getting over things

This post really isn't about physical recovery but more about emotional recovery, I have had 3 ITU admissions in the past 2 months for my asthma, one of them was particularly intense and has left me feeling more than a little shaken. I have flash backs, bad dreams, intense memories of the situation and sometimes it feels as though I am reliving it...I have sort help from my GP and have a referral to speak to someone but not until the middle of November, I am now really struggling to get on with everyday life, I become distracted I am exhausted physically and emotionally and feel like the roller coaster ride will never end. I am also faced with the prospect that my asthma will deteriorate rapidly again and I will need to go back to the hospital again, I am not being pessimistic I have had this condition for 19 years since I was a teenager so I know its rhythms and quirks and I know it will happen again. In the past I have coped well with ITU admissions but this time it seems totally overwhelming...any ideas as to how to move on and get on with things would be greatfully received...thank you

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  • Sorry to hear you're having a bad patch at the moment. My asthma isn't on the same level, but I have had similar issues with flashbacks and worry after bad experiences. Time seems to fix it - you will probably need lots of time and rest to get over three bad attacks so close together. If you think talking to someone will help, you could look into whether your lea has a counselling service. I have used mine before, and got an appointment very quickly. They offered six sessions and you could talk about anything, not just work related stuff. If your gp is good can you keep going to see them regularly? Mine makes me go regularly when I'm having issues and just having a chat or sometimes a cry really helps. Have you tried writing down how you are felling? This also helps me to forget about things that have been bothering me.

  • I am also faced with the prospect that my asthma will deteriorate rapidly again and I will need to go back to the hospital again, I am not being pessimistic I have had this condition for 19 years since I was a teenager so I know its rhythms and quirks and I know it will happen again. In the past I have coped well with ITU admissions but this time it seems totally overwhelming...any ideas as to how to move on and get on with things would be greatfully received...thank you

    Gentle self care. Be very kind to yourself.

    So sorry you are struggling with this.

    Time can help and often does, but in the meantime you need to be especially kind to yourself.

    Based on my personal experience as a trauma survivor and with the many trauma survivors I know (mostly survivors of violent crimes, but also some friends with health related PTSD):

    Some things that can help with flashback, anxiety, strong emotions related to ICU

    * any physical sensations that brings the present into more focus:

    - wrapping yourself in a warm blanket

    - asking someone to sit with you and just be near

    - being held/hugged by friends/partner - if that is comforting to you

    - nursing a cup of hot cocoa, tea, or coffee (the warmth on the hands is as important as the drink)

    - some people find good smells such as a favorite perfume help: but obviously not a good idea if that is going to trigger a flare, but if there are non-triggering smells...

    - sitting on a comfortable chair with feet firmly on ground - literally grounding yourself

    * relaxation exercises: you can google for different suggestions and then experiment with what works for you: try the key words ""progressive relaxation"" for a starter

    * self-talk:

    - ""that was then, this is now"" - actively reminding yourself that the flood of emotions and memory is coming from the past not the present

    - ""make like a beach"" - much of what you are experiencing re flashbacks is physiological and will eventually pass - and you will remain safe and ok, much like the beach which stays put for eons even though waves come and go, crash and retreat.

    - reminding yourself that what is happening is a neurochemical process - you aren't crazy and you aren't ""overreacting"": when there is enough physical/emotional trauma, whatever the cause - and a life threatening ICU admission certainly counts as traumatic and life threatening - the limbic system can sometimes start misfiring on present-day cues and can cause all of the emotional symptoms you described: distraction, flashbacks, emotional exhaution and many you didn't mention: anxiety out of the blue not related to what is actually happening now, worry about the future (including reasonable worry - the problem for many is the emotional energy consumed by the worry, not that the worry itself is unreasonable). dana.org/news/brainhealth/d... has a good discussion of the neurochmical aspects of trauma reactions, but also google around for ""limbic system"" and ""trauma"". THe link I just gave is aimed more at survivors of violence and disaster, but the neurochemical processes are the same regardless of whether the life threatening event is violence, disaster, or health related.

    - any other self-talk that you can come up with and find helpful: some questions to ask when you are feeling more or less relaxed: what fears and feelings go through your head when you are feeling distracted, emotionally exhausted, have flashbacks, etc.? What thoughts can you substitute that are both realistic and calming? What happens when you are stressed, does thinking these alternative thoughts help? - it may take some experimentation and creativity to come up with things that you find comforting, but also honest.

    Longer term: I think it is really important to honor the root issue here: that you have faced some high risk experiences and have a reasonable probability of having to do so in the future. Everyone who has faced such extreme circumstances has to make their own peace with it, whether the cause is health, accident, or violence. There are many ways to do it: journalling, artistic self-expression, counselling, or talking things out in your mind or with a friend.. Whatever you do though, I think it is important to take the time to do because it will give you a sense of peace, no matter what happens. That sense of peace may not fully counter the biological processes that cause flashbacks, etc, but it will give you an extremely important tool to help you weather them through.

    Hoping you feel better soon.

  • Thank you for you replies...have tried a few of the suggestions am going to chase up counselling. Spookymilo my lea does do counselling...had never thought about using, but it certainly may be a way forward

  • Honey, a therapy called EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) is very good for PTSD/trauma type issues - and its much faster than traditional counselling which relies on lots of talking and can at times retraumatise people. EMDR is now also recommended by NICE for PTSD/trauma.

    nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/C...

    On a personal level, I have had EMDR, and just three sessions made a huge difference.

  • That sounds very interesting...there is a concern that the counselling route could make things worse and the psychologist wanted to get more advice because it is a situation I will face again, and she doesn't want to make things worse.

    I will look it up, thank you

  • That sounds very interesting...there is a concern that the counselling route could make things worse and the psychologist wanted to get more advice because it is a situation I will face again, and she doesn't want to make things worse.

    I will look it up, thank you

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