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    • #12951
      Brittany Foster
      Keymaster

      PTSD is something that has been a part of my life for 27 years and has shown up in different ways. In the chronic illness community and PH community, I feel less alone with my thoughts related to this mental illness. With undergoing numerous surgeries, traumatic hospital experiences, health scares, and all the physical and mental struggles that go along with having a chronic illness, it’s no surprise that I have developed PTSD as a result.

      Lately, PTSD has led me to experience a lot of avoidance around hospitalizations. After coming back from my cruise, as amazing as it was, I have struggled with awful vertigo and stomach problems due to nausea and diarrhea. I was advised to go to the hospital on Friday to receive fluids, but just the word “hospital” seemed to send me into a panic. My rational mind was clouded by my PTSD thoughts and I felt content with my decision to avoid the hospital at all costs.

      This isn’t the first time that this has happened and been a dilemma for me. In the past, I have made lists with my therapists regarding what qualifies as “needing the hospital” in order to refer back to this when I am experiencing avoidance behaviors. Just this morning I made sure to alert my doctors that I avoided the hospital on Friday and will be seeing a specialist today to evaluate my need for the hospital.

      Wanting to avoid things like doctors appointments, hospital trips, urgent care, etc is something that others in the chronic illness community and PH community have experienced. It’s important for me to realize that there is a huge difference between “wanting” to avoid these things vs “acting” on that emotional feeling.

      Do you also manage PTSD? Have you experienced avoidance behaviors and avoidance thoughts? What can you do to keep you from acting on these thoughts?

    • #12965
      Terry D. Blissett
      Participant

      Oh my gosh yes! I thought I was the only one dealing with this. Sadly my current bout with PH stemmed from being assaulted by a student while at work. As a result, I am now suffering from PTSD and become very symptomatic when trying to return to work. I literally become physically unable to make myself enter the building. It’s frustrating and embarrassing. I have a therapist who is working with me on this. The PTSD did not occur until after the Pulmonary Embolism. I feel like the Pulmonary Embolism caused some sort of physiological damage and now my body seems to be in a perpetual panic or PTSD mode. If anybody has any PTSD experience like this after having a PE please HELP! Let me hear your stories!

      • #12969
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Hi Terry,
        I’m sorry that you experienced that with work. That must be so difficult. Have you returned to work since or are you out on a leave? I am glad that you are working with a therapist. I have been seeing a therapist for the past seven years and once I have recognized many of my actions as PTSD related it all started to make sense. I like being able to talk about the reasons “why” I am the way I am. After going through multiple traumatic surgeries and emergency room trips, both PH related an not, I can tell you from my own experience that there is such a strong mind and body connection. If the body is feeling stressed, painful, out of your control, then the mind will begin to follow what the body is telling it. When my body is tense, my mind and thoughts are tense (if that makes sense). It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that with such a difficult experience for you physically, you are mentally dealing with a lot of pain too. Body memory is a real thing! For me, it triggers emotions and thoughts that I was experiencing that day when I have something like chest pain or pain near my incisions. Trauma is so hard. I would definitely recommend bringing up that connection with your therapist and whenever you have an insight to something, write it down and don’t be afraid to share it either with your therapist or a group like this. As much as I hate that we are all going through this, it’s nice to know we are not alone.

    • #12970
      Terry D. Blissett
      Participant

      I definitely told him about the physiological connection I’m feeling. It feels like my body (lungs and heart) are chemically or physiologically scarred. I feel like I’m traumatized in my body as well as in my mind.

      They found residual damage during my VQ Scan. Strangely, I felt it was there all along. Just couldn’t prove it. With the pulmonary angiogram, I will find out to what degree it is damages.

      I am still off work on assault leave. I am still receiving my full pay as a result. I am doing my best to rest and also exercise my way back to health. But is I have scarring and blockage, I’m not sure if I’m doing more damage than benefit. I figure ultimately any exercise that I can do without shortness of breath is better than nothing. Thanks again for sharing your PTSD experience. Did your therapist say if there is a cure to your PTSD?

      • #12973
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Hi Terry,
        I hope that they can find more information with the other test you will be getting and I’m glad they were at least able to pick up on something that they can look further into. It is so scary when we are unsure of how to explain what is going on with us and in my opinion it is better when we are given some type of explanation for why we are feeling the way we do to make more sense of it ourselves. PTSD is something that I probably will be living with for the rest of my life because a lot of these medical conditions aren’t going away. It has gotten a lot easier over the years of therapy to make adjustments and advocate for myself in a way that makes me PTSD less. The therapists work with you on how to manage your life with PTSD and how to separate feelings and emotions from reality. Certain skills can be taught in therapy like journaling, facing fears, cognitive behavior therapy, etc to help work through the trauma. There certainly can be a life after trauma, it’s just up to us to learn the skills to do that ! 🙂

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