Early December 2009 I sat in my bedroom unable to move, I couldn't stop crying, I couldn't breathe, I literally thought I was going to die. The anxiety I had struggled with for years at that point had become something more....much more. I begged my husband not to go to work because I was so mentally distraught I literally couldn't move! Long story short....I called and got into my primary doctor ASAP. The appointment was a blur. What I do remember is the talk of medications and more therapy and the diagnosis of....PTSD. I thought to myself that my doctor must be joking because you only get PTSD when you go to war! Or at least that's what I, and I'm sure many of you reading, also thought. This time I left with anti anxiety meds that I would take, and continue to take until this day. Why? Because I was no longer prideful, I no longer felt like it was an option, I realized at that point...my brain has changed.
I immediately made an appointment with my therapist. When I went in to see my therapist, I was ready for a new start. I was hopefull that he'd be able to "fix" me. I was sent into a bigger downward spiral when he looked at me and said he thought I needed something more intense...maybe an inpatient program. Say whaaaa???? Did he just refer me to a mental hospital?!?!? A million things went through my mind at that very moment. I cried, and cried, then cried some more. He told me that he felt that I'd be a good candidate for a therapy that involved eye movement and brain reprogramming. It is called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) I thought he was nuts because how can therapy that involves me moving my eyes help me out of this death spiral I'm in? I left out of there on a mission to find a therapist who was able to do this particular therapy. Not many did at that time, so I had to choose between 2 therapists. I called, made an appointment with the one I felt most comfortable with, and said what the hell! I can't get any worse that I am now. I was desperate to try anything.
I was so sick and tired of being afraid of my life. Being afraid so much that I didn't want to live it anymore. Day in and day out I hated every moment I was awake. I went in for my first visit, afraid, worried, skeptical and so much more. She sat, explained to me what we would do, and she got right into it. I watched her as she waved her fingers back and forth in front of my face. Then it happened! Holy guacamole! I was overcome with this surge of emotions as I began to realize how my brain actually attached nearly everything in my life back to my car accident. For example...the smell of berry/fruity air fresheners would trigger panic attacks for the months leading up to my diagnosis. I had a panic attack start in a damn craft store because I smelled something that triggered me. I, of course realized all of this after the fact. Why the heck would a berry scent trigger panic? Well.......I had an air freshener hanging from my mirror at the time of my accident. You want to take a guess as to what scent it was???? If you said "vanilla"...have you read anything I've written?? :P It was of course a berry scent. This is just a small example of the things I discovered through this therapy. I had to spend months upon months going multiple times per week in order to essentially reverse all of the connections my brain made to my accident. Stay tuned for Part 3- my road to recovery.