Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

PTSD Flare ups

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 biopsyed 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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Comments on: "PTSD Flare ups" (14)

  1. Thank you for this post even though your words made me cry. Your pain and frustration are palpable and reach across the years and through the computer screen, so it was lovely to read further down to the comments and see that you are healing and have found sources of continuing joy in your life. Both my husband and I also suffer occasionally from PTSD though from a completely different perspective – two and a half years ago our son was born by emergency C-section without anesthetic. Although we all survived the ordeal and my son is healthy I still occasionally have flashbacks and my husband has nightmares as he was sure at the time that I was going to die on the operating table. It has taken me a long time to realise it is ok for me to still be angry that the surgeon did not give the anethetist the time to replace my failed spinal block – my baby was stuck and unable to enter the birth canal but not distressed so there was no need for the hurry, she just wanted to go home and I was her last surgery. It is ok for me to be angry that she didn’t believe I could feel her knife until she had cut too deep to stop (like my scream wasn’t a good enough indication), and it is ok for me to still be angry that she didn’t read my medical history before starting the operation and so it took 2 transfusions and 4 hours to put me back together.
    Thank you for this post also for sharing with others that they are not alone in feeling that rage and impotence for a situation that they can’t change, I am only just beginning to share my story and I find it gives me strength to read of others who have managed to not let their experience ruin them.


    • Thank you for your comments Toni. You have truly lived through deep tragedy & horror. I wanted to cry just reading your brief comments dear. I feel for you 😦 You are a warrior not just a trooper. 🙂

      I stopped by your blog again and I would venture to say that you are a super-mum, dedicated in all forms of protection!


  2. I don’t even have words to explain how much I related to this post- I see that it is from a few years ago, and I hope that your pain has decreased with time, but I know that these things linger. I lost my (still young) parents to cancer within 16 months of each other, and I can entirely relate to your experiences and trauma. My thoughts are with you, and thank you for sharing and by doing so, letting the rest of know that we are less alone.


    • Thank you Lisa. I’ve healed a great deal & even recently remarried in January this year. The events of my deceased husband’s death still haunt me, but the healing process is a priceless reminder of how precious every day truly is. Blessing.


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