Sam Rose - writer, geek, music lover, cancer survivor, optimist, Buddhist.

Tag: ptsd

Cancer as Trauma

I have been looking for books and things about dealing with cancer as a traumatic experience, and I’ve found more things talking about cancer being caused by stress than about it being a cause of stress. No wonder I used to try to figure out whether I officially had PTSD – some sort of validation on emotional issues would be nice.

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Are Labels Helpful?

This week I am thinking about the labels we put on ourselves, the labels other people put on us, and the labels we want. Partly because today is PTSD Awareness Day, and partly because a colleague is celebrating a different diagnosis that has given him relief and closure.

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Concentrate on the things you do know

I was trying to figure out if I have anxiety or ptsd or what, because all this health stuff makes me feel crazy. And I don’t think I have ptsd because I don’t think the medical definition of ptsd applies to me. Plus, it feels like things aren’t over, but they’re still happening – because of having to go for checkups, etc. So maybe it’s not ptsd because I’m not just struggling with the past but worrying about the future.

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on post-traumatic stress after cancer

Having PTSD – or anxiety, or whatever the hell this is – is like lugging a big heavy suitcase around with you all day, but it seems to be invisible to everyone else and you’re shouting at them in your head, “Why can’t you see this thing?!” But you don’t dare say it out loud in case the suitcase really is all in your head and your friends and family think you’re crazy and making a big deal out of nothing, or just attention seeking or trying to get sympathy. Experience has already taught you there are wrong people to try to talk to about it, so you keep your luggage to yourself and hope one day it becomes lighter, and someone sees it and says “are you okay with all of that?” And then you can finally say “No. Thank you for asking about it. I am not okay right now.” After days, weeks, months of lying, you will finally have found a chance to tell the truth. “No, I’m not okay, and this is a bit heavy, actually.” And then someone might give you a luggage trolley, or something. And things will be easier. I hope. Because I don’t even know where to find a luggage trolley.

Haunted like me

Ghosts have found a home
wrapped around my throat
and I can’t breathe.
that’s where they’re most
comfortable; that’s where
I expect them to be.
it’s testing time;
these are testing times
if you are haunted like me.

I have made friends with
my ghosts and they understand
my thoughts. They float inside
my head. There are ghosts
resting on my chest,
juggling with my breath and
I can’t catch it.
They won’t let me near it.
I am playing piggy in the middle
with my ghosts and it makes me
too tired to be fired up,
too tired but still I am reaching out to
try to catch my breath; I am
reaching out for someone who is
haunted like me.

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