Category: What works


P is for PTSD

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P is for PTSD

The taxi pulled up in front of my daughter’s home. I was waiting on the porch at the side. Shivering in the cold. My breath making clouds of cold steam. I hurried to the taxi, cane in left hand, small travelling bag in right hand. I opened the right front passenger door. I got in the front seat of the car. Closed the door.

“Please take me to the Greyhound stop,” I said.

“You betcha buddy,” the driver said. He started the car rolling down the gentle incline of the cul de sac that housed my daughter’s home. The pavement was covered by an inch of packed snow. Here there bits of ice peaked through. He reached the end of the street. It seemed like he had no intention of stopping. I glanced to the left. Saw a large pickup rocketing down the busy street which with the cul de sac intersected.

I screamed. Like my life was about to end.

Meanwhile, the taxi driver was already braking. It was never his intention to roll through the intersection. Never his intention at all. But my brain did not know that. It just reacted out of fear and terror.

“Sorry about that man,” I said to the driver. “I was in a terrible car crash. I thought you weren’t going to stop. And, that pickup would smash into us.”

“No big deal buddy.”

The driver never asked about my crash. And, I never told him my secret. We chatted about the weather and what was new and not so new in town. Ten minutes later he dropped me in the middle of town. The Greyhound pulled up fifteen minutes later. I was waiting in an alleyway next to a store built out of a cement blocks. I handed the driver my ticket. Climbed carefully up the stairs hanging on to the railing. I sat in the front seat opposite to the driver. Ten minutes later we began to drive out of town. Making our way slowly across a bridge spanning Mountain creek and eventually reaching Moutain Avenue and the exit to the Trans Canada.

The Greyhound reached cruising speed. I leaned back into my seat and thought about the incident with the taxi. “Fuck! I have PTSD from the crash! That’s got to be the reason I screamed. Shit! Shit! What am I going to do now?”

I pondered. And, pondered.

Then I remembered. Lynn! Lynn can help me.

Lynn was my former therapist. She had helped me immensely in working through my childhood sexual abuse. I had many sessions of EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming, to eradicate the trauma, the PTSD, resulting from the abuse. EMDR might work for this PTSD.

I called her up when I got back to Calgary. I scheduled a session for the next week.

Excerpt from CRASH! Memories of a Healing Journey, Lyle T. Lachmuth, Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved


Stellar Progress

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Does this happen to you?

You get so fixated on working toward a goal that you don’t acknowledge or notice the progress you’ve made.

Happens to me all the time. I could blame my perfectionism, which would be true to a degree. Or, I could blame being overly focused on the goal, which would be true to a degree. Or, I could blame it on not having marker points in my plan, which would be true in large measure.

You see when I set out to go Beyond The Pain I didn’t have a plan. I just found the first thing that made sense to me and tried it. And, then when that didn’t work I thought about what I’d learned and tried the next thing, and the next thing, and the nexdrt thing. I tried some pretty weird treatments, lots of pills, and a boatload of psychological treatment. At the same time I kept scrupulous records of weather, stress, and what now. I’ve since learned that keeping medication, pain, and other records is a keystone of the Self Management program at the Calgary Pain Centre. Good on me!

In the Spring of this year I confirmed something I’d long suspected. It wasn’t just changes in air pressure that triggered my pain. It was changes in air pressure coupled with temperature changes and alterations in wind speed, particularly wind gusts. Since I couldn’t do much about the weather, except dress up or down, I turned my attention to what I could control.

I determined five natural or mind-based strategies I would use in my research. Then I devised a spread sheet I would use to record details of the pain management strategies and whether they worked. The pain continued at a severely fairly constant level through out the summer. Then in August, based on non pain based symptoms I was experiencing I began to suspect that a medication my urologist prescribed for BPH was the maincause of pain. I would not have known that if I didn’t keep detailed records of all the symptoms I was experiencing.

I stopped the medication and informed the urologist I had done so. Within a week I was pain free and I enjoyed a September mainly free from pain. Then October arrived with tumoltous cold weather. And, I was back to early morning pain.

And, failed to notice something rather important.

Yesterday I went to my former therapist, Lynn Lambert, to address concerns I had about Post Traumatic Stress arisng from my car crash. When I discussed the progress I had made with Dialing Down The Pain she said something that suprized me.

She said, “Wow! That’s fantastic. You’ve found something that works most of the time for pain.”

We went on discuss the things I tried and what I had been like.

And, I got it.

This is stellar progress. It really is significant. I’ve arrived at a critical point. I need to acknowlege it.

One way of acknowledging it is this blog post. I need to ponder what I am going to do.

Thanks Lynn for helping me see what I wasn’t seeing.