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Hi! Am I Really Going Slowly Insane?

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by morticia, Feb 27, 2006.

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  1. morticia

    morticia New Member

    I am not really sure what to write. I guess I feel a bit self conscious about trying to explain to others how I feel so I guess the best way is to tell "my story".

    On the 6th of April 2000 at 2.28pm my brother was killed in a truck accident. He was a semi driver who was on his way back from Queensland when a car crossed over to the wrong side of the road hitting him head on. His truck burst into flames and he was killed. The police informed my mother of his death at 8.30 pm that night. I was contacted by the police when they arrived at my mothers house.

    I have always been considered as the "strong one" in the family so I was expected to cope. The police explained to me that my brother could not be identified as he had been incinerated so I would have to find some other way of formally identifying him. I liased with police and coroners over the following days and finally convinced them of my brothers identity. I had my brothers body transported back to Sydney and went about arranging his funeral. This was the most heartbreaking experience of my life as my brother and I were very close and I felt like I was in a nightmare and was unable to wake from it. It was made even more difficuilt by the fact that I am a funeral director and I was determined that no one else was going to touch or look after my brother other than myself and a few trusted staff members.

    I managed to keep sane through the whole ordeal or so I thought at the time because the police had assured me that my brother had been killed instantly and had not suffered at all. I received the police brief and post mortem report about 6 weeks after the accident. My brother had screamed for about 5 minutes for someone to get him out of his truck as he was trapped. No one at the scene of the accident was able to help him. The police sent me photos of the accident scene. You would have to see them to believe them.

    I flew up to the accident scene and the police drove me to where he was killed. The vegetation was still completely burnt out and the ground was still soaked with diesel fuel 2 months after the accident. My brothers belongings were still spread over the ground. No bastard had even bothered to pick up his things. A man appeared from across the road while I was on my hands and knees scraping through the dirt looking for my brothers foot bones as the post mortem report said his feet were missing. He asked me if I was the truck drivers girlfriend and would I like to see some photos. This scum had stood across the road on the day my brother was trapped and had taken photos of him burning from every angle possible and then came back the next day and took more photos as they recovered what was left of his truck. This guy lives across the road and instead of grabbing a hose to help put the fire out he grabbed his camera. So much for my faith in my fellow man!

    Anyway for the past 5 years I have experienced nightmares, I can even smell the smoke and hear my brother screaming. I no longer have any friends. My marriage has ended in divorce. I have no contact with any other family members with the exception of my 2 children who are the only things that keep me alive. I cannot drive anywhere like an expressway or over a bridge or on any road that I am likely to get trapped on. I dont let my children out of my sight because I am terrified that something will happen to them or me for that fact. I spend more time at home than I do at work. I am not compassionate anymore and in my job I need to be. The truth is I just don't care about anything anymore.

    I have been to see a psychiatrist and have been diagnosed as having PTSD. I thought this only happened to returned veterans. Am I really going insane because most days I feel like I am. My apologies for writing so much but there are so many details that I have not mentioned that make the whole situation so much worse. I just really need to know if there is light at the end of the tunnel because at the moment its really looking pretty dark.
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  3. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Hi morticia, and welcome. There is no such thing as too much to write, especially here, where you need to get things off your chest and in the open.

    Well, I guess you now know that PTSD is not just for veterans, but whomever suffers trauma can get it.

    Well, that is truly unbelievable, in that some guy sat around, thumb in bum taking pictures, instead of the human thing, and that is to help another human. Me, I would be thinking, "well, who cares if I get a little burnt getting him out, if he lives its worth it" (and I have PTSD for christ sakes). Did you just punch him or what? I would have.

    I know exactly what your saying with the smell sensation in your dreams, as I sometimes can smell all the burning bodies myself from operations, which is something you never forget (as you know). It's the smell of flesh, though also the smell of death... except in my case it was in huge numbers.

    Are you going insane? Honestly... most likely at this point, which you need to get control of quick smart, or PTSD will win, and you may do something that ends up having you join your brother... which I'm sure your children wouldn't be happy about, nor probably yourself in hindsight.

    I have lost a marriage also to PTSD, so I do understand you in that regard. I have also lost a brother, though not under those circumstances... he was electricuted, though circumstances surround that, a million or so dollars where at stake at the time, which he was investigating with some electrical products to a company they where sold too. It was one of the worst things in my life at that point, seeing him lay there as we had to view his body... which I wasn't real pleased about.

    The best thing so far, is that you have seeked professional help, which hopefully they have prescribed medication for you to help keep you semi-sane. Generally a form of anti-depressant (lexapro or similar), as a multitude of drugs exist to cover the problem.

    There is help available for you. If you need immediate phone support to a counsellor:
    • Anxiety Disorders Alliance 1800 626 055 or (02) 9570 4519
    • LifeLine 13 11 14
    The following are all Sydney based centers who run PTSD courses, support or just PTSD help services.
    • LINGARD PRIVATE HOSPITAL (02) 4969 6799
    • WESLEY PRIVATE HOSPITAL (02) 9716 1400
    • ST JOHN OF GOD HOSPITAL, RICHMOND (02) 4588 5088
    • [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/post319-13.html"]This link lists general support groups in Sydney and Regional NSW[/DLMURL].
    Honestly, as you may eventually find, in conjunction with counsellors, some of the best therapy you may find, is just chatting with others who have PTSD here, as most of us have already found. I have already met some good friends here, a couple of which I now chat with over the Internet or phone, who understand exactly what your saying, when your having a bit of a hard time.

    I will also give you access to a hidden area for PTSD sufferers only, which will show up next time you visit... look for the extra forum title on the homepage. It is there for the more "private" type discussions you may not want the general public reading.

    If you feel up to it, then please tell more, get it off your chest and hopefully begin to feel better within yourself, that its not just you, and there are lots of us who are living and fighting this thing everyday.

    You physch may have told you, or not, that there is no cure for PTSD, so you have it for life now, but it is managable and can be kept under control for the most part.

    I have sent you a PM with my details for personal contact if you desire.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  4. morticia

    morticia New Member

    Hi Anthony,
    Thankyou for your quick reply. It helps to know that someone understands how I feel. I have not sought any professional intervention for over a year and no the doctor did not tell me that it was something that was not curable. When I was seeing the doctor he prescribed Zoloft for me and over a period of time just kept increasing the dose to the maximum dosage, unfortunately it just did not help and I got sick of paying this guy over $200.00 for 10 mins of Hi, how are you?, how are the tablets going and then being told to hang in there! Needless to say I no longer take medication and I no longer see any doctors. Perhaps I need to start the process again but I just do not feel up to going through the whole doctor thing again to have the same outcome.
  5. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Unfortunately, the physchs really have no actual intervention to give you, just medication and knowing that your not at a suicidal point... thats about their interaction with PTSD persons. The counsellors are the ones that generally do all the talking, understanding (as much as they can), and solution building to get you living a normal life again. The doctors just give the medication and thats about it. You can actually get the medication from a GP who knows that you have PTSD as that is all I used to have to do. I visited the physch once a month to make sure I was still alive, but I used to just get the medication of either one, GP or physch. That should cut your costs down a bit if you go back on them.

    Zoloft is a nasty piece of medication from everything I have been told about it. It is generally the one most prescribe, though also the one that does the most damage to the individual. Lexapro is a new one on the market, which I actually undertook the trial off, and what it does is actually balances the chemicals between the right and left brain, as PTSD is a chemical imbalance between the two. Lexapro is lighter, ie. 40mg is the maximum dosage, and if taking that, your probably looking at being locked up in the nut house, but from my opinion, it is the better for all intensive purposes. Some others I know got their doctors to change them over to the lexapro to trial it for themselves, and have stuck with it, as it affects you the least, ie. it doesn't muck too much with your senses, though it really hits the PTSD problem where it begins, being balance the imbalance back out again. Just food for thought, though you really do need to speak with doctors about that sort of stuff, as they know best (sometimes).

    You can get by without medication depending on how your handling things. If your not handling things, then either you need to get back on medication, or visit a naturapath for alternative herbal medications to achieve the same thing. I use cigarettes to keep most of the symptoms down now... as nicotine has that effect, though if your using alcohol or heavy drugs, then it probably isn't the best thing for you. Some people smoke a joint a day to help suppress the anxiety and so forth... which whilst illegal to have it, lets be honest, it does the job. No, I don't use that method myself, just cigarettes. It is really a trial and error thing, as what works for one, may not work for another, so you really have to go through the merry-go-round of trialling things for yourself... unfortunate, but really, if you don't try, you won't know, nor have anything to compare things with, ie. what works, what doesn't, side effects, etc etc.

    The two main types of therapy are Cognitive Behavioual Therapy (CBT) and EMDR. The first is what the PTSD clinics around Australia use to teach those who have PTSD, how to live a semi-normal life (I have done that course). EMDR, which I only found out about a few months ago, is a completely different kettle of fish. If you have a coffee in hand, and a snack, then you can read [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread26.html"]this thread which goes into Kay-Dee's EMDR discussion[/DLMURL].

    Did you get the private message sent to you with my personal contact details? Private messages are up the top right... below the little Welcome "username".
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  6. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

    Hi Morticia,

    I am Kerrie-Ann, Anthony's wife. I am so sorry to hear of the trauma from your brothers death. I can't even begin to imagine how that might feel but I do know how much you can love them as I have two lovely brothers myself, that I just adore. As for that guy what an a**hole!! I concur with Anthony's thoughts about punching the b***ard, makes me want to punch him on your behalf.

    You are very obviously having a hard time of it at the moment but you have taken the right step in coming to this forum. We have a lot of people here with varied experiences of acquiring PTSD but similiar symptoms and similiar impacts on their lives and their families. Where you are now is the tough end. There is light at the end of the tunnel. As Anthony has mentioned, he lost one marriage and has (on occasion) almost lost two as a result of PTSD. It doesn't help that my husband is a bloke (and they generally don't talk) and proud as well. He's a good mix but I love him. Things are better for us than they used to be and they improved dramatically when Anthony admitted that there was a problem and began to take medication and seek help. No support makes it difficult but not impossible to help yourself. This place is a good start and perhaps trying some of Anthony's suggestions for alternative support.

    Guess the main thing is keeping yourself relatively sane and the children safe. How old are your babies? Taking care of you is often the last thing on a Mum's mind and harder when you have PTSD. I often used to have to give Anthony a kick in the bum to look after himself better and still have to occasionally. Simple things like not wanting to get out of bed, not eating healthy, not shaving, no exercise make me kick him in the butt. Sometimes these things are extra hard to do but they will make you feel better. Guess you probably know all this anyway and it is not mine nor Anthony's place or intent to lecture. We just like to help others because we know how tough it can be for those who have it and those supporting (or living with - including children) them with it. If it helps just to chat then feel free. Browse and chat and take what information will work for you.
  7. camry

    camry Member

    Hi Morticia
    I read your post the other day, but I had to leave because it made me physically ill, and brought up so many thoughts about my own little brother who died in a car crash up north/west WA in '99.

    Originally we were under the assumption that he had died in a car rollover instantly after breaking his neck. He was the only boy of 5 girls, and the apple of my mums eye, as she had been trying for a boy for so long but kept getting girls until he was born. I'll never forget the image of her broken after we were informed, and she has still not recovered. My dad was so proud of him, so in a way I was glad that he had died the year before so he didn't have to go through it also. Unfortunately mum never got close to us again after that, and has been fragile ever since.

    It wasnt until about a year after the accident that I was sent the coroners report. It reported that because of the puddling of blood in his ear canals, that he was possibly alive for an hour hanging upside down in the car. From what his mates said (who were with him at the time), they had the accident as about 1am in the morning... but the coroners report said that they had the accident at about 9pm, and that his mates were worried about being done for DD so they had sat at the side of the car drinking a carton of beer they had in the car to fool the readings. The report stated that while they sat there drinking beer that my brother was still alive (but I pray unconscious). The cops & ambulance never got contacted until 6hrs after the accident happened (they were in mobile phone range). His mates had gone into town, gone home, had something to eat, then rung the cops & went back out to the accident scene.

    Some mates hey! And not one got charged for leaving the scene!

    We never showed mum the report. It was probably wrong not to, but we thought it would be more detrimental if we had. We had enough trouble coping with the thought that he was hanging there alive while his mates boozed up... it would have been hell for her to know it.

    I already had PTSD when this happened, and it literally tore our family apart, because some of the family wanted to push a civil case against his mates, and some didnt. I was somewhat ostrasized because people percieved my reaction as cold. To be honest, I didn't know how to react.. even when I got the coroners report. I do know that while I coudnt cry, I was physically ill on & off for a long time. Every time I thought about him or even while I was dealing with his affairs, I was constantly throwing up. Even now I at least think of him once a day & get a nauseus feeling. I see bad accidents on TV & in the news involving young ones, and it gives me the same feeling. I can't stand the white crosses on the sides of the roads. I see them & cringe. While I know that others must see some comfort in them, I wish they would stop that practice. And having mum in the car at the same time, is sometimes more than I can bear when she tears up when she sees them (we live regional so see quite a lot of them).

    I don't think I got angry enough to want to hurt someone... but I did lose a lot of faith in mankind. These were my brothers mates, and they were more worried about what could happen to them, than they were on whether my brother was alive or not.

    So how do you cope... one day at a time. I'd accepted my PTSD long before this happened, so I was in a different position to you. I already knew how to push my emotions back, and probably that coldness allowed me to cope through it. But I wouldn't wish that coldness on anyone. So I''m going to say, allow yourself to feel, don't hide or cover it.... or otherwise like me, one day you'll realize that you have cut out too many feelings in order to survive. Try and find ways to find an inner balance to deal with it. I'm not a fan of medication, I think doctors push it too readily. Nothing can heal it, so it's little point aiming in that direction at the moment. But you can find ways to take the edge off it.
  8. morticia

    morticia New Member

    Hi Anthony, Kerri-Ann & Camry.
    Thankyou all for taking the time to respond. It just makes me feel somewhat more sane to know that I am not alone and that I can express my thoughts to people that understand me. Since reading all your replies I have decided to try seeking some professional help again. I have rang around and made an appointment to see a psychologist who supposedly is somewhat of an expert in PTSD. (I wonder sometimes are there any experts besides those of us who are inflicted with this pain in the arse disorder!) I don't think I really want to go down the path of medication again at this point in time, however, after reading what you have said about Lexapro Anthony maybe that is something I could look at down the track if I absolutely need to.

    Kerrie-Ann just to let you know I have 2 boys aged 21 and 13. Not exactly babies however my oldest son is disabled ( he has a form of Autism) so life is pretty tough most days without adding the problems of PTSD on top.

    Camry your story about your brother touched me greatly. I can relate to your suffering so much. Like you ,when the coroners report came about my brothers death I kept the details to myself. My mother was already a mess. I think if she found out that my brother had suffered so much she would have been unable to cope. As it is she is only the shadow of the person she used to be. Her home has become like a photo shrine for my brother. He was her favourite child and she was very close to him. Our father died when we were young children so my brother was like the man of the house. I avoid visiting her. She only lives 5 minutes from me but if I go there she constantly says things like "at least he did not suffer". I always feel physically sick when she says it. Part of me wants to scream at her and say he did, but I know that it would kill her to know. So I just avoid her, its easier that way. She tried to control his life for him when he was alive so part of me also feels bitter towards her for making his life so hard. My brother and I used to talk about it all the time when he was alive.
    She complains to me that I am cold and that I don't understand how she feels. She says she cannot understand why I show no reaction. She is not with me when I wake up in the middle of the night screaming. She is not there when a movie or a show comes on television and there are fire scenes in it and my children watch me crawl into a corner screaming hysterically and throwing up. I tell her nothing because like everyone else who I have phased out of my life they either don't want to know or I don't want them to know. Who gives a shit anyway! Somedays I think life is just too hard. People just expect too much from you. Sometimes you just cannot give what you don't have.
  9. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    And that is the hardest part of PTSD I often think, for us, and those around us... in our circle of life foresay!
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