Client M, 2018
3 months ago, I experienced a traumatic event.
As a result of this event, I started experiencing involuntary reactions that I could not seem to control. For example, when I passed the area where the traumatic event took place, my heart would race, my body shook, I felt like throwing up and I cried. It happened naturally, uncontrollably. I could not articulate my feelings, and talking about the event made me upset. I felt frustrated that I couldn’t control these reactions, and very lost. I yearned for guidance that could help me make sense of what was going on, and more importantly, a plan and solution that could help me get through this.
Based on my background in Psychology and recent work experience, I knew I had PTSD (or post traumatic stress disorder). Although I knew this was a normal reaction after experiencing trauma, I did not feel normal at all. I knew I needed to seek help quickly as I do not have any experience in dealing with PTSD, and neither did any of my close friends or family members. I did a quick Google search of PTSD in Singapore and came across many options. I called many places but none of them seemed friendly, specialised in trauma or a right fit for me. Finally, I found SCC. The prices seemed reasonable, and I read that some of the counsellors there have experience in overcoming trauma.
Before my first session, I was a nervous wreck. I did not enjoy talking about my experience, but I knew I would have to do so during the session. Throughout the day I felt like throwing up and I couldn’t stomach much food. It definitely took a lot of determination to make it to the centre. However, my first session turned out to be less difficult than I anticipated. I explained what I was going through, and thereafter, Joseph (my counsellor) gave me some assessments. Once he confirmed my diagnosis (PTSD, mild anxiety), he proceeded to explain why I was given this diagnosis, and he laid out a plan for my treatment. This brought me great relief and clarity, as I had a solid plan going forward, and a deeper understanding of why I was feeling the way I did.
The next few sessions weren’t any easier. But they did get better with time. Part of my treatment involved reliving the traumatic event to desensitise myself, which would eventually stop my body’s involuntary reactions. Scheduling something I really enjoy after each session helped me get through these sessions (e.g. wine night with my partner, a good yoga session).
Throughout these sessions, I became more self aware, and I learned a lot about myself. I’m proud to say that I’m now in recovery after a long journey and I feel lighter now. Even though I know that anxiety and flashbacks will occur in the future, I am better equipped now so I know how to deal with it.
If there’s one thing I have learned from this journey, it is that having an experienced person guide you and provide you with a well thought out plan provides you with assurance, and is essential in helping you deal with the unknown. Dealing with something unknown is not easy – feeling afraid, alone and guilty is normal. However, having someone in your corner to fight this battle is invaluable, and you will eventually emerge stronger, lighter and victorious.