Early last week, I had been retraumatized and was mentally exhausted the rest of the week. Though I had worked through feelings of depression, I still had apathy. With apathy, there is no motivation. In PTSD, apathy is not something that comes simply with a situation. It weighs down everything. I was tired, foggy, and wanted death to take me.
Service Dogs Do More Than Their Tasks
If it wasn’t for Penny, I would stay inside and never leave. She calms and alerts me, and pulls me toward an exit if I’m too overwhelmed to leave a store. But more than this, she brightens every day. She is a miniature pinscher — a spunky, funny animal that does handstands to pee where big dogs pee, bounces in tall grass, and jumps straight up and down to see things in higher places such as on countertops. She likes to be spoken to in complete sentences and often does not respect people if they don’t acknowledge her this way. And because of her funny personality, she makes me laugh, brightening the darkest mental states.
Penny also knows when I become stuck in grief and catatonic; she alerts me by nudging. Then she sits and stares at me until I pick her up and put her on my lap. This helps bring me back to reality and puts me in touch with my emotions. Then I become unstuck out of grief at which point I cry. Sometimes, she stops by and checks in. And if I’m okay, she goes away and lies in the sun.
Granted, Penny is a dog and dogs have needs. She needs to be pet and fed. She needs to know she is a good dog. I need to take her on walks. She gets bored. She wants to play fetch. During these needy moments, I stop whatever I’m doing even when feeling terrible, and give what she needs. For those moments, I stop allowing PTSD from trapping me and get my mind focused on this animal’s needs. The bonus is her personality, which sparks a little interest back among my burnt-out neural paths.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Cannabis As Medicine for Apathy
A few years ago, I had a medical marijuana card. I got it because I had trouble sleeping, even in my incredibly comfortable and expensive Hästens horsehair bed. (Gotta plug my favorite bed maker.) Indica helped one night. And then it didn’t work. I’ve since overcome insomnia having applied sensory regulation (Tipi).
While Penny makes me laugh and helps me live, these moments of laughter are just moments. The rest of the time, I continue to struggle with a tapped out brain that reacts even to indirect reminders of 9/11. It took me a week to overcome the apathy resulting from last week’s traumatic reaction to a news article. Once again, I used sensory regulation to get out of the funk.
Unfortunately, we are human, and sensory regulation is not always successful. Luc Nicon’s method doesn’t work when traumas are new and the emotions are too strong. It can also be tiring. I simply didn’t think to try until a week later. Maybe I needed to wait a week before trying. What could I have done during this week with no motivation even to live?
The article “The Best Cannabis Strains for Treating Depression” on Leafly.com lists some strains of cannabis that are motivation enhancers. There are so many strains out there for medical treatment. Maybe I had the wrong indica strain for my sleep.
In general, I don’t like using cannabis. Even with indica, there are THC effects, which do not agree with me albeit hours after intake. But maybe there is something to help if traumatization occurs so easily again. I sustained trauma just from reading the news. How can anyone live well with this sensitivity without medical aid?
Laughter Is The Best Medicine
Overall, I would rather laugh through my mental pain than take in psychotropic substances. But the laughter isn’t going to come from comedians, except maybe Louis CK. I thank God above for Penny.