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My name is Davina Lytle and I'm a freelance writer and blogger. I write and blog about living with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how cannabis helps with my symptoms. Ask me anything.

davinalytle
Dec 5, 2017

I’m a freelance writer and blogger. I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother, and I’m also a survivor and advocate of mental illness/health. I’ve been living with a mental illness for most of my life, but I wasn’t diagnosed until 2005 when I was threatened by a man claiming to have a gun. Later that year, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The diagnosis was devastating for me; as well as for my family and it led to my being cast aside by certain members of my family of origin.

Since that time, I’ve become passionate about mental illness/health. I started writing a book that I’m sure is going to be a great help to other survivors. Plus, I write a weekly blog chronicling what it’s like to live with a mental injury in hopes that I can help end the stigma around mental illness by educating people through my own experiences with PTSD.

www.davinalytle.com

www.facebook.com/Im-Still-Here-A-Survivors-Guide-to-Living-with-PTSD-1506255406336226/

@davinalytle

www.davinalytle.com

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Conversation (44)

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Did you seek help immediately after you had those manifestations?

Dec 8, 8:23PM EST0

Dear Mary,

Yes, it happened while I was at work, so it was considered a workplace injury. I was sent to see a therapist in the first month after I got held up and I saw that person twice a week for the first year after my trauma.

After that, I tried just about every kind of therapy that was available, but the only thing they would pay for was Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and it didn’t work for me - at all. In fact, I believe it made me worse.

Around five years after my diagnosis “they” told me that I had reached maximum recovery; that I would never work full time (again), and they cut me loose.

Needless to say, I haven’t done much therapy since that time because it costs around $150.00 per hour and I’m on disability and I can’t afford it.  

Thanks for asking.

Dec 8, 11:09PM EST0

What do You think about cannabis oil therapy, what would be your opinion about that, and could it be as well useful as a PTSD treatment? 

Dec 6, 11:36AM EST0

Dear Ana,

Cannabis comes in various forms; dried flower, hashish, and hash oils. The dried flower can be vaporized, smoked, or baked into things like brownies, or cookies.

When you vaporize or smoke cannabis, it doesn’t stay in your system as long as when you ingest it, in fact, the effects are only good for an hour or two. Whereas, when you eat/ingest cannabis, it lasts anywhere between five to seven hours; with the average being six.

I smoke it during the day to help with panic attacks, anxiety and depression. Then at night, I ingest a half a gram of cannabis that I’ve baked into some sort of chocolate edible. Not only does it help me to stay asleep for 7 hours, it helps to keep my nightmares at bay, and if you know anything about PTSD – that’s extremely important.

Personally, cannabis is the only medication that has worked for me and I will advocate for its use until the day I die, and not just for PTSD because they’re finding that it’s good for so many other things, including stopping cancer.

Thanks for asking.

http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-medical-marijuana-2014-4/#-may-decrease-anxiety-6

 

Dec 6, 1:53PM EST0

How does your disease manifest in your life?

Dec 5, 6:52PM EST0

Dear Ron,

PTSD isn’t actually a disease, PTSD is a brain injury and that’s what makes it so hard to treat.

For the most part, I can hide my PTSD, you know “fake it until I make it,” but it’s tearing me up inside. I’m so caught up in the past and the traumas I’ve endured that I struggle to keep moving forward. Some days the fear of life and the outside world are so intense that I can barely hold my shit together and I just want to curl up on the couch until the fear and the memories subside.

My health has suffered and in the first two years after I got held up, I was diagnosed with stress-induced type II diabetes, but I’ve since gotten that under control. Five years ago, I got my first episode of central serous retinopathy, which is a serious condition of the retina that can cause blindness. The first time I got it, it didn’t last long at all and there was no damage, but the second time it lasted over a year and my sight went from 20/20 to 20/40. I’ve also had shingles twice in the last eighteen months; once on my back and the second time on my face.

…but, and it’s a big but, there are also days when I’ve been able to get through the night without too many nightmares or flashbacks and the tears aren’t lying just below the surface. On those days I can convince myself that things are okay, and I don’t need to be worried or afraid.

Last edited @ Dec 6, 2:14PM EST.
Dec 6, 9:10AM EST0

Who was more supportive of you in a difficult moment?

Dec 5, 5:29PM EST0

Dear Heidi,

This is an easy question – my husband! My husband is more supportive of me in difficult situations. He is my rock and I love him with all my heart. Even though he doesn’t get PTSD, he is incredibly supportive, and he is always there for me.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 7:19PM EST0

What genre is your book? Can I call her an autobiography?

Dec 5, 9:12AM EST0

Dear Anthony,

I wrote an autobiography, but I’m waiting for certain members of my family to pass before I publish it. I’ve been told that unless my abuse has been proven in a court of law, I can be sued for speaking up about it.

I’ve also been told that too much time has passed since my abuse and even though there were no other family members living in Canada back then, there are plenty now that have been told I’ve got Munchausen’s and it will be really hard to prove it.

The book I’m writing now is more of a guide for people that are living with PTSD.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 10:12AM EST0

Can you say that keeping your blog is a kind of a therapy for you?

Dec 5, 6:43AM EST0

Dear Ivy,

Absolutely! Writing is a huge part of the healing process for me and when I read back through all the blogs that I’ve written I can see how much I’m evolving and learning how to live with PTSD in a more productive way.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 10:05AM EST0

Do you have creative crises? How do you deal with this?

Dec 5, 6:34AM EST0

Dear Heenal,

Do I ever!! I’ve been living out of a suitcase for months and prior to that our house was for sale, so the interruptions to my creative process have been exponential!

I deal with it by cutting myself some slack and taking the time to get myself back on track. Living with PTSD is already stressful enough and beating myself up about not being able to write is totally counter-productive.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 10:01AM EST0

How do your children and grandchildren help you to cope with your illness?

Dec 5, 4:07AM EST0

Dear Ashley,

The biggest way that they help me with my PTSD, is accepting me for who I am, and my PTSD for what it is. They know that I’m doing my best to grow and evolve, plus they know that I will never “get over it.” They’ve dealt with it all of their lives and they understand that I’m working hard to learn how to cope with my symptoms better.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 9:56AM EST0

What is the reaction of your subscribers to your blog? Do you have to get negative ones?

Dec 5, 3:44AM EST0

Dear Ashley,

I don’t have a lot of subscribers, but if you mean my readers, it depends. Most of them are pretty positive, but if you look under the comments a year ago when I wrote “I’m Back and Stronger than Ever,” you’ll see some derogatory comments from people claiming to no longer be part of my family.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 9:43AM EST0

How much time per day do you spend on writing your book?

Dec 5, 3:27AM EST0

Dear Nikita,

Not as much as I should – lol! In fact, up until last week, I’d spent more time writing blogs, doing podcasts and connecting with social media than I had been writing, but I started back this week and I’m dedicating a couple of hours each day to it.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 9:39AM EST0

Is your disease curable? What kinds of therapy do you go through?

Dec 5, 2:43AM EST0

Dear Vivekdurgule97,

It’s actually not a disease, it’s a brain injury; in fact, multiple brain injuries that come to me in the form of traumas; child abuse, child sexual abuse, a couple of concussions, domestic violence and then being held up. It isn’t curable, but I’m learning to live with it. I’ve tried quite a few different therapies and the one that works the best for me is Trauma Incident Reduction and Unblocking Therapy. If you’d like to know more about, you can click on this link to read it: http://www.davinalytle.com/tir/

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 9:21AM EST0

How did you manage to hold in that ill-fated situation? What did you feel at that moment?

Dec 5, 12:58AM EST0

Dear Robert,

I’m honestly not sure how I got through that ill-fated situation because I believed in that moment that I was going to die, and I’m not sure I want to go down that road right now because I’m afraid I might trigger myself.

I wrote about it and had an article published in Moods Magazine a couple of years back, you can find it here: http://www.davinalytle.com/workplaceincident/

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 9:14AM EST0

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have a hobby?

Dec 4, 11:52PM EST0

Dear James,

Please look below, as I've already answered this question.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 11:04AM EST0

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have a hobby?

Dec 4, 11:01PM EST0

Dear Vivekdurgule97,

You’ve just reminded me that I don’t have any spare time – lol! I would really love to learn how to play the guitar, but something always gets in the way. I love to walk in nature, I love colouring, and I love sitting and playing cards with my husband, who is now retired.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 9:02AM EST0

What is the reaction of your subscribers to your blog? 

Dec 4, 10:56PM EST0

Dear Odonelleric,

I don’t have a lot of subscribers, but if you mean my readers, it depends. Most of them are pretty positive, but if you look under the comments a year ago when I wrote “I’m Back and Stronger than Ever,” you’ll see some derogatory comments from people claiming to no longer be part of my family.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 5, 9:00AM EST0

What is your dream? What have you already done to achieve what you want?

Dec 4, 10:11PM EST0

Dear Jesa,

Wow, talk about a profound question!

I truly want to end the stigma around mental illness/health. People like me struggle every single day to try and feel normal and I want to change that for the next generation. People need to know that you can’t walk off mental illness any better than you can a broken leg.

As far as what I have done to achieve that …I blog, I write, and I share what’s it like to survive with PTSD.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 4, 10:50PM EST0

How does your family feel about your idea of ​​writing a book? Do they support you?

Dec 4, 6:19PM EST0

Dear Kathryn,

It depends on what is considered family…

The only people I consider family are my husband, my children, their spouses, their children, a few cousins, and my chosen family; which are people that love me for who I am - unconditionally.

If you’re asking what they think; the people that love me unconditionally, they are behind me 100%! They KNOW me and have been around to see and hear how my family of origin feels and they are extremely proud of me for speaking out.

However, my family of origin, are different. They were never discretionary about how they felt about me, and they made sure that everyone, including my children, thought I had Munchausen’s; a mental illness. They, my family of origin, do not want me to write a book about what I remember growing up …so no they don’t support me.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 4, 10:43PM EST0

How long have you been blogging? How many subscribers does your blog have?

Dec 4, 4:24PM EST0

Hi Syed,

I’ve been blogging for just over two years and I've written over one hundred blogs during that time. I try to write weekly, but sometimes mental illness gets in the way, and I need to take a break.

Honestly, I only have about twenty-five subscribers, but I’ve had almost five thousand page views since this time last year, so I know there are a lot more than twenty-five people reading my blogs.

Thanks for asking.

Dec 4, 5:24PM EST0

How can cannabis help you? In what form do you use it?

Dec 4, 4:12PM EST0

Dear Elena,

I started researching cannabis about twelve years ago and it helps with so many ailments, but for now, we’ll just talk about PTSD. I use the flower (bud), as well as the oil, and I make sure it’s quite high in THC. I’ve found the higher the THC, the better it works for PTSD, which is a brain injury.

I smoke it during the day to help with things like anxiety, panic attacks, and depression and the results are instantaneous. It calms me down almost immediately and I’m able to talk myself down, so to speak.

At night I eat it. The results aren’t quite so immediate, as it takes about an hour to take hold, but it stays in my system and I’m able to sleep anywhere from five to seven hours - uninterrupted! I usually bake it into a brownie, but I’ve also mixed it in with melted chocolate. It has a very strong smell and flavour and I’ve found that chocolate helps to mask that flavour.

Thanks for asking.

Last edited @ Dec 5, 10:28AM EST.
Dec 4, 5:14PM EST0

When do you plan to finish your book? Will it be available electronically?

Dec 4, 3:54PM EST0

Hi Randy,

I had planned to have it finished last year, but I got a little off track. My husband and I have been living out of suitcases for months now and I’ve been struggling to try and keep my “shit” together. I’m hoping to get back on track and have it finished no later than the end of next year, but like I said, I’ve really been struggling. Yes, it will also be available electronically and I’m hoping to have it available in braille as well. Thanks for asking.

Dec 4, 4:57PM EST0

Have you already created a headline for your book? What will it be like?

Dec 4, 3:18PM EST0

Hi Bethany,

Yes, I have already created a title. It’s going to be called, “;I’m Still Here – A Survivor’s Guide to Living With PTSD,” and it’s going to be just like the title states; a book about all the idiosyncrasies of living with PTSD and how myself and other survivors, get through each day.  Thanks for asking.

Dec 4, 4:41PM EST0

Why did some family members abandon you? How much did it upset you?

Dec 4, 1:41PM EST1

Hi Ayanna,

I'm really not sure why some family members abandoned me, but I truly think it was because they didn't and still don’t want to hear the truth. I believe that if the child abuse got out, it would destroy the perfect little worlds they've created for themselves and that would be extremely distressing to a narcissist.

At first being abandoned really upset me, in fact, it was devastating. I’ve never done anything to hurt my family of origin and I didn’t and still don’t understand why they would abandon their own?!

I also couldn’t understand why they were spreading lies about me, and telling anyone that would ask; including my daughters, that I had Munchausen’s syndrome. In case you don’t know what Munchausen’s syndrome is, WebMD describes it as “a factitious disorder, a mental disorder in which a person repeatedly and deliberately acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she is not really sick.

Even if I did have Munchausen’s instead of PTSD, who would abandon a child when they’re sick, but that’s another story.

Telling everyone not to trust me was obviously to discredit me, and everything I said, but once I realized that it was all about them and it had nothing to do with me, I started to feel better about myself.

Thanks for asking!

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/munchausen-syndrome#1

Dec 4, 2:45PM EST0
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