Friday, June 3, 2016

Life Post Workplace Abuse: Psychiatric Injury

In my ongoing journey on the path of recovery from workplace abuse, I often look at the birds flying high, seemingly effortlessly and carefree above me.  How I envy them, their ability to fly above the cares of the earth.  To be free from the shackles of such earthly things like trauma, PTSD, etc.

In my previous posting, I wrong about how stuck I felt in 2015 when my soul, my spirit longed to get free of my limitations and move on.

But. My. Body. Wouldn't. Let. Me.

I felt trapped.  In my body.  In my mind.  In my altered abilities.

I was well and truly stuck.

The affects or what I call the "altered abilities" simply weren't going away.

By early 2015, it had been almost four years since the two back to back stress breakdowns which ultimately resulted in these chronic "altered abilities".

A person close to me remarked at that time that it's been four years now (in 2015) intimating that I should be all better by now.

The problem was I felt the same way. 

Why after four years am I still so tired?  So anxious?  So unable to get thoughts out?  To speak at times? Etc. Etc. Etc.

Why after all the counselling, all the resting, all the this and that could I not get completely well?

Why couldn't I simply put the past behind me and move on?

Why? Why?  Why?

Why couldn't I get past what happened in the workplace?  Or rather, the injury created.

And that in reality is the crux of the issue.  Not that I was abused in the workplace.  Not who did or did not do what.

It's the injury which resulted from those four years of escalating abuse.

The psychiatrist I saw took the easy way out and diagnosed me with bi-polar disorder and mixed personality disorder - on the basis of a very short appointment.  I didn't time it but if I had would it have been 15 minutes? 30 minutes?  I know it was not longer than 30 minutes.  Much too short to form an objective diagnosis - in my opinion.

Later on, I did have a much longer assessment with a Psychiatric resident who agreed that both these diagnoses were incorrect and came up with depression.  Which is true - to a degree.  Based on my subsequent research, I'm guessing I have psychiatric injury which is not a mental illness but is an injury: a correlation between cause (workplace abuse) and effect (extreme fatigue, lack of balance, lack of cognitive functions and others).  The accompanying depression would then be reactive depression, again cause and effect.

At one point, the psychiatrist I was relying on to help me through this horrible time indicated that I was "wasting his time" as his job was only "to prescribe medications."

And that is why getting an objective diagnosis was impossible.  In a system where the specialist feels that he is nothing more than a pill pusher, he is not going to be inclined to waste time where he could be billing multiple patients talking and listening to one patient - which a diagnosis of psychiatric injury would require.

So, no I don't have a brain injury related to an accident or even a concussion.  What I have are affects that mirror brain injury in some respects but are caused by severe stress not a blow to the head.

Yet ....

Yet, I often look at a physical situation which people including myself can understand more easily and correlate what applies to my own situation.

In late 2015 I got an insight from a blog I read about a young lady who was literally knocked out of her shoes one day several years back exiting her school bus when she was hit by a recycling truck.  During the critical period when Lydia's life hung in the balance, her parents started a blog, Pray for Lydia, so that people in the community could keep track of her progress, pray for her and encourage her family.  This blog is now irregularly posted as the critical has become the chronic.  Yet, for Lydia and her family recovery/restoration continues on a daily basis.  In this blog, her parents wrote:
Set backs are hard.  We were informed at the start of her recovery, that her progress would not always be upward and onward, but that it would include set backs, as different parts of the brain rewire.  We were prepared for them in our minds, but so unprepared for the length and depth of the hardships they could bring.  Lydia’s trajectory of healing and recovery has changed significantly in the past two years.  Things she could do independently post accident, she can no longer do.  Some days, she cannot memorize, or communicate succinctly, keep a train of thought, or handle commotion and stimuli.  She is often anxious and unsettled.  She suffers, and we are at a loss to relieve her pain.   So often in the past couple of years, it has felt like the tires spin, but there is no traction.  (emphasis mine)

It was reading this that I had an "ah ha" moment.  A moment of clarity.  While Lydia has a traumatic brauin injury caused by this horrific accident and I have psychological injury caused by stress, there are correlations that can be made on the journey to recovery.

This posting helped me to understand why things I could do in the earlier phases of the injury/recovery process are more difficult if not impossible at times now.

I too was experiencing anxiety on levels I hadn't previously.  My startle reaction was in high gear. I couldn't remember things or memorize things.  And the list goes on.

It felt like my progress on the road to recovery was stalled.

This posting from Lydia's parents reminded me in ways that I would not have realized otherwise that recovery with brain things is not always straight forward.

It's complicated.

It's frustrating.

The person recovering from traumatic brain injury like Lydia suffers.  As does the less visible person with psychological injury.

And the people around us suffer as well.


I will stop here today.  As I continue on my own journey of recovery post workplace abuse, I wonder where I go next on this journey.  Will I break free of the bonds and boundaries that surround me?  Or will I stay stuck?

Only time will tell.

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