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Flashback to being blue lighted to hospital

Westie2012 profile image

I had to see my gp today , just a viral infection but I feel pretty worn out , anyway I was sitting waiting to be seen when one of the other drs walked past me, after she’d gone past a few minutes later I had a flashback to Christmas Eve last year , unknown to myself I was seriously unwell with pericarditis and an effusion , she only checked my pulse , said she was going to call an ambulance , called my husband in to sit with me , told him to shout for help if he needed to and rushed off. Sitting there today waiting it felt as if it was Christmas Eve and I knew what was going to happen. I wanted to just walk out of the surgery as I feared being told I needed to go to hospital . The experience in hospital was very traumatic , I had three emergency admissions to coronary care in December ,after having a pacemaker that caused pericarditis , I spent almost three weeks in all on CCU . I try not to think about what happened but it’s all still so clear in my mind . I try to talk to hubby but he just tells me to forget it , I try to but it’s not that easy for me. I think that’s his way of dealing with it . Thank you to anyone who takes their time to read this x

24 Replies

I'm very sorry your upsetting time in hospital is preying on your mind.

It sounds as if you could be suffering from a sort of Post Traumatic Stress disorder, which must be very distressing for you.

Could you talk to your GP & ask if there's a specialist nurse in your practice who you could talk to, or if not, ask him to refer you to someone to help you.?

Hello :-)

I am so sorry what you went through and I totally understand having flashbacks as I get them to and they are so real when you do

I think you like someone else has said could have PTSD and no you cannot just forget it when you do if only it were that easy we would

I wonder if you could be referred either to a phycologist or maybe for some kind of therapy if you have an understanding Doctor I am sure they would make a referral for you even though the waiting list depending where you are can be sometimes a wait but would be worth it :-)

You are not alone though in feeling this way but I hope you can work through it :-) x

I wonder if your husband has the right idea. If we talk about our ongoing issues then does it just ramp up our concerns. I was getting bad dreams. And I learnt not to even think about them when I woke up.

Just a thought.

And yes I read posts on the off chance I might be able to offer a little wisdom.

Best wishes


I agree that it sounds as if you should seek some counselling. Talk to your GP.

I can totally understand how you feel ,I could never get past the fact that one day my life was normal then the next it was changed forever. It's easy for other people to say just forget about it or get over it,if only it was that simple! PTSD has been suggested to me on a few occasions. I hope you can get some help ❤

Following my HA I was given an appointment with a Councillor to discuss the events. Apparently its very common to suffer with PTSD after such a major event.

Hi I can totally sympathise with you I have a flashback a lot to theatre lights flashing on its so bright and scary it can just happen at anytime, I try not to dwell on it but it just keeps happening, I don't know anyone else that has been through major surgery that would understand the trauma it causes not just physical but with mental health as well, wishing you well and I hope maybe your gp could refer you to someone that can help, take care char

PTSD can happen to anyone who has been through a life-threatening situation and you certainly have been through that, it's no wonder you are having flashbacks. Your husband is trying to be helpful but the best thing for PTSD is talking about the event and aftermath, not pushing it away/aside/down deep.

There are websites that guide people through coping with PTSD including many with associated forums for online 'group therapy' and there are self-guided workbooks as well.

One of the best therapy techniques out there is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and there are websites and self-guided books for that if you can't get your GP to refer you for CBT.

ETA: meanwhile try writing down what you're feeling/remembering - every time the need to talk arises, use a notebook to write it all. Don't worry about grammar or any other composition related 'rules' - just grab a good flowing ink pen and your notebook and write. It helps. A lot. If you do end up speaking with a counsellor, being able to show her/him your notebooks will be very helpful sorting through your particular situation.

Hi Westie2012

This sounds very traumatic. It will have stayed with you.

The brain is a complex organ and needs to be looked after too. I’m sorry but being asked to forget it does not work.

Have you tried writing it all down.

I’m in the process of going back over the last 18 months and doing a journal .

I did write dates and events down on a notepad at the times but now it’s a longer story with thoughts and views on what happened.

I find it cathartic.

Give it a go then it’s not spoken out, it’s thought through by you alone.

It’s your story.


I think it takes time to come to terms with such a traumatic event and would speak to your GP about how you feel. There is also information on the BHF website giving advice on mental health and emotions which you could look at and this may be of help. I find meditation and mindfulness very helpful myself.Your feelings are totally understandable, the effect on our mental and emotional health after such a traumatic experience can be underestimated and you need some extra support and help to get over this.

Sending you a virtual hug 🤗


So sorry you have this going on, I had open heart surgery 5 years ago and still on occasion for no reason a flash back of me laying on a trolley with a very smiley face looking at me telling me the Anaesthetist that I had meet the day before couldn’t do my op he had been called out to an emergency overnight so if it was ok with me he was going to take really good care of me. Why this keeps happening I have no idea but sometimes it pulls me up and makes me shiver.

Hope you can get some help to overcome these flashbacks,

Best wishes Pauline

Speak to your GP. Similar thing happened to me I just felt a bit breathless when I went to see the GP, next thing I knew an ambulance was there for me. Also my husband was discharged from hospital. 24 hours later I was taking him a cup of tea as he was in bed and he had died very suddenly from SCD. Both incidents caused me awful post traumatic stress but my GP was amazing. Please ask for help.

Hi Westie, so sorry to hear this. I had a SCA at home 7 years ago. I spent 9 days on a ventilator in ICU and a month in coronary care at Blackpool hospital. After I came out I thought all was great. 3 years ago I was blue lighted to Blackburn hospital, while I was there I was told I was being transferred to Blackpool. I totally went to pieces. While I was there I was diagnosed with PTSD. When I got out I did CBT and then EMDR therapy. This has really helped me. It may be worth looking into. Take care. You will get there x

I still can't talk to anyone in detail about my experience 3 years ago, and I'm welling up with tears just typing this. CBT only made matters worse and although they suggested I see a proper psychotherapist, that was the last thing I needed. My cardiologist diagnosed PTSD, which, strangely, has calmed my terror slightly. My husband just sees me in tears but doesn't know how to help, as I can't explain. I do know he's there for me, and his shoulder gets a regular soaking. To quote the X-Files, "You are not alone". xx

Hello westie so sorry to read this it definitely sounds like your reliving your experience in hospital and let’s face it; its understandable we really don’t want to be there even though it’s a necessity I think you need someone to talk this through with I’m sure people on here will be able to direct you to the right people - in the meantime I’m here anytime take care ❤️Xxx

EMDR is excellent for PTSD - traumatic events stay present in the brain unprocessed and 'as if happening now'. Do look into it and if you can afford a few sessions with an EMDR therapist it will be worth it. Also sometimes it is available on the NHS. Go to emdrassociation.org.uk/ for more information. I hope you find resolution.

Hi Westie 2012,I had a massive HA in May 2020 with several traumatic stays in hospital.

I suffered from PTSD, it's not something you can just forget.

I had a terrible time, unable to sleep, very dark thoughts, so I know exactly how you feel.

It's hard for people to understand what you're going through.

Several people have mentioned EMDR and I can confirm this worked for me.

I was lucky to find a private therapist who I feel pulled me back from the brink.

I still see her via Zoom, although this is now talking therapy, EMDR was not required after about 10 treatments.

I wish you well for the future, things will get better.

Regards, Paul

Gladwyn profile image
Gladwyn in reply to ph5019

Glad you got the help you badly needed. My hearts going out to those others who are still suffering badly . Im so very sorry for them , fear is an awful thing to live with. You are shining a light showing recovery from it happens. I wish the same for all suffering. 🙏🙏🙏

ph5019 profile image
ph5019 in reply to Gladwyn

Thank you for your kind words. Regards, Paul

It must have been a very frightening experience, your hubby sounds as if hes just blocking it out. I had heart attack few years ago, havent a partner and for my 3 sons sake, i dont tell them if im worried about anything to do with my heart. Its difficult keeping things to yrself, having no one to share worries with. So im here if you need me x

Westie2012 profile image
Westie2012 in reply to Couger

Thank you for your reply , I hope you are keeping well. I think that’s how my hubby is trying to cope , I know he was scared and he admitted he thought he’d be planning my funeral , I have three grown up daughters and one a few years younger , I don’t talk about how I’m feeling with them as like you say with your sins you don’t want to worry them. I do find people that have gone through a traumatic time with heart health know how we are feeling, it’s a frightening time. I Really appreciate your kind words xx

Thank you to everyone for your replies and kind words , I had to go to A&E early hours of Saturday morning with breathing problems and chest tightness that has been happening for a few days , I was seen by a cardiac nurse and she was asking about my recent cardiac problems , talking about when I was admitted at Christmas I broke down . I’m home but I’m still feeling very fragile emotionally . I am on a waiting list for talking therapy as I think my experience has affected me more that I thought . I feel by this time which is almost 10 months since the start of my cardiac problems I should have bounced back and be fully recovered . My lifestyle has gone from being able to be very active with looking after my family , walking our dogs and I had a lovely job to not being well enough to do much or if I have felt well and overdone things ,( which I know I have done and perhaps shouldn’t have done too much too soon) that has caused my symptoms to get worse , and being made redundant with many others, (I know I wouldn’t have been well enough for work so maybe that was for the best), but so many changes and being very unwell for much longer than I anticipated is a bit much to cope with .

Hi westie2012. I was sorry to read your post. When we experience trauma, of all kinds, we have an embodied response to it that can resurface or get reactivated with certain triggers or stimuli. This can be like a memory where it is clear you are recalling something or it can be experienced as if it is happening all over again, as if you are back in that moment. That is what is most commonly named a flashback and is very unsettling, as you know.Some of the therapies already mentioned can be really helpful like EMDR or CBT for trauma and a generic talking therapy/ counselling might help but it also has to fit for you and, of course, this can involve a waiting list. In the interim grounding techniques can be really helpful so that you can just feel yourself in this moment rather than back in the trauma. Mindfulness, yoga, walking with intention, focusing on everyday activities etc. All can be helpful if it helps you to stay in the here and now. Happy to suggest ideas, if useful.

It sounds like you've had a really tough time. I hope you are being kind to yourself. We all need a bit of that!

Hi westie sorry you ended up at hospital but it might have been a good thing in the end at least your in line to have an appointment to speak to someone who can help you through all this I’m sure it will help you so much once your feeling less fragile you will start to feel stronger physically so take care please let us know how your doing ❤️Xxx

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