After A Good Run

Today, I find myself sitting in the ER waiting room. Surprisingly, I’m the only one sitting here. It’s nice and quiet which comes as a relief to my nervous system but as you know, there are so many things that can be triggering for PTSD, the location being one of them.

I am waiting for a loved one to see a medical professional for an ailment. As I wait, I find myself wrestling with my mental health medical condition, PTSD. This hospital setting reminds me of my own work environment as they have many similarities, I work in long term care, helping those with mental illness and aggressive tendencies. My workplace has been a significant contributor to the erosion of my mental health. It’s loud, fast-paced and very overstimulating. Practically every aspect of my occupation is toxic to the post-traumatic brain. How PTSD and Trauma Affect Your Brain Functioning – Psychology Today
I slugged along in this mentally taxing environment for as long as I could but found that it wasn’t powerful enough to sustain the mental shield, the one I took to work every day. Essentially, I was being mentally assaulted every time I stepped foot in the building.
Eventually, the strength and endurance I once prided myself on had taken such a psychological beating that I had to surrender to survive. I am off work, employing everything I can think of to regroup, rebuild and regain my life back.
Sitting here in this ER, my mind is in overdrive, its side effects, are a numbing feeling that is fighting to disassociate, so I can cope with my surroundings. Moments come flooding back to mind that my workplace had imprinted on my memory; tragic moments of death and violence.
Ironically, as I sit there, writing this blog post, the speaker above my head erupts with a call for a code for a violent individual on the psych unit. This unit is very similar to the one  I work on. As you may have guessed, it’s exacerbating the PTSD symptom; now I am triggered, gone completely numb and have disassociated even more. Sorry, I no longer have the capacity to continue.

…….. Several days later..  Initially, when I found I was no longer able to continue writing this I thought I would conclude it right where I had left it but then I thought; “I need to add how I got through the mental health, almost crisis moment.” Perhaps my efforts to forgo a crisis may be of use to you.

I first off recognized that I was starting to get numb like local aesthetic that slowly starts to dull your physical pain. I was numbing to my surrounds in order to try to stay in the waiting room, this dissociation never works. At that moment, I had to ask myself “What Do I have to do in this very moment to help me get through it?” Recognizing and coping with PTSD (Verywell minded).

The following things helped me to get through it. I went outside to get some fresh air. – Doing this allowed me to, not only get fresh air but because I was outside I was able to take slow, deep breaths. As I did this I could feel my symptoms subside before I knew it I was able to return inside. This proved very helpful but because of the long wait, I found that it only acted as a temporary fix.

In the Valley where I live, I have mapped out many of the quiet cafes, libraries and other low stimulus atmospheres in the event I need to seek refuges from my anxiety and PTSD, or, more specifically, the causal factors that amplify my symptoms. Luckily, one of these low stimulus cafes was close by; good thing too as I needed to seek its shelter. I jumped in my car and headed there. After taking the time I needed, I found that I was able to get through it the day and avoided a crisis.

 So when you find yourself in the mental thick of it, perhaps the things I employ in those moments can help you too. Map out the low stimulus places, cafes, libraries and natural settings In your area so when you are faced with a triggering scenario you have options, thus a feeling of some control. I tend to think of them as mental illness shelters. Sometimes, the best thing you can have when you have a mental health condition is a plan.

If you are suffering from PTSD or another mental illness, please reach out. I thank you for your service and you are still worthy and mean something. I believe in you!

If you are struggling please go here: Crisis Services Canada
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