Category Archives: Health

What is ptsd?

This is the first post in a series about PTSD, complex PTSD, and medical PTSD. To start with, I’m going to talk about symptoms and basics.

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, can occur in response to a traumatic event or repeated trauma. Symptoms can start from days to years after the original event, and can last for years. They can affect people differently, and can include intrusive thoughts, a desire to avoid reminders of the traumatic incident(s), negative thoughts and feelings, arousal and reactive symptoms, and cognition and mood symptoms, amongst others.

Intrusive thoughts include flashbacks, bad dreams, and frightening thoughts. For me, flashbacks are like memories that come up that I can’t control or make go away. I have a visual memory, so I will ‘see’ the event or features of the event in my mind, almost as if they are real and happening now. Frightening thoughts are especially prevalent when I am triggered, or actively experiencing symptoms, and will include things like thinking I am not safe or that someone is going to hurt me.

Avoidance symptoms are like they sound. Certain situations or places will remind me (usually subconsciously) of a traumatic situation and trigger symptoms. As a result, I will stay away from the situation or place in the future if I can. Unfortunately, with medical PTSD this means I avoid going to the doctor or ER, even when I need to.

Negative thoughts and feelings come up when I am triggered, and will include thinking things like “what’s the point,” or “why fight to keep going,” even if I was completely happy right before the flare.

Arousal symptoms mean that I am easily startled ALL the time, and I have a lot of trouble sleeping. Outbursts and feeling tense are others, and symptoms are often constant.

Cognition and mood symptoms can include trouble remembering the event and/or negative feelings like guilt and blame.

These are considered the major symptoms, though one can have many more. This also ignores the physical effects PTSD can have on the body. Next time I will talk about how PTSD is diagnosed. 

For more info on the book I am writing on medical PTSD, visit:

Cyber monday with chronic illness

Some people use cyber Monday sales to buy Christmas presents. I took advantage of the cyber Monday sale at @medicalertfoundation to get two Medic Alert bracelets, as even just the highlights wouldn’t fit on one. My #mastcellactivationsyndrome has been bad, and I’ve been having multiple #anaphylaxis episodes a week. It turns out I have become highly sensitive to most scents and perfumes. It’s why you’ll see me wearing a #vogmask all the time. If you can remember not to wear scents around me, I’d really appreciate it! I’ve already been through 15 #epipen so far, and have too many holes in my legs… 😜 Love you all! 💜💜💜

More ER Woes

I don’t get the point of EpiPens. If you use one and it breaks your symptoms, when you get to the ER they call it a minor allergic reaction. It doesn’t matter that my tongue felt like it was swelling and my chest getting tight right before I used the pen. I started becoming out of it and lost my speech again in the ER, and they simultaneously told me a third dose of epinephrine wasn’t indicated, but that I should also have three epipens at home so I can treat it myself there. That wasn’t the only time they contradicted themselves. They tried to get me an ambulance to take me home because I could barely move, but told me I would have to pay as it wasn’t medically necessary. This is how ERs and the American industrial medical establishment is killing us young women with rare chronic illnesses like ehlers danlos and mast cell activation syndrome. At least I’m home now. I’m never going to Denver Health again.

ER with MCAS

In the ER again. I’m going to have to educate them about anaphylaxis. They thought three doses of epinephrine 20 minutes apart would give me a heart attack. It takes that many to break the cycle (and epi is out of your system in about 15 minutes). Mast cell activation syndrome can give you weird allergy symptoms (especially with dysautonomia) that don’t respond normally. Many doctors don’t know about it because it’s a relatively new diagnosis. It didn’t even exist when I was in med school a decade ago.

TPN Anniversary

One year ago today, I started TPN (IV nutrition). At the time, I had only been getting about 600 calories a day, between the little I could still eat and the formula I was getting constantly through my J tube. Within two weeks of starting, I couldn’t even get the 600 calories and became fully TPN dependent. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s kept me alive for a year now. In that year, I have only been able to eat three eggs (for a medical test), two small pieces of potato chips, and a piece of tofu, none of which went well. I eat a ton of skittles and jelly beans, but only because they easily drain out of my stomach through my G tube. At least I’m alive and still causing trouble. In other news my SSDI hearing was delayed until January, so I have to wait even longer to get my neck (and speech) fixed. It’s only been three years since I applied.