiences of the trauma and it’s aftermath. However, it might be my upcoming legal case somehow made me feel that I was talking to a legal advisor rather than to a medical expert.
If I could recall then, a legal reference was made to the case of the Novena Church Exorcism case and the psychiatrist used that case to tell me about PTSD and legal proceedings. I told her not to worry as I did not want use PTSD to fight what case. Then I got this advice from her – “You cannot control everything like what you presumed you can (before accident); you have to understand some things you are unable to control.”
I was then angry and asked her if she could just leave all legal matters under the hands of my lawyers and just help me in my coping with my PTSD. However, (then) I still felt that she was more interested in the legal issues than my mental health issues. I cried and did not follow up with any more psychiatrists.
Well, I might have misunderstood the psychiatrists as described above because then my mental state wasn’t so ok due to PTSD. They might have meant good and had good intentions then in assisting me but I might have wrongly misinterpreted their intentions. Documented here is merely my encounters, feellings, emotions and thoughts and it was just my side of the story as a victim and a PTSD sufferer.
Feeling more depressed and helpless, I still wanted to talk to someone and expect someone to understand me.
Forgetting where I found this brochure or advice – “If you know someone suicidal, please call this number.” Then suicidal was not in my mind but I still called the number and told them I needed someone to talk to but currently I was not suicidal but that didn’t mean I would not be in the near future. Then the other party from the suicidal hotline transferred me to another department.
An appointment was made for me to meet a psychologist / counselor.
I got the address and went to meet up with the counselor / psychologist. The center was in Potong Pasir and it was known as SAMH (Singapore Association for Mental Health).
The counselor was very professional. She listened very carefully to me and understands me and taught me how to reframe my thoughts through mental therapies e.g. Emotional Freedom Technique, etc.
After several sessions with her, I felt better and was able to deal with PTSD more appropriately without any medications.
With this, I felt that I should have understood the distinction between counselor, psychologist and psychiatrist. Prior to this, I thought all are the same.
As time went on, I took up many sports like triathlons, aikido, karate, etc. and have many friends like yourself who standby me; and PTSD strike me less and less frequent.
However, there is one issue here – PTSD still strikes back and it was not completely gone yet. And this also explains why this encounter documentation arises too – For me to deal with my PTSD face on.
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