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12 November 2010

PTSD, classes, medication (after one month)

It's been a month now (really? that long?) that I've been on meds (sertraline and trazodone).  The doc said it would take about a month to feel the full effect, so now is as good a time as any to take a look at how things are today vs how things were a month ago.  There have been some really strange and some really scary moments in the past month, as my past few posts show, but I'm looking at in general, today how I'm doing.

This morning, when I woke up, I was groggy as hell.  I couldn't find two socks that matched, much less get myself dressed in a hurry and get off to class.  My eyes weren't focusing, and I didn't have a sense of time.  I did make it out the door, but after I stopped at a soda machine on the way to class, I turned around.  It was getting late enough that I'd have been there for ten minutes, not enough time to get anything of value from.  So I came back home.

When I got home, I spent the next fifteen minutes or so alone in my apartment...  with my ipod on an earbuds in... dancing and singing along to Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Solomon Burke.  For that short time, I found myself the star of an iPod ad.  As crappy as I'd felt after I was getting up, here I was bopping around my apartment.  Cha-cha-chaiiinnnn... chaiiinnn of foools....

In my next class, I paid attention.  Completely.  There was one point where I felt a little tired, and yawned, and other where my three ring binder threatened to fall apart.  Still, compared to how I've been in the past, I was completely dialed in.  I look at the powerpoints, and I listen, and I get it.

There are few things that I've noticed over the past month.  Remember, these are things that are/have been true for me, with my medications.  Things will probably be a little different for everyone.

  • I haven't had many nightmares; a couple of times, when I've been sort of half asleep in the morning, I'll dream odd stuff.  But nothing consistent.
  • When I look around, inside or outside, things seem clearer and more colorful.  Sharper.  More three dimensional.  Sort of like looking at an HD screen that's got higher resolution than you've ever seen.
  • When I read, or study, or I'm in class, things seem like they make more sense and I'm able to focus better.  I am having trouble getting started studying; I've been wondering if that's just because things feel different, and I'm apprehensive about heading to the library.
  • I'm worthless in the morning when I first wake up.  As described above, it gets better once I've been up for a while.  That first half hour?  Blech.
  • I've had two nights now where I've been up all night.  The first was scary as hell.  One night this week I was up all night again because I had two assignments to finish; I couldn't get myself started and didn't do crap until about 0530.  Then I easily finished both assignments within half an hour.
  • I've noticed myself thinking about things that are more positive; future plans, potential research areas, potential projects I'd like to work on.
  • I don't always feel good, but when I do, I really do feel good.  I do have some sudden mood swings, and sometimes feeling good or bad can happen quickly and without warning.
  • When I'm feeling bad, I've found that contact with other people really helps, even if it's just talking about the weather, and being alone really doesn't help.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing...and it really helps to not feel like I'm the only one. I know I am not-but I returned to school recently myself. I am a 41 yr old OIF vet in a graduate psychology program with 13 other students who are constantly raising the bar. About 4 months ago, my dreams and intrusive thoughts started again. I'v had a difficult time sleeping through the night and concentration in class and study habits are terrible. Even when I make serious mental efforts, they seem pointless at times. I think I need to talk to someone again and explore the idea of medication for my sleep and concentration. Thanks man.

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