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I returned to New York from a 10 day trip in Japan this past Sunday.

It’s now Thursday. Well, technically Friday at 2AM in the morning.

I think I really fucked myself sleeping 12 hours last night and taking multiple naps throughout the day.

The night before I slept a mere 2 hours, though, so I should be kind to myself.

But it’s hard.

I’m annoyed, angry, and disappointed in myself and this newfound inability to acclimate to Asia → US jet lag as well as I used to, before I was diagnosed with PTSD.

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At 20mg Prozac, I thought I was, as the French say, fin.

I’d already published what I thought to be the final installment of my PTSD Diaries series, wherein I document my experience taking Prozac for the first time to treat the disorder.

The Only Constant is Change

Weeks after thinking the proverbial internal PTSD storm had settled to a bearable degree, I began to self-medicate again. Consuming a wide variety of legal and not-so-legal substances.

With addiction, it’s difficult to tell truth from fiction. Rationalizations are easier to conjure than the cold, hard truth.

When I deemed my self-medication…

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A quick “cats for PTSD” Google search reveals a drastic dearth in results, compared to the more commonly searched query “dogs for PTSD.”

While the cat-related query returns website headlines such as Can Cats Get PTSD on the first results page, the latter dog-related query returns headlines lauding service dogs for PTSD (e.g. Apply for a PTSD Dog | PAALS).

In today’s zeitgeist, dogs are more well-known for their therapeutic and functional services than cats.

Perhaps it’s true cats aren’t as easy to train as dogs, and aren’t able to perform public services, but that…

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One reason I stopped indulging in marijuana was because the substance seemed to make time slow down to an agonizing rate.

With PTSD, and the hypervigilance that comes with it, the perceived slowing of time is an everyday reality. This experience is otherwise known as “subjective time dilation.”

For many, it’s non-stop. And perhaps why countless people with PTSD fall victim to vices like drugs and alcohol (including me).

Minutes feel like hours. Days feel like months. Months… an eternity.

At face value, it may seem time dilation occurs as a result of slower cognitive…

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This is the final installment of PTSD Diaries: Prozac Edition.

2 weeks after starting Prozac to treat PTSD, I had a follow up appointment with my doctor. We agreed to increase the dosage to 20mg, since I’d started at 10mg — the lowest dose possible.

I’m about 7 weeks in at this point. While there were some rocky moments with the 20mg approach that had me seriously contemplating dropping back down to 10mg, I stuck with it.

The undesirable side effects were markedly more severe at the increased dosage, but as of today, I’m happy…

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While I’ve been in therapy to address my traumas and resulting PTSD for well over a year now, some aspects of the disorder became too much to handle. E.g. intense shame, social and professional isolation, panic attacks, days-long flashbacks and hypervigilance.

Finding myself unable to perform my functions at work became the straw that broke the camel’s back. It spurred my decision to add medication to my regular psychotherapy.

I brought it up to my therapist, and she supported the decision.

So began my quest to find a medication that works for me.

Not sure…

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I’ve been inactive for a while, for various reasons: shame, embarrassment, travel (went to Los Angeles & Iceland!), etc.

But most prominently — my temporary disappearance from publishing was due to an overwhelming sense of perfectionism (the shame is constantly pervasive so I won’t count that at this point).

I didn’t want to write unless the final piece could be perfect.

In the Fight, Flight, Freeze theory of threat response types, I’m definitely a flight or freeze. Exacerbated hundredfold by PTSD.

Thus, I froze.

I couldn’t bring myself to write — to act upon my negative…

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As a recent survivor of interpersonal trauma, comprising both physical and moral injury, shame is beginning to consume me.

I didn’t understand the concept of shame, at first.

Physicians and therapists would bring the emotion up appointment after appointment.

“It’s ok to feel shame… it’s a natural part of the healing process.”

I denied it. I didn’t feel shame. I felt proud to have survived.

Or did I?

For a year, I swiftly evaded my feelings of shame. Burying it deep within, like a time capsule, hoping to delay its discovery for at least a lifetime.

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In March 2018, I had a traumatizing correspondence with an NYPD detective that I will remember until the day I die. Some things that were threatened to me during that time:

“I could embarrass you at work by arresting you there, Jessie. You’re lucky I’m not.”

“You know I could issue a search warrant on you, right?”

“I could arrest you at your home in front of your roommates and friends. I’m doing you a favor by not.”

“Yes, I am trying to arrest you… How’s Wednesday next week?”

After finally coming to my senses and…

Originally published at

Insomnia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are almost a guaranteed pair. Data show up to 91% of patients with PTSD report insomnia symptoms.

Nightmares often accompany the insomnia, and are usually, but not always, related to the trauma.

I developed PTSD fairly quickly after coming forward to NYPD as a victim of intimate partner violence, in February 2018, only to find myself in handcuffs in the back of an unmarked police car less than 2 months later.

Police betrayal will leave a scar not easily forgotten.

After I was released from NYPD custody, I agreed…

Jessie Huang

domestic violence & criminal justice system survivor || NYC denizen || i like being alive || ||

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