PTSD during COVID-19

I wanted to discuss Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD as you might know it.

PTSD is a common mental disorder caused by major psychological trauma. Why is this important to me?

I had PTSD after my brain surgery and ICU hospitalization. I had two misdiagnoses for my brain tumor which resulted in being flown across the country for life saving brain surgery. Five days in ICU, post operative chemical meningitis and two weeks away from home. I didn’t know to expect a psychological ravage to infiltrate my mind as my body and brain recovered.

Medical events and PTSD

It is often under appreciated that medical events and procedures associated with life threat, even when there is a successful outcome, can result in the development of PTSD. Cancer, cardiac events, being in ICU (or having a loved one in ICU) have been associated with an increased rate of PTSD.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, people with prolonged stays in ICU, being on a ventilator or even being a health care worker and continually exposed to COVID environments, PTSD is a reality that we need to be talk about. The rapid increase of social isolation, financial difficulties currently being experienced are also more likely to result in increased rates of anxiety, depression and PTSD.

PTSD is not something that you just “get over”. It doesn’t just “go away”. PTSD can last for decades, with ripple effects, if it isn’t treated.

It impacts every aspect of a person’s life.

We often look after our physical health but do we really look after our mental well-being?

It’s often when the crisis of illness is over that we breathe a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, that can be when the next battle comes. The battle of the mind.

The way out from PTSD

It was nine months after my amazing brain had undergone the injury from the brain tumor, surgery and meningitis that I was diagnosed with PTSD and needed help to heal in a different way. My treatment involved regular counseling and meditation. This continued for many months. Eventually, the symptoms lessened. My brain continued to heal from the surgery at the same time.

What can we do? Collectively be aware of PTSD. As a community, continue to decrease and break down the stigmas around mental health and barriers to accessing treatments for mental health conditions.

Most importantly, we can support individuals with mental health struggles just by saying

“I see you”.

Watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH1KsppjORA


References

  1. https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/psychiatry/michigan-psychiatry-resources-covid-19/specific-mental-health-conditions/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-during-covid-19
  2. https://ghrp.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41256-020-00155-2
  3. https://twosteps.ca/2018/06/06/ptsd-after-icu/
  4. https://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2016/hermelink_breastcancer.html
  5. https://www.columbiapsychiatry.org/news/covid-q-posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd

#PTSDduringCOVID