It can be hard looking at my life as normal again, especially when I consider that I encountered a near-death experience due to a freak viral infection.
My life did change! I’m the “lucky” owner of a new normal, where my daily routines are dictated by my FitBit and Apple Watch, a new diet that has removed most things I enjoyed, where my priorities have been rewritten (or reaffirmed), and our family dynamics have fully changed … everything changed.
At first, I thought it was all negative. But as I have witnessed over the past many weeks, this new change is actually positive. We need to look at things differently. We tend to focus on the negative that in turn will make us more worried and less happy. Despite the gloom at times, we have to focus on the positive, even the small achievements and apply that to our daily living. Without a positive mental attitude, we will perish to the depression and dark thoughts. That is not a way to enjoy life.
My body is healing and that is absolutely awesome!
However, I need to make sure that my mental health heals too. Despite my above statements, I still fear that over time the experience has scared me mentally, and that it could lower a dark cloud over me all the time. I feel it creep in some days, and then I curl up in a corner and sulk or worry needlessly about things that may happen, and I have thoughts that my life is over.
PTSD is perhaps not the right terminology in my case, and I will not attempt to misuse this term to downplay the seriousness of PTSD when our brave veterans suffer from this disorder. They have faced truly horrific and soul changing events.
As I came close to my own mortality, facing death can create posttraumatic stress. It is unclear to me how this may show itself, but I need to deal with this head-on. If my mind is not healing and generating negative (dark) thoughts, then I will suffer. This may, in turn, affect people around me. People I care for, and people who care for me.
I cannot let that happen!
What if it happened
- This sew seeds in my mind as to what I could’ve done better prior to my incident
- It starts thoughts on what would’ve happened if I had actually passed on
- My mind starts spinning and not in a positive circle, but downward spiral towards the dark side.
My body is broken
- My body may have broken slightly, and exposed me to the frailty of life.
- I cannot run a marathon, but never would’ve done so either
- My kids cannot enjoy playing with dad in the garden
- Can I not enjoy a few worldly pleasures ever again, such as sitting at the pool bar and drinking my favorite Caipirinha
- My thoughts keep drifting towards ‘what if’ scenarios, where I’m flying to Amsterdam and somewhere over the Atlantic and I have a relapse.
- I can never fly to places where medical system is less optimal, so where does that leave us with flying out to explore World with my family?
- For the first 4 weeks, my doctors told me not to be alone, just in case I had an incident. That, in turn, planted another seed (evil seed) where I’m paranoid and need people around me.
- It also affected my wife to a point where she demands that someone is near me – even after the doctor cleared me from restrictions placed upon me
Kids will witness something bad
- The last thing I want to happen is for my kids to witness a relapse.
- A close friend of my eldest daughter lost her dad recently to a heart attack out of the blue and that put fear back into her mind
- It’s scary for me to experience, so I can only imagine how it might look for my kids when their dad is weak and fragile.
Honestly, there is absolutely no point thinking about what we cannot control. It simply strengthens the presence of the demons and they will succeed.
Whatever happened to me and you, it happened for a reason. The big man upstairs has plans for us. We are needed here on Earth with our families and friends. There is stuff we need to complete before we eventually enter the pearly gates.
Max Lucado has a great series of short stories, on Pure Flix, where he discusses the idea of traveling light. It is basically talking about the burdens that we carry around with us. It is important that we shed some of these to have a more joyous life, with less burden. I highly recommend watching it as it helped me through the first few (dark) weeks of my recovery.
My purpose will be revealed soon.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be contacting shrinks to start working on my fears and dark thoughts. I’ve never been a fan of shrinks, but have accepted that I need to talk this through with someone. Someone who has not been directly involved, and who does not have an emotional connection to me. Someone who can provide professional guidance for how I work through my PTSD.
As they say in Deadpool, get the pity dick out of my mouth. We cannot really live until we’ve died a little. It may be cruel and harsh words, but bang on. Part of me died during that experience, but I gained more life energy and a renewed sense of hope and purpose.
We cannot control when we past, but we can make our time precious!
I’ll keep you posted on my progress, but please reach out directly if you are looking for some help yourself. I’ll be happy to talk and listen. We can make this journey fantastic.
If you have experienced a similar incident or have some valuable feedback, please add it in the comments below or contact me.