May 12, 2021 at 10:36 am #30070
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This month, I decided to write about some traumatic hospitalizations that caused some PTSD.
I hope that by sharing my struggles with my PTSD and anxiety, others will open up and talk about their struggles.
This year, the slogan is ” You are not alone,” so true. Here, you are never alone.
Give my column a read and let’s talk about mental health.
Do you or your loved ones struggle with similar PTSD? Please share your experience with us here.
May 12, 2021 at 3:54 pm #30076
@jenc this column was very powerful! For some reason when I read the room number you mention in the article my heart starts racing too. It sounds like the story line for a horror movie!
I think it’s just that I can really understand how being close to that room toyed with your mind. I’ve had similar experiences. For example, at one of Cullen’s pediatric clinics you can walk a path through a rose garden to get to get from one building to another. Cullen was in really bad shape one day and collapsed onto a bench there and insisted he could not walk any further. I had to call his doctor and ask for a nurse to come out with a wheel chair.
From that point on, every time we passed that bench in the future I experience PTSD. Sometimes I would catch myself holding my breath as I passed it. I asked Cullen if it triggered him at all and he said he just tries not to think about it.
May 13, 2021 at 12:32 pm #30093
Wow, thanks for sharing that story, @colleensteele. I hate that you have PTSD but know you are not alone.
I find it interesting that it doe not really bother Cullen. Maybe it is his resilience because he was so young? Despite the reason, I am grateful that he can just not think about it and does OK.
PTSD is serious and sucks! There are so many reasons people have PTSD, and their symptoms are often similar.
That must be awful passing that each time. We have a healing garden where I go, I only remember once going, and I was not fully oriented, so I tend not to want to even go near there. Our minds will play games with us, and we must stay prepared. Do you have anything that helps you prepare better
Big hugs to you…
May 13, 2021 at 2:33 pm #30100Jill UpshawParticipant
This is funny for a serious subject like PTSD which is very real and nothing funny about it but I just have to share this. I was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I don’t live there but I still have family in the area. I was born in Southeast Hospital and later worked as a nurse there for several years. They built another new wing and created a memory garden. It is for those who have passed and in honor of those still here. Well, that was about 20 years ago. My mother bought a engraved brick in honor of me and had it put in the garden. Well, she wanted me to see it and I laughed out loud. They had put my brick in the deceased section right between 2 people that I had worked with who had both passed. People would see me in the hallways and look kind of strange at me. I actually had to tell people – yes, I am still here. My mother was going to have it moved and I told her not to complain. I was between two friends and some day it will be accurate.
May 14, 2021 at 4:18 pm #30133
Hi @upshtcx, I had to laugh, and laughter is good for us. Thanks for sharing. I can only begin to imagine the faces of those seeing you walk the halls.
I think that your mom was trying to honor you. Sadly, the brick fell into the wrong spot. But it sounds like you were fine with it because you were between two friends.
Thanks for sharing this funny. I know your mom must have felt so bad after she noticed what happened.
Are you a retired nurse now? You probably have told me before, but I forget with my CRS, hehe.
May 13, 2021 at 2:45 pm #30102
Excellent article, @jenc! I had PTSD big time from my son having PH. Even after the surgery saved his life, and he was able to come off oxygen and three PH medications, for about a year, I would still keep expecting to get “the call” that he had passed. It affected my blood pressure, my heart rate, my ability to sleep — everything about me. There was no rational reason for that fear or the thoughts that kept running through my mind, but I couldn’t turn them off.
Funny story — the PTSD stopped after an accident where I (as a pedestrian) was hit by a truck. It got worse at first, and then my health coach recommended meditation. She recommended Head Space, and after a few weeks of that, the PTSD for everything went away. I recommend either headspace.com or calm.com for those who are having trouble, but there are other programs that could also work. I wish I’d found it quicker.
May 14, 2021 at 4:23 pm #30134
Wow, @mamabear007, I am so sorry that you live in panic for years. As a mom, I can understand. I freak out when my daughter gets the flu, so I can only imagine how bad this PTSD was for you.
I am still trying to grasp that you were hit by a truck. Wow, you are one amazing woman. Did you suffer lots of injuries after that?
I do appreciate the positive experience with Headspace and Calm. I have heard of another PHriend use Calm, and she said it made a world of difference for her anxiety.
I enjoy learning what works for some. You are truly a joy to have, and thanks for your support and for sharing your experiences.
May 14, 2021 at 5:34 pm #30142
Thank you, @jenc. I haven’t had any serious injuries since then.
The worst of my injuries happened when I was a kid. My sister told me about it, and an MRI confirmed the injury (and time frame), so I have no reason to doubt her. That physical pain from that one will likely stay with me my life (and is likely the reason for my degenerative disc disease). It’s a blessing I can’t remember it.
May 16, 2021 at 10:36 am #30146
Hi @mamabear007, I am sorry to hear of your injury as a kid. Thankfully, you have no recollection of the event. I can only imagine how your pain is because I have some degenerative disc disease, too.
The resilience that we have as kids always amaze me. In your case, this is a blessing, too.
I hope that you are enjoying your weekend.
May 17, 2021 at 3:09 pm #30167
May 13, 2021 at 2:53 pm #30106
@mamabear007 thank you for sharing your positive experience with headspace and calm. I am definitely going to look into those. But, let’s back up a bit…you were hit by a truck as a pedestrian?! I would definitely struggle with PTSD after an accident like that. May I ask if you were seriously injured?
I too am the queen of irrational thinking and I am familiar with worrying about “the call” not just in regard to Cullen but his brother too. I’m always worrying that as focused as we have been on Cullen’s health, something could also happen to Aidan.
So programs really made a difference for you? Do you still sometimes catch yourself daydreaming about the worse case scenario or have you been liberated from that?
May 13, 2021 at 3:04 pm #30110
Thank you for asking @colleensteele. Thankfully, it was in a parking lot, and the driver of the truck backed up without looking. She stopped as soon as she felt the thump, so she didn’t drive over me, but I was knocked on the ground, and I got blood on my dress and shoes — no biggie, just inconvenient. I had some back and neck pain for quite awhile, and her insurance covered the chiropractor. Any residual pain that I now experience is more likely a result of me getting old and having degenerative disk disease.
After the first couple weeks on Head Space “cured” me, I would find myself daydreaming about worst case scenario. I did Head Space for another month or two. After that, whenever I started feeling my pulse race or having trouble sleeping, I’d do it some more. This happened about three years ago, and I haven’t had any trouble. When I do get stressed about something else, I run through the meditation routine and I’m right as rain again.
May 14, 2021 at 12:12 pm #30119
@mamabear007 I’m so sorry that happened to you! Geez, glad the woman stopped when she heard a thud! I had a close call years ago. I dropped my kids off at school and was hurrying to my car. It was very cold out but no ice on the ground, or so I thought. I slid on black ice and broke my ankle in 3 places. I was in agony and practically under the back of a parked car that had it’s engine running. I banged on the the car warning the dad in the drivers seat so he wouldn’t back over me. The memory of that fear still lingers with me a bit.
I’m very curious about Head Space since it worked so well for you. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about it!
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Colleen Steele.
May 14, 2021 at 1:37 pm #30128
Oh @colleensteele, that sounds terrifying! I’m glad the guy didn’t back up after you banged on his car. I believe Head Space can help with that. It taught me how to focus on how every part of me feels during the meditation, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. It encourages me to notice when my body feels calm and relaxed vs. tense, plus the other sensations like heat or cold (and even the feeling of my feet on the carpet or floor). Focusing on those things, keeps my brain busy concentrating on those feelings instead of the concerns of the day, and when the session is done, I found myself focusing on that more than the concerns. This isn’t to say that I wasn’t able to concentrate on chores that needed done (like dealing with the medical personnel, their billing departments and the insurance companies — mine was involved as well, and would’ve covered my medical bills if her insurance hadn’t). In fact, it kept me focused more — so I could take the actions that I needed to take without it stressing me out. It’s strange how focusing on something else can help me concentrate on the task at hand, but it did.
I was lucky in that the business had security cameras outside and caught the entire thing on video. It didn’t make any difference in the woman and her insurance company taking responsibility, but because I didn’t even know it happened until I was laying on the ground, I didn’t know exactly what had happened. The guy from the credit union who dubbed the footage to a CD for me had said described it as a violent fall. After watching it, I knew exactly what happened, and that helped too. Not knowing was the worst.
May 14, 2021 at 4:30 pm #30135
I would be nervous about getting out and walk on the ice or even in a parking lot for some time after that. That must have caused some PTSD and anxiety, too.
I love the Calm commercials on TV. I am known to tell Manny it’s calm time, LOL.
Thank you both for sharing such a terrifying accident.
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