Once Pulmonary Hypertension was brought to my attention, it’s been nothing but a life altering path I did not choose, but was forced to take. A difficult journey my soul has chosen to take.
Every disease has it’s own personal baggage, some worse then others, but they somehow can all relate to each other. The load itself of any disease is burdensome, but we never really think about the most important, if not the heaviest burden of them all? The mental struggles.
Iv been living with PH for, what seems like forever, but diagnosed 10 years. The past couple of months has been exceptionally difficult for me, with my body, in my opinion, feeling like it’s rejecting my medication which I have been taking up until this point and with me dealing with the side effects of such. Having fainting ‘episodes’ at random times and while driving- trust me that wasn’t pleasant, shortness of breath, numbing sensations all over my body and striking pains in my chest, it has been quite a roller coaster. My days consisted of calling my husband in a frantic state feeling in that moment that I was dying, to us driving to the emergencies rooms to make sure that I wasn’t dying.
When it first started it was scary, now it’s just frustrating because I want to get over this phase, fast. I’m so over feeling like this that I would literally do anything to feel ‘normal’ again. Normality comes with a price tag and it’s unfortunately called PTSD..
“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.”
In my mind, PTSD is something that someone suffers after surviving an attack. Which, now brought to light by my therapist, I did. It’s arrival was not welcomed, nor wanted but I’m starting to accept it. At least I’m trying to… I had not even given consideration to the fact that PTSD lingered let alone the depression and anxiety that comes long with it. The problem with this is that most of the world have not yet put together that a majority of chronically ill patients are also suffering from Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder because being told “you have an incurable and terminal disease” is trauma in itself.
Suffering from a chronic illness on it’s own is hard. Suffering from PTSD and a chronic illness is just excruciating! Slowly getting familiar with this mental illness means I can identify my triggers and try cope. With PH it’s difficult because if I feel out of breath, is it a sign that I’m having a panic attack or is it my PH giving me a warning sign telling me that my PH is deteriorating? Which lands up giving me more anxiety!
I have grown up with people who suffer from severe depression/anxiety and I could never really understand how they could be so angry and so sad all the time. I understand now. Completely and utterly. It’s really a dark place that your mind travels to and can be really difficult to get out of it and no matter how hard someone try’s to get your frame of mind into a more positive space, it just makes you sink deeper into the black hole.
Mental health is an invisible disease just like PH. Your brain is an organ, and it deserves it’s own upkeep. It’s taken alot for me to talk about this issue, let alone write about it. I’ve found that talking about what I’m feeling and going through really does take the pressure off. Iv learned that I’m not alone is this and that there is a silver lining. It just takes a little time and patience.