Yes, I am talking about the same PTSD that soldiers experience. No, you don’t have to be shot at to experience PTSD. After many long talks with my friends who also have MS/jpouches/UC/other I have found that many of us are experiencing PTSD as it relates to chronic illnesses. Again…shocking NO ONE in the medical field has even mentioned it or bothered to semi-prepare me/us for it. I have been doing some mild research on PTSD and chronic illness and it turns out..WE’RE NOT BAT SHIT CRAZY! It is a totally real thing…and yes…that is exactly what I have been dealing with. My PTSD is nothing like how they show it in the movies. I don’t wake up in cold sweats reliving battle scenes, but I have developed a very high level of anxiety. And even further beyond that, not just anxiety but a genuine fear of things going wrong. Anything going wrong. It started just in regards to my health again, before doctors appointments and such, but now its slowly creeping into my daily life. It feels like my chest gets heavy, my mind starts to race, I get very overwhelmed…and then I want to cry. There is a lot of fear involved about my medical state (even though its fine).
It is almost like when you’re in the midst of severe sickness, and you’re living it day to day, you don’t have a chance to really think
about it or deal with it. Then once you’re in the clear, and leading a normal life again, when you think about where you’ve come from…its terrifying. I don’t want to live that again. That’s where the fear comes in. Day to day, I’m totally fine, but when certain topics pop up or if I’m really anticipating something, I can feel myself get super anxious. After much thought and consideration, I decided to get an anti-anxiety pill. I am now the proud owner of Xanax. Well not really yet, its still at the pharmacy, but I’m gonna go get it.
Anyway, the more that I discuss this with other chronic illness people, the more I realize many of us experience this. Some have it more severe, some don’t even identify with it. During my readings I’ve found a lot of great points and quotes that I want to share with you.
“Medical and surgical events appear sufficiently stressful to precipitate PTSD sequella or to exacerbate maladaptive coping among PTSD patients. As noted above, a particular traumatic event is not always the cause of PTSD, but merely the precipitating trigger to preexistent co-morbid risks for the disorder. While not wishing to label everyone the “victim” of PTSD or to contribute to the “epidemic of stress”, it is becoming clear that the number of potentially traumatizing experiences individuals endure seem to be increasing in terms of manifesting symptomatology consistent with PTSD.”
This next quote was a big one for me. I always thought of my take down as a really positive experience and I was so happy when it finally came. However in the 3 or 4 months post take down, I’ve developed some serious fear. Fear that made me too afraid to call my surgeon just to ask questions…afraid of what the out come would be.
“Some medical events are known to be traumatic and at the same time are expected to have a positive outcome. Yet, the positivity of the expected outcome may not be sufficient to overcome the trauma of the procedures in organ transplantation, coronary artery bypass surgery and other invasive life preserving surgeries;…”
These quotes are from the article I have listed below. It is one of the better articles I have found, but it is in a scholarly journal. If you have access to an academic library you can access it from your library. If you don’t…eh let me know…I might get it to you…in a totally not illegal way.
I’m not saying this is something to expect, or something you WILL experience, but more that it could happen. Its a real thing and your medical team might not even mention it. I do feel like I’m a guinea pig for you guys, because I always seem to experience the unexpected.