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Eureka: Overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder
by Jay Gutman
2018-08-16 08:41:12
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This article is aimed at people who fought wars or otherwise had to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. In some cases a violent breakup can cause post-traumatic stress disorder, on other cases a violent boss can cause that, rape and sexual assault, violent assault, getting arrested for crimes you did not commit or any other form of physical or emotional violence that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. I'll discuss how I coped with it, and then give some general recommendations on how you can overcome and beat post-traumatic stress disorder, walk straight and be proud of who you are.

-I was arrested and tortured twice in my life. First between September 12, 2005 and October 13, 2005, when I was arrested, tortured and then put on a plane to South Korea via Dubai, where I landed on October 15, 2005. The second time I was arrested was January 2nd, 2015 and I was tortured from April 7, 2015 to June 23, 2015. I'm not looking forward to 2025 haha.

pts01_400-Torture included beatings, death threats with weapons, a lot of yelling and other gross forms of torture that I will refrain from describing. What happens during torture is you have a burning feeling in your gut, you can barely feel your arms and legs, you completely lose your appetite and go days without eating, you drink lots and lots of fluids and are constantly thirsty, your head keeps spinning and you have constant nausea, you throw up quite a lot, you lose your senses of smell, taste and touch and for the record, your libido goes crazy.

-Once liberated, in 2005, I told a few of my friends, no one believed me, and I stopped sharing the story to avoid sounding ridiculous. Friends thought I was playing the victim card or something. Of course, when liberated, your speech is not always coherent and you express yourself in weird ways, and you get very emotional and passionate when you speak.

-Once liberated, you become paranoid for a few days and the paranoia gradually wears off. I remember walking in the streets and seeing a guy wearing a jacket reach to his jacket pocket, and thought he was reaching for a gun. Paranoia is not just violent paranoia. I remember, for the first few days, let's say the first month, I was a little delusional, and kind of thought that every person I spoke with wanted to be in a relationship with me, guys and girls alike. That gradually wore off as well.

-For the first few months, getting a job is going to be tough and you probably won't last long on the job. You'll be suspicious of everything your colleagues and boss does, you will read between the lines when there's no need to read between the lines, you'll have trouble focusing on your tasks, and you will overreact to people criticizing you. That's a recipe for disaster, but fortunately, with the correct treatment, that will wear off as well.

-In 2005 I found treatment with sit-coms. Friends, Mad About You, the Cosby Show and I remember feeling a lot better when I watched movies like the Royal Tannenbaums and The Eternal Sunshine of a spotless mind. Stand up comedy and talk shows also helped a great deal.

-In 2005, I don't know if you remember, but everyone with an email box used to receive a lot of spam. Normal people do not read their spam. But I did, shouldn't have, and eventually stopped reading spam as well.

-In 2015, since I already had experience dealing and coping with post-traumatic stress disorder and doing away with the disorder, I had these symptoms for about a year: a burning feeling in my stomach, inability to control my facial expressions, problems with tremors, and unlike in 2005 where I did not cry during my post-traumatic stress disorder phase, in 2015, I cried daily for about three months before that stopped. The crying was the heavy, hysterical kind.

-This time it was reading books I'd always heard of but never really had time to read that helped me get over the process. I read about a book a day or at least two or three books a week. Funny YouTube videos also helped a great deal, mainly Sasha Baron Cohen's comedy and a few clips from famous sit-coms.

-Now regarding getting a job the tough thing is, with post-traumatic stress disorder, your sleep patterns become crazy. You can't fall asleep at night, you sleep like every other day. Again you're very sensitive to what your boss tells you, you overanalyze what your colleagues tell you, and you have little patience with bullies or with eccentric people. That side of the story gradually wears off as well, but takes time to wear off.

-Finally, the most common symptom is reliving some of the violent scenes you were a victim of. In my case that lasted about 6 months. For about six months, I had been daydreaming, or day nightmaring if you want to call it that, about having a fair fight with those who tortured me, gaining revenge or torturing them back. I also had nightmares where I was being tortured. That side of the story also wore off.

Now to my recommendations

-You don't want to share the story with friends of family no matter how urgently you want to talk about what happened. This is because, once liberated, you won't be able to put the story together in a coherent way, leading a lot of people to think you're crazy or something. If you're lucky enough to be in a country with therapists, you want to see a trained therapist who will know how to deal with your incoherent speech and will guide you until you can put together a more coherent story, before you let go of the story. I wasn't lucky enough to see a therapist, but I know people who got a lot of help from therapists.

-Sexual urges are common during post-traumatic stress disorder. You may want to stay out of dating for a while, and find ways (there are lots of ways) to control your impulses.

-You want to accept that for the first year or so you'll have trouble sticking to a single job. There may be frequent resignations or you may even get fired. Try to start with some simple job like working as a cashier or at a gas station even if you're qualified for better, and after about a year, you'll go back to normal.

-If you have trouble eating or sleeping, you want to consult with a psychiatrist. You want to take the correct amount of medication and check with a couple of psychiatrists, because some over-medicate and others under-medicate.

-One of the main symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that I had was being under the impression of constantly being at the center of attention. You want to avoid crowded places, night clubs, crowded pubs or other crowded venues because you will be under the impression that everyone's looking at you as if you were some kind of Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie or something. Try to stay in quiet places for as long as you can.

-Finally, in both 2005 and 2015 it took me about 3 years to become symptom-free and walk like a free man. If you take your medication, avoid exposing yourself to crowded places, pick up an activity that frees your mind and that gives you self-worth, like reading, writing; painting, drawing, building, coding, you name it, you should be fine, and you'll have skills that can lead you to the next phase in your life.

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