wow, i am a little nervous bout sharing this. but after friday night, i have realized i need some help. here's the bones of my story:
january 14, 2006 i woke up surrounded by fire. so incredibly hot, i considered going out the window in my bedroom but my two boys (8 & 10 at the time) were upstairs. up i went. threw a blanket in the toilet tank and wrapped them in it. headed down the stairs and the roof collapsed. kind of 'launched' my kids the last three steps and shove the roof off my head. got outside and realized i was naked. wrapped the wet blanket to cover myself. got across the street and tried to knock; noticed flesh hanging off my hand. the neighbor opened the door and as i was apologizing for my lack of clothing, she was bringing my kids in the house and yelling for her husband to find pain medication. they laid me down on their bathroom floor and gave me ultram. my boys were in the living room (no burns, no smoke inhalation, a miracle) but i kept yelling, "are my boys okay?" a helicopter was sent to lifeflight me from the tiny mountain town i lived in to the hospital 40 miles away. they couldn't land the helicopter because it was snowing. i had 3rd and 4th degree burns over 23% of my body--both hands and arms to the shoulders, and my scalp but not my hair (go figure!). i still have nail holes in my head. the burn clinic said i would never use my hands again. well, they were wrong. my body healed quickly and amazingly. the few scars i have are unnoticeable. except suddenly, psychological scars are showing up. i have dealt with mild depression since junior high, but i never felt it could be controlled by medication. after the fire, i was put on norcos and ativan; i am not used to taking pills and my memories of the first months after the fire are convoluted. i got pregnant five months after the fire (with my third child) and during the pregnancy, my doc prescribed vistaril for nausea. added plus: treats anxiety. loved it. until i had been taking it for two and a half years and confused my perception of reality so much that i took a bunch of random pills and wound up having my stomach pumped. so i quit the vistaril (turns out it was prescribed to me at least two years longer than had been approved). i talked to my pcp about symptoms of anxiety and depression; he dismissed me several times and finally i got up the nerve to basically beg for meds. he put me on lexapro and hydroxyzine. this was about a year ago. it didn't occur to me that lexapro may have had a hand in the intensified depression i had this last year; just thought i might truly be losing my mind. i stay awake as long as i can because i often think if i go to sleep, i will wake up in the burning house and my boys will be dead. i see their burnt up skeletons. when i do go to sleep it is for HOURS--12-16 typically; a few times this year i have slept over 20 hours at a time. i am miserable. but i have been dealing with it, or so i thought. but then the fire anniversary came around. i didn't realize panic attacks were so incredibly terrifying. it was triggered by a whistle. i stopped being me and my body was all made of sound waves--like a freight train stuck inside me and too big for my body but trapped. the sound reverberated so intensely my whole body HURT. couldn't talk. couldn't find myself. had to literally tell myself to breathe. i finally called my father-in-law, a vietnam vet with PTSD, because i know certain sounds trigger his PTSD. i talked with him for an hour and then i started looking up PTSD. many of my friends and family members have suggested it as a possible diagnosis. i think they may be right. i took 50mg of seroquel in hopes it would put me to sleep. it did--six hours later, and i only got four hours of sleep. now i have been up all night again, i am afraid to go to sleep, i am afraid something will trigger another panic attack, i am afraid that i am really dead and i have conjured up this mortal life. my question is: since my dr has not been taking my pleas for help seriously, i would rather go to a dr who will listen to me and tell me if PTSD is possible. do i need to go to a psychiatrist? how do i say that i suspect PTSD? i have told myself for five years that the fire does not affect me. turns out that, oh, yes it does. anyone have a suggestion for medication or techniques to deal with a panic attack? now that i've had one, i am positive they are going to be a regular occurrence. i'm scared and i feel weak.