When your ‘day-dreaming’ becomes your ‘day-nightmares’!

Guest Post by: Kate Allatt

kate-july12-sWe all know what a stroke is, don’t we? That is;

“A rapid loss of brain function(s) due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia( lack of blood flow) caused by blockage (thrombosis, arterial, arterial embolism, or a hemorrhage. As a result, the affected area of the brain cannot function, which might result in an inability to move one or more limbs on one side of the body, inability to understand or formulate speech, or an inability to see on one side of the visual field.” (Source: http://ow.ly/gA0Vn).

As a matter of interest, my own stroke at the age of 39, was a thrombosis or obstruction of a blood vessels by blood clots forming locally, in the right pons of my brainstem. However, are you all aware of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or P.T.S.D?

“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder which may develop following exposure to any one of a variety of traumatic events that involve actual or threatened death, or serious injury. The event may be witnessed rather than directly experienced, and even learning about it may be sufficient if the persons involved are family members or close friends. Sufferers may experience flashbacks, panic attacks and heightened awareness. PTSD is sometimes found in ex-military personnel who have been involved in conflict situations.” (Source: http://ow.ly/gA10s)

Some people suffer from this because they;

• Have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, for example, rape, shooting, car accident etc • Frequently got upset whilst thinking about a traumatic event? • Experience “flashbacks” in which one feels as if one is re-living a traumatic event? • Feel emotionally numb or on edge due to experiencing a traumatic event? • Avoid doing things that remind one of a traumatic event?

But my P.T.S.D was bought on because I suffered my stroke with the unbelievably awful condition of locked-in syndrome.

Locked-in syndrome is a condition in which a patient is aware and awake but cannot move or communicate verbally due to complete paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles in the body except for the eyes. Total locked-in syndrome is a version of locked-in syndrome where the eyes are paralyzed, as well. Think, being ‘buried alive’ or ‘trapped inside your own body’, where you can feel everything yet move nothing, apart from your eyes. I was always cognitively normal, horrific!

So how did my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder manifest itself? Well when I used to be pushed around Sainsbury’s in my wheelchair, (shortly after leaving hospital, where I was for 8 months), I day-dreamed that I was actually lying motionless on a pressure relieving mattress, wishing I was shopping in Sanisbury’s!I used to have to pinch myself to prove that I was really in Sainsbury’s having a dreadful flashback or ‘day-nightmare’. Weird. These flashbacks lasted for 8 months. I never thought going food shopping could be so comforting!

However, the other P.S.T.D symptom I was getting upset that I would try so hard to bring my body back to life, that I would die from pneumonia in the end anyway. Eventually, I needed a GP to explain that this would be unlikely now that I was able to move and get about. However, the notion caused panic and stress for me for months.

So what helped me? Time and my focus on my own charity and writing my own blogs. What can help you or a loved one? The charity Anxiety UK.  Good Luck!

About the author: Kate Allatt is a speaker, published author, and the founder of Fighting Strokes Charity. She is also the 2011 winner of Extraordinary Woman and was a finalist for the 2012 Yorkshire Woman of Achievement Award. You can see more of Kate’s work by visiting her charity’s website, her blog, or her personal website.  


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