Something that really sends my anxiety an PTSD related symptoms into overdrive is the thought of an upcoming surgery when one is scheduled. Prior to receiving therapy, I used to think about the possibility of surgery almost daily. Now, I have just experienced an increase an anxiety weeks before I KNOW a surgery is going to happen. This seems “normal” for anyone, but it is difficult to get through especially when surgery is something that is so high risk for those with PH.
The “what if” scenarios that I create in my head when thinking about a surgery, makes me panic. My mind can easily jump to the worst case scenarios. I wander to negative thoughts about surgeries, hospital admissions, and procedures in the past that have gone wrong instead of focusing on more ways they went right. Although a surgery is extremely stressful and anxiety provoking, I have learned some tricks to help calm my racing thoughts.
When thinking about what to do to calm my mind, I think about I would give to others about how to manage anxious thoughts. My top advice to others would be to (1) make sure to reach out for support and ask for help. (2) Write down and questions, concerns, or comments, beforehand to avoiding having to remember this the day of the surgery. (3) Take advantage of positive distractions. I like reading, writing, watching my favorite show or movie and hanging out with friends. (4) Be open about fears and worries and don’t hold this inside. (5) Focus on the ways a surgery can go right and the positive benefits afterwards.
Do you find yourself overly anxious before a surgery? What advice would you give to yourself and others to help ease anxiety? What would you add to my top 5 list? Share your comments here!
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