This posting has been edited somewhat, but I wanted to leave as much of the disjointed and convoluted train of thought to give you an indication of my thinking processes
It has been a couple of days since my last posting, I have just now realized that I am in one of those stuck positions. For a person with PTSD their brain has become highly compartmentalized, sectioned off and coordinated along narrowly entrenched connections. The mind will shut down reasoning, conscious processing and engage the unconscious reflexive mechanisms. This controller switch enables the person to react to traumatic situations without filtering sensory information through our conscious mind. Through this defensive mechanism we can survive situations that would otherwise overwhelm us if we had to process the traumatic event in the moment. By the severity of the situation this connection gets heavily imprinted, thus enabling the PTSD sufferer to shift into a stuck position or zoning out. This cognitive binding can be triggered by situations that require emotional response, trusting issues, and really just about anything that requires thinking.
I was just reading an article by Penny Coleman on AlterNet. The article is about...I have also been reading in the PTSDForum.org, both the article and the forum thread have been talking about using a drug called Propranolol. The drug is a beta-blocker, it blocks nerve impulses, which seems to have a benefit for PTSD sufferers. I AM NOT ENDORSING THIS DRUG, I am still looking into its affects and effects. So, in the forum posters were talking about being in a stuck position and that is what triggered my discussion of detachment or dissociative states, which made me realize that I was going through one myself right now, still.
Now, I was talking about my stuck position, I just started an online class yesterday. I have been also trying to write a post for this blog. I have three drafts...I am sitting here going through my rituals of emotional blocking...closing my eyes, putting my right arm across my stomach with my left arm resting on my right. Then I use my hand to run down my face, starting from my forehead then down to my nose...I have been focused on my nose for about three days now, I have been picking at the skin until it is raw. I cannot forget the pausing that I go through when I am in this dissociate position. I zone out for several minutes at a time, I can loose hours if I do not try and meditate or pray...So does this post seem kind of disjointed? Thats because I am trying to relate how PTSD effects my life. During stressful times I run through dissociative states and this ritual cycle of zoning out and wiping my face, rubbing my nose and forehead, closing my eyes, rocking back and forth and a myriad of differing affects. Back in the day this would set me up for an anxiety or panic attack. Before I learned how to manage my attacks I was on clonazepam for about two years.
Reading the forum and article made me remember what it was like to be in an extreme state of mental illness. I could of used something to take this kind of episode out of my experience. The medicine Propranolol may of helped, but I do not see this treatment as a long term fix. Maybe in the short-term along with therapy and counseling to aid in the processing and reintegration of the emotions and experiences that have been separated from one another. After the traumatic experience is over, after the soldier comes out of the combat zone and transitions home. PTSD rewires the brain, it changes its landscape, alters its coping mechanisms and permanently turns on the primitive survival mode. Throwing in the medicine during the time combat to deny the brains response could complicate the soldiers coping mechanisms further.
Taking this medication before combat would only be doing what the brain is already capable of doing, shutting off reasoning functions and turning on a wholly basic instinctual response. It appears that it would harm the brain more than it would do good. Consider that the dissociative states might be entrenched further into the mind and promote the dissection and partitions of the brain relative to PTSD. PTSD is the breaking of the toggle switch that enables a person to vacillate between a fundamental reflexive reaction to danger signals and the reasoning of common experiences. I do not think that our troops and veterans should be some kind of guinea pig any more than they have been already.