Tuesday 26 December 2017

'Twas the night after Christmas and all through Bev's head, everything was stirring and about to kick off big-style... Delayed PTSD panic attacks after Christmas.

I know from experience that Christmas / the Holidays can be a tricky time for parents of young people with eating disorders and so I very much hope that the eating disorder didn't interfere too much with your festivities. I know how distressing it can be to watch the world going on around you, preparing for Christmas just like any other year, while, inside the house, the eating disorder is running riot. I was "there" at Christmas 2009, 2010, 2011 and, to some extent, 2012.

Following those years I've battled with my own demons at Christmas thanks to C-PTSD (Complex / Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The worst C-PTSD Christmas attack was last year when I couldn't do anything. No cards, no carols, no Christmas Eve carol service and - if I hadn't made myself get out of bed and "just get on with it" - no Christmas Day. The 2016 C-PTSD attack took me by complete surprise and just goes to show how you can't always control what the body / brain needs to do.

So I was kind of surprised this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to feel relatively OK. Not 100% OK but a million times better than last year. I listened to carols, I went to the Christmas Eve carol service and I survived Christmas Day.

Until the evening...

And, worse still, the night.

It was almost as if my brain needed to blow a fuse.

As if, unbeknown to me, it had been simmering away all day waiting to explode.

During the night I had a series of panic attacks - the sort that wake you up shouting or gasping. Some were so bad that I couldn't get back to sleep for some time afterwards. I felt truly traumatised.

As a result I am knackered today and ache all over. (And, no, I didn't overdo the festive vino on Christmas Day!!!)

So this morning I found myself Googling "delayed panic attacks", "delayed anxiety attacks", etc and discovered that this isn't unusual. It's as if the brain simply has to do its stuff at some point and so it does it at a time when the individual is most relaxed - at night. Or, even better, when they are asleep because in sleep there is no conscious or unconscious effort to suppress the anxiety.

Curious, that.

So if this has happened to you over the Christmas period, rest assured you are not alone.

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