Trauma affects how your brain operates. Something about the “prefrontal cortex of the brain” and “amygdala”. I am Pooja Bhave, a reluctant writer and a recovering coma survivor. There are some things that I will never understand (like the scientific functioning of the brain) and there are some things that I will never forget about my past hospitalisation. And so I say, almost a decade later, that I am still recovering.
PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Mayo Clinic describes PTSD as the following: “(…) a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event – either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.”
Over the years, this stifling stress has intrinsically woven itself into my personality. Some of the ways in which it manifests itself are as follows: - the inability to be in a room that has white tube-lights on as it reminds me of the I.C.U. - the inability to sleep in a bedroom that has a traditional wall clock in it as the ticking of the seconds’ hand reminds me of the time I would obsessively try to count time. - an intolerance to beeping sounds (cars reversing, microwaves, phone alarms etc.) as these sounds bring back memories of the monitors propped up next to my bed. - crippling anxiety when things are out of my control as this was exactly the case I was in when I could feel the doctors, nurses and other members of the hospital staff shuffling around me and yet I could say and do nothing. - nightmares featuring events take took place in the hospital.
How different people living with PTSD respond when triggered, varies. My own exhibitions of distress range from physical discomfort, heavy breathing and a raised heartbeat to crying and screaming. Therapy and a strong support system keep me going. But, like I said, I am still recovering.
My advice to anyone struggling with PTSD would be to find help and building an environment that is safe and healing-oriented.
- Pooja Bhave