I'm afraid to say that I'm still not doing well on the emotional front. Part of the reason I haven't posted for so long is because I've wanted to be more positive and more like my usual self when I've posted, but I've come to realise that if I do then then I'll be waiting a very long time, as will you. The fact of the matter is that things are tough - very tough - the Crisis Team are still seeing me every two days, and I'm still phoning their support line most nights.
Most people wouldn't think of asthma as traumatic. Most people think of it as a mild condition of childhood that's easily treated with a couple of puffs of an inhaler, and at some point the child will grow out of it. This can be the case for some, perhaps for most, but for a minority asthma can be severe (and anyone with any 'level' of asthma can have a severe attack at any time). For some, asthma can be life-threatening, and for an even smaller minority it can be repeatedly life-threatening. I'm in that minority of the minority, but just because I've gone through a huge number of life-threatening/near-fatal asthma attacks, it doesn't mean that it gets easier. Yes, I know what's happening, and I know what to expect in terms of treatment, but I never know if I'm going to survive. The fear never goes away.
I'm good at keeping as calm as possible when I'm in the throes of a severe asthma attack - it's been commented on by medical staff more than once - but the fear and anxiety is merely under control, rather than absent. It has to come out sometime.
For several years I have seemingly bounced back after each severe attack. I've been tired, and it's taken a while to get my physical strength back, but I often haven't given enough attention to the emotional trauma. Instead I've thrown myself back in to studies, concentrated on whatever essay or piece of creative writing I've had to do, and looked towards getting my degrees. I have those degrees now. I don't have essays to produce or books to study. I don't have a guided focus. I do have the two books I'm meant to be writing, but I can't concentrate on them. I can't focus. I can't get my words out sufficiently. Even writing this is a real struggle.
To some extent, all these things have provided distraction when I've been discharged from hospital, but the counter-side is that they've also stopped me from dealing with the trauma of the events. My last admission was particularly traumatic. I felt traumatised at the time of the attack, and in the days immediately following it (after I'd been transferred from ITU to the respiratory ward), but then there was the severe pyelonephritis (kidney infection) on top of it all, and the combination has been overwhelming. I have now been diagnosed as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
My psychologist is good - helpful, attentive, works with me in partnership, works me hard, and I trust her. None of that makes therapy easy - therapy is never easy - but it reduces any anxiety I have about talking about some aspects of the trauma. However, at the moment we're having to fire fighting therapy - crisis management - so planning sessions from week to week isn't really working. Instead we have to deal with whatever is the most pressing and distressing thing at the time. They're all connected, all part of the PTSD and depression, but some of the 'symptoms' are themselves distressing.
I was going to write some more, but I keep zoning out (dissociating) - one of the PTSD symptoms I've recently been finding very distressing (at least in the aftermath). It's taken me two hours to write what I have! Maybe I'll write some more about this at another time, but for now I'll have to leave it here. Apologies if this doesn't all make sense.