Sequela is a medical term that refers to a condition that is the result of an illness or injury. As my PTSD has been improving, it has been more difficult to identify any sequelae except for memory problems. But not today.
When life is in homeostasis it’s easy for someone with PTSD to forget that an injury occurred. I’d been in homeostasis for a few months. I felt healed. But then reading a book triggered reliving moments at the crisis center of Brooklyn Hospital on the night of 9/11. My graduate study suffered, and two weeks after I found myself trying to figure out how my grades plummeted. Another two weeks later, I’m told that I might fail the most important course of the program.
Today, I had a meeting with the school’s disability services coordinator who helped me open up about my struggles. I became a teary-eyed lump while realizing how much I’d been struggling with this semester because of the PTSD sequelae, anterograde amnesia and dissociation, which were worst the same week I was triggered with reliving. Today I also felt anxiety, something I don’t remember feeling for months. And now my head is in a fog. I do feel the effects of a neurofeedback session I had yesterday. I feel like parts of my brain are more active than usual, in different spots all over my brain. How I can feel that I don’t know. It was my first neurofeedback session and I can’t wait to have more.
It’s only 9:30 in the morning but mentally I feel like I just had a full day of work. I’m spent. I’m a little scared. But I’m also determined. I’m going to become a mental health counselor so that more people like me can have a therapist who understands PTSD — at least somewhat. I don’t think anyone can understand everyone’s PTSD completely, but knowing something is helpful.
Neurofeedback is a new intervention for me. So far, in addition to sensory emotional regulation (I hope that link works and doesn’t bring up a message saying there’s malware; it’s my site!), neurofeedback is a favorite intervention. I’ll have to write another post about it.
While memory problems and dissociation linger, and reliving traumatic moments and danger of retraumatization can happen at any moment, I’m humbled and saddened. But I haven’t lost hope.