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Emily_V : ptsd
Diary entry posted Fri 12:13pm 9 November 2018

After my first several weeks at home, as my pain because less critical, my trauma kicked in. I woke one morning with vertigo, the room spinning to my left. I laid back and closed my eyes and it dissipated. Throughout that day, I was hit with woozy feelings. This continued happening for several weeks, unsettling me. The worst was sleep, where I would jolt awake in panic every hour or so, and spent long stretches awake and stressed. I quickly developed an aversion to sleep, and started feeling uncomfortable sleeping alone or with the door closed. It culminated in waking one night with the panicked feeling. Trying to take a deep breath, I realized I could not control how I breathed; I was also unable to move, see, or speak. My hearing faded until I heard a strange noise, like jumping into a pool. I felt like I was going to pass out. This passed quickly, but the effect was lasting. I started shaking and feeling ill. My boyfriend called the hospital and we were instructed to come in as soon as regular hours opened, unless it happened again, in which we were to come immediately. I thought something was so wrong with my blood pressure that I was almost passing out while laying down. Basically, it felt like I was in danger of dying. At the hospital, I realized that watching the stretchers come in from ambulances gave me the same passing out sensation. When I was taken back to the examining room, the first worry was a spinal injury from the car accident. After a through exam, including EKG, blood tests, and a neurological exam, I was pronounced fit and healthy (besides my leg) and given the diagnosis of ptsd. The strange experience in the night was a nocturnal panic attack, something I had no idea was possible. I have never experienced anxiety, stress (beyond the average stress of regular life) or panic attacks before. I immediately felt super weak, and embarrassed, with my perceived inability to cope. The doctor assured me I was experiencing a normal aftermath, and emphasized that my injury is incredibly traumatic and "a huge fracture." (The gravity of my injury tends to impress, which I appreciate.) being hit by a car adds a whole new layer to the already difficult process of mentally sorting out a broken leg. Well, conveniently my diagnosis cleaned up the anxiety. I now knew I wasn't dying, and instead was experiencing stress. I stopped feeling so woozy. I had some pills to take before sleep for the next week, but I only took them for 3 days before I felt confident enough to try sleeping unmedicated. I didn't have as many panicky jolts awake at all, and nothing nearly as extreme as a panic attack. I still had trouble sleeping for the next few weeks, with long stretches of wakefulness, but at 8 weeks, I am managing full nights of sleep with maybe one or two wakeful moments. I am also much more aware of my stress response and can feel it firing up sometimes. Previously, I didn't notice it until I was on the verge of passing out. Now I can feel the rushing sensation in my stomach, and a kind of tingly lightness. I wasn't emotionally struggling to discuss or process my accident, so I never considered these physical symptoms anything but the sign of a physical problem. Learning my stress response helped me know when to stop talking about getting hit, and when to relax and breath slowly and deeply.



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 Fri 12:13pm 9 November 2018
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