Monday, June 17, 2013

PTSD Flare Ups (My Story)

Originally published October 19, 2011 on the old blog
Please know that it's been over a year and half since this post and I have healed now :-)

PTSD flare ups are terrible, but I'm dealing with it. My son is dealing with it in a different way. Tomorrow will be his hardest day. This whole week has been my hardest. Sometimes, when a person thinks they've made huge leaps and strides in progress, there are still flare ups. Someone with PTSD knows they have come a long way in their progress if they can talk about it. It doesn't mean the event is not as traumatic, but it does mean the brain has accepted a new neurological path to deal with it. The new path could be better or worse
What can trigger a flare up?
It could be the weather. 2 years ago today, it was raining on this same day, Oct 19th.
It could be a song on the radio that was playing, or something on TV, a smell, or anything really.

What occurs during a flare up?
Many of the same emotions associated with the traumatic event are experienced again in the mind.
Mine is anger.

What does a person with PTSD do during a flare up?
Each person experiences PTSD in different ways. Therefore each persons reaction during a flare up could vary drastically.
I close the door on the world, crawl into bed with my boys, & just exist. That worked in the past, but now that they are older, it's not cool to huddle round mom. I'm supposed to huddle round them. So...I will. I think I'll take my anger out on the zombies in their video games. 

Why experience anger? Why not depression or sadness?
Anger is an emotion that can be released during a sense of loss, hopelessness, helplessness, or could be a reaction to others misunderstanding of the circumstance.
I am going to lay my anger out in hopes that it may benefit someone else dealing with PTSD. Dealing with anger is healthy. Facing it head on is better. Holding it back, repressing it, or just rushing it to the back of your mind is what becomes detrimental to your health. What you read below I've undergone therapy for and do not have the rage now that I once did. This is the "I'm just angry/miffed" version with ALL rage behind me now (thank God).
I'm angry at the surgeon for removing a large unidentified mass from Nick's body in June 2009 during a simple umbilical hernia surgery...and NOT telling us about it.
I'm angry because that @ss could have biopsied the mass THEN, but DIDN'T tell us about removing it, that it was present or that he listed in the medical chart it had to be cut out from its existing mass.
I'm angry because this surgeon, Dr Kent, was so highly recommended by our primary care Dr (which I love and trust deeply) was a Jerkoff when he told us Nick had cancer.
I'm angry because that sh1t face little man couldn't face us with dignity and break the news to us....he processed us like just another number. "Hello Mr. & Mrs. Bruner. How ya doin? Test results are back and yeah, you have cancer. Sorry bout that."
I'm angry that I worried about my job so badly, I organized family to come from miles away to sit with him a few hours a day so I could work.
I'm angry that I worked long hours and extra days for too long and lost so such of the small amount of time I had with him.
I'm angry that I had enough dumb luck to reach a brand new employee at Knoxville 911 when I called for help!
I'm angry that the new employee said, "Ma'am if you want me to help you, you are going to have to go somewhere quiet so I can hear you."  I yelled back, "THAT'S HIM! HE'S MAKING THAT NOISE! HE'S TRYING TO BREATH! PLEASE HELP ME!"
I'm angry that the untrained employee at Knoxville 911 couldn't help me because he was looking up a script to read to me.
I'm angry I had to say my address 20 times and then finally throw the phone to my oldest son. "Talk to this idiot", I said.
I'm angry this affected my oldest son. I'm angry he had to help me lower his father to the floor so I could do CPR.
I'm angry because the fine outstanding folks at Rural/Metro Of East Tennessee took over 30 minutes to show up.
I'm angry that when they finally made their appearance, they drug their feet, moved slowly, and didn't even attempt to recesitat Nick for 10 minutes after they got here.
I'm angry that they had no professionalism in the least!
I'm angry that the "investigation" of the incident by Rural/Metro Of East Tennessee was swept under the rug and dropped with no answers, no replies, nothing.
I'm angry that my children cleaned up the materials left behind by the Rural/Metro Of East Tennessee workers. Why did my children have to touch needles? I don't remember what I was doing when they cleaned all that up or where I was.
I'm angry that the employees from Rural/Metro Of East Tennessee that were in my home, drug Nick on the floor by his feet. I'm angry that they strapped him on a gernie, took him out the door, loaded him in the ambulance and did not answer my question UNTIL I smacked one of them on the back of the head. "Where are you takings my husband?"
I'm angry that the stupid chaplain at St. Mary's Hospital wouldn't GO AWAY. I told him nicely I knew his job, had performed it before myself, but that it would be better if he just left me alone. He followed me, followed me, followed me....until I screamed "I'M NOT CATHOLIC. GO AWAY LITTLE MAN!"  That, I have always felt bad for. I know he just wanted to help, but I asked him several times to just leave me be :-(
I'm angry that I still carry this anger!!!!

I share this, my anger associated with my PTSD, with you bravely.  I am on a recovery track. Talking about what traumatized the victim is part 1. If you are experiencing PTSD, don't be afraid to talk about it. It's all part of PTSD flare ups.

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