Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jessie T. - PTSD and Integrity

My name is Jessie and for the last 9 years I have struggled with the effects of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. For the first 6 years I was embarrassed to admit to the world, including my family, I was suffering. As a veteran it was hard for me to admit that I needed help. I looked at PTSD as a weakness. I was always told to suck it up and drive on. Things were not supposed to bother me.

The treatment options I’ve tried for PTSD are actually more geared towards depression and anxiety.  I’ve tried a lot of different combinations of medications and what I’ve realized is that no one medication works for too long. As soon as I think a medication is working well, I realize more breakthrough symptoms are presenting. This means that I either need a dosage change or even a medication change completely. One thing I always worried about is a medication that is going to make me emotionally numb.

For the first 6 years of my suffering I was completely numb emotionally. I didn’t feel a sense of pride in my children or my family. I never want to experience that again. Therefore, I am very involved in the decision making of my treatment options. My husband and I cringe every time that I feel a change in medication might be needed. We have had so many struggles when these changes occur.  Last summer when I had a medication alteration, it resulted in a severe reaction from me. I felt it was necessary to abandon my family and run away.  I ended up homeless for 7 weeks where I was living out of my van. Luckily my husband, best friend and the rest of my family stuck by me and helped me get back on track.

I also do not like the use of highly addictive medications such as benzodiazepines. I’ve seen first hand the losses associated with such addictions. I do have a rescue medication that I carry with me all day, every day. His name is Ensign and he is a 5 year old black lab. He is a certified PTSD service dog and he has been my lifeline while in public. When the suggestion of a service dog first was brought to my attention I refused.  I was not a dog person. I didn’t want a dog and I don’t think I truly believed in the abilities associated with a service dog. Boy was I wrong. Ensign is the best treatment option I’ve tried so far, however I do still have the need for a daily medication regiment.

I have never tried marijuana, and I cannot try it as long as it is illegal in Pennsylvania. I cannot break the law. I have too much integrity in myself and I also need to be able to set an example for my children and others in the community. I would love to have the option for this treatment. I have seen the relief that other veterans have experienced with the usage of MMJ. This is an option that all veterans deserve. Our service should not be in vein. We should be able to experience the best possible treatment options that we have earned with our sacrifice.

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