Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Post Traumatic Stress

I saw my Carer Support Worker the other day. I haven't seen her in quite a long time, so there was an aspect of my demeanour which was very noticeable to her - she said I am less angry than before. She's right. I'm not sure when it happened. I suppose it's been a gradual process, but I definitely feel less angry than I did before. On the other hand, I feel I am struggling more with anxiety.

Now, I know previously I deleted all the posts relating to my own mental health, or parts of posts where I had described how I felt, but that was mainly due to the confusion I was feeling at the time and the fact that people were trivialising how I was feeling. But there's no point in denying it any longer because it is obvious for all to see - Mr Man has recovered from our ordeal better than I have. Interestingly, my Carer Support Worker tells me that this is not uncommon.

I have expressed on this blog before (and then deleted it) that I feel I am suffering from a form of Post Traumatic Stress. Some health workers agree that it is a possibility, whilst others won't even entertain the idea - probably because it would mean admitting the substandard care that Mr Man received, which put his life in danger and which caused me a great deal of anxiety. I don't want to enter into a debate over symptoms and who is right or wrong, but the fact is that I am "not right" and I haven't been "right" since 2002 when Mr Man was admitted. Frustratingly, I still get asked about my childhood. I don't understand how people can think that caring for someone you love, who was in danger of killing themselves at any moment over a period of several years, is not traumatic enough to cause PTS - and especially given that when he was in the care of others I had no way of protecting him and those caring for him didn't take the danger seriously. Honestly? Is it just too obvious to be true? Does it have to be something buried deep within my subconsciousness from my childhood?

I watched "Dolphin Boy" tonight. Obviously this is an extreme case of Post Traumatic Stress and disassociation, but I could relate to some of the boy's feelings. The rage, the confusion, the avoidance, and the desire to live in a "bubble". It was a long process of four years before he was able to go back home and live a normal life again. My symptoms are obviously much less severe than his, but with no real help to work through my emotions, I am still struggling nine years later. I know I can't be the only one.