Being sick is traumatic. If you have dealt with the Hepatitis C Virus, you may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. This is a treatable condition that your doctor can help with. My doctor and I worked on some strategies to help me after a year of Hep C treatment. One strategy was learning how to laugh at myself. Some of the things we do while coping are pretty darned funny when we look at them.
You Might Have PTSD if:
- You work hard to get ready for a doctor appointment. Instead of being calm, you have to get agitated enough to be prescribed an anti-anxiety med. You don’t want your doctor to take you off of them before you’re ready.
- You also try to act all calm and normal about getting your anti-anxiety meds prescription refilled so that your doctor won’t take them away. It’s a juggling act for sure.
- You feel so much pain for so long that you begin to feel nothing. Nada. Blank stare. I don’t care.
- You go to therapy just to learn how to live with people who are NOT in therapy.
- Someone looks at you’re the wrong way and you assume they’re judging you, especially with stigma from Hep C.
- Someone gives you advice and you immediately go on the defense.
- You feel like every criticism is someone screaming that you are wrong.
- You can’t tell if the stress in your life is killing you or making you stronger.
- The thought of working full-time while on treatment is a joke. Surviving is a full-time job.
- Your doctor waits more than 15 minutes to call you back so you call again. And again. And again.
- You jump in the car and head for ER if your temperature hits 98.8.
- Before your next doctor appointment, you imagine that you are going to hear the worst news possible.
- When someone compliments your smile, you tell them that you’re just too tired to tell the truth. It’s easier to fake it.
- The whole world seems threatening.
- You understand how disappointed others are in your lack of coping skills because you’re disappointed in yourself.
- You wake up in the middle of the night and go through your medical records one more time.
- Your will to live takes on a HUGE importance.
- You want your mind to heal so that you can enjoy the life that you have fought so hard to save from Hepatitis C.
- You read positive books and quotes to remind yourself of the good side of life.
- You are kind to yourself because you’re the best friend that you’ve got.
- You save funny pictures on your computer just to cheer yourself and friends in your Hep C forum up.
- You tune out the negative thoughts in your mind by singing your favorite music.
- You learn a mantra: I am going to be fine. I’ve got this. Everything will work itself out. I’m strong.
- You realize you’re not alone. Most of the people you see are fighting intensely personal battles that come from some form of trauma. You have as much compassion on yourself as you do for others.
Check back for more from Karen on PTSD.