Before and After the SGB Injection for PTSD | Navy Veteran Amber B. Share us her traumatic story.
My name is Amber, but I go by Nikki. I have always struggled with anxiety, but it was never in control of my life. I joined the Navy in 2008 as a Russian Linguist and made it through language school fairly unscathed and reported to my first duty station at Ft. Meade, Maryland. As I progressed through my time in the Navy, my anxiety got worse and worse. I noticed that I was waking up anxious in the mornings for seemingly no reason. Every weekend was spent anxiously awaiting Monday, because I thought I was in trouble. What for? I have no idea, but I was positive I was in trouble for something. Taking leave was even worse. I couldn’t even enjoy my time off work because my mind was just constantly telling me that I was going to get my ass chewed out the next time I went into work. This weird paranoia kept me at a fairly high state of anxiety constantly. It started to affect my sleep, which then affected my whole life.
My anxiety finally came to a head one day in 2015 while I was walking into work. I walked up the stairs and came around the corner and saw my co-worker lying on the ground. There was no one else in the hallway, and I actually laughed because I thought he was playing a joke. As I got closer, I saw that his eyes were covered in blood, and blood was spurting out of his nose and mouth. He was gurgling on the blood. I will never, ever forget that sound. Unfortunately, my co-worker had an aneurysm, and did not make it. The paramedics tried CPR and a defib. It was hard to watch, but I held his hand for as long as I could. During the whole thing, I was calm. It was almost like my body shut down and just gently glided through the event. Afterwards, I walked out of the building and met a friend for lunch. I didn’t eat. On the way back onto the NSA campus, I blacked out in my car. I drove through the security gate going about 75 miles an hour. I came to with my car surrounded by guards, guns drawn. Luckily, I explained what had just happened, and they waved me through. I promptly turned my car around and drove myself to behavioral health.
Through the next few years, my anxiety, and now guilt and PTSD symptoms, continued to worsen. I was put on several different medications, I was enrolled in Intensive Outpatient Treatment, and I was even given Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for my anxiety. Nothing seemed to work. I was eventually medically retired in 2017 because of my anxiety and depression. It was an extremely difficult transition, but I kept up with my care and tried to keep my life together. On August 18th, 2018, the day of my college indoc, my grandmother called me. My mom had passed away from an accidental overdose. She had been battling Lupus for many years, and she had started to use her pain medication a little more freely. I was crushed. My mom was my best friend. She was a single parent most of my life and had become a very important support system.
After losing her, my life spiraled out of control. I became an anxious mess. I was forgetting chunks of the day; I was forgetting phrases and names. I was dropping things left and right. I started using my boyfriend as my sole support system. I was worrying about everything to the point of obsession. My boyfriend slowly started to pull away from me, due to his own issues and my overbearing anxiety. On August 20th, 2019, exactly two days after the anniversary of my mom’s death, he left me. I lost it. I ended up in a behavioral health hospital on a 72-hour suicide hold.
After I came home, I couldn’t hold it together. I had to medically withdraw from school. I had to sell my house. Everything in my life was falling apart. One night, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I dumped about 60 sleeping pills in my hand, got a glass of water, and sat down on my couch. I looked at the pills and looked at my animals and realized I would need to put down extra food for them, so if it took them a while to find me, the animals would be okay. Thinking about leaving my animals hurt me more than I thought it would, so I put the pills back in the bottle, and began reaching out to people for help.
I contacted Military Muscle Foundation and told them I was in a bad place and really, really needed help. Almost immediately, Jenn reached out to me and I told her everything that has happened. The next day, she told me about the Stellate Ganglion Nerve Block Injection. It sounded too good to be true. She told me that it could stop my symptoms of PTSD and anxiety in their tracks. She told me MMF would be willing to fly me to Florida to meet the doctors of the PTSD Group and that they would pay for my injection. I was stunned. I was also extremely nervous.
When I arrived at the clinic, the Doctors of PTSD Group were amazing. They were kind, and attentive. They set me up on the table and my heart rate and blood pressure were through the roof. Dr. Jesse explained the procedure and began numbing my neck. I received the first injection, and though I experienced a little relief, it wasn’t what they were looking for. They administered the second block, and within about three seconds it felt like someone lifted a huge boulder off my chest. The evening after the block, I felt like I was walking on air. I felt like I could finally breathe for the first time in a very long time. I had no issues with obsessive thoughts, no panic, no worry. I still had all the same thought patterns, but I was able to easily move through them and focus on the good things. Even food tasted better!
It has been one week since my block, and I can’t believe how amazing I feel. I am more productive than I ever have been. My house is clean, I’m clean, I feel good every single morning. There is no more waking up with a pounding chest and racing thoughts. My mind is clear. There are no more forgetting things, no more randomly dropping things because I am shaking so badly. It’s like I have been given a whole new life. I am so incredibly stunned. I owe my new life to Military Muscle Foundation and The PTSD Group. I feel like I have been given a second chance at life, and I am so grateful. Thank you for saving my life.Nikki
To watch the her story Click below https://youtu.be/pUn4sX3qiRc