Refining PTSD Treatment, Struggles With Sobriety, and Glimmers of Hope
At 20mg Prozac, I thought I was, as the French say, fin.
I’d already published what I thought to be the final installment of my PTSD Diaries series, wherein I document my experience taking Prozac for the first time to treat the disorder.
The Only Constant is Change
Weeks after thinking the proverbial internal PTSD storm had settled to a bearable degree, I began to self-medicate again. Consuming a wide variety of legal and not-so-legal substances.
With addiction, it’s difficult to tell truth from fiction. Rationalizations are easier to conjure than the cold, hard truth.
When I deemed my self-medication to be the impetus behind my desire to bump up my daily Prozac regimen, was I simply making an excuse for my drug-prone behavior, or was the self-numbing truly a sign that my current Prozac dosage had room for optimization?
In any case, I set up an appointment with my psychiatric nurse practitioner, and together we decided to increase my daily Prozac intake from 20mg to 40mg (30mg pills are not manufactured).
The adjustment period was thrice as rough as prior experiences, but further elaboration isn't necessary at this juncture, since I’ve meticulously written several posts about the beneficial and unpleasant side effects already.
The good news is I'm starting to feel a little more "in the clear."
Addiction & PTSD: The Toll of Comorbidity
Even though I’m feeling more adjusted, thoughts of consuming drugs to “escape” the trauma and PTSD flashbacks overwhelm me on a constant basis. Addiction really does suck the mental energy right out of you. So much time is spent pushing those thoughts away, and finding distracting activities to replace said ruminations. I.e., the exact reason I’m writing this post right now.
Relapses happen, though, and the self-loathing that accompanies it is always intense and unproductive. The concept of relapses should be more prominent in addiction education. If it were more well-known that relapses are par for the course for people struggling with addiction, there’d be so much less stigma, shame, and embarrassment to be felt. So much more potential progress to be made, involving self-love and -forgiveness.
At this point in history, I can only dream that this shift in addiction paradigm can happen within my lifetime. Something tells me it will take much more time, though.
For the immediate future, I hope that my relapses will occur less and less often, until I reach a satisfactory level of sobriety, which for me doesn’t entail 100% sobriety. Like many concepts, I believe sobriety exists on a spectrum.
No matter what, though — when the drug fog clears and the panic attacks and flashbacks subside, I have hope. Hope that our world is moving in the right direction. Hope that there will be better understanding in the future. Hope that sympathy and empathy are out there.