Worrying is a normal part of life and can even be helpful. If worry becomes a nagging anxiety, you need to formulate copping strategies.
Something happened after I experienced mechanical breathing. The only way I can put it into words is a “switch” was turned on. Anxiety was heightened to the point of complete fear and overwhelming concern that I would soon return to the ventilator.
I understand that fear and anxiety are natural part of life. I had experienced anxiousness before the birth of my children. This kind of anxiety was useful - it made me more alert and cautious. It ended soon after I knew my newborns were healthy.
The anxiety I experienced after the vent did not go away! It worsened over time. It was occupied by chest pains and nightmares. There even came a time when I was afraid to leave home. I was noise and light sensitive. I wanted nothing to do with large crowds. I later discovered that my increase in anxiety had a direct link to my time on mechanical breathing. I had suffered from psychological factors associated with the “weaning process”.
Once I made this discovery (after asking questions and being very honest with my physician), I was able to seek the medical help I needed. Once I fully understood the “root cause” of my anxiety, there was no more shame attached to this paralyzing emotion. Here are the steps I took to regain my quality of life:
- I defined the issue. The ventilator had “triggered” my anxiety.
- I sought treatment from a professional. There are many forms of treatment for anxiety but it is extremely important to seek the support of a medical professional.
- I learned coping mechanisms. Learning how to take a few deep breaths was a necessity for me to overcome my anxiety. Removing myself from very stimulating situations proved to be a useful coping mechanism for me.
The ventilator, my temporary “umbilical cord”, designed to provide the most basic need of life, enslaved me with uncertainty. I experienced the crushing perception of being a burden. Unable to communicate brought the agony of seclusion. Yet, if I had to face it again, would I consent? Yes, of course! It was after all my breath of life.
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The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. This individual has been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/0718/0685